Yes, it sounds weird, but there is a temple of rats dedicated to Karni Mata at Deshnok, 30 km from Bikaner in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Approximately 20,000 black rats live in this temple, and is highly revered by the devotees. The temple draws devotees and visitors from across the country for blessings. You can also see tourists from around the world flocking to this small town out of curiosity.
According to legend, Karni Mata a 14th century incarnation of Durga, asked the god of death, Yama, to restore to life the son of a grieving storyteller. When Yama refused, Karni Mata reincarnated all dead storytellers as rats, depriving Yama of human souls. It is considered auspicious if the rats scamper over your feet. These holy rodents are locally called as ‘kabas’. There are few white rats in the temple which are considered to be especially holy. Please look for one of the rare white rats. It is good luck for you if you could spot one. Unfortunately I couldn’t spot one, my bad luck.
The temple was constructed in its current form in the early 20th century in the late Mughal style by Maharaj Ganga Singh of Bikaner. In front of the temple is a beautiful marble façade, which has solid silver doors built by Maharaja Ganga Singh. The image of the Goddess is enshrined in the inner sanctum.
Karni Mata Fair is held twice a year at Deshnok – the first and larger fair is held in March-April and the second one is held in September-October. During this time thousands of people travel to the temple by foot.
The temple appeared on the first season of the U.S. reality series ‘The Amazing Race’ in 2001. It featured a challenge were one person from each team had to search the temple for a clue. The Karni Mata temple is one of the wonders of Indians in the game Age of Empires III.