Karni Mata Temple - Temple of Rats | Deshnok | Bikaner
Deep in the thar desert, Karni Mata Temple is situated in Deshnok, 30 kms away from Bikaner city, Rajasthan. Karni Mata Temple is also Known as Temple of Rats. There are approx 25000 temples living in the temple and worshiped as incarnation of Karni mata. Karni Mata Temple is dedicated for Karni Mata who was a female Hindu Warrior sage born in the Charan Caste. Karni Mata is worshipped as the incarnation of Goddess Durga by her followers.
The rats, known as “kabbas” or “little children,” are fed grains, milk, and coconuts shells from large metal bowls. Water the rats drink from is considered holy, and eating the rats’ leftovers is said to bring good fortune to those making the pilgrimage to the temple. The devotees have another reason to keep the rats safe and happy: According to the temple laws, if one of the rats is accidentally killed, it must be replaced with a rat made of silver or gold.
History of Karni Mata
Karni Maa is an official deity of the royal families of Jodhpur and Bikaner. She lived an ascetic life and was widely revered during her own lifetime. At the request of the Maharajas of Bikaner and Jodhpur, she laid the foundation stones of Bikaner Fort and Mehrangarh Fort, the two most important forts in the region. In 1485, she laid the foundation stone of the fort of Bikaner at the request of Rao Bika. On 21 March 1538, she travelled back to Deshnok with her stepson, Poonjar, and a few other followers. They were near Gadiyala and Girirajsar of the Kolayat tehsil in Bikaner district when she asked the caravan to stop for water. It was reported that she disappeared there at the age of 151 years.
Architecture of Karni Mata Temple
Architecture of KarniMata temple is influenced by Mughal, with the entire structure showcasing beautiful white marble. In terms of idols there is a sacred sanctum, a statue of a trident-touting Karni Mata and, of course, the many rats. Silver doors with panels depicting the various legends are also featured.
Visiting Karni Mata Temple
The temple opens daily at 4am when the priests perform Aarti and offer Prasad to the people. During this time visitors also make offerings to the rats. Most of the rats are black, and the few white ones are considered Holy. In fact, spotting them is deemed good luck! Despite the huge rat population the city of Bikaner has never been affected by plague. Additionally, when these rats die they produce no foul odor. Even crazier, it’s been noted that these rat deaths are immediately followed by rat births.