01.11.2012 - 01.11.2012
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.
We all woke early this morning for the sunrise after a suprisingly good nights sleep, despite the night time chill of the desert. It is fair to say that we were feeling a little sore after the camel ride yesterday, and were relieved to learn that we would not be riding back in the same fashion! Instead, after a good breakfast, we loaded ourselves, and our bags, onto a few camel carts and set off. It was definitely easier to appreciate the scenery when not sat on top of a camel and in the early morning sun the desert looked spectacular!
We were back at the hotel by about 10am, had quick showers and then reconvened in the bar to decide what to do that day. We all agreed to hire some cars and go to see a famous, and apparently must see, temple nearby - the rat temple. Now, those of you who know me will know that I have a recurring nightmare that a giant rat is stood over my bed, claws out, ready to attack. I once jumped up onto the seat of a car yelping because I had a brief glimpse of a rat outside in the carpark at Asdas. So why did I agree to embark on this mad mission to a temple where people worship rats? I blame fellow tour member Felix. On learning about my rat phobia a few days ago he began to tell me all about this temple full of rats that we were going to visit. Tam and I were absolutely convinced that he was just trying to wind me up and that, in fact, the rat temple was something completely different. Perhaps there was a giant stone rat that everyone worshipped, or it was named after someone called rat? Either way, we both merrily agreed to go along on this trip honestly believing that Felix's stories were all nonsense.
However, at our lunch stop on the way to the rat temple Tammy admitted that she was starting to think that Felix was telling the truth, as a few other tour members had got the same impression about the rat temple - a temple full of rats. I point blank refused to believe it, even telling myself that our tour guide was in on the joke when he also told us that the rat temple was a temple full of rats....... But then we arrived outside the temple and Raghu began to tell us a story about a woman whose stepson died suddenly. She was distraught and begged the gods to send him back to her. They told her that the best they could do was to send him back as a rat, so they did. When this woman mysteriously disappeared years later they declared her a goddess and built a temple in her honour, which they filled with rats. People now go there to pray to her and feed the rats, believing that some of them may be deceased relatives of their own....
Well, making up a story like that was a little extravagant for a prank and so I finally had to admit that I was about to enter a temple full of rats. Cue butterflies in stomach, feeling sick and dizzy, and beginning to hyperventilate a little. But in I went! Tammy was very brave and wandered around like there was nothing wrong. I, on the other hand, shuffled about flinching every few seconds, hating every single moment I was in there. The low point had to be when I forced myself to walk through a small corridor filled with rats in order to see the likeness of the women who was the reason for the temple (possibly my least favourite person in the world!). At this point I started crying! But I made it out in one piece, shaking and feeling very sick, but just a little proud of myself.
Homeward bound for dinner at the hotel - yet more delicious curry!!! Then a small amount of room switiching as the air conditioning didn't work in our room. The end result - a large suite at the top of the hotel! Very nice!
And so ends a traumatic day in India for me!