THE LAND OF KINGS
If you are thinking to take an ethnic, rejuvenating as well as fascinating trip, Rajasthan is the place for you to visit. The largest state in India holds the most royal places India has. The name itself means the ‘Land of Kings’. The state has some of the most elegant places like Jaipur- The Pink City, the educational hub Kota, Udaipur and one of the most important; Bikaner. These places have some really dashing and aesthetic palaces going long back in time. Out of all these places, the most intriguing place is located in the city of Bikaner. Would you believe that there is a temple where there are 25,000 mice, who reside there? If you don’t believe this, the Karni Mata Temple in Bikaner will change your mind!
THE LEGENDS OF THE TEMPLE OF RATS
A Hindu temple in Deshnoke, Bikaner, known as the temple of rats or Karni Mata Mandir. People from all over the world travel to the city just to visit this amazing temple where along with worshipping the Goddess Karni mata, more than 25,000 rats live there. The ‘Prasad’ from the temple is nibbled by the residing rats there, and it is considered a high honor to have that Prasad. The rats are considered holy and are known to be the ancestors of Charans- a caste of people living in Rajasthan and Gujrat. These holy rats are called ‘kabbas’ in the local language. According to the legend, the son of Karni Mata, Laxman was thirsty and went on to drink water from the Kapil Sarovar. But while he was drinking, he accidentally slipped into the water and drowned. His grieving mother entreated the God of Death Yamaraj to revive her son back into life. Yamaraj refused at first but later on he gave permission to all of his sons being back into life but in the form of rats.
It is a ritual there that even if a single rat passes away, he has to be replaced by a silver idol. All the rats are black rats except for a very few rats who are white. It is said that these white rats are the form of Karni Mata herself and her sons. People spend days in the temple looking out for the white rats and get their blessings by offering them a sweet Prasad. Another unique thing about this place is that the people never get diseased or have any problems eating the food nibbled by the rats. But due to the sweet food fed to the rats, it is very common for them to have diabetes and in every few years, a rat epidemic reduces their population.
WHEN AND HOW TO VISIT
The best time of the year to visit the temple is during the Karni Mata Mela which is help twice a year in the month of March-April and in the month of September-October. The place is just a 40-minute drive from the main city of Bikaner. The temple opens early in the morning at 4:00 AM and people start getting in line for their blessings. If you are planning a trip to Rajasthan, you would not want to miss out the opportunity to visit this auspicious and holy place.