Famously known for rats in its premises, the Karni Mata temple is situated 30 km south of Bikaner at Deshnoke. Had I not located it beforehand on my GPS, I would have missed it and reached Bikaner because I had it in my mind that this temple of rats was in Bikaner. So I visited it during my day cycling trip before reaching Bikaner. Not many people passing through this town of Deshnoke on the highway know that it is the home to the Karni Mata temple known world-wide for rats.
This temple has Rajput and Mughal style of architecture and the marble carvings at the entrance especially caught my eye. They are very beautifully done. As soon as I entered the doors, I found rats roaming around, nibbling on “prasad” offered by devotees. What if a rat jumped on me from above, I kept worrying as they were everywhere. I found one very peculiar rat that was bowing continuously to the idol of Karni Mata, sitting on its rear feet, at the entrance door. Don’t know if anyone else noticed it or not but I did.
It is said that there are approx. 20,000 black rats, with a few white ones. It is believed to be very auspicious if one sights any one of those white rats. Rats are considered holy there and it is an honour for the devotees to eat the rat-nibbled food. During my whole tour round the complex inside the temple, not a single rat came my way or of anyone else’s and they do not even scare anyone by climbing on their feet, as many people there were worrying about.
I felt very happy having visited this temple, which I had once watched on the National Geographic channel. Unusual India, indeed!