The beauty of the city which one can devour from the hillock of Karni Mata Temple is one of the many angles from which Udaipur is captured every day. I’d say this one is a better angle. Shri Mansapurna Karni Mata Temple, located on Machla Hills near Din Dayal Upadhyaya Park, is at a perfect height which is accessible through either around 150 m of stairs starting from Din Dayal Park and reaching straight up to the temple or a 4 min. Ropeway route. Surprisingly, the temple has a large well- maintained area covering most part of the hillock. The panoramic view of Lakes, Palaces, whitewashed, closely placed houses, Gulab Bagh and all the area surrounding the hill is addictive. One can actually see the shades of water of Lake Pichola from here.
The main Temple of Karni Mata in Deshnok, also known as “ the Temple of Rats”, is 30 km from Bikaner. Karni Mata was basically a Hindu sage who was born as the seventh daughter of Charan Rajput clan in 1387 AD in Suwap village of Jodhpur district. She was believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Durga. Her original name was Ridhu Bai. She was married to Depoji Charan of Sathika village but after just two years of married life and despite the initial mockery from her husband, she married off her sister Gulab to her husband and left the village forever in order to fulfill her desire to leave all the worldly affairs and live life like a Nomad. After wandering for some time with her followers and herd, she reached Deshnok and finally settled here and also by then she became Karni Mata. The temple is famous for its enormous population of 25,000 rats which are religiously known as “Kabbas”. The story behind the rat population is that once the stepson of Karni Mata, Laxman, fell and died in the Kapil Sarovar in Kolayat Tehsil in attempt to drink water. After continuous pleading from Karni Mata, Yama, The God of Death, agreed to retrieve her son as a Rat and also permitted all her male children to be reincarnated as Rats. The Kabbas are known to be very holy and feeding them with sweets and eating the food nibbled by them is considered as “prestigious”. The temple in Udaipur too has a considerable number of white and black Kabbas. Karni Mata laid the cornerstone of two major Forts of Rajasthan that is Fort of Jodhpur and Fort of Bikaner. On March 21, 1538, while returning Deshnok, the Convoy halted in order to drink water near Kolayat Tehsil. When the followers got back to her she was nowhere to be found and after much search, she was never found hence she just disappeared then and there at the age of 151 years.
The temple in Udaipur was built by Maharana Karan Singh to mark the boundary and safety of Udaipur when the area of Machla Magra was built for residency purposes between 1620-1628. The temple was abandoned for a long time before 1997 when the temple committee restored and renovated the premises and it is still in progress. The temple premises is quite large and peaceful. The stairway path to the temple is a 10 min long journey and it is fulfilled with viewpoints, rest shelters, and water cooler. To the left of the stairway, at a bit distance, lies a high structure with holes in the walls. The structure used to be the place where kings used to hide and hunt and place their guns out through these holes. It can be visited but only at your own risk as it is not maintained and might have snakes and other animals. If you take the stairway, you might also sight peacocks and their symphony is the loudest in the morning. Apart from the temple structure, there are elongated premises up to the ropeway station and one should be extremely careful about the monkeys as they chased me not once but twice. The 4 min. Ropeway journey in bright red, yellow and green cabins start from the banks of Lake Pichola to the Hill of Machla Mangra along the 387 m long cable.
“Shri Mansapurna Karni Mata Temple” is a must visit as it does hold the powers to fulfill wishes and offers more than just peace and tranquility, it offers Udaipur at its best.