The Karni Mata Temple is dedicated to Karni Mata, a revered Hindu mystic and saint believed to be an incarnation of the goddess Durga. The temple is unique and draws visitors from around the world because of its association with rats, which are considered sacred in this particular religious setting.
According to the local legend, Karni Mata, during her lifetime, granted a boon that all her male descendants would be reincarnated as rats. Therefore, the rats in the temple are believed to be the reincarnated followers of Karni Mata and are considered highly auspicious. They are revered as holy entities and are cared for and protected within the temple premises.
The temple complex itself is a magnificent marble structure with intricate carvings and silver gates. As visitors enter the temple, they are required to remove their shoes as a sign of respect. The rats freely roam the temple grounds, and devotees consider it a blessing to have the rats touch them or run over their feet.
Feeding the rats is an integral part of the temple rituals. Devotees offer grains, milk, and sweets to the rats as a form of worship. It is believed that consuming the food that has been nibbled on by the rats is considered highly sacred and brings good fortune.
The presence of thousands of rats in the temple can be overwhelming for some people. However, the devotees and priests consider them to be a divine manifestation and strive to maintain a clean and hygienic environment. Special measures are taken to protect the rats, including providing them with food, water, and shelter.
The Karni Mata Temple is not just a place of worship but also a significant tourist attraction. Visitors come to witness the unique sight of rats moving freely throughout the temple complex. The temple holds particular significance during festivals and special occasions when it attracts a large number of devotees seeking blessings and performing religious rituals.
It's important to note that while the worship of rats in the Karni Mata Temple may seem unusual or even strange to some, it is a deeply rooted religious practice that holds immense significance for the devotees and locals. The temple serves as a testament to the diverse religious and cultural practices found across India.
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