Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tourists Attractions In Rajasthan

Karni Mata Temple, Bikaner
Karni Mata Temple, 30 miles south of Bikaner in Deshnoke, is one of the strangest holy spots in India. We left Bikaner and were on route to Jodhpur when Bela asked us if we wanted to stop at the "Rat Temple" which was on our way. The Karni Mata Temple situated in Deshnok near Bikaner is one of the strangest holy spots in the whole of India. It is certainly not for the diffident as rats are much revered here. The resident deity of the complex is Karni Mata, considered an incarnation of Durga, who lived in the 15th century. She was patronised by the Rathore clan of Bikaner. It was she who predicted great glory for Bika when he set out to establish a kingdom for himself (see History of Bikaner ).
The Rat Legend
How the furry rodents came to acquire holy status has an interesting anecdote behind it. Apparently Karni Mata once tried to restore a dead child of a storyteller back to life but failed, as Yama, the god of death had already accepted his soul and re-incarnated him in human form. Karni Mata, famed for her legendary temper, was so inflamed by her failure that she announced that no one from her tribe would fall into Yama’s hands again. Instead, when they died all of them would temporarily inhabit the body of a rat before being reborn into the tribe. Hence the mousy creatures – known as kabas – are considered to be incarnations of storytellers and are much revered.
The temple itself was erected by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the early 20th century and is built in the late Mughal style. The entrance to the temple complex has beautifully sculpted marble panelling, with intricate patterns, a tribute to the fine workmanship of the artisans who constructed it. It is lavishly decorated, especially the delicately worked doorways, colonnades, pavilions and balconies. Petalled domes rise over the sanctuary. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple depicts Karni Mata resplendent in her arrogance after slaying the buffalo-demon Mahishasura. Her inverted trident depicts the head of the demon impaled at one end.
To what lengths the high priests of Karni Mata have gone to protect the mice can be gauged from the fact that a screened ceiling has been constructed to protect the creatures from birds of prey. There are special holes around the courtyard to facilitate their movements and they prance about happily, perhaps fully aware of the fact that nowhere else would they get such five-star treatment. On entering the temple you’ll find the holy charges quite often running across your bare feet (sorry, no shoes allowed inside), and if you spot a white one it is considered a good augury for your spiritual progress.

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