Why people flock to the Sri Karni Mata Temple, home to 250,000 rats
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India, the land of surprises, mystery and enigma. Here the Sikh gurdwaras close their doors to anyone who has tobacco in his pocket, and in the Janai temples are not allowed to enter if the visitor has even a single leather product. The majestic Taj Mahal is rivaled by the amazing Lotus Temple, and the Buddhist temple neighbors peacefully with the Orthodox Church. But only in the state of Rajasthan there is a completely unusual temple, where the sovereign owners for a long time are rats. And thousands of pilgrims go to Karni Mata to dine from the same dishes with rodents or drink water from a rat’s bowl.
The woman for whom the temple was named was born on October 2, 1387 and was named Ridhu Bai at birth. She was given in marriage, but did not live a married life. In time Karni led one of the political movements of the time and enjoyed influence as early as 1538. Legend has it that she lived to be 150 years old.
In 1463 in Deshnok, where Carney Mata was living at the time, her stepson Lakhan tried to drink water from a pond and drowned. There are two versions about the further course of events. According to one, Karni’s mother began to beg for the boy’s resurrection from the god Yama, but he refused to revive the child. Angry Karni Mata promised the cruel Yama that all men of her caste would never be seen by the god from now on. They would reincarnate as rats to become human again in the next life.
According to another version, Yama took pity on the inconsolable woman and gave not only the boy a rat’s body, but all of Karni Mata’s followers after death.
All that is known about the death is that Karni’s mother disappeared on March 21, 1538, on her way from one locality to another. During a watering stop on the outskirts of Kolayat, she simply disappeared before the eyes of several of her followers, with whom she was returning to Deshnok. In Judaism Karni’s mother was recognized as a saint and the living embodiment of the goddess Durga, one of the most popular and revered goddesses.
While Karni was still alive, Mata built a temple in Deshnok, and it was this temple that later became the Temple of the Rats. Initially the number of rodents was 20,000, but according to National Geographic today their number has reached 250,000. The white rats, considered descendants of Karni Mata herself, are especially revered.
Sri Karni Mata
In the twentieth century, the temple took its present appearance: the temple premises were greatly enlarged, the structure itself is decorated with beautiful carvings, everywhere are installed video surveillance cameras.
Pilgrims to the temple believe that their deceased relatives embodied in the rats and in the next life will certainly return to this world as humans. Visitors from all over India bring their offerings to the temple.
Rodents in the temple Karni Mata daily poured fresh milk and water, brought coconuts and cereals. / Photo: www.photoburst.net
The rats in this temple feel like rightful masters, and they are cared for by members of a special caste of about 500 families. They clean the temple, accept the offerings, lay out the food and put bowls of milk and water. They also make sure that curious tourists do not enter the altar and strictly follow the prescribed rules.
If one of the visitors inadvertently stepped on a rat and it dies, the perpetrator of the death of the animal will have to replace the dead animal, but this time a figure of rodent made of gold or silver. In the same way, the statuette replaces the animal that died prematurely, for example, from an illness. By the way, sick animals quite often, which is blamed on too-caloric food. Visitors bring the rodents a lot of sweets, which leads to obesity and diabetes.
Walking in this temple with shoes, as in many other temples in India, is strictly prohibited. Some visitors (mostly tourists), walk around the temple in their socks, but most prefer to tread on the marble floor, strewn with the products of rodents, barefoot. Here you can see that the pilgrims eat with the rats and even drink from the same bowl as them. Thereby they share the meal with their relatives embodied in the bodies of rats and receive a blessing from them. Temple keepers and pilgrims say that after such shared meals there have never been any sick people among the visitors. According to them, there is just the opposite phenomenon: a person who has eaten from one bowl with a rat feels an extraordinary burst of energy, and after returning to his place of residence, he is lucky and successful in any endeavor.
Stories about the special good luck of people who worship rats, spread around the country very quickly, attracting more and more visitors.
India harbors countless mysteries, one of which was solved not long ago. Only recently was the mystery of the sealed door of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple solved.
Sri Karni Mata Rat Temple in India
The famous Sri Karni Mata rat temple is located in the Indian state of Rajasthan, in the town of Deshnok, about 30 kilometers from Bikaner.
It was built in honor of a saint named Karni Mata, considered by Hindus to be the incarnation of the goddess Durga, the wife of Shiva herself.
In 1463 her stepson Lakhan drowned in Deshnok while trying to drink from the pond. According to legend, Mother Karni asked God Yama to resurrect the boy, but he refused. Then the saint proclaimed that the boy and all the men of her caste would never go to Yama, and after death they would take the temporary bodies of rats, and in their next incarnation, they should be born human.
According to another version, having received no positive answer from Yama, she continued to plead with him, and then the death deity graciously agreed to give the rat body to both the stepson and Karni’s followers.
Later, a temple was built in Deshnok, which is a nursery for over 20,000 rats (actually, no one has counted them for a long time:))
Rules of conduct in the temple.
This temple, like many others, in India is considered sacred, so people who want to get inside, are required to remove shoes. But seeing the horror of tourists who do not want to step barefoot in rat droppings, the Hindus took pity and allowed them to walk in socks.
If a rat runs or touches the foot of a visitor to the temple, it is considered a good sign that bodes well for good luck and blessing. If you meet a white rat, which is much less common here, you are guaranteed 100% success, as they are considered the embodiment of Carney Mata herself and her family members.
All visitors to the temple should be especially careful to watch their feet. If you are not careful, you can step on a rat and take its life. In such a case, one must pay a fine or buy a statue of gold or silver the size of the rat that was killed. It is by no means allowed to throw rats or drive them away from you by moving your hand or shouting – it is considered bad manners here. Bringing treats to the temple for sacred rodents is encouraged.
The whole area of the temple has a large area, there are a huge number of bowls placed everywhere, which constantly have fresh milk and many other treats and goodies. Many special grids and stretched nets have been set up in the yard to protect it from the cows and birds that walk around everywhere.
Hindus consider food that has been bitten by rodents to be sacred. In the temple one can see a man finishing off a rat, with an extraordinary appetite. In this way, it is as if people are touching the shrine and eating the blessed food. Many parishioners try to finish the milk from the bowl from which the rat just drank (or bathed :)).Some come here for lunch, to close a business deal, to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Near the gate at the entrance to the temple, installed two statues of marble – lions. This was done so that they guarded the little inhabitants of Sri Karni Mata from attacks by cats.
All the walls are made of marble and stones and have small holes made to allow the rats to move freely from one room to another, rather than circumventing the long distance.
Both rich and poor, with children or alone, come to the temple. Hindus believe that the sacred place will not allow bad things to happen to their health or the health of their loved ones.
The rats here are quite tame and do not tend to attack pilgrims and tourists. And, despite the fact that rats are carriers of terrible diseases, the Hindus claim that no one has ever caught any disease from rodents.
Z.I. I don’t know why you signed up for me, man, because I didn’t even have time to decide on the direction of the posts, but thanks anyway:)
Z.I.Y. And for the brave ones who made it to the end and stayed in good health, a bonus – a bowl of “mice” and a little video:)
A completely different world, with its own views on life and in its own (hopefully) happy residents. The main thing is not to fight/harm/kill. At least let them build temples for hamsters.
“Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology: Bhuta
Translation of an article from Theresa Bane’s Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology (“Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology” by Theresa Bane).
A benevolent ghost protects a poor man from bhoots. Illustration by Warwick Goble for the book Tales of Bengal.
Variants: Bhuta , Brahmaparusha
Bhuta (“evil spirit of nature”) is a vampiric spirit from India, appearing when a person with a physical defect dies, or death occurs prematurely, such as in a suicide. Bhuta is described as a shadow or flickering light, and he has the supernatural ability to possess corpses. When he has a body, bhuta spreads disease and pestilence. He can also turn into a bat or owl.
Although the bhuta mostly feeds on human corpses, from time to time, it feels a craving for milk. In this case, the vampire has been known to attack infants who have recently been breastfed. Usually this species is found in a cemetery, but there are cases of bhuta appearing in places that were of interest to him during his lifetime. For example, if the person whose body was possessed by the bhuta was a drunkard at the time of his death, the vampire will often be seen in a bar.
Regardless of where the bhuta appears, its presence will permeate the entire area and people will feel discomfort; the bhuta may be strong enough to scare away animals from the area. But if one performs the Mekaru ceremony every 15 days to honor and respect the bhuta, he will not attack anyone and will find a way to remain at peace with his surroundings.
As a companion of Shiva, the bhuta leaves no shadow, cannot stand on the ground and is very sensitive to the smell of burning turmeric – if the vampire is near it for too long, it will simply dissipate. Throughout India, especially in regions where bhutas are worshipped, one can find small shrines called bhandara. These sanctuaries are places of bhut worship where sacrificial slaughters are made to appease vampires. The sanctuaries do not have any specific mandatory construction, but there is always a cradle or some similar device that will allow the bhuta to rest in it without touching the ground, as the ground is considered sacredly inviolable.
Bronze bhuta mask from South India. 18th and 19th centuries.
© “Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology” by Theresa Bane, 2010
The legendary dancer of the USSR Mahmud Esambayev
I would like to share with you, the reader, a story about a legendary dancer of all times and all nations. A man of a simple soul, who devoted his life to the art of dance. Modern dance teachers admire him, and say, “As Mahmud Esambayev danced, no one else dances. I would like to share a little video with you about this man of a bygone era.
The cobra effect is a condition when the solution chosen to eliminate the problem has only made it worse
What does this have to do with cobras?
According to legend, during colonial rule in India, the British became annoyed that there were too many cobras breeding in Delhi.
In order to get rid of the poisonous snakes, the governor set a reward for each cobra he killed.
At first, the number of snakes was quickly reduced by their extermination.
Soon, however, enterprising Indians began to breed cobras themselves for the reward.
When this became known to the government and the reward for a killed cobra was abolished, the breeders released the depreciated snakes into the wild, and thus the number of venomous cobras not only did not decrease, but even increased.
History of the backgammon
Bozorgmehr shows backgammon to the Indian rajah
Backgammon is an ancient game that has enjoyed popularity for thousands of years. It is an entertainment that includes more than a hundred varieties. The name of the inventor and homeland of the ancient game is hidden from us in the depths of centuries. People have been playing this game for over 5000 years, which has historical evidence. So, the oldest of the backgammon boards was found in Asia Minor (in Shahri Sukht) and dates back to the third millennium BC. An analogue of this game was found in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen (15th century BC).
There are many myths and legends about the origin of backgammon, but there is no consensus on this yet.
This fascinating game was written about, in particular, by Shah Ismail Khatai – the founder of the Safavid state, the great poets Fizuli, Khagani, Nasimi and Nizami, such coryphaei as Ferdowsi, Saadi, Navoi and others.
The word “backgammon” probably comes from Indian “nard”, which is the name of a rare plant, the juice of which was used to prepare valuable incense and aromatic oils.
You should know that backgammon is not just a game in general, but also a special board used as a playing board. The homeland of backgammon, according to one legend, is considered to be ancient Persia.
Legend has it that once the Indians, wishing to test ingenuity Persians sent them a set of chess, believing that they do not know how to play this clever game. However, the Persian sage Vazurgmihr (Bozorgmehr), the adviser of the Persian king Khosrow I Anushirvan (509-579 A.D.), not only managed to solve this problem easily, but also invented his own game that the Hindus could not figure out for 12 years. Bozorgmehr invented and sent his opponents a new game, backgammon (nev-ardashir, after the founder of the Sassanid dynasty, Ardashir I).
Backgammon became so popular in Persia that even the most wise men tried to foretell the future and destiny of dynasties. So says one of the many legends.
In Europe, a new wave of distribution of the game was associated with the return of the Crusaders from the Crusades of the XII century. The game became very popular in medieval Europe and was called “tric-tac-toe. This name apparently came from the sound of the dice hitting the wooden board. At that time the word “backgammon” was used to refer to the game of kings. Only members of the highest aristocracy were privileged to play backgammon.
Although backgammon has roots in the East, backgammon rules for the most common backgammon game in Europe today was established in 1743 by Englishman Edmond Hoyle. This version is called “Backgammon Short (as opposed to the older Backgammon Long, which was invented in the East) or Backgammon. According to one version, the name “Backgammon” is formed from the English words “back” and “game” and is associated with the fact that the opponent’s checker, being beaten, went back. Another version connects the name “Backgammon” with the Gallic words “Baec” (small) and “Gammit” (fight), which resemble the meaning of the Persian words “Tahte Nard.
Backgammon today enjoys widespread popularity throughout the world. In all major capitals of the world there are backgammon clubs and international tournaments. One of the most famous backgammon championships is the Azerbaijani championship – Gizil Zar – The Golden Zar. The winner is awarded with backgammon dice made of gold.