Friday, January 8, 2010

Karni Mata Temple

Karni Mata Temple Deshnok

Deshnok Karni Mata Temple Bikaner
Although the temple is an important Indian pilgrimage site, foreign visitors are few, which could be why village locals are so welcoming and eager to talk about the temple and its 20,000 rodent inhabitants. They will relate how when sitting in the temple the rats (kabas) curl up and sleep peacefully in their hair.

You may not see this exact sight, but most certainly you will see rats (kabas) clumped on the edges of milk bowls and gather in a heaving mass over plates of food by the altar.
Visiting the Temple
Before entering, shoes must be removed, as with all Indian temples. An outstanding feature is the solid silver entrance doors donated by Maharaja Ganga Singh.
Once inside you will notice a wire grill covering the court yard to stop birds eating the holy rodents. There are also holes and tunnels built into the construction to allow them to move around freely.
Temple priests tend to the rats by constantly refilling large bowls of milk. In the heart of the temple, the shrine, there is a huge bowl filled with prasaad (sugar balls). It is a shocking sight as it is totally overrun with countless rats.
Tourists are not permitted to enter this area but many pilgrims surround the huge bowl.
It is highly likely, if not a certainty, that a holy rat will run over your feet, if so, it is considered a blessing. If a white rat is sighted then you are especially spiritually graced. Eating food or drinking water that previously has been sampled by a rat is considered to be a supreme blessing.
Curiously, there has been no recorded incidence of rat borne disease amongst the temple visitors. Could that be a miracle?

The Story of Karni Mata
Karni Mata, born in the 14th century, was an incarnation of Durga, the goddess of power and victory. During her lifetime she performed many miracles.
When one of her clansmen died and she was unable to bring him back to life and she asked Yama, the god of death to bring him back to life. Yama could not because the clansman had already been reincarnated.
Karni Mata made an agreement with Yama that from now on all of her tribespeople would be reborn as rats until they could be born back into the clan.

Getting There
Road - Deshnok is a 30 minute bus or taxi ride from Bikaner. Bikaner is about 450km from Delhi, 350km from Jaipur, 350km from Jodhpur. The condition of the road is good.
Air - The nearest airport is Jodhpur 253km
Rail - Bikaner is connected with Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bhatinda, Kalka and Howrah.

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails