About Karni Mata
Karni Mata, originally named Ridhu Bai, was a Hindu sage, born in the Charan clan as their 7th daughter in 1387AD. She was born in the Jodhpur district’s Suwap Village, believed to be the reincarnation of Goddess Durga.
Coming of age, she was married to Depoji Charan from Sathika Village yet never came into conjugal relationships with him, owing to her ascetic way of life. She chose to maintain her celibate nature and married her younger sister Gulab to her husband, after which she left the village to live her life like a nomad, forever away from all worldly affairs. Despite the initial humour and mockery her husband displayed, she did this in order to give him the luxury of a proper married life.
Upon wandering after leaving to lead her ascetic life, she gained several followers and a herd, finally reaching Deshnok with all of them. She settled there with them, eventually becoming Karni Mata.
In the 1400s, Goddess Karni, performed multiple miracles during her existence in India. A mystical figure, Karni Mata led an angelic life that was dedicated to serve the poor and the oppressed belonging to all major and minor communities. As the legend goes, the foundation of Deshnoke was laid by Karni Mata herself.
When her youngest son drowned, Karni Mata herself spoke to Yama, the Lord of Death, to bring her son back to life, to which Yama replied he could not. Karni Mata, being Goddess Durga’s incarnation herself restored the life of her son. It was during this time when she declared that her descendants would continue to live forever as rats and would never cease to exist. They would perpetually be born as rats, also known as kabas, locally. These rats would continue to come back as members of Karni Mata’s family. Currently, there also exist over 600 families in Deshnok itself who claim to be descendants of Karni Mata.
The Kabbas or the rats are often considered an extremely holy figure among the local people. Hindus visit the holy shrine in thousands, feeding these rats with food and sweets, which once nibbled by them is considered prestigious offerings from the Lord itself. The rats in the temple premises, when walking over your foot is considered to be a lucky sign, as the Lord’s direct blessing, and spotting a white rat among 20,000 rats is highly honourable as it is a direct blessing from Karni Mata herself.