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This temple may just be among the strangest you have ever visited – it is a place of worship for rats! According to legend, Karni Mata, an incarnation of the god Durga, once requested Yama, the Lord of Death, to reincarnate the dead son of a storyteller. Yama refused to help, and Karni Mata promised that all-male storytellers, who were members of the Charan caste, would henceforth be reincarnated as rats in her temple. Once the rats died, they would reincarnate as humans again. While the origins of rat-worship in India go back to the 1400’s, this temple is believed to be built in the early 1900s to honour Karni Mata and her rodent devotees. The temple itself is decorated with intricate marble panels and solid silver carvings. There are supposedly around 20,000 rats in residence, who are fed by members of the extended Depavats family who are descendents of Karni Mata. The families live in the temple permanently, taking care of the rats.
If ever beauty has bloomed in a desert, Bikaner is the place to find it! Built in 1400s by Rao Bika Ji, Bikaner features imposing palaces and richly sculpted temples. Opulent havelis grace the city with old-world charm. The imposing Junagadh Fort, built in 1593 A.D. by Raja Rai Singh, was once an unassailable fortress. Within the fort are magnificent palaces like Anup Mahal, Ganga Niwas and Rang Mahal, or palace of pleasure. The Har Mandir is a temple built…