Mata Temple is a must-visit tourist spot in Bikaner. Also known as Nari Mata
Temple, this shrine is devoted to Goddess Karni, who is believed to be an
avatar of Goddess Durga. The legends say that the Goddess Karni laid the
founding stones of two most popular forts in this city of Rajputs and several
temples dedicated to her have been built across the city. The most interesting
fact about this temple is that around 25,000 rats reside and are worshipped in
this holy place. In particular, the food that is eaten by them is considered to
be holy and is later served as ‘prasad among the devotees.
are also referred to as ‘Kabbas’ and visitors from all over the world travel to
this temple just to witness these holy rats. For this reason, the temple is
also known as the ‘Temple of Rats’. This Hindu temple is as old as 600 years
and is situated in a township of
Deshnok, which is 30 km to the South of Bikaner city in Rajasthan.
architecture of this temple is highly influenced by the Mughal architectural
style. The front wall of the temple is made of marble which constitutes
detailed carvings and patterns. As you explore the temple, you will be engulfed
by its beauty and spiritual vibes that dominate the region.
More on Karni Mata
Legend of Karni Mata
Various mythological stories are formulated
behind the origin of this temple. As per the most famous legend stepson of
Karni Mata, Laxman, drowned in a lake named Kapil Sarovar which is situated in
Kolayat Tehsil. As a mother, she got extremely worried and with sheer devotion
she prayed to the god of death, Yamraj, to return her child. At outset, the
Lord denied but later he was melted by witnessing the love of a mother for her
child. Yamraj reincarnated Laxman and all of her male children into rats.
Another story is related to betrayal and
punishment. A fleet of 20,000 army men had abandoned a nearby battle and had
taken up shelter in Deshnoke. When Mata Karni came to know about their sinful
act of desertion, she was determined to punish them by death. However, she
spared their lives but with her magical powers transformed them into rats.
The shrine was provided to them as a place to
stay and in return, the soldiers sought to serve the Goddess for their entire
life. You can also spot few white rats among the grey ones and these rats are
supposed to be the incarnated version of Karni Mata and her sons.
Architecture of Karni Mata Temple
The architecture of the temple is another most
fascinating thing after the rats in the temple. the temple was renovated in the
15th century by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner. He incorporated the
Mughal style of architecture was reconstructing the shrine. The front end of
the temple is entirely built of marble which constitutes of intricate carvings
and patterns. You will be mesmerized as you lay your first glance at the
temple. There are pairs of silver doors right before the main shrine of the
Goddess. These doors were donated by the Maharaja Gaj Singh while his tour to
The idol of the Goddess is fixed at the shrine
in the center of the complex. The diety is as tall as 75 cm and is holding a
Trishul (trident). It is adorned with flowers, crowns, and garlands. The idols
of her sisters are placed at the sides and the places is always filled with
Rats at the Karni Mata Temple
The rats have religious importance at the
temple and are considered to be a holy creature. There are around 25,000 rats
that move freely around the temple. They emerge out of small holes and cracks
that is formed on the walls and floor of the temple. The devotes offer them
sweets, milk and other types of offerings and it is believed that the food
items that are nibbled by are holy and is distributed as prasads.
Watch out for the rats as there is a heavy
penalty imposed if you kill them by mistake. You will have to replace the rat
with the one made of solid gold. Spotting a white rat is rare and is considered
to be auspicious. People all around can be found luring the white rats out of
their holes by offering them various sweets.
Karni Mata Fair at Karni Mata Temple
If you are visiting Bikaner during the months
of March-April and Sept-October, you should attend the famous fair that is
organized at Karni Mata Temple. The fair takes place twice a year during
Navratra months. Thousands of devotees visit this temple on foot during this
Karni Mata Temple Timings and Entry Fees
The general public can visit the temple from 4
am to 10 pm. In the early morning, you will be greeted with Mangla ki Aarati
that is performed by the Charan priests and simultaneously bhog is offered to
the Goddess. There is no entry fee at the temple. You can also take pictures in
Best Time To Visit Karni Mata Temple
The suitable time to visit the temple is
during the months when the fair is held, that is, anytime between March-April
and Sept-October. However, there is no specific season to visit the temple if
you want to get blessings from the Goddess and offer bhog to the diety and rats
residing in the shrine.
Tips for Visiting Karni Mata Temple
Walk cautiously around the temple premises as
you might step on the rats which are considered to be religious.
How to Reach Karni Mata Temple
The temple is easily accessible by road as it
is situated on the NH 89. It is around 30 km away from Bikaner city and is well
connected by both private and state bus services. You can also hire a taxi from
any parts of Rajasthan to reach this shrine.