In India, the Karni Mata Temple Rajasthan has become quite a tourist attraction because of the love and devotion for rats. In this temple, rats are sacred things, and in order to keep them safe, grills and nets have been built so that dangerous predators from the outside can’t get inside and hurt them.
In most parts of the world, rats are considered vermin, but in the Karni Mata Temple, there are about 20 thousand of them, and they are worshiped as gods. Each day, people from all over India come to this temple to pay their respects to these furry little “saints”.
According to old Hindu folk tales, there are two stories that explain why they are sacred. The first one says that long ago, every child was first born as a rat. The second one claims that the rats in the temple used to be soldiers in their former lives.
Out of those 20,000 rats, there are a few of them that are white and they are considered to be manifestations of Karni Mata and her four sons. They are the most sacred of them all. Visitors even try to lure them with snacks as just seeing them is considered to be a special blessing.
The priests who live in the temple are devoted to these rats, and regularly warn visitors to be careful where they step to avoid stepping on them because that is considered as a serious sin. However, if that sin does happen, the priests have silver and golden statues of rats that the person who killed a rat needs to buy from the temple and place it inside the temple as redemption for the sin.