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This Hindu temple in Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner, Rajasthan gives you a chance to get blessings from Goddess Karni Mata, with 25,000 lively kabbas (holy rats).
What Is It?
This visit is considered as one of the freakiest attractions all over India. Goddess Karni Mata is Incarnation of Goddess Durga (official deity of some Royal families in Jodhpur, Bikaner).
Imagine the astounding experience of praying to the great Goddess with live long tailed rodents alongside of you!! YES… Actual, LIVE RATS!!
1) It is believed that Laxman (stepson of Goddess Karni Mata) slipped into the pond that runs nearby the area when he was trying to quench his thirst. His beloved mother, Karni Mata beseeched Lord Yama (God of death) to bring Laxman back to life. Lord Yama accepted this only on 1 condition that along with Laxman, all her male children would be reincarnated as Kabbas.
2) Some of the local folks who live around that area have a different story.
According to them, an army of around 20,000 soldiers fled away from the battle and came to Deshnoke. This was punishable by death. But as they learned their sin, Karni Mata cursed them to be living as rats and spared their lives. The temple premise was offered to them as a place to stay where they would be revered. The army was grateful and promised to serve the Goddess forever. Hence the kabbas never flee the temple premises. (And of course, who would want to miss the stream of ever flowing milk and food from the worshipers?)
What’s In It?
Maharaja Ganga Singh (Ruler of Bikaner during that era) built this temple in the early 20th century. The temple’s architecture is an amalgam of Mughal style with the Rajput’s. The entire temple is constructed with pure, white, shining marble.
An alluring marble facade having solid silver doors stands just facing the temple. The doorway of this facade contains multiple silver niches depicting various forms of the Goddess. The inner sanctum contains a 75 centimeter embodied image of the Goddess holding a Trishul (Trident). Her image contains almost real looking crown and a flower garland.
Also just in front of the temple building, 2 huge vessels are kept where the worshipers can prepare food to feed the kabbas!
As you walk past the hallway, the rats walk near, and over your foot. Never in the history have they harmed anyone in anyway. So YES, you can expect lashings of ADRENALINE RUSH!!!!
Umm, ever wanted to test your luck?
Among the 25,000 black kabbas, you can sight only a very few white kabbas. It is considered that the Great Goddess Karni Mata herself and her 4 sons are manifested as the white kabbas. So this sighting is considered as special offering from the Goddess herself.
Tips (just for you): You can lure the white kabbas with Prasad (sweet holy food).
And also, eating the food remains nibbled by the kabbas is considered holy. It is believed to cure some of the dreadful ailments too.
INTERESTING FACT: When there was a strong epidemic of plague all over the area, the village of Deshnoke was absolutely not affected. Hence worshipers also visit to heal themselves.
How To Get There?
NEAREST AIRPORT: Jodhpur (220 Kilometer from the temple). Cabs, buses to the temple are available in abundance.
Or domestic Airport at Nal, 14 Kilometer from the temple
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: Bikaner (30 Kilometer from the temple)
Also there are many public buses from Bikaner to Deshnoke
Visiting hours: From 04 AM to 10 PM. There is Mangala ki aarti (prayer for the Goddess) early in the morning performed by Charan priests (high-end priests), which is followed by bhog (blessed food).
Time required: Around 2 hours max.
Entry fees: None
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