Indian Temples of Newspapers, Rats and Visa
India is known to have some bizarre rituals and practices, after all it is called the mystical land. We all know the deteriorating standards of journalism and the dubious credibility of Indian print and electronic media. But that doesn’t deter the faith of a village in Raipur, Chhattisgarh where they worship newspapers daily.
Called ‘Gandhi Mandir (temple)’, the tribal community of the Gond tribe in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh, have strong faith in print media and consider it to be like a religious book.
The priest of the temple, Balaram Markam said, “The newspapers are eye-openers, create awareness, remain watchful of the evils and crimes in society, inculcate human values and prevent people from committing wrongs.”
Am sure most of us would beg to differ on this, considering the way it’s going at present, however, people have strange beliefs. The tribe thinks that the media has the power to serve the community, society, nation and environment in an impartial way. Well, that is suppose to be the role the media has to play. I wonder which newspapers they worship? An appreciable thing is that no one is discriminated in the temple. The devotees also chant hymns dedicated to the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and the people who are dubbed the ‘Janata Gandhi’ at the temple doorway.
Moving from worshiping newspapers to the visa temple.
Chilkur Balaji Temple
Located on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Balaji temple is also known as the ‘Visa temple’ because many devotees come here with the wish of traveling abroad. Almost every US visa seeking aspirants have got their wish granted on performing the necessary ritual at this temple. The custom is to go around the temple (known as Pradakshina eleven times and pray to God for what you desire, and once your wish is granted the devotee has to take 108 Pradakshinas.
This is the only temple in India that does not accept any donation from worshipers, doesn’t grant special privileges for VVIPs and it is also not under government control. That’s a great thing, considering most temples have extra security if a celebrity or a politician is going to visit.
So if you struggling to get your US visa, then a visit to this temple might be a good idea.
In north-west India, a small city of Deshnoke in Rajasthan has a temple where 20,000-odd rats are worshipped. This famous Karni Mata Temple was dedicated to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Durga, the goddess of power and victory. The rats are considered holy animals, because of the belief that the souls of the followers of Karni Mata reside in these rats and thus they must be looked after. Watch the video below to see the rats rule at the temple!
Rats, who stay in their own holes and tunnels, are called ‘kabas’ here and you will find thousands of them feasting on plates of food and clinging on the edges of milk bowls. If a rat runs over your feet, which a great possibility, then its considered to be lucky. Even better would be a sighting of a white rat, then its suppose to be very holy.
Rats are generally associated with diseases, but surprisingly, no cases of plague or rat-borne diseases have been reported here. Quite a miracle that!
If you know of any such bizarre as well as fascinating stories from anywhere in the world, do share with us!