A sanctuary where thousands of sacred rats are revered.
The Temple of Rats, officially known as the Karni Mata Temple, is a unique and culturally significant site located in Deshnoke, Rajasthan, India. This Hindu temple is renowned for its large population of sacred rats, often referred to as kabbas, which are revered and protected within the temple premises.
Karni Mata Temple: A Brief Overview
- Worship of Rats: Karni Mata Temple is the only temple in the world that worships rats. It is dedicated to Karni Mata, a 14th-century sage and mystic considered an incarnation of the warrior goddess Durga.
- Location and Significance: The temple is situated about 30 kilometers from Bikaner, Rajasthan, and is known for housing as many as 20,000 sacred rats. These rats are revered and form a central aspect of the temple’s cultural and religious significance.
- Cultural and Religious Importance: The Karni Mata Temple holds immense cultural and religious significance. It is dedicated to Karni Mata, revered as an incarnation of Goddess Durga, a central deity in Hinduism.
- Architecture and History: The current structure of the Karni Mata Temple was completed in the 20th century by Maharaja Ganga Singh, featuring Mughal architectural styles similar to the Taj Mahal.
Unique Aspects of the Temple
- The Sacred Rats: Approximately 25,000 black rats live in the temple, along with a few rare white rats, which are considered to be especially holy. The rats are believed to be reincarnated Charanas, devotees of Karni Mata in previous births.
- Beliefs and Traditions: Food nibbled by the rats is considered to be holy and is called “prasadam.” The presence of these rats and their interactions with visitors are an integral part of the temple’s experience.
- Cultural Integration: The temple integrates various local beliefs and traditions, making it a significant part of the regional cultural narrative.