The Karni Mata Temple, also known as the Rat Temple is a truly unique experience. While in most countries rats are considered as pests it’s the complete opposite in this part of India. But in India everything is possible and that’s why they call it Incredible India.
The Karni Mata Temple is in Deshnok town 30km outside Bikaner, in Rajasthan.
In this temple rats are not only allowed to freely roam around, but they are also worshiped. They are free to leave the temple but who can blame them for staying if they are always guaranteed a full stomach.
Rats have become holy to many Indians because of a legend related to Goddess Karni. She has done so much good to the community but when her son drowned she asked the God of death Yama to bring him back to life. From that point onwards she said that her family members will no longer die but will reincarnate into rats. In fact Indians consider rats as their family, some in the temple even eat with them, sharing food and drinks.
It’s not something common to come across a temple that worships rats. This makes it the weirdest of temples with the strangest of beliefs that’s why so many tourists are attracted to this place. It attracts pilgrims not only to worship rats but also to heal their ailments. This is because during the plague times this town wasn’t affected.
This beautiful pink temple from the outside looks pretty but once you enter the unpleasant smell of rats fills the air. More than 15,000 rats inhabit the temple.
Some white rats can be spotted in the temple among the thousands of black rats. The white ones are considered especially as holy in fact if you spot one you are given luck for life.
Did I mention that you have to enter the temple barefooted? Yep, that makes the whole experience a whole lot more real. It takes guts to enter the temple to begin with let alone barefooted. Rats carry more than 20 diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans through contact with the skin. Therefore it is important to take the necessary precautions. Instead of chickening out, we wore socks which made us feel safe and at the end of the day it’s much cleaner.