Location: Deshnok in Bikaner, Rajasthan
Time of the year: Twice each year (March-April and September-October)
Highlights: Karni Mata temple in stone and marble
Significance: Dedicated to Karni Mata who is highly respected in the state of Rajasthan
Karni Mata fair is held twice every year at Deshnok in Bikaner district of Rajasthan. The first fair held during the Navratras in March-April, is the larger out of the two. The second fair is also held during the Navratras in the months of September-October.
This dazzling fair is held to honor the revered Karni Mata, who was a wandering ascetic with supernatural powers. The Karni Mata Fair is conducted at the shrine of Karni Mata in Deshnok.
Karni Mata, highly respected in Rajasthan, dedicated her life to the service of the poor. It is believed that she possessed the supernatural powers. The foundation of Deshnok was laid by her and she is worshipped by her followers, Charans. The Karni Mata fair is held each year in her honour.
Karni Mata Temple
The Karni Mata temple located in Deshnok is a structure in stone and marble. The temple is also known as Madh. The shrine houses a 75 centimeter image of the deity. The image is embellished with garlands and a mukut (tiara). The children of the Rajputs are brought here for seeking the deity’s blessings on Jadula (their first hair cut).
The tourists can visit the temple from 4 in the morning. The priests perform aarti (prayer) and offer bhog (specific food). The pilgrims make offerings that may either be attributed to the priests and the workers of the temple (dwar-bhent) or meant for the maintenance of the temple (kalash-bhent).
A peculiar feature of the temple is the swarm of brown rats wandering inside the temple. These rats are believed to become lucky and are made offerings by the devotees.
Many visitors throng the Karni Mata Temple during the fair to seek the blessings of Karni Mata.