Karni Mata Temple of Rats Deshnoke Rajasthan
"Karni Mata Temple" is the famous and one of the unusual holy shrines of India. This Temple is dedicated to Goddess Karni (the incarnation of Goddess Durga) in a small town of Deshnok, 30 km from Bikaner, in Rajasthan, India. The temple is also well known as 'Temple of Rats'.
This temple is very special for having 20,000 black rats which reside and are revered in, the temple. These holy rats are called as 'Kabas', and worshippers make pilgrimages to this Temple not only to worship these rats, but also to get rid of their sins and heal their ailments. Thus, this temple draws visitors and tourists from all across the countries for blessings, from all around the World and have a glimpse of these rats.
Karni Mata Temple Deshnok Rajasthan
History of this Temple:
There is a belief that during 14th century, Goddess Karni Mata had resided here and performed many miracles during her existence. Karni Mata was a mystic, and had led a virtuous life truly committed to the service of the poor and the oppressed of all communities. She was the one who had laid the foundation of Deshnoke.
First Legend says that, once when her youngest son Laxman, was drowned in a pond in Kapil Sarovar in Kolayat Tehsil while trying to drink water from it. After this incidence, Goddess Karni asked Yama (the god of death) to bring back her son's life. At First He refused but eventually relented, granted Laxman and all of Karni Mata's male children were reincarnated in the form of Rats.
Second Legend said by the locals is that, when Lord Yama refused to return Her son's life, Karni Mata being accepted and worshipped as the Incarnation of Goddess Durga, had herself restored the life of her son. Later, She announced that her family members would no longer die ( Stay Immortal); as they will be reincarnated in the form of rats (kabas) and ultimately, these rats should be regarded and respected as Her family members. Presently there are around 600 families in Deshnok which assert to be the descendants of Karni Mata.
Third Legend says that, a 20,000 strong army deserted a nearby battle and for their life they came running to Deshnoke. As Karni Mata learned of the sin of desertion, punishable by death, She spared their lives but turned them into rats, and offered this temple as a future place to stay for them. Soon the army of soldiers expressed their gratitude and promised to serve Karni Mata forever throughout their life.
Birth of Karni Mata:
Karni Mata was born to Charan caste couple and was a Hindu sage who was worshipped as the incarnation of Goddess Durga by her followers. She stands to be the official diety ( Kul Devtha) for the Royal family members of Bikaner and Jodhpur. She is also worshipped by people of Haryana, Gujarat and Madhyapradesh. She is also known by second name as "Nari bai". Most of the temples were dedicated to her during her lifetime as she had lived an ascetic life. One can very well notice the difference in her lifetime temples and present temples as the first would only contain the footprints of the diety where she steppedin and the later would have the Idols of the diety. During her lifetime she had laid foundation stone upon saying of Maharaja for two important forts situated in Rajputana. Among all the temples of her the Deshnoke which use to be home of the diety is very famous as she had disappeared from this place in her last time. Karni Mata Temple is also known as Temple of Rats and if any rat is died it should be replaced with the one made of solid gold figure of rat. Thus this temple is climbed and walked mostly barefoot.
Architecture of this Temple:
The present temple dates back to the 15th century, and was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner. The temples prime attraction is its construction which is built with white marble. Inside the temple complex, one can see a pair of silver doors before the main sanctum sanctorium of the Goddess. It was Maharaja Gaj Singh who had donated the solid silver doors upon his visit to this temple. This temple was again renovated by Kundanlal Verma of Karni Jewellers of Hyderabad in 1999. He had even donated the huge silver gates and beautiful marble carvings to this temple which are still admired by the people who visit this place.
Silver Door with Images of Goddess in Karni Mata Temple Deshnok
Diety in the Temple:
In the main sanctum sanctorium, the Idol of the Goddess has some holy things placed beneath her feet. She is surrounded by rats and seen holding a Trishul (Trident) in one of her hands. The Idol of Karni Mata is 75 cms in height, decked with a Mukut (Crown) and a garland of flowers. On both sides of Karni Mata, Idols of Her sisters are placed. This Temple attracts numerous tourists and pilgrims all throughout the year, due to its unique presiding beings.
Image of Karni Mata Deshnok Rajasthan
Diety in Karani Mata Temple Rajasthan
The temple has a total of 20,000 rats in its premises which are fed, protected and worshipped by the authorities and devotees visiting this place. There are numerous holes visible in the courtyard of this temple where one can see these rats engaged in different activities and with each other. The Rats are seen drinking milk from huge metal bowls, eating sweets and grains offered by the devotees. To keep the holy rats safe, various wires and grills are sited over the courtyard to avoid the external creatures harm them like birds of prey, snakes and other animals.
Black Rats In Karani Mata Temple
Some Interesting Myths about Rats:
It is considered very auspicious, if a Rat (kabas) runs across one's feet. Even, a glimpse of Kabas (White Rat) is considered promising and fruitful in devotees life visiting this temple.
The White Rats: These are considered very lucky to have a glimpse among the thousands of black rats present in this temple. The White Rats are believed to be the manifestations of Karni Mata herself and her four sons. Sighting them is a special blessing as their wishes would be fulfilled and visitors make their efforts to bring them forth, by offering prasad (a holy sweet food) to them.
The Black Rats: There is a belief that if any black rat comes under the feet of any devotee then it is very unlucky for that person and is assumed as something bad is going to occur in his life.
Auspicious White Rat inside Karni Mata Temple
The food nibbled by the rats if consumed as prasad is meant as "high honor". If anyone of them is killed, it must be replaced with one made of solid silver or gold.
Offerings at Karani Mata Temple:
Devotees make offerings to these rats, which roam throughout the temple in large numbers and are considered auspicious. There are two kinds of offerings made:
'Dwar-Bhent' : It is attributed to the priests and the workers.
'Kalash-Bhent': It is utilised for the temple maintenance, renovation and development.
Festivals Celebrated in Temple:
'Karni Mata Fair' is held twice a year, in the honor of Karni Mata, at Deshnok during which a grand fair is organized and people from far of places come here to seek the blessings of the Goddess. During Navrathri festival at the time of chaitra or ashwin months there is a big fair organised in which thousands of people travel to the temple by foot to seek the blessings of the diety and get their wishes fulfilled.
March–April:The first and larger fair held during the Navrathri's from Chaitra Shukla Ekam to Chaitra Shukla Dashami.
September–October:The second fair is held from Ashvin Shukla to Ashwin Shukla Dashami along with Navrathri's.
Karni Mata Fair Deshnok Rajasthan
The temple also houses some Dharmashalas for the convinience of the devotees with all facilities who come to visit this temple.
The temple is open in Summer:4:00AM-9:00PM and in Winter:5:00AM-9:00PM.
How to Reach: Karni Mata Temple of Deshnok is located 30 kn from Bikaner.
By Road: The temple is easily accessible by regular buses from Bikaner and Jodhpur. One can also hire taxis for a comfortable journey, which are available from throughout the Rajasthan. There are plenty of private buses available which leave regularly from Bikaner for about Rs.20.
By Train: It is well connected with number of trains as well from Jodhpur-Bikaner rail line having railway station at Deshnoke.