Photographer's Note

Isn't cute? I think it is quite nice. And so similar to its silver image!

The Karni Mata temple lies in Deshnok, only 30km from Bikaner. It was first built in the 15th century, but was completed in the early 1900s by maharajah Gangha Singh who also donated the temple’s beautifully crafted silver gates and many sculpted pieces of white marble.

Thousands of people come here every day to worship and make offerings to these rats.
There are some strange things going on at Karni Mata. Although there are over 20 000 rats living here, and no one prevents them from running away, none of them have ever tried to leave the temple. They walk around the devotees, minding their own business and sometimes climb on their shoulders, head or arms, which is considered to be a sign of blessing.

Kaba, as the Karni Mata rats are called never once attacked any of the temple visitors and in all its history there hasn’t been any report of rat-related diseases. The devotees first offer grains, milk and sweets to the Kaba and then they share the leftovers among themselves. The water from which the Kaba drink is considered holy water.

Another interesting fact about the rats of Karni Mata is that no one really knows how they reproduce. No one has ever seen baby rats in the temple, all the Kaba are the same standard size and weight. The number of rats at Karni Mata has remained constant, around 20 000, ever since anyone can remember.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10615 W: 146 N: 26743] (128301)
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