The next destination after Mandawa was Bikaner. We arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon, so after checking in, Prem and I continued 30 kilometers down the road to Deshnoke. It’s a small town which is famous for its Karni Mata temple, where rats are worshipped.
Some tourists wear socks to the temple, which seemed like a good idea. But Prem peeled off his socks along with his shoes, so I wasn’t going to wuss out. There’s nothing you can get on you that won’t come off with soap and water. I just don’t care.
It was a little crunchy under foot, but it seemed to be mostly the grain and food crumbs that were being fed to the rats.
The rats are lovingly fed and watered every day. Small and cute, they were more mouselike than ratlike.
Sighting a white rat is good luck, but the only white thing I saw was the milk they were drinking.
Having a rat run across your foot is also good luck, but I had no good rat luck that day.
As we were leaving, a woman was feeding her temple cookie to the stone lion just outside the entrance gate.