Bikaneris a beautiful city in Rajasthan, full of old buildings and colourful markets. It's known for its rich culture and traditions. A special place to visit here is the Karni Mata Temple in Deshnoke. This temple is famous because it has about 20,000 black rats that live there and are looked after by the people. Visitors come all year to see these rats.
The temple was built in the 15th century for Goddess Karni Mata, believed to be an incarnation of Maa Durga. It's known for its mix of old Rajput and Mughal style architecture. When you visit, you can see the temple's detailed marble work and silver gates. People come here to see the rats, enjoy the temple's beauty, and learn about its history.
Karni Mata Festival 2024 Dates & Venue
Apart from the presence of these rats, the temple is also famous for the Karni Mata Festival aka Karni Mata Fair held twice a year during Navratri time that is during April-May and October-November; the one happening in the months between April and May being more extravagant and vivid. It takes place twice in a year during Ashwin Shukla Ekam to Ashwin Shukla Dashmi and Chaitra Shukla Ekam to Chaitra Shukla Dashmi. There are no exact dates of the festival as it varies as per traditional Hindu calendar. The festival is held at Deshnok near Bikaner.
History & Significance of Karni Mata Festival
Karni Mata Temple in Deshnok, Bikaner has immense religious significance. Popular as the “temple of rats”, this temple is home to 20,000 rats who are worshipped and revered by the devotees. These rats are also known as ‘kabbas.’ There are a few white rats amidst the majority population of black rats. Sighting of white rats is considered as very auspicious. It is believed that people who get to see white rats can look forward to transforming their dreams into a reality. The Karni Mata Festival is celebrated with great pomp and show, immense devotion and reverence to Karni Mata. People from far and wide areas visit the temple during Navratri when the festival is held at the temple. They pay their respects to the deity and seek her blessings. Several folklores and legendary stories are associated with this temple. The significance of this temple is evident in the fact that it is visited by thousands of devotees every year and the number is constantly increasing.
Major Attractions Of Karni Mata Fair 2024
1. A Joyous & Divine Affair
As this festival begins, the idol of Goddess Karni Mata is decorated with a golden crown, garlands, embellished clothes, and intricate jewelry. The gates of the temple are opened from 4:00 am for the devotees. After this, the priests perform all the ceremonial rituals and offer Bhog (Prasadam) to the deity. Due to its traditional and cultural significance, this fair attracts a considerable crowd from all across the country.
2. A Nice Blend of Religious & Cultural Programmes
This fair is organized by the local committee of the temple itself. Devotees especially come to the shrine and offer their prayers for fulfilling their wishes and leading a prosperous life. Besides the religious sentiments associated with the fair, one can also enjoy many cultural and religious programs.
3. Shopping for Trinkets and Pooja Material
The fair is also the best place to buy colourful trinkets to use as home decor or souvenirs. Several shops sell pooja samagri that devotees love to buy for their home temples. Some of the major things available in the shops are diyas, agarbatti, mata ki chunri, and more.
How To Reach Deshnok, Bikaner
Deshnok, Bikaner is easily accessible by major modes of transportation. The roads are well-metalled and easy to access. Here are the travel details on how you can reach here by the following means of public transportation and attend the Karni Mata Mela in Bikaner.
Deboard at Jodhpur Airport (JDH) situated at an approximate distance of 200-250 km. The airport is well routed with nearby cities and states with overall good flight connectivity. Once off your flight, take any local public transport available like a cab and travel to your desired location.
Distance From Jodhpur Airport. 216 Km
If planning to travel via train then you can consider deboarding at Lalgarh Railway Station (LGH) or Bikaner Junction (BKN) located at an approximate distance of 32 and 30 km respectively. Both the stations are well connected from nearby cities and states. Here is how you can reach here from the following places.
Distance From Bikaner Junction. 29.5 Km
Distance From Lalgarh Railway Station. 32.7 Km
Depending upon your geographical location, that is to say, if you are residing in any nearby regions then planning a road trip to Bikaner can be a fairly good option. State-run buses/ private buses are easily available from nearby towns and cities at fairly affordable prices. You can also consider traveling via your own vehicle or hiring a private cab as well.
Visiting Bikaner and the Karni Mata Temple is a unique experience. It's not just about seeing rats in a temple, but also about experiencing a different part of Indian culture and tradition. This place shows how people in India respect all forms of life, making it a really interesting spot for tourists.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Karni Mata Festival 2024
Ques 1. When is Karni Mata Fair organised?
Ans 1. Karni Mata Fair is organised during Navratri. It takes place twice in a year during Ashwin Shukla Ekam to Ashwin Shukla Dashmi and Chaitra Shukla Ekam to Chaitra Shukla Dashmi.
Ques 2. Why is Karni Mata Temple also known as the rat temple?
Ans 2. Karni Mata Temple is also known as the rat temple because of its whopping rat population somewhere around 20,000 residing in the temple premises. The majority of rats are black but there are a few white rats too. Sighting of white rats is considered very propitious as these are considered as incarnations of Goddess Karni Mata and her four sons.
Ques 3. What rituals are performed during the Karni Mata Fair?
Ans 3. During the Karni Mata Fair, devotees perform various rituals including offering prayers to Goddess Karni Mata, feeding the sacred rats, and participating in aartis and bhajans. Special offerings like sweets and milk are made to the rats. The festival also involves singing devotional songs and reenacting tales from the life of Karni Mata.
Ques 4. Can visitors touch or feed the rats at Karni Mata Temple?
Ans 4. Visitors are allowed to feed the rats at Karni Mata Temple. It is considered auspicious to offer them food like sweets and milk. However, touching the rats is generally discouraged to ensure their safety and well-being. Visitors are advised to walk carefully to avoid harming the rats.
Ques 5. What is the significance of sighting a white rat at Karni Mata Temple?
Ans 5. Spotting a white rat at Karni Mata Temple is considered very lucky and a blessing. White rats are rare and are believed to be manifestations of Karni Mata and her four sons. Devotees seek to spot these white rats as it is thought to bring good fortune and divine blessings.
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