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  • Day36

    Rat Temple and the Carion Dumping Site

    January 9, 2019 in India ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    As we entered Bikaner we asked our driver Mahendra to make two stops. The first was to visit Karni Mata. It is pretty beyond the pale so I'll let Wikipedia explain:

    Karni Mata Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Karni Mata at Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner, in Rajasthan, India. It is also known as the Temple of Rats. The temple is famous for the approximately 25,000 black rats that live, and are revered, in the temple. Wikipedia

    It is supposed to be lucky if one of the incarnated beings runs over your feet. We stayed about 20 minutes. We didn't end up being one of the lucky ones.
    Here is a video from the temple.
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/7wYaKYGQKtnNNy3t8
    And another:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/6e2mSCnT1h3q7A5c6

    Next we hit one of my India list items. One of the prime raptor birding sites in the world. The Bikaner Carcass Dumping Site. Needless to say the place is prime territory for carrion and raptors. The nearby Bikaner sewage settling ponds make it prime for all sorts of rare species as well. This site is also a winter migration site so we were there in prime time. We saw lots of Red-naped Ibis and Black Kites on the drive into the facility. Most of the 300 or so birds were in the air at the time of our visit. This may have been due to the arrival of a fresh cow carcass. Most prevalent were Egyptian Vultures and Eurasian Griffon. Among them were several Tawny Eagle, two Imperial Eagle, and the only remaining eagle native of to India, the Indian Spotted Eagle.
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