Karni Mata Temple or the temple of rats is situated at Rajasthan’s Deshnok.
It is dedicated to Goddess Karni, believed to be an incarnation of Durga.
Situated 30km from Bikaner, the temple houses over 20,000 black rats.
The long-tailed rodents are considered holy and called “kabbas”.
Many visit the temple to pay respects to the rats and get their desires fulfilled.
Surprisingly, they do not bite any devotees who enter the temple.
They are fed grains, milk and coconut shells from large metal bowls.
Water the rats drink is considered holy.
Eating their leftovers is said to bring good fortune to those making a pilgrimage to the temple.
According to a legend, Karni Mata’s son accidentally drowned in a pond.
When she requested Yama, the god of death, to revive him, he agreed on one condition…
Karni Mata and her children be reincarnated as rats.
One can spot a few very white rats in the temple.
The white rats are believed to be the manifestation of Karni Mata and sons.
Sighting them is considered auspicious.
Hurting or killing a rat even by mistake is a serious sin in this temple.
According to temple laws, if a rat is accidentally killed, it must be replaced with a rat made of gold or silver.
The temple’s construction was concluded in early 20th century by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner.
The entire structure is raised in marbles and the architecture resembles Mughal style.
Solid silver doors lead to an entry to the compound within.
The panels depict many legends of the goddess.
The 75cm idol of Karni Mata sits in the inner sanctum holding a trident in one hand.
She is accompanied by her sisters on either side.
The temple is famous for the Karni Mata Fair, a biannual event held between March and April, and September and October.