Traditions are part of our lives. They have special significance in the local life usually associated with a legend. India is rich in such traditions and beliefs, sometimes they are too very interesting. One of them I know is veneration of mice/rats. I first came across this temple a couple of years ago in Udaipur.
Early this year I went on a road-trip to Rajasthan on the same route as I did couple of years ago, and happened to see these holy mice once again. Isn't it very interesting to see mice/rats being honored?! Yes, I visited Karni Mata temple on a hilltop in Udaipur. The small shrine isn't any grand which only has footprint of the sage to commemorate her visit to this place. Rat smell welcomes you as you enter the hall. The area is nicely set up for these creatures to live. Shady holes, rags, stone shelves etc. Water and food provided.
The legend is ... Karni Mata was a sage and she had a son Laxman. When attempting to drink water he drwoned in a water tank. Mata asked the God of Death to retrieve her son and so God blessed her that all her male children after death be re-incarnted as mice to live as a family again. White mice are considered very holy as they are very few in number. Eating the leftover food nibbled by these mice is considered sacred, well I didn't try that!
Per Hinduism as I know, all living beings deserve respect. Rat too was honored to be a pet/friend and also divine vehicle of Lord Ganesha (God with elephant's head) who symbolizes knowledge, success and prosperity. Even with that knowledge in hand, it was an unexplainable feeling/experience when I saw these mice moving around.
Do you know of any interesting tradition from another corner of the world? Please do share :)---
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Off the beaten track- Remote Rajasthan
Sunset at Jaisalmer sand dunes
Jaipur, The Pink city of Rajasthan
Gwalior, The tourist capital of Madhya Pradesh
Temples of Khajuraho
This post is linked to Nature Notes.
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.