Karni Arni Mata Fair
The shrine of Karni Mata at Deshnok in the Nokha tehsil of Bikaner district
is the venue of a fair twice a year.
Both these fairs are held in Navaratra, the first in
March-April and the second, which is smaller , in September-October. Deshnok
is said to have been founded by Karni Mata in 1419. There is a legend
behind the Karni Mata Fair. Karni Bai was a strange girl with mysterious
power. As she was the sixth girl in the family, her aunt wanted to cause
her harm but the woman's arm was dislocated. At the age of five, Karni
Bai cured her aunt's arm and her father who was bitten by a snake. She
helped people with her supernatural powers. On her way to Sind to meet
her sister, Karni Bai met a blind carpenter at Jaisalmer. She asked him
to make a wooden statue of her and rest his head on it when he lay down
to sleep. The carpenter did so and found himself transported to Deshnok
the next morning, where his sight was restored. Karni Mata is said to
have died in 1538 and she has been worshipped as a goddess since then.
temple of Karni Mata contains a 75 cm image of the deity. It is built
of the yellow marble found in Jaisalmer. There is a mukat or crown on
the head of the image and Karni Mata is shown wearing earings.
The temple of Karni Mata has been described as the
temple of mice who roam freely about the shrine, unconcerned by the devotees
who throng there. If anybody treads on a mouse and kills it, in repentance
he has to present a silver mouse at the temple.