India is a country of strong spiritual belief with various religions, Gods, Goddesses, religious rituals, and cultures, and one such famous temple in India is the Karni Mata temple. It is located deep in the heart of the Thor desert in the state of Rajasthan, where thousands of rats are respected and considered holy. Initially, as per the Hindu belief, the rat is respected and valued because of Ganesha, the God of knowledge and learning.
Karni Mata Temple History
However, temple rats have a different story and have no relation with God Ganesha. The deity Karni Mata in the temple is considered the incarnation of deity Durga, one of Hinduism’s most powerful Goddesses. Historically, Karni Mata was a warrior Hindu sage who lived in the 14th century AD. Karni Mata was highly revered by the communities and earned a lot of followers. She laid the foundation stone of the temple as requested by the kings of Bikaner and Jodhpur.
As per the historian, Goddess Deity Durga requested Yama the God of death to give life or reincarnate a dead son of a grieving man. The grieving man happened to be from the community of storytellers. Unfortunately, Yama did not keep the deity Durga’s request, which made the deity unhappy and angry. She promised the entire storyteller community that whoever dies from the community will reincarnate as rats in Karni Mata’s temple. She also promised that when the reincarnated rats die, they will reincarnate as a member of the community.
Since then, the storyteller community, also known as the Charan community, revered and took care of the Karni Mata temple rats. They did so because they believed that the rats are the reincarnation of their dead members from the community and when the rats will die, they will reincarnate in the community. The temple has around 20000 rats that are fed and taken care of by the community in shifts. However, some families of the community reside in the temple permanently and take care of the rats and the temple as well. Rats in the temple are considered holy, and eating the leftover of rats is considered good fortune. Similarly, the water which the rats drink is considered holy and auspicious.
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How to Reach Karni Mata Temple?
The Temple is located in Deshnoke, 30 km away from the city of Bikaner in Rajasthan. You can easily get bus and taxi services from Bikaner and Jodhpur to Karni Mata temple.
Best Time to Visit the Temple
The best time to visit the Bikaner Karni Mata temple is during the festival occasions that take place in the month of March and April, and September and October.