Karni Mata – Rat Temple of Rajasthan
Karni Mata Temple or otherwise known as rat temple is in a small town of Deshnok, about 30 kms south of Bikaner, Rajasthan. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Karni, an incarnation of Maa Durga. She is said to have lived in Deshnok in the 14th century.
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.
Some Amazing Facts you surely don’t know about the Temple
As per one of the stories, when Karni’s youngest son drowned, she asked Yama (the god of death) to bring him back to life. Lord Yama denied her request. Thus, She being an incarnation of Goddess Durga, brought her son back to life. She then proclaimed that none of her family members would die and they would in fact incarnate in the form of rats.
The temple dates back to 15th century and was built under Maharaja Ganga Singh’s rule of Bikaner.
Temple houses around 20,000 rats that are fed, protected and worshipped. Rats can be seen here eating from huge metal bowls of milk, sweets and grains, the leftovers of which are offered to the visitors
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.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.