Karni Mata - The Rat Temple

In a land that has 33 Gods and around two million temples of all shapes and sizes you come to expect some pretty quirky things from India. And one of the quirkiest has to be Karni Mata – The Rat Temple.

Karni Mata is a Hindu temple in Deshnoke, a small, remote town in Rajasthan, India. Karni Marta is known as the Temple of Rats due to the 20,000 black rats that live there. It draws Hindu visitors from across the country and curious tourists from around the world.

The temple was constructed by Maharaja Ganga Singh in the early 1900s. Ornate marble tiles line the entrance and floors, while intricate gold and silver decorations are spread across the walls. The ground and the walls have moved over the decades and nothing is level or straight. This along with the loud chanting (prayer) by the Hindu worshippers makes for quite a quirky scene.

Karni Mata was a highly revered female Hindu Warrior (circa 14th Century), worshipped as the incarnation of the warrior Goddess Durga. Legend has it that when Karni Mata’s stepson Laxman drowned in a pond, she prayed to the god of death Yama to revive him. Yama decided that Laxman and all of Karni Mata’s male children would be reincarnated as rats.


Karni Mata, Hindu Temple, Deshnoke, Rajasthan, India, Nathan Brayshaw


Karni Mata, Rat Temple, Rajasthan, India, Travel photography, Nathan Brayshaw Looking for something quirky? Welcome to Karni Mata Temple, Deshnoke, India.

 Black rat, Rat Temple, Rajasthan, India, Nathan Brayshaw travel photographer

Eating food or drinking milk previously sampled by a rat is considered a supreme blessing. Nothing goes to waste at Karni Mata.

 Godess Karni Mata, Rat Temple, Deshnoke Rajasthan, travel photography India, Nathan Brayshaw

In Hinduism, many deities take animal forms. 


Godess Karni Mata, Deshnoke, Rajasthan, Rat Temple, Nathan Brayshaw

Worshipping the rat godess, Karni Mata. 


Rat Temple, Karni Mata, Bikaner, Deshnoke, Rajasthan, India


Photography is not encouraged at Karni Mata and permission (along with a small donation) is required from the Hindu Priest. Flash photography is definitely a no-no, so high ISO’s and slow shutter speeds are required. You will need a very steady hand in some parts of the temple!


Karni Mata, Rajasthan, India, travel photographer Nathan Brayshaw

 You will be entering a temple, so make sure you dress appropriately. And wear socks so you can hire some snazzy white slippers! This is no place to be walking around in bare feet. And, it’s considered very auspicious for a rat to run over your feet.

How to get there How to get there
Karni Mata Temple is a 40 minute car ride from Bikaner (a very cool town off the tourist trail). Expect to pay around $50AUD (2,500 Indian Rupee) for an air-conditioned car and driver / guide for the day.
Best time of year Best time of year
Deshnoke is warm all year round. Plan your travel between October and March to avoid the extreme summer heat. Doors open at 5am so plan your visit early to avoid the heat.
Weather Weather
Deshnoke is warm all year round. Plan your travel between October and March to avoid the extreme summer heat. Doors open at 5am so plan your visit early to avoid the heat.
Currency Admission Fee
Fitness level Fitness level
Suitable for all fitness levels. There are some small steps and uneven floors, as can be expected in most temples throughout India.
Temperature Temperature
Summer temperatures can exceed 45 degrees celcius. Winter is a mild 22 degrees.

Black Rat, Karni Mata, Rat Temple, Rajasthan, India, Nathan Brayshaw travel photographer


Posted By Nathan
As a government employee by day my job is to work within strict parameters and think ‘inside the square’. Photography is in stark contrast to this, requiring patience and creativity, something I have had to learn. A (very) late bloomer in the field of photography I envied the ease at which my wife could compose a photo; yet she struggled with camera settings, so I took over in order to document our travel adventures. Four years on I can’t believe people actually like my photos.

Updated : 26th August 2021 | Words : 509 | Views : 765

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