Everywhere you visit in Rajasthan, there is always something which will surprise you. It can either be an interesting person, dance, or a temple. In the case of Bikaner, they have one of the most fascinating temple in whole Rajasthan. It shows the extent of the relationship between humans and animals. Even providing another fascinating story in the ever true connection of Hindu Religion and Animals.
Karni Mata Temple also known as “Rat Temple”, is widely famous among tourists around the world. It is held as a go-to place in Bikaner. The obvious attractions of the temple are rats. There are about 25,000 rats who are living in the premises of the temple. The rats are known as kabbas, held high in the eyes of devotees. These rats are fed, protected, and worshipped by devotees of the temple.
Story behind the Temple
The temple is dedicated to Mata Karni, who is a reincarnation of Goddess Durga. There are several myths behind the temple. But after hunting down the internet I found one true story.
In the 14th century, Mata Karni’s son was drowned in Kapil Sarovar, in an attempt to drink water from the holy pond. Goddess Karni begged Yama, who was a god of death, to revive her son. After hours of confrontation, Yama decided to revive her son, although he did this with a blessing that all her children and their descendants will turn into rats.
The temple was established by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner, who built the temple in Mughal style architecture. The walls of the temple are constructed by marble with precise carvings of Gods and Goddesses all over it.
It is a well-held belief that there are some white rats among the 25,000 rats in the temple. If you will spot the white rat then you are considered as lucky or blessed by God. People bring all sorts of sweet to be blessed by the white rats of the temple.
There are rats everywhere around the temple, like everywhere! They will be running all around you and you can even touch them. If you are unsatisfied with this much, then you can go ahead and eat with rats because it is considered as a holy activity to practice.
Be very careful while walking inside the temple because if you step on any rat you will be fined. The fine is that you have to present goddess Karni with a silver rat which will definitely cut your wallet short.
There is a museum of the temple too, where you will get all of the information about the temple. There are pictures of its establishment days. But there is another special thing behind the museum which is free langar-food. The cost of lunch until 2 o’ clock is free. People who serve the food believes that this is their duty assigned by god. So providing food to strangers will fulfill their destiny.
Karani Mata Fair is also held twice a year inside the temple premises. The first one is held during March-April which is the larger one. The second one is held during September-October.
Therefore a visit to Karni Mata Temple is definitely one of the main reasons to visit Bikaner.
How to Reach Karni Mata Temple
The temple is in Deshnok which is a small town on the outskirts of Bikaner. It is 30 km away from Bikaner city. The popularity of Temple has helped locals as well since there are regular services of buses from the city center. You will reach here in 40 min. and the whole tour will take about an hour or two.
If you are time-constrained then you can hire a taxi or private car from Bikaner city.
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