The Rat Temple

Like most people, we had heard about the rat temple, actually called the Karni Mata Temple. Having accidentally ridden past it on the way to the camel fair, we decided to turn back and poke our noses in.

Since rats have a bad reputation when it comes to cleanliness and spreading diseases, scavenging through rubbish and disgusting things, I wasn’t too keen when I found out that we had to take our shoes off. But it’s a temple, so you have to. Oh well, I just hoped these rats are more like the tame little pet my friend had, or like the little chef from Ratatouille.

As you walk in, your feet crunch over the crummy feed that people throw on the floor as an offering. And there are rats scurrying around everywhere, munching, fighting and chasing each other.

The guy selling camera permissions told me that spotting a white rat is extra lucky and pointed at one hanging on the fence. It looked worryingly dead! And didn’t move one bit, while we were staring at it. Apparently, if a rat is killed, it has to be replaced with one of pure gold.

We joined the que into the inner part of the temple. Turns out the rails guide you to a little shrine. In front of it are two men, collecting the offerings people make. Some are for the monks or the general upkeep of the temple, some is rat food.

A couple of guys had brought rock candy to crunch on while watching the rats and shared some with us.

A couple of older women were sitting on the steps, chatting, letting the rats eat out of their hands and sit in their lap.

Later I saw another white rat, and that one was very much alive. While I was trying to take a photo of that elusive good luck charm, another little fucker nibbled on my toes! Double luck then 🙂

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