We know that Indian culture and traditions are vibrant, colourful and rich. Most Indians take their religions and gods associated with their religion too seriously. People have built countless temples and other religious places across the country probably to express their devotion and faith towards the divine.
Amid the raging debate over meat ban, you by now clearly know and realise how important and “sacred” Cow is considered in India. However, did you know that not just Cow, but there are some other animals that are more than just animals in India? In fact, they are worshiped. When we talk about Hindu deities, you also tend to recollect the animals associated with them. For example, Tiger or Lion serves as the carrier of Goddess Durga. Nandi (Bull) is Lord Shiva’s vehicle. You will find images and statues of Nandi Bull in almost every Shiva temple.
While some instances of animal brutality will make your blood boil, you will be surprised to know that some of the animals are actually worshiped in temples built especially for them.
Have a look:
Snake Temple, Kerala
Even though Snakes are venomous, the serpents are among the pious animals of India. Killing a snake is actually considered as a sin in Hindu religion that will apparently future generations as well. Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple in Kerala worships snakes.
The temple which is believed to be one the largest snake temples in the country is home has nearly 30,000 images of snakes idols along the path. Women seeking fertility, throng in large numbers to the temple and install a snake idol once their wish is fulfilled.
Rat Temple, Rajasthan
What do you do when you find out there is a rat in your house? You make use of all the powers bestowed upon you and chase the rats away. This is not what happens in Karni Mata temple in Rajasthan. In facts, thousands of rats actually feast with the people who come to offer their prayers in this temple.
The temple is home to 20,000 odd rats and surprisingly, there has apparently never been a case of plague or other diseases in this area.
The locals believe the Karni Mata was born as a rat after her death. They also believe that when a rat dies in the area, they are reborn in the temple.
Monkey Temple, Jaipur
A monkey who is known to create mischief and nuisance at temples are also considered holy in India. Lord Hanuman is known as the Hindu Monkey God. Galtaji Temple in Jaipur, Rajasthan, is known as the Monkey temple where Monkeys are worshiped.
There is no entree fee for the visitors and eatables like bags of nuts or bananas could be purchased to feed the monkeys around.
The tourists prefer to visit this place in the evening time to when the monkeys come out to play.
Dog Temple, Karnataka
While people in China sell dog meat and hold dog meat festival for money, people in India have a temple to worship a man’s best friend.
The locals believe that since dogs are selfless, loyal and trustworthy, they could protect the village from any wrongdoings.
Bull Temple, Bangalore
Not just cows, Bulls are also sacred in some parts of the country. One of the oldest temples in Bangalore, Bull temple is one of the famous tourist attraction in Bangalore. A gigantic granite idol of the Nandi (Bull) is placed in this beautiful temple.
It is believed that the VIshva Bharti river originates at the feet of this statue. Legend has it the temple was built to control a bull that apparently consumed and destroyed all the crops in the area.
When are you visiting one of these unusual temples?