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Scientific NameRattus rattus Linn
Common Name Black rat, Chuha (Hindi), Yeli (Tamil)
DistributionThroughout India
Goddess Karni with the sacred rats

In religion and mythology

In India, in the northwestern city of Deshnoke in Rajasthan, the Karni Mata (an incarnation of Goddess Durga) temple is devoted to the worship of rats. The holy rats are called “Kabbas” and many people undertake pilgrimage from distant places to see the rodents. It is widely believed that the rats will reincarnate into Sadhus in their next birth. The priests feed milk and grain to the animals of which also the pilgrims partake. Eating food that has been touched by the animal is considered a blessing.

Some people consider the rat to be the vahana of Lord Ganesha instead of shrew.

Rats being fed at the Karni Mata Temple

Rats being fed at the Karni Mata Temple

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