Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke

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Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke Mata Karni Devi temple is located in Deshnoke, 30 kms from Bikaner, Rajasthan. This is famous as Rat Temple. Ganga Singh Bickner built the temple in the 15th century. The temple is heavily influenced by mogul architecture. The entire temple is built of beautiful white marble. He also gifted a Silver door. Initially, there were no idols or temple just a few footprints. However, now the temple has a sacred sanctum, an idol where she holds a “trisul’’.The rats are very sacred in this temple. Although, there are around 20000 rats here no one to this date has seen any baby rats. There are many white rats as well. They are considered as the holiest and called pure Khabas. Karni Mata protects these rats. Karni Mata was born on 2nd October 1387 in Suwap, Rajasthan. She was the 7th child of Mehoji Charan and his wife Deval Devi. Her real name was Ridhubhai. When Karni Mata’s mother wanted to abort the baby, Goddess Durga showed up in her dreams and informed that the child is an incarnation of herself. Also known as Shri Karniji Maharaj, Karni Mata is worshiped as the incarnation of the warrior goddess Durga by her followers. She is an official deity of the royal family of Jodhpur and Bikaner. She lived an ascetic life and was widely revered during her own lifetime. According to the legend, Karni mata was originally the wife of depoji Charan of the village of Sathika. However, she later expressed to her husband her unwillingness to engage in matrimonial relations. He initially humoured her, thinking that she would relent in time. Instead of doing so Karni arranged for him to marry her own younger sister Gulab so that he might have a proper married life. She herself remained celibate all her life, with the concurrence and support of her husband. Significance: The temple is famous for the approximately 25,000 black rats that live, and are revered in, the temple. These holy rats are called kabbas, and many people travel great distances to pay their respects. Eating food that has been nibbled on by the rats is considered to be a "high honor. If one of them is killed, it must be replaced with one made of solid silver.

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