of the old institutions, beliefs and practices are dying
but their memory lingers on still. Some of the Indian
customs mentioned here are strange. Their intrinsic
peculiarities were inspired by a variety of circumstances,
which with the passing of time, have either vanished
or become inexplicable.
Deshnoke, a tiny
village in the Rajasthan desert boasts a strange temple
dedicated to the glory and the protection of RATS. Thousands
of them crown the ornate white marble and silver temple
of the Goddess Karni Devi. Temple devotees take care
not to injure them, believing that they house the lives
of their ancestors, and feed them a sumptuous meal daily.
Vast has been the range of rituals and worships. In
the Mahabharata, Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas
represents evil. But in Uttarkashi in Uttarpradesh,
a tribe inhabiting the western portion of the Jammu
valley worships DURYODHANA.
In the banks of the Jamuna, near Delhi, live a few men,
who when they need money, make a dive into the river
and come out with a handful of coins! When a train passes
over the river many passengers throw coins into the
river as a tribute to her. Once in a while the diver
might emerge with a bit of gold in his hand.
In Sholapur district of Maharastra, there is a village
called Shetpal where each house has a resting place
for live COBRAS in the rafters of their ceilings. There
is a temple with a copper image of a seven-hooded cobra
over a Shiva idol. In spite of a live cobra moving about
the house daily, there has been no case of a cobra bite
in that village till date.
At TIRUVANNAMALAI in Tamilnadu and in certain parts
of South India there is the strange feat of FIRE-WALKING
for the gods, which is also a stranger face of India.