Sunday, January 11, 2015

A temple dedicated to Rats - Karni Mata

Long before Stuart Little made Rats look adorable and loved, people of Rajasthan were praying and loving Rats from many centuries. A temple stands in Deshnok, Bikaner called Karni Mata temple, popularly known as Temple of Rats is the home of more than 20000 rats. Rats are treated here as a deity and people from thousands of kilometers come to witness them and take blessings from Karni Mata.

I had heard a lot about Karni mata and her stories and I got a chance to witness it in my recent trip to Bikaner. Karni Mata was a Hindu sage in the 14th century. She was born into Charan caste and people of Rajasthan consider her as a reincarnation of goddesses Durga. She is the official deity of the Royal family of Jodhpur and Bikaner.  It is said she fought with Yam, the god of death and brought back twenty thousand people from death to life. But Yam gave a condition that these people can’t be brought to life in a human form. So, they were reborn as Rats which still roams in the corridors of the temple. Apart from thousands of Black rats, there are few (around 5-6) white rats which are said to be reincarnation of Karni mata and her family members. People feel very lucky if they get a chance to see the white rats.

Deshnok is a village around 30 kms from the city of Bikaner. When we reached the place, the sun had gone high in the sky and crowd in the premises had gone thinner. Just as we put the first step in the temple, a rat just passed through our legs. Then an elderly person told us beware of putting your leg on any Rat as it is a sin and for its repentance you have to gift a gold platted Rat to temple. I became double conscious in stepping forward not because of afraid of the sin but from the fact that I can’t afford to gift them a gold platted Rat. There were people offering food to Rats and they seem to quite enjoy their meal.

Interior of the temple premises was a like a fairytale. I thought I was in some wonderland with Rats surrounding me. There were Rats in each and every corner of the temple. I am sure Pied Piper would have not seen these many Rats in the city of Hamelin as I saw in that very temple.

When we were taking a tour of the complex, someone just shouted that he has seen a white Rat. We hurried ourselves to that part and were privileged to see that famous white Rat, whose one sight brings people from hundreds of kilometers. People started praying to the Rat and started sharing their concerns with him.

The place is quite great it was a very different experience for me. I departed from the place with a feeling that what an amazing and unique places are there in our country which are unheard and unexplored.

Let us know if are aware of any such places !!

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  1. Ooooh I've heard about this temple!! I don't know if I would be brave enough!!

  2. That's cool..rats and rats everywhere..