Sep 11, 2013

Interesting India- Holy Mice!

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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Related articles-
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.


  1. That is an interesting tradition. The respect of all living things is a wonderful part of Hinduism. And yes, it could be snowy in Denver in mid-October, and is likely to be snowy in the mountains.

  2. To respect every living being is one of the many good features of Hinduism.
    Regards :)

  3. I do love the idea of respecting every living thing as we could use more of that tradition on this planet. I have a special place in my heart for rats. My daughter had two rats as pets as a child. Not my idea and I thought I would freak out when hubby brought the child home with these pets. But I found them to be intelligent, clean and very sweet. It changed my opinion of them and maybe in part led me to how I regard wildlife today... Lovely post Kusum... Michelle

    1. Wow! rats and pets? That is nice to hear someone say they are sweet!

  4. That is an interesting information. Incredible India!

  5. Charming and beautiful white mouse. After all Moushika Vahana (the mouse transport) is Lord Ganesha's celestial vehicle !


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