Karni Mata Temple, also known as the ‘temple of rats’, is situated at Deshnoke near Bikaner in Rajasthan. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Karni, who is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Durga, the goddess of power. The temple is overrun with more than 20,000 rats. Devotees feed, worship and protect them. In order to keep predators away, devotees have built nets and grills. Surprisingly, these rats do not bite any devotees who enter the temple. Here are five things we all need to know about Karni Mata Temple.
- The temple was built in the 20th century in Mughal style by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner.
- The temple has over 25,000 rats. These rats are called ‘kabbas’. The food chewed by rats are considered ‘auspicious’.
- Karni Mata Fair is held twice a year. The first is held in the month of March or April during the Navratri. While the second fair is held in the month of September or October, also during Navratri, from Ashvin Shukla to Ashvin Shukla Dashmi.
- According to a legend, Karni Mata’s son Laxman was accidentally drowned in a pond in Kolyat tehsil while he was drinking water. Karni Mata requested Yama, the god of death, to revive him. Yama agreed with a condition that Karni Mata and her children be reincarnated as rats.
- There are a few white rats in the temple. These white rats are believed to be the manifestations of Karni Mata and her sons and sighting them are considered auspicious.