Rajasthan, is one those states in India, which is renowned for its ancient cultural tradition. It is the land of forts and palaces. Karni Mata Festival is one of the most famous ocassion in the state. The festival is also one of the major tourist location in Rajasthan.
Deshnok town in Bikaner is the host of this promising occasion. The festival is held twice a year. The bigger festival is for 10 days during Navaratas i.e. in March-April. You can also take part in the festival between September-October which will be quite smaller than former. The people celebrate this festival with enthusiasm.
There is an interesting story behind Karni Mata Festival. It is dedicated to spiritual Karni Mata who was believed to have supernatural influences. She lived her life serving poor and needy individuals. She was worshipped as a Goddess in the district of Bikaner. After her mysterious disappearance from her house, her devotees made a temple for worship. Since then, people visit this 600 year old temple for sacred sign from deity Karni Mata.
The temple is constructed with marbles and stones. It is also home to thousands of brown rats. They are considered very sacred and highly protected. They have been residing in the temple for years but yet today amazingly there have been no reports of any rat diseases. It is believed that feeding the rats would bring good luck. The offerings are generally in the form of milk, grains and sweets.
Special preparations are made in the temple for the festival. The idol of deity Karni Mata is wonderfully decorated with a golden crown. It is also decorated with expensive jewelleries and garlands. The local Brahmin starts the festival with a prayer service and aarti. The temple is made open to visitors from 4 am. People start gathering in the temple early in the morning with bhog(Prasad) and garlands for the deity.
Various stalls and shops are installed outside the temple dealing especially with sacred and holy things that people like to offer. The ten day festival remains crowded all the time.
Universal brotherhood and love are clearly reflected. Tourists are heartily welcome and people are very genial. May be this is the reason why the festival attracts more and more visitors not just from India but also around the world. The famous temple is situated 30 kms away from Bikaner.
Written By: Suraj Srivastava