First thing that comes to mind when thinking about Rajasthan is the long stretch deserts that are filled with spread sand dunes, people riding on the camel, woman carrying water pot on their heads wearing vibrant color cloths and ethnic jewelry. The rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan plays a vital role in Rajasthan Tourism.
Talking about desert cities of Rajasthan, Bikaner plays a vital role in attracting many national and international tourists towards it. Bikaner is one of the three major desert kingdoms which is famous for ethnic Rajasthan lifestyle. Filled with some of the most amazing tourist attractions, Bikaner is filled with sightseeing places such as Junagarh Fort, Gajner Palace, Lalgarh Palace and Many more.
Among all the places in Bikaner, Temple of Karni Mata is the one which is quite famous for all its mysterious association with rats. The temple is located at Deshnok which is 30 km from the main city of Bikaner. Temple is famous as the house of thousands of rats which are not only fed here but also worshipped with the main deity. It is because of the presence of many rats this temple is called the “temple of rats”.
The rats in the temple are considered holy. There are more than 20,000 black rats dwell in this temple and these rats are called Kabbas. This temple is visited by people from far off places to worship the deity and rats in the temple. Due to the presence of huge visitors the place plays a vital role in temple tourism in India.
The temple of Karni Mata is associated with many folklore and legends, the most famous one goes like this – once an army of 20000 soldiers came to Deshnok running when they were deserted in battle. When Goddess came to know about this he got furious and punished soldiers by turning them into the rats. Rats pleased to Goddess and it is when they promised Mata to serve her forever. Interesting facts about the rats is that, if you found white rats among black, it is a good omen as white rat is considered to be Karni Mata herself.
The marvelous architecture of Karni Mata Temple was completed in 20th century. One can see the Mughal architectural style in the temple, this temple was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh. The doors of this temple is built with solid silver and across the doorway there are many other silver gates with the panels on which depicts the various legends of the goddess. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple holds the idol of the goddess and is adorning with the Hyderabad based jewelry. It is believed that if any rat is killed by someone (mistakenly off-course) then one has to replace it by donating the rat made with silver.
Devotees here make offerings to rats with milk and sweets. Devotees consider it as good omen.
It is believed that Mata Karni lived for around 150 years and she remained young and beautiful throughout the life.
Two Karni Mata Fairs organizes every year, first held in March-April during Chaitra Navratra and second during September-October during Ashwin Navratra.
The temple opens for common public. The timings are 4:00 am in morning and 10:00 am in night.
No money will be charged for entering in temple.
Time of fair and festival is considered as the best time to visit this temple. Months of March-April or September-October are the best months to visit. (According to the navratri festival).
30 Km away from Bikaner, the temple is well- connected with all major cities of through bus, trains and roadways.
Bikaner has many accommodation options, which are available in a huge range. These are considered as the best hotels in Rajasthan.
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