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Karni Mata (the story)

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Karni Mata Temple is a famous Hindu temple which is dedicated to Karni Mata. The temple is situated at Deshnoke which is 30 kilometres from Bikaner in the state of Rajasthan. This temple is also called the Temple of Rats. The temple is known for the approximately 20000 living black rats and these rats are called the kabbas. There are many devotees who travel a great distance to pay their respects and people come here for the blessings. Not to forget the number of tourists from all over the world who comes to this temple out of curiosity. The story says that Laxman, Karni Mata’s stepson drowned in the pond in Kapil Sarovar while he was trying to drink water from the lake. Karni Mata begged to Yama, the God of death, to revive him. Yama, at first refused but later relented and allowed Laxman and all the male children of Karni Mata to be incarnated as rats.

There are other folklore tales which says that a 20000 strong army deserted a nearby battle and came running to Deshnoke. As soldiers they were not supposed to desert and flee. After learning about the sin of desertion which was punishable by death they begged to Karni Mata whospared their lives but turned them into rats and gave them the temple as a future place to stay. The army of soldiers articulated their gratefulness and promised to serve Karni Mata from then onwards, forever. The belief is that the food that has been nibbled on by the rats is considered to be a high honour. If anyone rat is killed it must be replaced with the one made of solid gold. The temple is open to public in the morning from 4 am and devotees are supposed to make offerings to the rats which will be roaming around in large numbers.

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