Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rats at the Temple

Amongst the myriad of sculptures and relief carvings at the Kapaleeshwarar Temple in the Mylapore section of Chennai are some rats. They sit opposite some sculptures of cows, the Despised in most countries, rats have a special place in Hinduism as these rodents are seen as the vahana (transport vehicle) of lord Ganesh. In Hindu society, rats represent foresight, prudence, darkness (nighttime), and the sense of smell.

Looking at these large rat sculptures, I was reminded of a special temple in northern India devoted to rats, the Karni Mata Temple, which my friend Pat told me about. At this temple in Deshnoke, over 20,000 rats call the place home, protected and revered. In fact many people travel great distances to pay their respects. Supposedly there has never been an outbreak of the plague or other rat-born illness amongst its visitors, but I am wary of visiting a place full of crawling, hairy creatures with beady eyes.

Read more about the Karni Mata Temple.


Pat said...

And you didn't dedicate this post to ME?!! Remember how we talked about your visiting the Rat Temple you mention? I was also born in the Year of the Rat!

No offense taken, ha, ha. I am a good-natured rat!

Pat said...

Oh, goodness. I should never have taken that course in speedreading... I see that you did mention 'moi.'

I would like to come and we can go ratting together!