Cloud Nine for Rodents – The Rat Temple ‘Karni Mata’ at Deshnok

Cows, elephants, rivers and even monkeys; in India literally everything you could bump into can be something sacred. One of the most interesting obeisances paid can be witnessed in Deshnok, a small desert town in western Rajasthan being the stage for a religious building dedicated to Karni Mata. Around this sacred patron of the Rajputs and reincarnation of Goddess Durga, the souls of the dead are gathering in the form of four-legged rodents at the Rat Temple.

The way to Deshnok is loooooooooong… Remote from touristic main arteries and within shouting distance to Pakistan, one is trundling with an average speed of 50km/h over bump hole strewn desert paths being called roads by locals. Despite being pretty time-consuming, the side trip to Deshnok’s Rat Temple is worth being made, in particular when staying in Jodhpur as even widely travelled globetrotters will never forget the jaw-dropping sight of legions of rats.

For people with a high gear musophobia the Karni Mata Temple must be hell on earth. Doesn’t matter if cast in stone, in bronze or the real and alive version that is bustling about, everywhere you are looking to are rats… Visitors are only allowed to enter the temple barefoot, which is makes you considering every step you make three times as the omnipresent rodents will bite your toes once you step on them. Also it is quite likely that no one on earth likes to step in the droppings of those moustached four-legged comrades every few meters. Rainy weather is undoubtedly something very rare to be seen in a desert town. If that’s the case though, things are getting really disgusting even for hard-boileds, as you’re walking barefoot and more or less sliding on an ugly smelling lubricating film whose actual “ingredients” no one wants to know.

Being faced with many off-key scenes, eyes of people belonging to other culture areas will surely pop out… And that is definitely only the tip of the iceberg as behind countless bolt-holes there are surely all four-legged things happening. Surprisingly this huge mass of rats doesn’t leave its home and stays inside the temple complex. The Rat Temple at Deshnok – eccentric, definitely unique word wide but also freaky in a positive meaning :-) It is quite an odd scene when people are gazing at the blond and blue eyed man and his photo equipment as if he has just left an UFO while sometimes they on the other hand eat with the rats from one pot.

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