4th Mar – 7th day of roadtrip continued: Bikaner had left a rustic feel in our minds!
Our guide at Junagarh fort had suggested that we should visit Karni Mata temple (known as Rat temple) also which is situated in Deshnok just 30 kms from Bikaner. We got in two minds! I had, since my childhood, heard about this weird temple. The guide recited a 500 year old interesting story about the Temple which goes like this – Somewhere near Deshnok a battle was being fought. The soldiers of the losing side ran away from the battle ground to save their lives and reached Deshnok. Karni Mata on knowing about this, decided to punish the soldiers for the sin they had committed and converted them into rats instead and spared their lives. The army decided to stay in the temple and serve Karni Mata forever. The army was 20,000 strong and even now they say that there are 20,000 rats at all times in the temple premises. It is said that no one has ever seen a new-born rat or a dead rat in the temple. It is considered very auspicious to spot a white rat and is very rare. Food nibbled by the rats is distributed as “Prasad” (meaning – a devotional offering made to God, typically consisting of food that is later shared among devotees) as it is considered to be auspicious too. After hearing the interesting story we decided to take a detour and visit the temple. We quickly GPS-ed the route and after a smooth 30 min – 30 kms drive we reached Karni Mata temple. We went inside and had darshanam and offered prayers to Karni Mata. We waited for few minutes to check if we were lucky enough to spot a white rat, but we were not.
It was already 3 pm by now and we were hungry and decided to grab something nearby the temple itself. There were few dhaba style restaurants in front of the temple. After a quick inspection we decided to go with the one which looked cleaner.
It was 3:30 pm by the time we finished our lunch. We took NH89 towards Pushkar – the city of temples as we wanted to visit the famous and lone lord Brahma temple in the world. The distance between Deshnok and Pushkar is about 225 kms and the highway is very good. We were lucky to spot a black buck on the way and clicked some snaps of the eye-catching creature.
We reached Pushkar timely at about 7:30 pm and straight away decided to visit the temple. As we got down from our car the local guides approached us. One of the guide offered to take us around the Brahma kund (lake) and the temple for just Rs.50. Without giving a second thought we agreed and went ahead with him. After reaching the lake this person took Rs.50 from us and introduced us to another person and vanished. The 2nd person was a priest and a member of the temple trust. He asked us to just buy a thali for Rs. 10. This thali consisted of the puja samagri. Now we were introduced to a 3rd person who was also a priest and told us that he will get the puja done in the right way. Now here was the trap. The priest told us about many types of daan which would cost us between Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000. He tried to convince us by all means but we refused for any daan. We just got the puja done and tipped the priest with Rs.100. After spending sometime around the lake we went to the Brahma temple for the darshanam. The temple is hardly 100 meters away from the lake and is on top of a small hill. You need to climb about 100 stairs to reach the temple. Temple is very small but has a unique aura. After the darshanam we just sat for some time in the temple and experienced the distinctive spirituality of the place.
Tip: Don’t fall prey of the guides and priests. You can on your own explore the lake and temple. If you wish to do a Puja or a daan just approach the temple trust office and they will guide you further.
There are a lot of eating joints nearby and we had dinner in one of them. There is a small market around the temple where you can buy good religious stuff like literature, idols, handicrafts etc. Don’t forget to bargain well.
At around 9 pm we left for Jaipur thru Pushkar-Jaipur bypass as we did not want to go inside the crowded Ajmer city. We sliced on to NH8 after 15 kms and the next 130 kms drive till Jaipur was quick, we reached Jaipur around 11 pm. We stayed in Jaipur for next 2 days at my in laws place and on 3rd day left for Gurgaon which was 240 kms via NH8.
In all it was nearly 2000 kms road trip over 7 days and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was an achievement for TD. Rajasthan is one of the best states in India to plan road trip as all the cities are well-connected by good roads and infrastructure. The experience you gain driving through the cities, knowing the history, people and the culture makes it all worth!
Interesting legend of the Brahma temple (Source – Internet):
According to the Hindu scripture Padma Purana, Brahma saw the demon Vajranabha (Vajranash in another version) trying to kill his children and harassing people. He immediately slew the demon with his weapon, the lotus-flower. In this process, the lotus petals fell on the ground at three places, creating three lakes: the Pushkar Lake or Jyeshta Pushkar (greatest or first Pushkar), the Madya Pushkar (middle Pushkar) Lake, and Kanishta Pushkar (lowest or youngest Pushkar) lake. When Brahma came down to the earth, he named the place where the flower (“pushpa”) fell from Brahma’s hand (“kar”) as “Pushkar”.
Brahma then decided to perform a yajna (fire-sacrifice) at the main Pushkar Lake. To perform his yajna peacefully without being attacked by the demons, he created the hills around the Pushkar — Ratnagiri in the south, Nilgiri in the north, Sanchoora in the west and Suryagiri in the east — and positioned gods there to protect the yajna performance. However, while performing the yajna, his wife Savitri (or Sarasvati in some versions) could not be present at the designated time to perform the essential part of the yajna as she was waiting for her companion goddesses Lakshmi, Parvati and Indrani. So Brahma married Gurjargirl, Gayatri and completed the yajna with his new consort sitting beside him, holding the pot of amrita (elixir of life) on her head and giving ahuti (offering to the sacrificial fire).
When Savitri finally arrived at the venue she found Gayatri sitting next to Brahma which was her rightful place. Agitated, she cursed Brahma that he would be never worshipped, but then reduced the curse permitting his worship in Pushkar. Savitri also cursed Indra to be easily defeated in battles, Vishnu to suffer the separation from his wife as a human, the fire-god Agni who was offered the yajna to be all-devouring and the priests officiating the yajna to be poor. Endowed by the powers of yajna, Gayatri diluted Savitri’s curse, blessing Pushkar to be the king of pilgrimages, Indra would always retain his heaven, Vishnu would be born as the human Rama and finally unite with his consort and the priests would become scholars and be venerated. Thus, the Pushkar temple is regarded the only temple dedicated to Brahma. Savitri, thereafter, moved into the Ratnagiri hill and became a part of it by emerging as a spring known as the Savitri Jharna (stream); a temple in her honour exists here.
Note: Please feel free to ask any queries or provide your views or feedback on the blog. I will respond to you as soon as possible 🙂