Freshly-caught rat is at the top of the holiday menu for crowds flocking to a market in Assam that specializes in rodents from local fields.
Destined to be boiled, skinned and then cooked in a spicy gravy, rat is more popular than chicken and pork with customers at the Sunday market in the village of Kumarikata in Assam.
Shoppers buy hundreds of freshly caught and skinned rats that local farmers say are hunted to avoid damage to their fields. The ready-roasted kind also goes down well.
Rat has become a valuable source of income for the poor, mostly tribals, who struggle to make ends meet working in Assam’s tea gardens.
In the winter months when tea picking slumbers, they go to rice paddies to trap rats for the market.
A kilogram of rat meat, which is considered a delicacy, sells for about Rs. 200 – as much as for chicken and pork.