Karni Mata Temple, Deshnok
The Karni Mata temple, 30 kms from Bikaner, is dedicated to an early fifteenth century mystic who was considered to be a reincarnation of goddess Durga.
The specially of the temple is that it is inhabited by legions of brown rats which scurry around the complex without aby fear. The rats are believed to be respositories of the souls of dead charans, the traditional bards.
Devotees offer milk, grains and sweets to these rats during the time to aarti. There are so many rats on the floor that people have to watch where they step. Sighting a while mouse is considered 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 wiremesh across the temple.
Bikaner's ruler Ganga Singh had the whole temple built in marble. The domes of the temple are made of silver and gold. The manadap and the panels above the image are also golden. Devotees place offerings in silver and gold when their prayers are answered.
The elaborate works on the main gate of the temple is a tribute to the fine craftsmanship of the artisans of those days. On the occasion of Navratri, this temple hosts a fair which attracts hordes of pilgrims from places far the near.