Visit Karni Mata Mandir: Home To More Than 25,000 Rats in Deshnoke, Bikaner (2023)
When it comes to religion, culture, traditions and rituals, you can find some pretty unique and extraordinary ones in the country of India. Housing a vast population with diverse religion and cultural practices, India is a home to a plenty of temples and each one of them comes with their own religious significance and legend. When one is talking about rich culture and diverse traditions, one can probably not miss including the state of Rajasthan in the discussion. Boasting of a royal and a glorious past, this state is a home to some of the most colorful and interesting cultural and religious traditions. Located amidst the sprawling golden sand of the great Thar desert, is the city of Bikaner which is often regarded as the cultural paradise of travellers.
Be it in terms of brilliant architecture, stunning art of rich culture, colorful festivity or ancient temples, this state is rightfully deemed as one of the most popular tourist places to visit in Rajasthan. Located in a small town of Deshnoke which is approximately 30 km away from the main city of Bikaner, the Karni Mata Mandir is exceptionally popular because of its unique and interesting legend. People from far and away come to visit this extraordinary temple. If this temple arises your curiosity as well, then you have ended up at the right place. In this article, we have gathered some essential information about Karni Mata temple for you. Continue reading to know more!
Overview of the Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke, Bikaner
Located in the small town of Deshnoke, in the Bikaner city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, the Karni Mata temple is known by several names such as Nari Mata temple or Rat Temple. If you are wondering about the unique name of the temple, then we would be pleased to tell you that the temple got this extraordinary name because of the fact that it serves as a home to more than 25,000 rats. Another surprising news about this popular temple of Rajasthan is that these rats which reside in the temple premises are even worshipped here. In fact, the food that is eaten by these rats is considered to be holy and sacred. It is even served later in the form of ‘prasad’. The rats living in the temple are referred to as ‘kabbas’.
Owing to this unique style of worship, this temple catches the attention of people from all over the world who travel great distances just to visit this unique temple and participate in the one-of-its-kind of worship experience. When everything ranging from style of worship to the holy prasad is so contrastingly different to other temples, it is not much surprising to know that a wide number of tales and legends would be associated behind the temple. Though the exact history of this shrine has not been completely discovered yet, but the myths and legends associated with the temple make it worth all the hype. Though the entire concept of worship of the Karni Mata Temple may seem a bit weird or even gross to some people, but despite that it is a completely different experience altogether. If you are someone who always try the offbeat things, then this temple is the perfect tourist place to visit in Bikaner for you.
Legend behind the Karni Mata Mandir, Deshnoke, Bikaner
Like almost every historical monument has a story behind it, usually even the ancient temples have a myth or a legend surrounding their origin or existence. When talking about the Karni Mata Mandir in Deshnoke, though no exact history of the shrine is yet known but there are a plenty of rumours surrounding it. Out of the lot, there are two most common legends, which are as follows:
Though there are probably multiple versions surrounding the history of the Karni Mata temple, but according to the most popular legend, it is said that once Laxman who was Karni Mata’s step son drowned in a pond in Kapil Sarovar in Kolayat Tehsil, while he was drinking water from the lake. In order to save her son’s life, Karni Mata prayed earnestly to Yama, the god of death. Though the lord first refused to help, but her true love eventually made the lord to give in. He then allowed reincarnation as rats to
Laxman and all of the other male children of Karni Mata.
There is another popular legend surrounding the temple, according to which once there was a vast army of about 20,000 soldiers who deserted to a nearby battlefield and fled to the small town of Deshnoke. At that time, this act of desertion was considered to be a sin and was punishable by death. When Karni Mata came to know about their act of shame, though she spared their lives but she turned them into rats as a punishment. The Karni Mata Temple was offered them to a place for staying and the army of soldiers expressed their gratitude to her by promising to serve the temple and goddess forever.
Architecture of the Karni Mata Mandir, Deshnoke, Bikaner
Apart from its unique style of worship, the temple is also widely appreciated for its extraordinary architecture. On looking closely, one can see that the architecture of the temple is highly influenced by the Mughal style of architecture. Other than that, the temple further is adorned with an elegant marble façade as well as stunning marble craving which multiply the charm of the temple manifold. Some other details about the architecture brilliance of the Karni Mata Mandir are as follows:
It is believed that the current structure of the Karni Mata temple which you see today, was built long back in the 15th century by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner.
Once you go inside the temple complex, you can see a pair of silver doors right before the main shrine of the goddess. It is said that the pair of these solid silver doors were donated to the temple by Maharaja Gaj Singh when he had himself visited the temple once. Moreover, as you see further, right across the doorway, you will be able to spot more silver doors with a stunning panel that displays a plenty of legends about the goddess.
In the main shrine of the goddess, you can see a huge image of the goddess along with many other holy things which are placed near her feet. Surrounded by hundreds of rats, there is a 75 cm tall image of the goddess holding a Trishul in one of her hands. It is necessary to mention that the image also includes the goddess wearing a mesmerising crown and a beautiful garland of flowers. Other than that, there are images of her sisters that are placed on the either side of the image of the primary deity.
Apart from the main construction, it is said that the further beautification and renovation of the Karni Mata Temple was done somewhere in the year 1999 by Kundanlal Verma of the Hyderabad – based Karni Jewellers. There is a common belief among people that the marble carvings and the silver gates that lead to the temple were also donated by him.
Timings of the Karni Mata Mandir, Deshnoke, Bikaner
The Karni Mata mandir opens for public visitors right early in the morning and remains open until late evening hours. Interested people can visit the temple anytime from 4 AM till 10 PM. On an average, a visitor spends about 1 to 2 hours exploring the place completely. Hence, it would not be wrong to say that there is plenty of time to visit this place and therefore, you should not miss to include this extraordinary temple in your itinerary.
Entry Fee of the Karni Mata Mandir, Deshnoke, Bikaner
If it is the thought of a high entry fee that is worrying you and making you hesitate to visit this astounding temple, then we would be pleased to tell you that there is absolutely no entry fee charged to visit this temple. In other words, despite its uniqueness, the temple doors are open for anyone to visit, that too completely free of cost.
How to Reach the Karni Mata Mandir, Deshnoke, Bikaner
As far as reaching the temple is concerned, you can finally take a sigh of relief because this place is well connected with the nearby cities and one can easily reach it with the help of multiple means of transports such as airways, railways and even roadways. Some of the best ways to reach the Karni Mata Mandir in Deshnoke, Bikaner are as follows:
- By Air: The nearest airport to reach the Karni Mata Mandir is the Jodhpur Airport. This is one well – developed airport that provides plenty of regular flights connecting the place to many major cities throughout the country. This airport is located about 280 km away from the place. Once you reach the airport, you can take a cab, or catch a bus to reach the temple.
- By Rail: The nearest railway stations to reach the Karni Mata Mandir are the Bikaner Junction and Lalgarh railway stations, which are located about 36 km away from the place. Both of these stations are well – connected to many major cities throughout the country including Delhi, Jaipur, Punjab, Mumbai and many others. Once you reach the station, you can take a cab or hire a taxi to reach your destination. Image Source
- By Road: The Karni Mata Mandir is located right on the National Highway 89. It is approximately 30 km away from the city of Bikaner and hence is pretty easily accessible by regular buses which run on a daily basis from nearby cities like Jodhpur, Bikaner, etc. You can even hire a taxi or travel via personal vehicle from anywhere in Rajasthan to reach the temple.
Out of the many religious sightseeing attractions to visit in Bikaner, the Karni Mata Mandir or the Rat Temple, as it is commonly known as, is undoubtedly one of the most unique temples.