Standing majestically in its architectural grandeur, this place of worship for Hindu devotees appears truly extraordinary. Rich in the spiritual essence that permeates its surroundings, the presence of rats adds a unique and somewhat amusing charm. This is Karni Mata, a popular sacred temple in India inhabited by thousands of rats.
Karni Mata is a stunning temple located in the Deshnoke region of Rajasthan, India. Karni Mata captivates with its white marble accents, silver doors, and intricate carvings. The temple is situated 230 km from Delhi. Not only is the name intriguing, but the contents within the temple are also highly unusual. The renowned temple in India is home to around 25,000 white and black rats. This sacred Hindu place offers a different and unique worship experience. Despite this, the Hindu community in India highly respects the presence of these rats. According to its history, the Karni Mata temple dates back to the 15th century with an extraordinarily magnificent architectural style. The Rat Temple was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner, dedicated to honoring and commemorating Goddess Karni Mata. The name of the temple is derived from the belief that Karni Mata is an incarnation of Goddess Durga, the Goddess of Victory and Power. ‘Karni’ means she will perform miracles on Earth, and ‘Mata’ means mother.
The abundance of rats in the Karni Mata temple is tied to an interesting legend. The story begins when the stepson of Goddess Karni Mata died by drowning in a well. Devastated, Karni Mata requested Lord Yama, the god of death, to bring her son back to life as a storyteller. However, Lord Yama rejected her plea at that time. In the course of history, Lord Yama eventually accepted Karni Mata’s request but imposed a condition. Every member of Karni Mata’s family who passed away would reincarnate as a rat first before returning to the temple. After that, they would be reborn as humans to lead a happy and safe life.
The Karni Mata temple has grown and rooted itself in the legendary history. Regardless of this epic historical tale, Karni Mata has now been reborn as a precious gem with its new spotlight. The current activities at the Karni Mata temple include being a place of worship for Hindu religious ceremonies. Additionally, this iconic location in India has become a favorite tourist destination for visitors from around the world. Hindu devotees in India visit the Rat Temple every year to conduct Hindu religious ceremonies led by the temple priest. Religious activities at the Karni Mata temple involve solemn worship, singing hymns, offering flowers, and food to Karni Mata. The people of India believe that the rats in the temple are manifestations of Goddess Karni Mata. Due to this belief, the local residents always worship and treat the rats with great care.
The rats in every inch of the Karni Mata temple are provided with food such as sweets, milk, grains, grated coconut, and other rat-friendly meals in a large metal bowl. Hindu followers in India believe that consuming leftover food and drinks from the rats will enhance religious fervor in the temple and bring good luck. Especially when a rat crosses someone’s path, it is considered an auspicious sign. The presence of white rats among the black ones is believed to bring blessings and prosperity to the visitors of the Karni Mata temple. Interestingly, the rats in the Karni Mata temple do not carry bacteria or viruses that cause diseases. The people of India believe that the rats in the Karni Mata temple have special healing powers. For tourists with good intentions, these rats play the role of healers.
Everyone visiting the Karni Mata temple is prohibited from harming or killing the rats. If such an incident occurs, the person must donate a gold rat to the Karni Mata temple. Moreover, special cables are installed in the temple to protect the rats from other animals and predatory birds. This sacred place has several specific rules for visitors before entering the temple. Tourists must treat the rats with attention and respect. Before entering the temple, tourists must wash their hands as a sign of respect. Visitors must remove footwear when inside the temple. They must wear modest clothing and behave politely. Tourists intending to take photographs in the Karni Mata temple must obtain permission from the priest.
The Karni Mata temple is open from 4:00 am to 10:00 pm Indian time every day. The best time to visit this sacred temple is during the day or during the Karni Mata festival. All tourists visiting the Rat Temple are not charged any fees. However, there is a fee imposed on tourists who wish to take photos in the Karni Mata temple, which is 30 rupees for a mobile camera and 70 rupees for a film camera. This festival is celebrated only in March to April and September to October twice a year. This unique festival is a collaboration of religion and culture. The week-long festivities include bhog ritual ceremonies and the presentation of the Goddess Karni Mata statue complete with flowers, golden crowns, and jewelry. As a tourist, there are interesting things to enjoy besides visiting the Karni Mata temple. These include buying colorful souvenirs, staying in a 5-star hotel, trying local cuisine at nearby restaurants, and visiting other historical sites.
In summary, Karni Mata is a unique rat temple rich in magical, spiritual, and mythological aspects. This place offers an atmosphere that is truly extraordinary to anyone who visits. Karni Mata, as a special place of worship, is adorned with a variety of colors through its unique traditions and culture.”