Tens of thousands of rats are everywhere in the temple, running through the visitors’ feet. The rats here are protected, cared for and served like “King”.
Karni Mata Temple is probably the most popular destination in Bikaner, India. It is currently home to about 25,000 black rats. Therefore, people and tourists are still used to calling by the more rustic name “Temple of the Rat”.
The temple is about 30 minutes away from New Delhi. From outside, the temple is no different than many other temples throughout India. But if you pay attention, right from the outside carved motifs, you’ll see a lot of mouse images outside the gate of the temple.
If in other places, mice are considered to be pests that should be destroyed, then at Karni Mata temple, they are cared for, protected and served as “princes”. At this temple, rats are worshiped by humans, people never kill them. Locals believe that, after their death, they will be reborn as rats in the temple.
In fact, this temple worships the goddess Karni Mata incarnation of the goddess of strength and victory. The temple was built in 1900. Visitors will see the image of this goddess entering the cathedral inside.
The story is that the youngest son of the goddess Karni Mata unfortunately drowned. Too suffering, the goddess pleaded with the god of death Yama resurrected his son. Initially, the god Yama refused but the motherly love of the mother caused the Spirit to die and reborn the goddess Karni Mata into a mouse.
Mouse Temple is free for guests to visit. When coming here, visitors leave their shoes outside. Around 7am is the time when the mouse goes out to look for food. The whole yard was filled with tens of thousands of rats running around, standing around the milk pots. If you are afraid of mice, this is really a “horrifying” scene.
Entering the temple, visitors need to pay attention to avoid the shock to the mice and to respect them. If unfortunately killing a child by stepping down, pilgrims will seek to atone by buying a mouse-shaped figurine, cast from gold or silver to worship.
People or visitors to the temple often bring food for rats. In addition, they regularly drink milk. Sometimes pilgrims also eat the same meal with the mouse because they think that the food they eat is considered an honor. People also designed shelter for rats and made railing barricades carefully so that they were not attacked by outside animals.
Of the tens of thousands of black rats living in temples, some have white fur, considered particularly sacred. The pilgrim believed that it was the reincarnation of Karni Mata and her son. Therefore, if anyone accidentally encounters the white mice are considered to meet blessings.