Karni Mata Temple

Karni Mata Temple (Hindi: करणी माता मंदिर) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Karni Mata at Deshnoke, 30 km from Bikaner, in Rajasthan, India. It is also known as the Temple of Rats.

Karni Mata Temple
करणी माता मंदिर
Le temple de Karni Mata (Deshnoke) (8423353617).jpg
Karni Mata Temple
DeityKarni Mata
Karni Mata Temple is located in Rajasthan
Karni Mata Temple
Location in Rajasthan, India
Karni Mata Temple is located in India
Karni Mata Temple
Karni Mata Temple (India)
Geographic coordinates27°47′26″N 73°20′27″E / 27.79056°N 73.34083°E / 27.79056; 73.34083Coordinates: 27°47′26″N 73°20′27″E / 27.79056°N 73.34083°E / 27.79056; 73.34083
CreatorMaharaja Ganga Singh
Completed15th - 20th century

The temple is famous for the approximately 25,000 black rats and a few white rats (which are rarest to be seen) that live, and are revered, in the temple. These holy rats are considered as Depawat charan in previous birth, these both take birth in a cycle of Depawat charan and Rats respectively. Many people travel great distances to pay their respects. The temple draws visitors from across the country for blessings, as well as curious tourists from around the world.[1]

The legendEdit

Legend has it that Lakshman, son of Karni Mata, drowned in a pond in Kapil Sarovar in Kolayat Tehsil while he was attempting to drink from it. Karni Mata implored Yama, the god of death, to revive him. First refusing, Yama eventually relented, permitting Lakshman and all of Karni Mata's male children to be reincarnated as rats.[2]

Eating food that has been nibbled on by the rats is considered to be a "high honour".[3] Temple rules state that if you accidentally step on one of the rats and kill it, you must replace it with a rat made of solid silver or gold.


Marble carvings at The Temple.

The building was completed in its current form in the early 20th century in the late Rajput architecture by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner.

In front of the temple is a beautiful marble facade, which has solid silver doors built by Maharaja Ganga Singh. Across the doorway are more silver doors with panels depicting the various legends of the Goddess. The image of the Goddess is enshrined in the inner sanctum.

White ratsEdit

White rat at the Karni Mata temple

Out of all of the thousands of rats in the temple, there are a few white rats, which are considered to be especially holy. They are believed to be the manifestations of Karni Mata herself and her four sons. Sighting them is a special blessing and visitors put in extensive efforts to bring them forth, offering prasad, a sweet holy food.

Worship and fairEdit


Devotees performing the aarti at Karni Mata Temple.

The temple is opened to the public early in the morning at 04:00. Charan priests perform Mangla-Aarti and offer bhog (special food) in worship. Devotees make offerings to the rats, which roam about the temple in large numbers and are considered auspicious. Offerings include cheese and sweets. There are also bowls of milk around the temple for the rats to enjoy. There are two kinds of offerings made: the 'dwar-bhent' is attributed to the priests and the workers, while the 'kalash-bhent' is utilized for the temple maintenance and development.

Many worshipers believe the rats' saliva has healing properties and will share food and milk with the rats. A major speaking point for the temple is that it was around before the bubonic plague.

Karni Mata FairEdit

Karni Mata Fair is held twice a year at Deshnoke:

  • The first and larger fair is held in March–April during the Navratras from Chaitra Shukla Ekam to Chaitra Shukla Dashmi.
  • The second fair is held in September–October, also during the Navratras, from Ashvin Shukla to Ashwin Shukla Dashmi.

During Navratri thousands of people make pilgrimage to the temple by foot.

In popular cultureEdit

The temple appeared on the first season of the American reality television series The Amazing Race.[4]

Because of its revered rat population, the temple was featured in the 2016 documentary film Rats, directed by Morgan Spurlock.[5]

The Temple was also featured in Season 2, Episode 3 of Mighty Trains as a stop on the week-long train route of the Maharajas' Express.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rats. Dir. Morgan Spurlock. Perf. Dr. Michael Blum, Ed Sheehan, Bobby Corrigan . Discovery Channel, 2016. Netflix. Chapter: Temple of the Rats
  2. ^ Deshnok – Kani Mata Temple India, by Joe Bindloss, Sarina Singh, James Bainbridge, Lindsay Brown, Mark Elliott, Stuart Butler. Published by Lonely Planet, 2007. ISBN 1-74104-308-5. Page 257.
  3. ^ Langton, Jerry (2007). Rat: How the World's Most Notorious Rodent Clawed Its Way to the Top. Macmillan. pp. 125–128. ISBN 978-0-312-36384-0.
  4. ^ "7 Amazing 'Amazing Race' Tasks to Recreate and Locations to Visit ..." All women's talk. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  5. ^ Rebecca Hawkes (26 September 2016). "Rats: is Morgan Spurlock's new horror doc the most disgusting film of the year?". The Telegraph. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 December 2016.