Bikaner also means Bika's fort, this city as its
name suggests is a homage to its very creator.
Decide your favourite colour and pick a city to
match, Rajasthan's kaleidoscope of colours covers all.
Bastions of history, bristling with memories,
these splendid treasures stand battling the vageries of time.
The City Palace, Jaipur
Wind Palace, Jaipur
City Palace, Udaipur
Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur
The desert sands shimmer and pulsate with an
energy and a spirit of festivity permeates the air, every season
provides many reasons to celebrate.
Ride a camel over the dunes or horses through
the hillside, speed ahead in a jeep and camp under open skies.
A delicate ecosystem, part desert part marshy
lands and even a small section of lush water filled valleys, sports a
wildlife rich in variety.
Whichever Budget Hotel you choose you will
always experience a traditional hospitality that you may never want to
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Rajasthan Tours Travel » Sacred
Places & Shrines » Karni Mata
Temple - Bikaner
Karni Mata Temple ( Deshnoke Temple) - Bikaner
Rajathan is a land of mysteries, myths and legends. Passionate beliefs
and strong faith. In the rustic town of Deshnoke a temple dedicated to a
goddess and to rats is a living example of the strong religious fervour
that permeates this desert state. More than 600 years old, the Karni Mata
temple, 30 miles south of Bikaner in the small off beat town of Deshnoke
is hugely famous and somewhat unique.
Legend Goes ...
resident diety Karni Mata was a mystic who lived in the 15th century, she
is also believed to be an incarnation of goddess Durga. The daughter of a
16th century Charan she was married off at the age of 27. Soon her
marriage dissolved and she became a sanyasin and devoted her life to the
service of the poor. Protected and sheltered by the Rathore clan of
Bikaner she predicted great glory for Bika when he set out to establish a
kingdom for himself. Karni Mata was an ascetic who dedicated herself to
the service and upliftment of the poor and the downtrodden. It is believed
that she possessed supernatural powers. She laid the foundation of
Deshnoke and her principal followers, Charans, as well as the rulers of
Bikaner have worshiped her as a goddess ever since.
According to legend Karni Mata once tried to restore a dead child back to
life but failed because Yama, the god of death, had already accepted his
soul and re-incarnated him in human form. Inflamed Karni refused to accept
this and said that Yamaraja would no longer govern her tribe of Charans.
At death they would enter the bodies of kabas, or sacred rats, and when
the rats died they would be reborn as Charans. So in this temple not only
the mother goddess but also well fed rats (called kabas) have made a
comfortable home for themselves. The high priests here have gone to great
lengths to protect the rats whose bodies are believed to house the souls
of Karni Mata's departed devotees.
Devotees And Offerings
Devotees offer milk, grains and sweets to these rats each time prayers
are offered in the temple. Legions of tiny brown rats can be seen
scampering around the floor and sighting a white mouse is considered very
auspicious. It is believed that the Maharaja of Bikaner had a vision in
which the goddess asked him to protect the rats and for this reason, there
is bronze wire mesh across the temple.
The temple is built according to the Mughal style of architecture and was
constructed by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the early 20th century. The
entrance, is lavishly decorated with beautifully sculptured marble
paneling full of intricate patterns, and delicately worked doorways,
colonnades, pavilions and balconies adorn the temple. The Sanctum
sanctorum of the temple depicts Karni Mata as Durga after slaying the
buffalo-demon Mahishasura. Her inverted trident is impaled in the demon's
head. The domes of the temple are made of silver and gold. The manadap and
the panels above the image are golden also. Devotees usually place
offerings of silver and gold when their prayers are answered.
Karni Mata Fair
The traditions here will take you back centuries, in a time we can only
ever imagine and the beauty of it is that for the residents and the
devotees, it is not just a temple or a legend, for them it is a truth. The
Karni Mata Fair held twice a year at Deshnoke sees devotees throng to the
little town and worship her as the incarnation of goddess Durga. The
festival is held in the months of Vaishakha (April/ May) and Kartika
(October/ November). Following another old tradition the Rajputs who
inhabit this land always bring their children on jadula (the day of the
child's first haircut) and place them at the deity's feet for blessing.
This temple is situated in Deshnoke a small town near Nokha in the
Bikaner district of Rajasthan. Bikaner is well connected by both rail as
well as good motorable roads to all parts of Rajasthan. The nearest
Airport is in Jodhpur, 245 km away.
During the Karni Mata Fair in Chaitra, (March- April) special buses and
trains carry the pilgrims to Deshnoke.