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The Rat Temple of Rajasthan

Posted on Friday, April 28th, 2006 at 7:55 am CET

On Friday, 17 March 2006 we visited the Karni Mata temple in Deshnok, Rajasthan, India. The temple is also sometimes called “The Rat Temple”.

This Hindu temple is devoted to Karni Mata, a goddess who is said to have reincarnated her devotees into rats upon death. Today the temple is home to hundreds of rats which represent the reincarnated. Hindus come to worship at the temple and bring offerings of sweets to the rats. The rats are sacred, and it is said that if you kill a rat (by accidentally stepping on it), you must replace the rat with its weight in silver.

Because of the somewhat sensational nature of the temple, it has also become something of a tourist attraction; however when we visited the temple we only noted one other western tourist walking among the Hindu worshippers and rats.

Rat Temple
the temple facade

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a wire over the courtyard protects the rats from raptors

Rat Temple
the interior of the temple

Rat Temple

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a lucky white rat

Visiting the temple

Most tourists visit the temple as a half-day trip from Bikaner, the nearest large city to Deshnok. We had a guide and driver for the day and our journey to Deshnok was included. As with all Hindu temples, visitors must remove their shoes before entering. It is allowed to wear socks and this is recommended. The temple floor is not filthy, but you do run the risk of accidentally stepping on some rat droppings as you tour the temple and courtyard.

Lucky rats

It is said that it is good luck to see a white rat at Karni Mata, and during our visit there were plenty of young men who offered to find a white rat for us. It is also good luck when a rat runs over your foot. This is easy to accomplish; there are some heavy rat-traffic areas along walls between rooms, and if a foot is placed in the path, it will get some rat prints on it.

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The rats drank from large saucers of milk

Here is a short video we took while at the temple.


Oct 27, 2006
7:07 pm
#1 ausaf wrote:

since u took a pic of a white rat…..u must have had ur share of good luck?

Oct 27, 2006
10:01 pm
#2 amy wrote:

We were lucky to see the white rat, certainly. I was also fortunate enough to have one rat run over my foot a while later. 🙂

Nov 28, 2006
6:53 pm
#3 SANDY wrote:

I had no idea such a place existed. Last week I had a rat in my bedroom that I was so horrifed of I went to stay at a hotel for a week until we finally trapped it yesterday. Not to sound ignorant or short minded but I’m having a bit of difficulty appreciating the Karni Mata temple and it’s treasured rats at this very moment. However, this is a very interesting weblong, thanks for the info.

Nov 28, 2006
7:42 pm
#4 fatima wrote:

Lucky RAT

but it is soooooo WIREEEEED!!!!!! imagine rats every where eating with you sleeping with you. It is interesting PLACE ” But its NOT healthy ”

and keep going to strange places

May 31, 2007
6:41 am
#5 Bianca wrote:

I think the rat temple is cool. Everywhere else in the world rats are tormented, hunted and killed, not to mention tortured endlessly in science labs.

Why shouldn’t they have one place where they are safe and honored. I think we owe it to them.
Oh and in response to the last comment ‘imagine having rats sleeping with you and eating with you…”
well I DO! I keep my rats inside the house and I couldn’t imagine life without them. I love them and they are gorgeous-I kiss them as well!
Rats rule!

Jun 16, 2007
9:18 am
#6 lovely wrote:

I had seen this in some programme on discovery channel..really incredible!

Jul 3, 2007
3:47 pm
#7 Dheeraj wrote:

Hindus have always respected nature in any form be it Panchabhootas ( 5 Eliments ) Indian belief associates the origin of life with the five basic elements (Pancha – five, Bhootam – Element) of Wind, Water, Fire, Earth and Space (ether). In Sanskrit, these elements are referred to as Vayu, Jalam (Apah), Agni, Prithvi and Aakasam. The Indian system of belief in Divinity also worships the divine as a manifestation of these basic elements. Accordingly, Shiva is worshipped as a manifestation of these elements in five ancient temples in India.

The great practice of Ahimsa ( Non violence ) included vegetarianism with the sole intention not to hurt other animals. Please visit the link below for a fantastic article on vegitarianism.

Happy reading……

Please visit this BBC website

Jul 28, 2007
9:06 pm
#8 Sajal Sharma wrote:

Hinduism respects every creatures.Loving creatures is one of the noble ways to God.I heard about the temple and watched some clips published in Youtube.But only thing hurt me that someone said that this is the real Hinduism,they are worshipping rats.I watched some christian missionaries are condemning Hinduism with fake informations.I like to say that before comment we should know fully about.Hinduism allows loving creatures,respecting creatures.But sometimes followers do extra things what they shouldn’t or maybe they do it with emotions.The followers should know about real Hinduism so that they can protect other fundamentalist of other relegions condemning their own relegion.One clip a missionary(christian) said about cast system that Hidus worship rats but some areas humen of several casts are untouchable.It’s true.But the missionary is condemning Hinduism.Hinduism never says this otherwise we could find it in Bhagvat Gita or Vedha.This cast system is classification of individuals by their proffessions but not by birth.But in society the bigwig of society made it by birth for their power.classification by proffessions is available every society.For example;if i teach then i am a teacger.If i do nursing ,i am nurse.So what’s the problem?When i will learn about all sacred scriptures and will teach people and perform rituals to God then I am Brahmin(one cast in Hinduism).When i will protect my country and rule my country then i am Kshatriya(cast in Hinduism).When i will do business i am Baishya.When i will serve the people I am Shudra.But the power lover dishonests cganged the systems.with the time wrong system is now a usual system.But we all who know should not condemn Hinduism.Hinduism always stands for humanity.I am writing so much today.I am a cosmopolitan person.i mean i respect all relegions,dogmas which are for humanity.Condemning other relegions only brings clashes.we should not condemn without knowing reality.

Aug 3, 2007
5:01 am
#9 Jennifer wrote:

I have a pet rat my self… I saved him my brother had a snake and I left for the day and there was Two rats and i came back with only one i was horrifyied these rats were living a sad life in t tiny cage he had bought to kept them in when he stocked up and the two had been scared and hundled together for the weeks he had them.. I had asked him to sell the snake and he had agreed i was searching for a good cage for them but when he fed one to the snake while was out… he ended up selling the snake a week later but that damage was done the remaining rat is afraid of everything i take very good care of him. I think the rat temple is amazing part of me is distrubed i mean i dont sleep with my rat but it seems like an great place to go visit.. i was sadden though when on another website i saw that the weaker sicker rats are attacked and driven out of the temple but the stronger healthier rats. There was a partically sad picture of a rat and his tail was all bitten up.. sorry im a dork.

Sep 27, 2007
3:03 pm
#10 The Scientist wrote:

-by the way, rats living in a temple, with stone floors and such is much different then living in a house with someone.I really hope that you are not keeping your rats out in your house, pooping on the carpet and living in the walls. That is disgusting unsafe and unsanitary. They chew everything like electrical equipment. I bet at the temple they don’t have much electricity, or wires out in the open?
-really I love rats and have 5 pets they are kept in clean cages eating lab blocks and water mainly. It keeps them healthy.
-Also and most importantly I do believe is using rats as a research tool. Please don’t openly say, I don’t like how rat are treated cruelly in labs. Do you research first. They are necessary for us to find cures to disease. ****I bet that if you come down with some horrible illness and you have 2 choices to take the medicine developed experimentally with the use of rats or to die, what would you choose? Now keep in mind so rats had to die for this… just like a PETA spokeswoman who is on INSULIN –guess where that comes from! –look into it before you comment and THEN come post your blog

Oct 15, 2007
4:27 pm
#11 Jenny wrote:

I must say, that this reportage of the rat temple was very cool! I had a couple of rats some years ago and they are wonderful pets! I loved them with my hole heart. Its very nice to know that some people in the world is nice to the rats and honer them and their spirits. Because I love rats so much this was very fun to read about and hopefully I will take a long trip to India and visit this great temple!!

Nov 21, 2007
10:11 pm
#12 lily wrote:

hi i have 2 pet rats and i thnk that its so cruel to kill, torture or harm them
and they’re so tame intelligent and sensitive and affectionate i dont see why anyone would hate them, i mean whatever have they done to us on perpose?!!

Nov 22, 2007
10:30 pm
#13 arihant wrote:

mind blowing

Dec 1, 2007
5:34 am
#14 ryan wrote:

The rat temple rules! Living with rats is wonderful (though the feral kind can test my patience). To ‘The Scientist” : vivsection and animal testing are outmoded. I had a friend die of cancer who refused any medication that was tested on animals, instead he opted to be the ‘lab rat’ for any new treatments or medications, and he wasnt the only patient I knew of who wanted the drugs tested on them, not some other animal. ‘Thalidomide babies’ were still causing controversy then. Whatever happened to that rat (or was it a mouse?) that had an ear attached to its back? how did that advance or expand our understanding of things? Rats are much maligned and victimised, and abused. They are sensitive, social animals who clean themselves more often than cats and generally like hanging around with humans. Go the rat!

Jan 2, 2008
6:16 am
#15 Karl Emmanuel Carrascal wrote:

January 2, 2008

Ms. Amy Evenstad


100% PINOY is a Philippine cultural program which airs every Thursday night after Saksi on GMA7. The show features Filipino Culture and Ingenuity and aims to strengthen the Filipino identity. It is hosted by Ms. Miriam Quiambao and Mr. Joaquin Valdes. This program is also aired internationally through GMA Pinoy TV.

Currently, we are working on our New Year episode that will be aired on January 3, 2008. We are featuring RATS in connection with the start of the Year of the Rat in 2008. As part of the segment, we shall also include how other Asian nations treat Rats in society. We have come to know that an Indian temple was built as home to mice; in line with this, we seek permission to air the photo of the Karnimata Rat Temple at Bikaner which you have in your webpage. The said photos shall significantly support the segment.

Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me at my mobile number 0906.4564474 or 982-7777 local 1445.

We apologize for the urgency of our request. We hope for your favorable response. Thank you very much.

Respectfully yours,
Karl Emmanuel Carrascal
Program Researcher, 100% Pinoy

Jan 14, 2008
9:22 am
#16 Slap Happy wrote:

It’s so nice to see that rats are appreciated. They’re such fantastic little creatures, incredibly smart too! I had no idea such a place existed, I’ll have to visit for myself sometime! Thanks for the info! 🙂

Feb 26, 2008
11:46 am
#17 manish wrote:

i like it

Mar 16, 2008
10:45 pm
#18 Angela wrote:

I love rats! That’s so nice that theres a place for these beautiful animals in this world where they’re not being killed. My aunt has two wild rats that live in her backgarden. They will actully come outside and take food from our hands! By the way ‘The Scientist’, every animal is important and linked to each other. Every living creature is an induvidual (please say I spelled that right!). I’m a vegetarin and I am totally against animal curalty and hunting. I live trap all the mice and rats that come to my house and let them go at the different walking triales. Why kill them? It’s kinda like saying “There are so many people, two or three killed won’t make a difference!” Anyway I’m going to add that temple on my travel list!

Mar 20, 2008
9:49 am
#19 kate wrote:

it is always gud to learn something new bout the world bt the truth is
rats are filthy animals you crazy people!

Apr 19, 2008
9:54 pm
#20 jake wrote:

i am doing a paper and project on this temple im going to make a moddle of this and give it to my teacher im in 9th grade soo this was vary helpfull.i like site alot and rats r cool but scare me 2…:D yea soo keep it upp cool site

May 5, 2008
2:37 am
#21 E wrote:

i have never been near a rat, but even i know rats are as beautiful as tigers, as graceful as swans, as soft as rabbit’s fur, as dangerous as butterflies, and as amazing as the sunset. Only nature can be described as magnificent.

May 11, 2008
4:09 am
#22 Jade wan wrote:

I didnt know this place existed. How amazing! I have pet rats and they are a great, loving, loyal, highly intelligent creatures. So many people discriminate against them, mostly through sheer ignorance, rats didnt spread the plague, they were simply the chosen hosts for the fleas which carried the disease. Rats died from it too! So to all the people out there your cat or dog could potentially be a host for the flea which spread the plague, so having your rat living in your house is no more disgusting than living with your cat or dog. Hows that perspective? Broaden your mind a little?

Jun 3, 2008
8:05 pm
#23 Ingrid wrote:

I have pet rats too. They are litter trained, and spend about a their of their lives grooming themselves. They are very clean little animals in addition to being smart, sweet, affectionate, and very interactive with each other and with humans. To the young woman who saved the rat that her brother was going to feed to the snake: thank you for saving the rat! And consider getting another rat for him or her. They really need a rat friend (but don’t get the opposite sex or you’ll have too many rats!). I would love to see the rat temple too.

Jun 17, 2008
6:00 am
#24 Ann wrote:

I like the rats. I’m glad the rats have a place of their own like this temple in India. Poor rats are persecuted just about everywhere else. When I was a young child, my mother would send me out in the back yard to eat my lunch at my little picnic table. My Dad had a big stack of bridge timbers, under which lived a family of gray rats. The rats used to come out and sit by my feet and ask for me to share my lunch with them. I used to give them pieces of my food. Later on I discovered an entire extended colony of rats in the sewers under my neighborhood, and in the abandoned grain elevator along the rairoad tracks nearby. The rats were always nice to me when I crawled around in the sewers, and in the old grain elevator. I thought the rats were cute, and I always brought some food to share with them. I happened to mention this once to my mother, and she nearly had a fit. “Dirty nasty rats,” she called them. I disagreed. By that time I had learned the rats were clean, polite, organized, smart, and good little companions. From then on, the neighborhood rats remained my secret. 20 years later as a young mother myself, I learned the old grain elevator in my childhood neighborhood was going to be demolished and remodeled into condos. I went and live trapped some of the rats. I brought them home as pets for myself and my children. Its been another 20 years since I did that, and now my children are grown and moved away. I still have the descendants of my first live trapped rats. They are great little animals.

Jul 12, 2008
11:53 am
#25 elisabeth watson wrote:

Well Rats have a bad illness. So rats sould me eatin by cats. Rats are very bad animals in your world.
Well that is it! Elisabeth Watson

Jul 16, 2008
2:30 pm
#26 seo india wrote:

eekss.. the sight of rats freak me out..

Jul 16, 2008
5:59 pm
#27 Sakki wrote:

Well, I say rats are awesome too.
Not all rats carry bad diseases, seriously, if they do carry such illnesses why would there be pet rats. i think Cats are great too, but if they eat my rats…
(don’t have any but i’m gonna get a pair)
…i’m gonna keep them in a traveling cage for a week to punish them.

Oct 5, 2008
11:25 am
#28 Dr Elma Ross wrote:

Rats are associated with plagues. They tend to carry disease. They also tend to destroy crops, and, obviously, by the sight of it, many hungry Indians could have a better life if the resources did not go towards keeping these rats.
In modern psychology, this would surely present a situation of dysfunction. If India has many such enterprises, then the West should not feel obliged towards helping the poor in that country.

Nov 4, 2008
7:08 pm
#29 Robinogs wrote:

WOW some of you people are so closed minded and ignorant about this.
SOO many other things carry disease, destroy crops etc… but poor ratties get such bad press. If you don’t appreciate this fantastic place for whatever ridiculous reason then don’t say anything!!

Rats are amazing, and anyone who disagrees is an idiot!

Feb 11, 2009
12:44 pm
#30 DD7 wrote:

rats are sick and that display is disgusting

Mar 2, 2009
8:54 am
#31 Jamie wrote:

You must of been fairly lucky to take a photo of a white rat! Looking very good!

Aug 10, 2009
1:18 pm
#32 Andrew wrote:

What a great and informative article. I saw an episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bordain about this temple, I’d love to visit but haven’t seemed to gotten an excuse to travel all the way over there.

Nov 8, 2009
8:38 am
#33 Shaan Saxena wrote:

I would like to say that everyone should once visit this temple. It is truly amazing.

Nov 14, 2009
8:15 pm
#34 Laura wrote:

Thank you for the article. I’ve been to India three times and am sorry I missed visiting the rat temple. I do understand that there are many people living in poverty around the world, but also think it’s unfair to take the viewpoint that all human problems must be fixed before we can extend consideration to nature and animals. The human population is so enormous and there is so much habitat loss for wildlife. Our species has taken far more than our share of the resources alloted by God. My daughter and I have had altogether 6 rats over the past several years. Our first was a (dumbo?) He was the size of a guinea pig and every bit as affectionate and loving as our cats. In fact, he made friends with our orange tabby cat, Arthur. On the day I had to put him to sleep because he had a tumor which was making it hard for him to breathe, he snuggled up next to Arthur on my lap. Our others were just as loving and each had their own individual little personalities. I had the two males neutered so that they could live with the females. They make wonderful pets.

Jan 21, 2010
12:26 pm
#35 Electriclynn wrote:

Love the blog of this vacation. My mother & daughter are both rats in the chinese zodiac & blonde. We consider ourselves very lucky & so do my son’s two rats who cherish having a nice home with family <3 Thank You for this post… a we bit later than 2006 :o)

Apr 14, 2010
5:02 am
#36 priya wrote:

I would like to say that everyone should once visit this temple. It is truly amazing.i didnt saw the temple but im going in these vacations, i will have fun, they say if we see a white mouse in that temple n make a wish it will get fullfill. 🙂 😀 im getting waiting when will i meet this temple:)

Apr 14, 2010
5:07 am
#37 priya shahdadpuri wrote:

i have never been near a rat, but even i know rats are as beautiful as birds, as graceful as swans, as soft as rabbit’s fur, as dangerous as butterflies, and as amazing as the sunset. Only nature can be described as magnificent.i want to visit this place madly.:) 🙂

Apr 14, 2010
5:17 am
#38 vaibhavta shahdadpuri wrote:

im 10 years old.I would like to say that everyone should once visit this temple. It is truly amazing.i havnt visited this temple but im going in these vacations im thinking how would the temple be.i cant wait to see the white mouse hope n pray my wishes come true.:):):) im waiting :D:D:D

Apr 25, 2010
12:37 am
#39 Ratty Gramma wrote:

I have 7 pet rats. They live in a huge ferrett cage and get daily free roam time out of their cage 🙂 I REALY want to visit this Temple!

Rats are MUCH cleaner than people realise. As for plague…FLEAS were the source of the plage, rats were just the vehicles that fleas used to carry them (and the disease) far and wide.

One day I want to visit the temple and sit as long as they will let me, among any and all rats that would honor me with their attention 🙂

Oct 13, 2010
12:22 pm
#40 eman wrote:

There is no god but God you worship rats without God not you ask yourselves what you can do your rats can you protect you or you can heal Otahbunha Otabdunha Otkdssounaa without God What do you do on your account you will protect you from the fire of hell … not up to you, and ye turn away about Islam

Aug 27, 2011
11:03 am
#41 Satish Chopra wrote:

There are very many aspects of blind faith and foolishness. This is perhaps one of the reasons of backwardness of head and heart. We don’t have sufficient food for a sizable population. But, a large number of mentally bankrupt and classical orthodox society of India worship rats.

I happened to visit the aforesaid place (in any case I will call it a temple) in the year 1986 and was indeed shocked to observe the stupidity of the persons responsible for creating such filth.

Sep 25, 2011
5:57 am
#42 Rajasthan Vaction wrote:

Deshnok, Rajasthan, offers little else for sightseeing so there is no need to stay on after viewing the Karni Mata rats. Refreshments plus various trinkets are sold across the street from Karni Mata Temple.

Bus and train service run daily between Bikaner and/or Jodhpur. Taxis as well as private car service can also be hired in either city.

Nov 7, 2011
2:06 am
#43 dju wrote:

you are of giving glory to mouses instead of worship the creator of all these things.

Nov 7, 2011
2:09 am
#44 dju wrote:

you are mad . How can you worship the creation instead of worshiping the creator?
Continue to worship animals but be sure the day shall come where you will be submitted to the anger of God.

Nov 7, 2011
2:14 am
#45 dju wrote:

The holy and only one God to worship is JESUS-CHRIST.He is no one like other.Try and you will see how much he is good, you will never be the same.He is the way, the truth, and the life.

Feb 23, 2012
9:56 am
#46 WayneeTrain wrote:

Wow , All of you weirdos appreciate these rats. I dislike them because of the diseases they can pass on.

Aug 24, 2012
3:00 am
#47 jason wrote:

When i went to rajasthan, i visit to a temple where it is believed that if you saw two white mouse together … then you are too lucky and can have a wish which should be fulfilled. However, i saw white mouse but unluckily only one… i don know the story is true or not but i really want to see them together.

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