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The Rat Temple of Rajasthan

Posted on : July 23, 2018
Author : Shweta Mishra

Bikaner, Rajasthan is known for its picturesque beauty, its magnificent forts and its Rajputana culture. But one of the strangest and the most unique attraction of this place is the temple located at Deshnok 30km away from the main city of Bikaner – the Karni Mata Temple. It is home to 20,000 rats, which are considered sacred here. These rats are fed, protected and worshipped. This unusual shrine of Karni Mata is dedicated to Goddess Karni who is also believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Durga, as per legends.


In this episode of Kahi Suni, join Sara Arfeen Khan discovering the beliefs and faiths, which are associated with this unusual temple of Karni Mata. 


Like the other folklores of Indian temples, Karni temple too has its share of stories. One legend says that the Karni Mata was a woman belonging to the Charni Clan who had lived for 150 years. It is believed that she was reborn as a rat. And after her, the entire Charni Clan was also destined to be reborn as rats. But after the clan members die as rats, they will again be reborn as humans again. But, the other legends seem to have a religious aspect to them. There’s another version of the same story which says that Karni Mata is an incarnation of Goddess Durga who heals the people who came to her. The present temple at Deshnok in Bikaner was built by her. But when her youngest son died due to drowning, she pleaded with Lord Yama (God of Death) to bring her child back from death, but Lord Yama refused. Later, Karni Mata appeared as Goddess Durga and revived her son and blessed the entire clan with an eternal life. After death, the people are reborn as rats and then again to a human being so that the cycle of life continues in the Charni clan.  It is said that Deshnokh has 600 families which are descendants of Karni Mata.

Apart from the main temple of Karni Mata in Deshnokh, Bikaner other temples dedicated to Karni Mata in Rajasthan are in Udaipur and Awar District. The temple is not only famous in India but also abroad, since it attracts a lot of foreign tourists. People from different countries come to worship Karni Mata in this temple. One of the most astonishing things about the temple is that despite being filled with rats, the place is free from plague and other rat-borne diseases.  The rats in this temple are called Khabas. The temple follows a ritual where the Pandit first offers the Prasadam to Khabas and then to the devotees.  It is auspicious to spot a white rat in this temple and if a devotee kills a rat in the temple accidentally or otherwise, they have to replace it with a golden rat of same proportion in weight. 

India is really a mystical land and to know more stories of about this country, keep watching Kahi Suni only on EPIC Channel.


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