Renowned as the ‘Temple of Rats,’Karni Mata Temple is a fascinatingly famous temple located in Bikaner, Rajasthan in the town of Deshnoke. It is also called Deshnok temple and is dedicated to Karni Mata, an incarnation of Goddess Durga.
The most notable feature of the temple is the presence of a large population of 20,000 rats, which are considered sacred and worshipped by the devotees. It is believed that these rats are the reincarnated ancestors of Karni Mata's devotees and are therefore treated with great respect and care. The rats are called ‘kabbas’ and are believed to be holy. The temple is visited by several devotees from across the country just to pay respect to these rats and get their desires fulfilled. Owing to the presence of these rats, the temple is a fascinating place of attraction for devotees and tourists and even foreigners from other countries.
Visitors to the temple are required to remove their shoes before entering the temple complex, as it is considered disrespectful to step on the rats. The rats are free to move around the temple complex and are provided with food and water by the temple staff and devotees.The temple is a popular tourist destination and is visited by thousands of people every year. It is especially crowded during the Karni Mata Fair, which takes place twice a year and attracts devotees and tourists from all over India.
The history of Karni Mata Temple dates to the 14th century. It is said that Karni Mata, the deity worshipped at the temple, was born in 1387 in the village of Suwap in Rajasthan. She was a mystic and a saint, who was revered for her spiritual powers and her devotion to the welfare of her people.
According to legend, Karni Mata's stepson Laxman drowned in a pond while trying to drink water. Karni Mata prayed to Yama, the god of death, to bring Laxman back to life. Yama initially refused, but eventually relented and allowed Laxman and all of Karni Mata's male children to be reincarnated as rats.The temple was built in honor of Karni Mata and her reincarnated children, who are believed to be the protectors of the village of Deshnok.
Another folklore states that an army of 20,000 soldiers once came running to the village of Deshnoke after deserting a battle. When Mata learnt that the punishment for deserting a battle was death, she turned the soldiers into rats to save their lives. The soldiers expressed their gratitude and vowed to serve the goddess forever. The temple has some white rats among the black ones which are believed to be Karni Mata herself and her sons.
The temple was renovated and expanded over the years, and today it is a sprawling complex with marble floors and walls, silver doors, and intricate carvings and paintings.The temple has been a site of pilgrimage for devotees of Karni Mata for centuries. It is said that Karni Mata appeared in the dreams of a few devotees and directed them to build a temple at Deshnok. Since then, the temple has been an important center of worship and devotion for people from all over India and beyond.
The architecture of Karni Mata Temple is a blend of Hindu and Mughal styles. The temple is built on a raised platform and is surrounded by a high wall, with a silver door as its entrance which is intricately carved with images of gods and goddesses.
The main sanctum of the temple is adorned with marble pillars, silver doors, and a silver canopy. The idol of Karni Mata is placed in the sanctum and is decorated with gold and silver jewelry and colorful clothes. The walls of the temple are covered with paintings and murals depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.One of the most notable features of the temple is the marble floor, which is inlaid with intricate patterns and designs. The floor is kept clean and polished, and visitors are required to remove their shoes before entering the temple.
The temple complex also includes several smaller shrines dedicated to other Hindu deities, as well as a large courtyard where the rats are free to roam. The courtyard is decorated with colorful tiles and has several water sources to provide the rats with drinking water.
Some of the common things to do in this temple are:
The best time to visit the temple is during the fair and festival which are celebrated twice a year. Apart from that the temple can be visited at any time of the year and devotees can seek blessings from the goddess. If you want to avoid the heat, then visit the temple during the winter months from November to March.
The rats in the Karni Mata temple are known as ‘Kabbas’.
The temple is safe to visit as the rats don’t bite. But if you are not fond of them or don’t like things potentially crawling over your feet, then you might want to rethink it.
There are 20,000 rats in the Karni Mata temple.