Looking for unusual Indian temples? Honestly, there is no shortage of such temples. In our last list on weird temples in India, we saw some really funny temples. In this article, we are going to explore not funny but unusual temples. Spread in different places of India, these unusual Indian temples have their own story or purpose. We are not going to cover those stories in details. We will only offer a list of 5 such unusual temples.
Unusual Indian Temples: 1 – Bharat Mata Temple of Varanasi
The Bharat Mata Temple located in Varanasi is by all means unusual. What do you expect in a temple? A deity, an idol? That’s normal. But here in this temple, you get none. All you see a large map of India made out of marble. The map lays flat on the floor. This temple is intended to pay homage to all freedom fighters of India who lost their lives for earning India’s freedom. Outside the temple you will find dumped garbage and vegetable market. The pillars inside the temple had nice paintings, which have vanished. Scarcity of funding has led to poor maintenance of the temple. Source
Unusual Indian Temples: 2 – Karni Mata Temple of Rajasthan
How about holy vermin? Yes, we mean rats! This is what you find in Karni Mata Temple of Rajasthan. Roaming freely and happily inside the temple, these rodents are actually worshipped. They are protected and fed daily. Since devotees do not want predators like snakes or birds to convert the rats into lunch or dinner, they have installed grills and nets. There is an idol of goddess Karni Mata and worshippers think that rats are actually incarnations of the goddess. There are huge metal bowls that are filled with grains and milk by the devotees for the rats.
Since the rats are considered to be holy, some devotees even eat food that the rats have nibbled on. Eating rat-nibbled food is considered to be something of high honor and blessing. If someone accidentally steps on a rat and kills it, it is also considered a sin. In order to get free of the sin, the sinner is required to buy a rat statue made of either silver or gold and place the same inside the temple. The temple was built back in early 1900s by Maharaja Ganga Singh. Source
Unusual Indian Temples: 3 – Kaal Bhairav Temple of Ujjain
Kaal Bhairav Temple. That doesn’t sound so unusual. But hey! Wait! There is something you should know. The deity, Kaal Bhairav here is known to drink liquor. Anything will do – foreign liquor or desi. Standing at the very center of the cremation ground for Hindus, a visit to Ujjain is never complete without a visit to this black stone temple located at Bhairavgarh. Offering liquor to Kaal Bhairav is a daily practice. People bring liquor and give it to the priest. The priest in turn pours the liquor in a dish of stainless steel and starts chanting mantras. He also performs tantric rituals.
Somewhere in the middle of mantras and rituals, the priest will hold the steel dish at the lips of the idol and very slightly tilt it. The liquor will then start vanishing. It is said that Kaal Bhairav can drink a quarter of bottle of liquor within just two minutes. General people and devotees cannot pour in liquor into the god’s mouth. It is not that they are not allowed. It is just that the god wont drink from their hands. The priest claims that only he can perform the miracle of pouring liquor down the god’s throat as it requires the knowledge of mantras and tantras.
It is said that the temple was actually dug up during British period to see where the liquor goes. Unfortunately, there were no cavities found where the liquor could possibly flow in. So, is the god really drinking liquor? Source
Unusual Indian Temples: 4 – Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple of Kerala
Located in Kerala’s Thrissur district, Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple is one of the most ancient temples in India. It is the temple of Goddess Bhadrakali. There are many stories related to the origin of the temple. One of the most interesting aspects of the temple is its Bharani Festival. There is a particular event in this festival. It is a known as Kavu Theendal. The oracles or the Vellichapads wave their sabers in air and run around the temple. While doing so, they use bawdy language to abuse the goddess. It is said that the goddess accepts those abuses. The following day there is a purification ceremony. Source
Unusual Indian Temples: 5 – Hidimba Devi Temple of Himachal Pradesh
Hidimba Devi Temple or Hadimba Devi Temple is located in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. As the name suggests, it is a temple dedicated to Hidimba – a demon who became wife of Bhima (one of the five Pandava brothers). The temple is all wood with no big idol inside Only a 3-inch-tall brass image of Hidimba Devi is installed. A stone which has a footprints of Hidimba Devi on it is actually worshiped. That’s what is worshiped in the temple. The wood work of the temple is intricate and the Shikhar of the temple is 24 meters tall. The temple has been built around a cave where Hidimba (who belong to a Rakshas family) performed her meditation. It is said that if the Google Satellite is zoomed in on the area where this temple is located, a giant footprint can be seen in the valley. Source