Karni mata temple, also referred as the Karni Mata Mandir, is one of Bikaner’s most popular tourist attractions. The temple is devoted to Karni Mata, who is believed by the locals to be a manifestation of Goddess Durga, the Hindu religion’s protecting Mother Goddess. In the fourteenth century, Karni Mata was a Hindu warrior guru from the Charan caste.
Karni Mata, who lived as an ascetic, was highly regarded by the villagers and drew a large following. She even set the foundation stones of the Mehrangarh and Bikaner Forts after receiving requests from the Maharajas of Jodhpur and Bikaner. Despite the fact that there are other temples dedicated to her, this one in Deshnoke, 30 kilometres from Bikaner, is the most well-known.
Significance of the karni mata temple
The Karni Mata Mandir in Bikaner is well-known not for its location or design, but for the nearly 25,000 rats that live in and freely roam the temple grounds. These creatures can be observed coming from gaps in the walls and floors, frequently passing over visitors and devotees’ feet.
It is indeed considered a holy practice to eat food that has been chewed on by these rats. People travel from all over India and the world to witness this incredible show, as well as deliver milk, sweets, and other offerings for these divine beings. White rats are revered above all others since they are thought to be the embodiments of Karni Mata and her sons.
Visitors go to great lengths to entice them out, typically by bribing them with sweets. In this temple, however, injuring or killing a rat, even by accident, is a terrible sin. As penance, those who commit this offence will have to switch the dead rat with a gold one.
The Karni Mata temple has intriguing mythology associated with it, in addition to its distinctive rituals. The story of Laxman, Karni Mata’s step-son, is the most well-known of these legends. Laxman drowns one day while attempting to sip water from the Kapil Sarovar in Kolayat Tehsil. Karni Mata, bereft of her son, prays fervently to Yama, the Hindu God of Death, who initially refuses her request to bring him back to life. He goes into her pleas and reincarnates not just Laxman, but all of Karni Mata’s male children as rats, moved by her sadness and will.
Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner completed the construction of the Karni Mata Temple in the early twentieth century. The entire temple edifice is made of marble, and its architecture is reminiscent of Mughal architecture. Solid silver doors lead to an entrance to the compound interior, adding to the allure of the appealing marble façade. The Goddess’s various legends are depicted on the panels of the silver doors.
The idol of Karni Mata of Bikaner, a 75 cm tall deity holding a trident (trishul) in one hand and decked with a crown and garlands, rests within the temple’s inner sanctum. The Goddess’s idol is flanked on either side by those of her sisters.Kundan Lal Verma, a Hyderabad-based Karni Jeweller, completed additional enhancements to the temple in 1999. The marble carvings and silver gates were his gift to the temple.
The Charan priests perform Mangla-ki-Arti and offer bhog offerings at the Karni Mata shrine on a regular basis. The Goddess and the kabbas receive a variety of offerings from visitors to the shrine (rats).These offerings are divided into two categories: Dwar-bhent (for priests and temple employees) and Kalash-bhent (for everyone else) (utilised for temple maintenance).
Aside from that, Bikaner’s Karni Mata temple is notable for the Karni Mata Fair, a bi-annual event. These fairs take place during the Navratras — the Hindu New Year.
- From ChaitraShuklaEkam to ChaitraShuklaDashami, between March and April
- From AshwinShukla to AshwinShuklaDashami between September and October
The number of people who attend these fairs is in the thousands. Every day, from 4 a.m. until 10 p.m., the Karni Mata Temple is open to the public. Within the temple, there is no admission cost.
- By Air: The closest airport is at Jodhpur, which is 220 kilometres away.
- By Rail: Bikaner, roughly 30 kilometres away, is the nearest railway station. It has excellent connections to places including Delhi, Kolkata, Agra, Jaipur, and Allahabad, among others. In its eight-day tour of Rajasthan, the luxury ‘Palace on Wheels’ also visits Bikaner.
- By Road: You can also hire a taxi from bikaner.
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