Karni Mata Temple, also known as the Temple of Rats

The Karni Mata Temple is a sacred Hindu religious shrine located in Deshkote, which is 30 kms South of Bikaner in Rajasthan, India. This unusual shrine is dedicated to Goddess Karni, an Avatar of Goddess Durga. The temple is famous for harboring rats which are considered holy and supposedly the descendants of the deity. These rats, called Kabbas are deeply revered by devotees and people travel great distances to pay their respects to these creatures. 


History of the Karni Mata Temple


The present structure is believed to have been built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner sometime in the 15th century. The temple premises is quite large and peaceful. The stairway path to the temple is a 10 min long journey and it is fulfilled with viewpoints, rest shelters, and water cooler. To the left of the stairway, at a bit distance, lies a high structure with holes in the walls. These stately doors are made of solid silver and were donated by Maharaja Gaj Singh, while on a visit to the temple.


Significance of the Karni Mata Temple


The Image of the Goddess housed in the main shrine is depicted with several holy articles at her feet. Rats surround the entire periphery and Karni Mata is portrayed wielding a trishul (trident) in one of her hands. The Image is 75 cms in height, adorned with a crown and decorated with a garland of flowers. Images of her sisters flank the Goddess on either side. Almost 20,000 rats reside in the temple complex and these are well fed, protected and worshipped. The rats can be seen frolicking around and feeding from huge metal bowls of milk, sweets and grain. The presence of these rats is considered auspicious and enhances the religious fervor of the temple. It is also deemed highly propitious if a rat runs across one’s feet. White rats are rare, but several do frequent the premises and it is considered favorable if one gets a glimpse of these holy creatures.



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