You find a lot of animals being worshipped—as well as whipped in this exotic country. The monkey is a symbol of Hanuman, the cow is holy, snakes are sacred and even mice are mighty. That is why the Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan houses thousands of rats that eat with people and then run all over their feet. It may look ratty to the outsider, but it inspires devotees, who feel that animals are forms of gods and goddesses that protect believers.
Many animals are worshipped as vehicles of Gods. The bull is supposed to be the transport of Lord Shiva, the tiger is said to carry Durga, the mouse is the mount of Lord Ganesha and the peacock bears Lord Muruga. The Garuda is a sacred bird that tried to battle a kidnapper in the Ramayana, while the elephant is an important part of temples.
In many rural parts, the buffalo, goat and chicken are sacrificed by various tribes as a part of annual tribal customs or traditions. But the cow is sacred and slaughter is banned.