Rajasthan has always been a land of mystery and wonders. Once such wonder is found almost 10 kms. from Bikaner, called Deshnoke. Through a short series of photographs let’s empower our curiosity about the ancient Karni Mata Temple, or what the world calls it, The Rat Temple of India.

Brown furry rats crisscrossing the marble floors of the 600 years old Karni Mata Temple (Rajasthan) where they co-exist with humans.

Home to about 20,000 rats, at Karni Mata temple they are treated like royalty. In this picture squirming masses of rats are enjoying the milk poured out in large saucers for them. Stepping over any rat is considered a bad omen.

The rats live in their community peacefully and the human interference doesn’t seem to bother them. In this photograph I captured few rats sneaking behind a Dholak Wala who holds regular folk and religious musical sessions inside the temple premises.

Cute little rodent creatures are sunbathing on a bright winter noon. I love how that fat rat in the middle is looking into my camera with his sleepy eyes.

People from distant lands come to witness the rat society and worship them. They come in direct contact with these animals and rats too interact with humans in their own ways. There has never been a case of plague or other diseases transferred from the rats to humans and seen as divine protection from Karni Mata (The Rat Goddess). In this picture, a woman of faith is feeding a rat in order to impress the Rat Goddess and earn her blessings. Karni Mata Temple is a great example how bizarre can faith and religion be and to what extent people follow them. I loved my journey to Deshnoke (in Rajasthan) where this temple is situated. The locals loved telling me little intriguing anecdotes about this place and its importance. Karni Mata Temple is where curiosity ends and begins.

(Pictures by Kshitij Choudhary shot in December 2015)

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