00:09 • Karni Mata Temple
05:16 • brass band and dance
India is a fascinating country, where myths often become realities. And religious fervor does the rest.
If there is a temple in Rajasthan dedicated to a Royal Enfield motorcycle, there is also another one, much older, home to thousands of rats. This temple is located in the small town of Deshnoke, also in Rajasthan.
Karni Mata temple
This temple was built during the lifetime of an ascetic (sadhu), Karni Mata, who lived in the 15th and 16th century and who was considered the incarnation of the goddess Durga. This goddess was revered by the royal families of Jodhpur and Bikaner.
Karni Mata means "mother of miracles".
The temple has evolved over time and was completed at the beginning of the 20th century by the Maharadhah of Bikaner Ganga Singh who endowed it with heavy silver doors and marble sculptures.
The rats housed in the temple of Karni Mata are obviously sacred and treated as such.
Karni Mata's rats history
One day Karni Mata implored the god of the dead (Yama) to resuscitate the son of one of her poet and storyteller friends. Yama's role in the divine administration of Hinduism is to distribute new births (reincarnation) of the deads according to the acts of their previous life.
Yama first refused this favor to Karni Mata before agreeing to resuscitate not only the storyteller's son, but also all the storytellers and poets in the form of rats, vehicle of the god Ganesh, the elephant-headed god.
We understand immediately better why these rats are sacred. These are not ordinary rats, but 25,000 reincarnated poets.
Among these rats, some are even more sacred than others. They are white rats, which would be a reincarnation of Karni Mata herself. Seeing a white rat bodes very well.
Feeding the rats
All of these rats are fed by the devotees who consider the food touched by the saliva of these rats to be sacred, and it is not uncommon to see devotees dip their finger in the bowl of milk deposited for the rats and licking their finger after that.
Feast day at the temple ...
Unfortunately the crowd was very dense on the day of our visit. A large feast gathered thousands of worshipers, and we chose not to enter the temple. The reason for this choice was twofold. On the one hand to avoid being oppressed by the crowd and on the other hand to make room for believers who did not go there as tourists, but as fervent worshipers of Karni Mata and the goddess Durga.
about the place, Deshnoke:
Deshnoke is a small town in Rajasthan with about 20,000 inhabitants. It is famous for its Karni Mata temple which was built around 600 years ago. This temple is dedicated to rats and houses 25,000 of them. Legend has it that Laxman, the son of Karni Mata, a Hindu warrior, reincarnation of the goddess Durga, drowned and Karni Mata implored Yama to resuscitate him, which he refused. Later he agreed to revive Laxman, as well as all of Karni Mata's male children in the form of rats.
Karni Mata would therefore have had 25,000 male children ... but hey, she was not of divine origin for nothing.
Spoken comments in the film:
The famous rat temple was celebrating. We preferred to stay outside not because of the presence of rats but because of that of a compact and very large crowd which would have deprived us of an optimal visit anyway.
There are many videos showing these rats, but not much retracing the atmosphere in front of the temple on a feast day.
- Suresh Prajapati (Inde) - Indian Classical Instrumental - Flute Tabla Raga 1, Suresh Prajapati
(Inde) - Rajasthan vol 1. Musiciens professionnels populaires. - Solo de Murali avec Accompagnement de Vièle, Ocora (OCR 81)