Rats temple 9 | bellsandtrance's Blog
Subject: Rats temple! 9
Goodbye sweet palace. Till another day and time.
South from Bikaner is the Temple of the Rats in a little town called Deshnoke, its really out in the middle of nowhere. It's " disrespectful" to call it rat temple. It's official name is Shree Karni Mata Temple.
The temple is over 600 years old. Karni ( means doer) was a woman who did a lot of good for people. She played a large role in uniting the fighting rulers of Rajasthan. She was worshipped by her devotees and lived to be 151 years old! She blessed everyone regardless of caste or clan. Karni gave refuge to rats as a symbolic gesture of her love for the neglected. After she died she became a goddess of course.
The doors of the temple are sterling silver and stand about 4 meters high. They are carved with Hindu figures and little rats with bells on their necks. The temple doors have spikes at the top, this was to prevent elephants bashing down the doors.
The rats are everywhere and you can buy them some snacks. Your shoes are off and the floor is littered with rat droppings and urine. There are thousands of them. Some dead rats lie in the masses. Some have sores on their backs and ears. Oh it gave me the heebie geebies big time!
The kids loved it and Stella was laughing as she was feeding the rats and more and more were coming. Garth cautiously stood around and took some video footage. Pa flicked one off his arm...thank goodness the priest didn't see him! Ma said she was reminded of the plague. The rats run over your feet and this is a sign of good luck and so is spotting the white rat. We spotted it a couple of times and the driver says we are very lucky. Inside the temple is the inner shrine where no westerners are around, damn I tried sneaking in but I got busted. They have a kitchen where they were busy making naan and the rat was in the flour, just hanging out as the guy was making them. I actually stood on one by mistake and it felt soft and squishy under my foot.I'm glad I saw it but it was also one of the most disgusting things I have ever experienced!
As we waited outside the temple we spotted a calf and as we were rubbing its ears along came Mr major freak. Can you believe that this crazy person with one tooth wants Rupees....in payment for patting some random cow on the street. Honestly! He is like Rupees Rupees as he points to the cow then to us then to his mouth in quick succession, I'm like no are you crazy I'm not giving you a thing. As quick as a whip he spots the cigarettes in my hand and tries to bum one, I'm like no give me Rupees first. He then starts rolling his eyes and sticks his tongue out at me, I do the same, this exchange goes on for about 2 minutes, the local people are all watching and laughing their heads off, I walk away and trip over some poor street dog who yelps in pain, and even more laughter erupts, I get out of there as soon as I can before I'm asked to join the local circus.
In the van we sterilize our feet, hands the lots....oh, my god that was so gross.
We spend the rest of the day in the car on route to Jodhpur. We are really in the desert now and there are red sand dunes on the horizon, the main road is closed and we take some back sand roads through villages and cotton plantations. We stop on the side of a dust road for a pitstop and it's not long before some local boys emerge from the bush, they stare at us like we are beings from another planet, Garth takes a spin on ones bicycle and they are fascinated!
We stop off at a Jain temple( a branch of Hinduism) which is two thousand five hundred years old, all carved by hand, it's amazing.
We end up in a traffic jam and Declan sits in the front next to Milap, Declan starts acting like a baboon, we keep saying Hanuman, Hanuman ( monkey god) he has Milap our driver in stiches and he has a whole crowd outside his window... He then proceeds to tell the locals he wants 100 Rupees from each of them, it was really funny! Another one for the circus.
We only get to the hotel after 6:30 and we are exhausted. Its such a swanky place.
Goodnight for now.
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