Karni Mata – Rat Temple of Rajasthan
Also Known as Rat Temple, Karni Mata temple is considered as home to as many as 20,000 sacred rats, which live and are protected here. This is the reason why this temple is also known as the Rat Temple of India. It is located at Deshnoke, Rajasthan, which is just 30Kms away from Bikaner. It is believed that the Karni Mata was a sage lady, who was born in 1387 in the Charan caste of Hindus. The Karni Mata Temple is completely dedicated to her. She also was the official deity of the royal families of Jodhpur and Bikaner.
Karni Mata was also often referred as the Nari Bai. It is known that Karni Mata was married to a man named Kipoji Charan of Sathika village but she denied to engage herself in any sort of matrimonial relationships and got her younger sister Gulab to marry her husband (Kipoji Charan) so that they both could live a happy married life. Karni Mata then lived rest of her life in celibacy. It is believed that in 1538, when she was returning to Deshnok with her stepson Poonjar and other followers. It was when they were near Gadiyala and Girirajsar in Bikaner district where she asked the caravan to stop for water and she disappeared there, reportedly at the age of 151 years .
Some Intresting Facts About Karni Mata Temple
- The 20,000 black rats that live in the Karni Mata Temple are known as Kabbas and it is believed by the locals that these rats were 20,000 strong army men who deserted a nearby battle. Although the sin of desertion was punishable by death, but Karni Mata spared their lives but made them rats who live here since then.
- Although there are 1000s of rats in this Rat Temple but never a single case of Plague is found in the temple or around.
- Even when any of these rats die, it never produces any sort of foul smell.
- If a single Rat is killed in the Karni Mata Temple, it must be replaced with a rat of similar weight and size, made of solid Gold.
- Among thousands of black rats, a few white rats also live here, who are considered to be supremely holy and manifestations of Karni Mata and here four sons.
How To Reach Here
- The nearest Airport to the temple is Jodhpur Airport, which is 220 Kms away from the temple; From the Airport you can easily rent a cab or private/ Government Transport buses, which are available in abundance. There is an under construction domestic airport at nal 14 km from city which will start its flights for Delhi and Mumbai in 2014.
- The nearest Railway station is Bikaner Railway Station (30Kms away), which is well connected to all the major cities in India.
- The famous “Palace on Wheels” tour also covers Bikaner in its 8-day tour of Rajasthan.
Tips and Advice For Visiting
- Generally, the temple opens for public at 4 a.m., daily.
- Two times a year, the Karni Mata Fair is held in Deshonk, Rajasthan. I.e. March-April and September-October.
- It is believed here that eating the food nibbled by the Rats brings Good Luck and High Honor to the worshippers.