Rat Temple India – Karni Mata Temple

Rat Temple gate

Welcome to Rat Temple India one of the most bizarre of place, and not so easy to walk into for the weak hearted as what you are about to see and experience is an out of the world story of how Rats living in harmony with humans almost 30Km from the desert town of Bikaner at Deshnok is the Karni Mata Temple the local deity of the Bikaner region this auspicious place of worship is quite popular throughout the globe for the large number of rats in the premises and also since the starting of time there has never been any plaque or disease spread from these rats despite people eating the same offered sweet to which the rats of the temple have tasted too.

Story of Karni Mata – As per the legends it is believed that the son of Karni Mata died and she prayed to the God’s to bring life back to his deceased one but since that would defy the law of nature and he can’t be brought back to life but the Gods rather granted her wish that all the ones of her clan the Charans, who used to write and sing poems on the bravery of the Rajput rulers and also did songs dedicated to god known as bhajans so if anyone would die but would be reincarnated in the form of a rat and sent to this holy place which today is known as the rat temple and it is believed that all the rats at the Karni Mata Temple are reincarnated version of a member of the Charan clan and are well taken care of and treated with the same respect as one would treat their ancestors.

Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji one of the most profound rulers from Bikaner got this temple built in its current form in the 20th Century, for the local deity Karni Mata,  the temple has silver doors and the exterior gate is surrounded by marble panels so delicately carved with figures of animals ranging from snakes to birds and two marble carved lion on the doors guarding the rat temple, all their work of marble carving are done with such precision it seems like the animals are for real in white than carved, one needs time to enjoy this incredible work of marble art on such large panels. The recent addition of a dome on the Garbhgrah or the portion where the idol is kept has been done adding charm to its architectural decor, the doors of the temple are of silver gifted by devotees and have Indian gods and animals made on silver. The temple is covered on top to prevent big birds like an eagle to snatch a rat away from the temple premises and certainly it is important to safeguard the rats of the Rat Temple.


You can come across people from the Charan clan the same clan to which the goddess Karni belonged, taking care as priests, singing songs of devotion, and also managing the whole place as the rats are supposedly their own ancestors, and as per Indian tradition, it is a custom of the younger generations to look after our forefathers and ancestors which is a famous ritual through-out India in the Hindu month of Shrad, where the cow’s, bird’s and dogs are fed and it is believed that the food reaches to their dear one who left this world on a heavenly adobe.

One can see the rats in the temple enjoying their sweet meals which are local delicacies like the ladoo- round sweetened balls made of flour, butter, and sugar and or barfi’s which is made of milk and or dry fruits,  as served to the goddess first then tasted by rats and served to deities in small amounts generally given in hands, alcohol is also offered at the temple which is rare in Hindu temples across India also making it a center of attraction. The rats are feed by the offerings provided by the devotees i.e sweets and milk is poured in a big vessel (PARAT) for the rats to drink and one can see numerous rats around the pyala. The rats laze around throughout the complex and the walls have special holes to provide a home for the rats. Also on the right when you enter there is a big large grain tub that is filled with grains and offerings. Well, it is said that seeing a white rat in the premises brings you good luck and once you come across one there is a gathering of humans around the little rodent.

Rat Temple India sees footfall from people from all across the state Rajasthan and nearby region as well as keen foreign tourists visit the place it is also a famous attraction of Bikaner and a must-visit place when in Bikaner and for the same a large number of tourists visit the rat temple. On the 9 auspicious days of Navratri a Hindu period of worship of the female goddesses comes twice in a year, during the Navratri there is an increased flow of devotees and you need to be watchful if not accustomed to the Indian crowds.

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