The Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan, India, the history of which dates back to early 1900s during the period of Maharaja Ganga Singh, is famous and well-known for housing around 25,000 rats, both black and white rats (called kabbas), which are revered and worshiped. Kabbas are so revered that the food nibbled by them is considered as the ‘prasadam’ (the holy food) by the devotees. Due to their large presence in the temple, the devotees are asked to walk carefully inside the temple, so that no rat is hurt. By any case, if any devotee steps on and a rat is hurt, then the respective devotee has to buy and place a gold or silver statue of the hurt rat as a payment to the sin.
There are two different stories behind the existence of kabbas. Some say that kabbas rats are the representation of Goddess Karni Mata (the main deity of the temple)’s sons, who were said to have reincarnated as rats by Lord Yama, when they drowned in water while drinking water from a pond. The other side also refers to them as the soldiers, who flew away from the battle field nearby that place, and the goddess said to have offered shelter to them, giving them the form of rats in response to their mistake of fleeing away from the battle.
People from across the country and the world travel to this place in worship of these kabbas.