Deshnoke is a small town in Bikaner District of Rajasthan. It is about 30 kms from Bikaner city. It is on National Highway number 89 going towards Nokha and Nagaur. This small sleepy town is famous for its 600 year old temple – Karni Mata Mandir or Temple of Rats. It is believed that the temple houses around 20,000 rats, which roam, relax fearlessly in the temple compound. Almost all of them are black rats but there are few white rats also, whose sighting is considered auspicious.
The temple is a must visit if you are visiting Bikaner. These rats are called “Khaba” by the locals.
What is surprising is that instead of so many rats the place is completely free of plaque or any other disease. Devotees eat left over of prasadm eaten by rats and nothing happens to them. Another thing that one notices is that there are no baby rats in the temple in-spite of so many rats present. All seem to be same. It is believed that if a rat is killed, the devotee who killed the rat has to replace it with silver rat (Khaba). It is considered auspicious if a rats climbs your feet. What one also notices while visiting the temple is that there is foul smell of living or dead rats. Dead rats are not noticed any where in the temple.
Every year during Navratra in March-April, fair is held. There is another fair that is held during Navratra which falls in the month of September-October. The temple is visited by devotees from Rajasthan and Haryana.
The current building of the temple was constructed by Maharaj Ganga Singh in 20th Century
The temple opens at 4 am in the morning and it is advised to visit early as it gets hot during day. If going by your own vehicle, park it in front of any shop outside the temple. The shopkeeper happily takes care of the vehicle in lieu of Prasad (Offering to the God) that you buy from his shop.
Do not forget to eat Onion Kachoris from small shops outside. Thought he shops are small but they prepare some authentic Kachoris.