Rajasthan is among those destinations in India which is worldly famous for its ancient and cultural heritage. The state is well known for its forts and palaces. However, it is also the land of enchanting festivals and fairs. Karni Mata Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Rajasthan. The festival is also one of the major tourist attractions in the state.
The festival is dedicated to the divine Karni Mata. It is believed that the mystical goddess posses supernatural powers. According to Hindu mythology, she lived her life serving poor and needy people. The festival is predominantly celebrated in Deshnoke town in Bikaner where her devotees established a temple to worship her.
The festival is held twice a year during the Navratras. The bigger and more significant festival is held for 10 days during March-April. The second time it happens between September-October, but not as grand as the former one. The festival is celebrated open heartedly.
The festival/mela is held right next to the beautiful temple and features various cultural and religious programs. The temple opens at 4 am on the first day of the festival to worship the deity. The idol of the Goddess is beautifully decorated with a golden crown, expensive pieces of jewelry and garlands. The puja includes offering Bhog and Prasad to the deity, which is followed by Aarti.
A huge number of tourists come to this fair to get acquainted with the rich religious traditions of the place. The beautiful architecture of the temple made up of marble stone is a pretty sight to the tourists. The statue of the Goddess is made up of yellow marble. The money generated during the fair is used to run and maintain the temple. The temple is also known as the Rat Temple of India due to the presence of a large number of rats in the compound.
This amazing fair in this astonishing temple is gaining popularity every year. People often come here just to see the rats as it is believed that spotting a white rat among the brown ones is a sign of great good luck.
The temple is open in Summer:4:00AM-9:00PM and in Winter:5:00AM-9:00PM.
How to Reach: Karni Mata Temple of Deshnoke is located 30 km from Bikaner.
By Road: The temple is easily accessible by regular buses from Bikaner and Jodhpur. One can also hire taxis for a comfortable journey, which are available from throughout the Rajasthan. There are plenty of private buses available which leave regularly from Bikaner for about Rs.20.
By Train: It is well connected with a number of trains as well from Jodhpur-Bikaner rail line having railway station at Deshnoke.