Karni Mata

nameKarni Mata
other_namesRiddhi Baisa
devanagariकरणी माता
affiliationCharanas, Rajputs & Rajpurohits
god_ofGoddess of Power and Victory, Incarnation of Hinglaj
abodeWestern Rajasthan(Marwar and Bikaner)
symboleagle / Sanwali
mountLion and flanked by eagle
spouseDepa ji Rohadiya of Sathika
parentsMeha ji Kiniya & Deval Bai

Karni Mata (Hindi: करणी माता, or Bhagwati Karniji Maharaj), known by various names such as Bhagwati, Mehaai, Jagdamba, and Kiniyani is a Hindu Goddess of power and victory described as a warrior sage who lived between 14th to 16th century in Western Rajasthan. Karni Mata is the tutelary deity of the Rajputs and Charans of northwestern India. As a Sagati, she is also worshipped as an incarnation of Hinglaj or Durga. She is the official deity of the royal families of Bikaner and Jodhpur. Karniji played an important role in shaping the history of the region. She is intimately associated with the establishment of the Rajput hegemony in the region. With her blessings, Rao Jodha and Rao Bika founded new kingdoms of Jodhpur and Bikaner. At the request of the Maharajas of Bikaner and Jodhpur, she laid down the foundations of Bikaner Fort and Mehrangarh Fort, the two most important forts in the region. She lived an ascetic life and was widely revered during her own lifetime. Indian Army troops from the Marwar region also regard Karni Mata as their patron deity.

The most famous of the Karni Mata temples is the Karni Mata Temple of Deshnoke where the temple and surrounding Oran land are a sacred sanctuary for all the living beings and no one is to be harmed. In Rajasthan, Blackbucks are considered sacred as Karni Mata is supposed to protect them.


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Polity of contemporary Rajasthan

The conditions of the region (present day Rajasthan) were unstable. Internecine warfare among rival Hindu chiefs (mostly Rajputs), holding sway over small principalities was the order of the day. The Muslim rulers who had conquered Delhi were expanding throughout North India. Sikander Lodi, the ruler of Delhi had gained control of Nagaur in Rajasthan. The Rathores, evicted from Kannauj, their seat of power, had recently arrived in Marwar and were ruling small principalities. Their new presence led to tensions with the Bhatis, rulers of Jaisalmer kingdom and holding small principalities like Pugal along Northern Rajasthan and Southern Punjab. Bhagwati Karniji’s utilised her influence over her devotees by uniting the Rathores and the Bhatis by marriage bonds and eliminating the scope for strife.

The northern region which later formed the kingdom of Bikaner was divided into small principalities ruled by various Rajput, Muslim, and Jat clans. Rajput clans of Sankhla, Mohil, and Bhati had control substantial principalities while the north-east portion was divided among Jat tribes including the Godara of Ladhdiya and Shekhsar, the Saran of Bhadang, and the Kasava of Sidhmukh. Further to the east, Hissar) was ruled by Bhati Muslims known as Ranghad while Johiya Muslims controlled most of the present-day Ganganagar district.

These principalities were not sovereign powers and shifted allegiances frequently from one power to another. Whenever the authority of those powers weakened, they indulged in internecine warfare among other small principalities. Therefore, these contributed to the prevailing chaos by indulging in short-lived alliances and battles or by organizing plundering expeditions in neighboring areas.

By this time, various Muslim powers had run over entire Northern India except Rajasthan, where many of the defeated dynasties from rest of India had regrouped and were competing for regional hegemony. The Hindu polity of the day needed a guide to marshal power to a rallying point. Karniji realized the need and the opportunity for a uniting the Hindus under one banner and found in the determined Rathores the means of achieving this objective.

This time period was dominated by plunder and loot and the prevalent insecurity had put the social and economic life of the common people in jeopardy. When the opportune time came, Karniji directed Rao Bika and his associates to go ahead with the objective of carving a strong and united kingdom for the Rathores out of the scattered principalities of the Jangal Pradesh and lands to the north and east of it. She predicted greater glory and even larger domain for Bika than that won by his illustrious father Rao Jodha.

Early life

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Birth & Ancestry (1387 AD)

Karniji, named Ridhi Kanwar at birth, was born at the Suwap village on Asoj Shukla 7th of Vikram Samvat 1444 (1387 AD). Her father Mehaji Kiniya was the lord of the village and belonged to Kiniya clan of Chaarans.

The founder of the Kiniya clan lived at Khod in the Kathiawar region of Gujarat. In the 13th century, Bhimal, 4th generation descendant of the founder, left home and migrated to Janglu region in Northern Rajasthan. He received a grant of land from Rai Sankhla, the ruler of Janglu, where he founded a village named Kiniya-ki-Basti and lived there. Mehaji Kiniya was born four generations later in the lineage of Bhimal. He was a contemporary of Meha Mangaliya, the ruler of a surrounding region in Jodhpur, from whom Mehaji Kiniya received a grant of a village called “Suwa-Brahmin-Ki-Dhani”, later renamed to Suwap.

Karniji’s mother was Deval Bai of Arha (or Adha) clan. Deval Bai was the granddaughter of Arha Mandha, the ruler of Adha (or Asada) village, situated on the border of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. The birth of Karniji was the long-awaited culmination of the prayers and piety of Mehaji Kiniya, the father of Bhagwati Karniji, and a great devotee of Hinglaj. He had, in quest of the boon, undertaken the long and arduous journey to Hinglaj in Las Bela district of present-day Balochistan province of Pakistan. While Karniji’s father was undertaking the pilgrimage to Hinglaj, the Goddess Hinglaj appeared to her mother and foretold the coming of the Devi.

Karniji was born as the successive sixth girl child. It is said that her mother had an abnormally long gestation period which lasted for 21 months, and finally the girl child was named Ridhi Kanwar.

First miracle

Customary Surya Pujan was performed at an auspicious hour on the seventh day after the birth. Relatives and friends had assembled at Mehaji’s place wishing that the child would be a son which would be celebrated with great festivity befitting the occasion and the status of the parents. Among them was Meha’s sister, who eagerly entered the purified maternity chamber ahead of everyone else before Surya Pujan to bless the child and claim long-expected gifts, her due on the birth of a nephew. She openly disapproved of the newly born child since it was a girl and not a boy. In the moment when the aunt tried to strike-more perhaps in anger than play-the newly born child with the back of her fingers, her fingers became impaired immediately. This light punishment that the aunt received for unjust physical violence to the Infant was the incarnation’s first miracle. As taking the clue from Mehaji’s remark that the child could do things and was in other words Karni, she came to be called-Karni. Thus, the occasion of the birth of a miraculous child was celebrated with rejoicing by all the relatives and village people.

Suwa Brahman obtains a Boon

The Suwap village, which now belonged to Kiniya Charans as their jagir, was named so after a brahmin named Suwa, who had earlier built a cottage and settled there. Suwa Brahman was influential and prosperous man adopting the lucrative profession as moneylender to local jagirdars. Despite being married thrice & prosperous household, he had no son from either of his wives and thus was mocked for being childless. Thus he went and prayed to Karniji, who by then was known as a divine child, an incarnation of Shakti. Karniji blessed the brahmin and granted the boon and in due course, a son was born to Suwa Brahman.

People, far and near, soon learned of the numerous miracles of Bhagwati Karniji. The unhappy and the sick converged on Suwap in large numbers and returned satisfied and happy; their wounds healed, and prayers answered.

Pugal kingdom and Rao Shekha (1402 AD)

Pugal, situated 80 km west of Bikaner, was during Karniji’s childhood a small kingdom ruled by Rao Shekha, a Bhati chieftain. In the west, his small kingdom was subject to frequent raids by the forces of Multan’s ruler, particularly because his east was now exposed to the increasing power of the Rathores rapidly expanding their domains.

Due to scarcity of resources in the Thar desert, Rao Shekha could not muster a large army. Even to sustain his followers, he led multiple raids into the distant fertile & prosperous towns and villages of Multan and Sindh. Due to this, the ruler of larger kingdom of Multan organized punitive raids on Shekha’s domains but had little success in dettering Shekha.

During this period, Karniji’s fame has spread in nearby lands and attracted devotees across the region. One such devotee was Rao Shekha’s wife, a pious lady devoted to Shakti. Convinced that Bhagwati Karniji was an avatar of Bhagwati Awarji, the Kuldevi of Bhati Rajputs, she exhorted her husband to seek Karniji’s blessings.

While on his way to one of the expeditions against his enemies, Rao Shekha stopped at Suwap and thought of asking for Karniji’s blessings before proceeding. When he approached the village, he saw a 15-year-old girl with a basket in her hand containing food. Finding it was none other than Karniji, Shekha and his soldiers climbed down from their horses & camels and bowed and touched her feet and sought blessings and prosperity of their line.

Karniji asked them to proceed to the Kotri (village assembly) & await her while she carries over the food to her father, Mehaji. The Rao insisted that he had received her blessings and felt confident so he must begin on his expedition. But Karniji told them to stay as they were the guest and must eat before returning. Shekha replied that he had about 140 men with him and it would not be possible to feed so many at the moment. Rao Shekha instructed his warriors to take whatever was served and not to embarrass the hostess by requesting for a second helping. The guests sat down and Karniji began serving meals. She would empty the curd pot and the basket in each plate and proceed to the next plate by which time the pot and the basket would again be full for being emptied in the next plate. To the wonder of all present, provisions available more than sufficed for each one of the 140 soldiers and their leader and they recalled a similar miracle by Bhagwati Barwadiji who had fed Maharana Hamir and his army on way to Dwarka from a single pitcher. Just as Birwadiji had granted Hamir the boon to recover Chittor from his enemies and aid of horses by her son Baruji, Shekha prayed for a similar boon of victory over his more numerous enemies.

Armed with the goddess’s boon, Rao Shekha took his men and attacked his rivals in their turf and put to sword all his enemies. Remarkably, they suffered no casualties on their side.

He returned to Suwap to thank his benefactor and bowed down to Karniji. Morever, Shekha requested by stating that since Rajputs and Charans are by custom brother and sister, he would be honored if Karniji ties a rakhi to him and accepts his customary gifts as her brother. With initial reluctance, Karniji tied rakhi to Rao Shekha.

It is said that initial reluctance by Karniji was because she knew that Shekha was going to ask for an impossible boon of immortality. So, when Shekha prayed to be given belssings to be immortal, Karniji reminded him that it was impossible since even she herself would have to leave this body when the time comes and moreover such a boon would be detrimental to the cause of Dharma.

But Shekha went further and insisted that she forecast his death, so he may prevent it. Karniji forewarned that preventing events from taking place is beyond his competence, and predicted the conditions of his death. Vithoo Bhomji of Deshnoke recorded the forecast in Dingal verses: बल्यो शिखर बीनवै, आप तदरुपी ईश्वर,

करो अमर करनल्ल, करो छन मूझ कृपाकर।।१।।

इम करनल आखियो, अमर कुरण होय इती इल,

पालस्यो चत्र परेज, चार जुग रहस्यो अवचल।।२।।

तस खींप विछायत, आकतल, शरद तुंड हुड कृष्ण वर,

इकठी न चीज करस्यो इती, इल ऐते रहस्यो अमर।।३।।

Translation: Shekha prayed, “Bhagwati, you are an incarnation. Make me immortal, Kindly grant me your protection.” Thus, Karniji replied, “Who is immortal? You shall live so long as you take precautions and do not allow the conjunction of these four circumstances/events viz. (1) Amavasya (2) khimp cot (3) shade of an aak tree, and (4) meat of black ram."


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Marriage (1416 AD)

As per Hindu customs, a girl was usually married by her late teens. This was the concern of Mehaji Kiniya and Deval Bai regarding Karniji who chose to remain unmarried even by 27, an uncommon age for a Hindu girl to remain unmarried. Thus, the social pressure increased furthermore by her parents so that finally Karniji relented to honor her parents wishes. There was some difficulty in finding a proper groom of an appropriate clan of firm status, and the renown of Karniji as an incarnation did not help.

Karniji, aware of her anxious parents, conveyed to her father through her friend (Suwa Brahman’s daughter) that Depaji, the son of Keluji of Rohadiya clan and Jagirdar of Satheeka was an amsha (partial) incarnation of Shiva as a result of Keluji’s devotion and penance to Lord Shiva. Only such an incarnation of Lord Shiva could have been considered for holding the hand of Karniji, an Incarnation of Sati (Shakti). On an auspicious day, Mehaji proceeded to Keluji’s village with the offer of his daughter’s hand for Depaji which was promptly and gladly accepted.

The wedding took place in the Suwap village with traditional customs of the community which including brahmins chanting mantras, singing by the Damamis (Mirasi), geet recitation by the Motisars), and Raos (Bhats). Proper rituals were followed and Negs (customary gifts) were given to Brahmins, Motisars, Raos (bhats), Rawals), and Damamis (mirasi) as well as other village attendants including Suthars) (Carpenters), Lohars (Blacksmiths), Kumbars (Potters), Meghwals (Messengers), etc.

The wedded took place on Asadh Sudi 9th of Samvat 1473 (1416 AD) and thereafter the wedding party returned to Sathika village.

While they were on the way to Sathika, Bhagwati Karniji told Depaji that she entered into marital bonds out of respect for the feelings, beliefs, and wishes of her parents. She stated that her physical form was impervious to common bodily feelings and desires and that for the satisfaction of these, for a conjugal life, and for the furtherance of his line, Depaji would have to marry another women. Depaji bowed down and said that he will respect her wishes and later in Samvat 1474 (1417 AD), Depaji married a second time. His descendants are known as Depawats, now living in Deshnoke are descended from the four sons born out of this second marriage with Karniji’s sister Gulab Bai.

Karnisar (Village Keliya)

The wedding party en route to Sathika camped at a few wayside villages. People in large numbered would gather around at these camps and pray to the goddess and ask for advice and blessings to overcome their woes and troubles. At one such village called Keliya, Karniji granted the boon of plentiful water in the village well which since then came to be known as Karnisar.

Sathika (1416–1418 AD)

Karniji lived at Sathika for two years after the marriage. Her exemplary pious life became a source of inspiration to others.

Janglu (Jangaldesh)

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Departure from Sathika (1418 AD)

Similar to other villages in the Thar desert, Sathika too suffered from scarcity of potable water. The village had a single well which barely sufficed. Water shortages worsened with the arrival of the large herd of about 400 cows and 200 camels as presents from Mehaji for his two daughters-Karniji and Gulab Bai. Karniji understanding the situation decided to leave the village along with her household large household in search of sufficient water and good pasturage. Despite prayers and requests from the villagers to stay, Karniji declined to cancel her departure and ordered the servants to proceed to Janglu and await her arrival and decision about the future course of action. Thus, on Jeth Sudi 9th of Samvat 1475 (1418 AD), Karniji bade goodbye to Sathika.

Arrival at Janglu

Karniji reached Janglu after a short while later at Janglu. There the Charans came in conflict with men of Rao Kanha over the usage of a well by herds of Charans. Rao Kanha’s soldiers ran away after an altercation with the Charan men and reported the incident to their chief. Rao Kanha, at the time, was hosting Rao Ridmal, who was the son of Rao Chunda, the founder of the Rathore dynasties of Rajasthan. Rao Ridmal was an ardent devotee of Karniji and on every Shukla Chaturdashi, he paid homage and sought blessings of the goddess. Ridmal was deprived of his patrimony because of his father’s favouring his other son Satta, Ridmal’s step-brother. Thus, he was biding his time at the village of Chundasar.

Learning of Karniji’s arrival in Janglu, Rao Ridmal suggested to Rao Kanha that they both should go and pay respects to the Devi. Kanha dismissed the proposal saying he had no time to pay respects. Ranmal ignored Kanha’s words and instead of starting an argument; repaired alone to the Charans’ camp and paid respects.

Prophecy for Rao Ranmal

Rao Ranmal paid homage to Karniji and said that in his present condition, he was as happy as any patrimony-deprived landless Rajput wasting his time in pursuits not befitting a prince, could be. At her devotee’s frustration, Karniji reassured Ranmal and revealed his destiny. She prophesied:

“As I see it these lands shall be yours, and you and your descendants shall conquer vast territories and rule happily for generations.”

Rao Ranmal bowed and thanked her for the blessings and returned to Chundasar.

Rao Kanha’s Demise

Rao Kanha, the chief of Janglu, learning about the prophecy made for Rao Ridmal, became enraged. He hadn’t forgotten the earlier conflict between his soldiers and the Charans regarding the pasture ground.

Karniji had earlier declined Rao Ridmal’s request to send the cows to his village Chundasar, where there was sufficient water available, stating that God-willing there would be no problem in the Johad (grassland) where they had currently made camp.

Kanha, learning that Ridmal had returned to Chundasar sent his men to Johad to ask the Charans to evict the lands and prevent their cows from consuming pasture which he wanted for his horses. At Johad, Karniji declined and asked his men to go back and convey her message to Ridmal:

“Kanha, you are the son of Rao Chunda and a Rathore. Relations between Vithoo Charans and Rathore Rajputs are several generations old and very intimate, You have plenty of lands. This Johad is extensive and the grass will more than suffice for your horses and these cows. ”

Kanha did not pay heed and ignored the message and neither did the Charans obliged him. The altercations between the two sides went on for seven months.

Finally, Kanha sent his 10 men under Arjun and Vija Udawat to confront the Charans and regain control of the pasture land. They arrived at Johad land to drive out the cows together with their owners. They ordered the Karniji’s servants to pack up and leave only to find that the cowherds were not only disregarding their orders but also completely ignoring them. Enraged by this response, they began hurling abusing against their families at which the Charan men came up in arms and were about to attack Kanha’s men. However, Karniji pacified the Charans and asked their cowherds to return to their work. But Arjun and Vija, leaders of Kanha’s men, continued with their verbal abuse at which Karniji thundered, “Jackals, leave this place forthwith.”

Immediately, the faces of Arjun and Vija assumed similarity with those of jackals. Kanha’s men, now fearing similar punishments, pleaded their innocence and returned to Rao Kanha who decided to take matter in his own hands. Rao Ranmal, who was incidentally also in Janglu on pilgrimages to Karniji’s shrine pleaded with his brother Kanha to see reason and desist from his evil intention of driving out the Charans.

Ignoring Ranmal’s advice, Kanha assembled 50 horsemen and marched to Karniji’s camp. Arriving at the destination, Kanha loudly called out for Karniji referring to her as a “sorceress”.

Karniji was in her morning meditation. Kanha’s arrival and his lound callings had created tension in the camp. People assembled and thought Kanha’s evil ways were nearing their end. Karniji came out of her meditation and broke the silence, and asked Kanha of his purpose at which Kanha replied that he wants the Charans to leave this land along with their servants and herds. Karniji asked: “How are you harmed, Kanha, by our staying here? We are not depriving you of what is legitimately your due.”

Kanha answered: “No, I cannot allow you to stay. Leave my jagir immediately. ”

At which Karniji replied, “Very well. I may agree but you know I am a devotee of Bhagwati Awadji, and I camped here, not on my own but impelled by instinct directed by my Aradhya Awadji. My prayer kit is in this vicker box. The simplest way of persuading me to leave is to put this box on my cart. If Awadji permits you to do so and allows you to put it on the cart, I will conclude that I am desired by my patron deity to quit and would gladly do so.”

Kanha ordered one of his men to put the box in the cart but he failed to even lift the box. More men tried and failed and finally all 50 men alighted from their horses tied a rope to the box and together pulled, but in vain.

Thereupon Karniji said, “The wishes of Awadji are clear. She does not want us to leave this place. You have been instrumental in damaging one of the legs of this venerable box. By knocking off a portion of the box, you have knocked off a part of your life. ”

Kanha termed this a trick and said, “Magic tricks do not impress me. If you are really an incarnation, as people say, let me know when I shall die. ”

Karniji tried to persuade Kanha to leave this folly path but as Kanha kept insisting in a deriding tone, Karniji prophesied his death in 6 months at which Kanha laughed. The prediction soon reached 2 months, and later 2 days, and finally within a day. Finally drawing a line on the ground with a twig she said, “All right, if you insist upon proceeding to your doom, it is beyond this line. Cross this and you are dead.”

Kanha, adamant with his abusive language and insolent behavior, climbed on his horse and rode towards the line but as soon as it reached the line, there was a thunderous noise; a lion appeared and struck the death blow on the rider. Vomiting blood, Kanha fell across the line, lying dead. Arjun and Vija Udawat could not withstand the sight of the lion and the grusome death of their master, and they died of shock. The remaining soldiers ran away, when they looked behind, they saw Karniji standing with a trident at the place where they had seen the lion.

Karniji declares Rao Ridmal as ruler of Janglu (1418 AD)

Rao Ranmal, who was present in Jangloo soon reached Johad at camp of Charans where Rao Kanha had died. He learned of the events and attended Kanha’s cremation and then arrived at Karniji’s camp to pay respects.

After bowing and respectfully touching Karniji’s feet, he sat down. Karniji rose up and declared Rao Ranmal as the new ruler of Janglu and prophesied that he shall in due time will become king of Mandore as well. This took place on on Falgun Sudi 14th of Samvat 1475 (1418 AD). She advised him to approach his stepmother (mother of Kanha), to accept her terms of serving her as a son in her old age and ascend the throne of Janglu as her adopted son. Ranmal complied and was accepted as the Raja of Janglu.

Rao Ranmal, as the new ruler of Janglu, offered to share Janglu immediately and the Kingdom of Mandore when conquered with Karniji as patron deity. Declining the offer, Karniji informed him that acquisition of territories was not her mission. The Johad in their occupancy was enough for her beloved cows. Governance of territories was the proper domain of Rajas and Rao Ranmal was fully entitled to the prerogatives & privileges of the kingdom that he acquired with his arms and the blessings of Awad Mata.


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Foundation of Deshnoke (1419 AD)

From the time since they first arrived in Janglu, Karniji and her followers were living in cottage settlement around which the present Nehriji Temple is situated. This settlement was called Karniji’s Dhani. Experiencing the need of a permanent settlement, a place with enough underground water about a mile east of the Dhani was selected and on Vaisakh Sudi 2nd of Samvat 1476 (1419 AD), Karniji laid the foundation of Deshnoke. Initially, Rao Ranmal suggested the name Deshoat meaning “Shield of the land” hoping that true to this name it would protect his kingdom. However, Karniji stated that kingdoms will belong to their rulers so long as they depend on their own might and fight for moral values. Therefore, she named the village as Deshnak (Nose of the Land), to be as important to the Marwar kingdom of Rathores as a nose is to an honorable man. In course of time, the village Deshnak came to be known as Deshnoke.

Karniji focused her attention in the improvement of Deshnoke. The surrounding forest mostly consisted of old Jal trees, not suitable for cattle, which too were on the way to rapid decay because of age. Residents of the new fast-growing Deshnoke used wood as fuel. Very often healthy branches and trees were damaged by people for gathering fuel. Apprehensive that the pasture and forest would be lost due to over-exploitation and mismanagement, Karniji decided to replace the old Jal trees with the useful Ber trees and declare the new plantation protected. The fuel requirements of the village were to be met from the fallen dead branches of Jal trees. Cutting or use of Ber for fuel was forbidden. The determined and systematic efforts in implementing this decision, resulted in raising an extensive grove of Ber trees around Deshnoke and Sri Nehriji temple. This grove, despite harsh weather, saved the Deshnoke town from the ever increasing desertificationin the later centuries.

Depawats of Deshnoke

With the permission of Karniji, Depaji married a second time to Karniji’s sister, Gulab Bai, to ensure continuity of his line. Three years after the marriage, Gulab Bai gave birth in Samvat 1477 (1420 AD), to her first son Punya Raj-also called Poona. He was followed by Nag Raj (Naga) in Samvat 1483 (1426 AD) and in Samvat 1489 (1432 AD) by Sidh Raj (Sidha). The last child was born in Samvat 1500 (1443 AD), a son Laxman Raj (Lakhan).

All the four sons married, and their descendants populate the town of Deshnoke. The eldest Punya Raj, who had four sons, married at Sinla in the Sandu clan while the other three viz: Nag Raj, Sidh Raj, and Laxman Raj married respectively in the Lalas, Khiriya and Khiriya clans residing in their respective villages Judiya, Kanwalian, and again Kanwalian, all in the territory of the erstwhile Rathore Kingdom of Jodhpur and held by the above clans as sasan territories in perpetuity.

These descendants of Depaji are known as Depawat who are the traditional priests of the Karni Mata temple at Deshnoke.

Death of Depaji (1454 AD)

Karniji’s father-in-law Keluji Rohadiya died in Samvat 1500 (1443 AD). Friends and relatives paid condolence visits. Among them was Rao Jodha, son of Rao Ranmal and his successor as the ruler of Mandore. He arrived accompanied by his brothers. Such visits highlighted the close affinity between the two families.

Depaji Rohadiya died 11 years later in 1454 AD. On his demise, Karniji changed her normal dress for the traditional garments of a widow, a lovadi (brown colored rough cloth used by Charan widows as Odhani) and lambi angarakhi of light brown color.

Reviving Laxman (1467 AD)

Laxman Raj, the youngest son was fond of travelling. In Samvat 1524 (1467 AD), he went to Kolayat fair held on Sudi Chaturdashi of the month of Kartik where he drowned in the tank while taking a bath. His dead body was recovered and taken to Deshnoke where his mother Gulab Bai, stricken with grief, brought the dead body to Karniji hoping for a miracle. Karniji had the body put inside the cottage where she sat down in meditation. For three days, it is said, the cottage remained closed and Karniji did not give darshan to anyone. Anxious relatives and devotees kept a constant vigil outside. On the fourth day, at sunrise, Laxman opened the door and to the joy and amazement of everyone, walked out. At the same time, to assure Gulab Bai, Karniji promised to protect the children during the period of her life on earth.

In order to revive Laxman, Karniji had to travel to the yamloka and asked Yamraja (Hindu god of death) to give back her son. Yamraja refused and stated his inability to do so since it would be against the rules of the underworld. The soul of a dead person would have to take birth into thousands of yonis before being born as a human again. But Karniji was adamant and took Laxman back with her, in doing so Yamaraja told her that it break the birth cycle for Laxman. Therefore, Karniji ordained that from now on, her Charan devotees, after death, will be reborn as mice in Deshnoke before being reborn as humans again.

Ranmal and Mandore

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Ranmal’s attempt on Mandore (1430 AD)

!Mandore Fort|||Mandore Fort On Chaitra Sudi 7th of Samvat 1487 (1430 AD), while on his periodic pilgrimages, Rao Ranmal, the new ruler of Janglu, expressed his desire to take Mandore and sought her blessings.

“Mandore”, Karniji said, “shall be yours in a couple of months if not today. Collect horses, recruit soldiers, raise a cavalry, and prepare for the conquest. ”

Whereas Karniji stressed that conquest of Mandore might take months, Rao Ranmal hastily began preparations for the assault. He obtained 5000 horses from the ruler of Chittor, his nephew Rana Mokal, who was indebted to Ranmal. Leaving 500 of his horsemen to guard Janglu, Ranmal marched to Mandore with 500 of his other horsemen and 5000 horses from Chittor.

Satta, Rao Chunda’s favoured son, was ruling Mandore. He received intelligence of Ranmal amassing forces and marching towards Mandore. Satta’s brother and emissary, Randhir contacted Mohammed Khan Khokhar who then governed Nagaur on behalf of Sikander Lodi. Khokhar was watching with increasing apprehension of the rise of Rathore power and this situation presented him an opportunity to create rifts and feuds among the heirs of Rao Chunda. He led 4000 horsemen to the help of Satta. Together with 3000 horsemen of Satta’s son Narbad, these 7000 strong forces met the invading force of Ridmal at the frontier. Ranmal’s men engaged with Kohokar’s, while the Mewar force contended with troops under Narbad. Pressed by the ferocity of Ridmal’s charge, Mohammed Khan Khokhar deserted the field, however Mewar horsemen fared badly against the troops under Narbad. To save his Mewar allies from slaughter and conserve forces for favourable times, Ranmal made a retreat and withdrew to Janglu.

He strengthened the defences of Janglu and repaired to Deshnoke for advice and blessings. Karniji had heard of the events and reminded Ranmal that he should have waited for a few months and made preparations for taking over Mandore at a favourable opportunity.

“Your haste”, she said, “has delayed matters. Do not, however, give way to despondency. You are fated to recover and rule Mandore. Soon the situation will take a turn for the better. Satta will fall out with Randhir, his chief supporter and the latter shall be the cause of the former’s downfall as he was the cause of his good fortune. ”

Karniji assured him that Satta cannot, despite success in the recent battle, dare march on Janglu and Ridmal need have no apprehension about the safety of his new capital.

Conquest of Mandore (1430 AD)

Randhir accompanied Satta to Mandore after the victory against Ranmal and demanded half of the revenue share claiming the victory was attributable primarily to his help. His forces depleted, Satta did not affront Randhir, friend of Mohommad Khan Khokhar, and accepted his demand but started planning with his son Narbad for the extermination of Randhir and his son Napa. They fed poison to Napa, son of Randhir, through a maidservant leading to his death. Immediately, they led an attack on Randhir, who managed to escape with his men to Chittor in Mewar.

At Chittor, Rao Ranmal was acting as the regent to the Maharana. He received Randhir who told him of the events transpired at Mandore. Promising to avenge his son’s death, Ranmal secured the loyalty of Randhir who now accepted Ridmal’s claim to Mandore.

Alliance with Randhir had eliminated the possibility of his enemy obtaining help from Nagore, and after securing a strong force for his assistance from the Maharana, Rao Ranmal invoked the blessings of Karniji and once again marched against Satta.

Both the forces met halfway and a fierce battle between the Rathore kinsmen ensued, and though Satta’s forces led by commanders Chotha and Jeeya, both of the Inda Pratihar clan, fought valiantly they lost the battle when the two Inda commanders fell. Narbad, Satta’s son was grievously wounded and was carried from the field of battle while his father Satta fled to Pipar where he was taken prisoner. Ranmal then arrived at Mandore and captured it, declaring himself ruler of Mandore.

Ranmal despatched his prisoners Satta and Narbad to Chittor with the Maharana’s army and proceeded to Deshnoke for Karniji’s blessings.

Saving Jagdu Shah (1459 AD)

Harshad Temple (On Hill)|||Goddess Harshad Temple on Koyal hill is accredited to [Jagadu](./Jagadu) Shah. Source : Jagdu Shah was a prosperous Maheshwari merchant of Chittor who after incurring the displeasure of Maharana Mokal, fled Mewar and settled at Khinvsar near Nagaur. He had heard of the goddess Karniji while in Chittor. On coming to Khinvsar, and finding that Karniji’s camp was not far off in Janglu, he approached for darshan and blessings for his safety. His devotion and pious life pleased Karniji, she assured him that at Khinvsar he will be safe from the Maharana’s wrath. He pleaded to grant him protection against future accidents and mishaps. The goddess Karniji replied, “God always comes to the rescue of His devotees. You can therefore always pray and count upon His great mercy. Rest assured, you will if you continue to lead a pious and good life, receive protection.”

Satisfied, Jagdu Shah returned home. He prospered, his ships brought merchandise & caravans carried them to trade markets scattered all over the region. His business required a lot of traveling. While travelling on one such journey in Samvat 1516 (1459 AD), his ship was caught in a perilous storm. The ship seemed to be fragile against the force of storm and the crew prayed for divine mercy. This reminded Jagdu Shah of the assurance given by his patron deity Karniji. He invoked the name of the goddess who at that time was milking a cow. The legend states, Karniji used the other for rescuing the floundering ship thus saving Jagdu Shah and his people.

Soon after reaching port, Jagdu Shah proceeded to Deshnoke to pay homage. He narrated to anxious listeners how his ship was caught in a storm and how when all hopes had been lost, he invoked Karniji’s name remembering the assurance and how a lovadi covered arm came to their rescue, steering the ship from out of the storm to safety and saved all aboard. At Deshnoke, Jhagadu Shah told his wish to construct temple. Karniji told him to construct temple at Porbandar as Harsiddhi temple. According to the Deshnoke registers, this event took place on Bhadwa Sudi 10, (Thursday) of Samvat 1516 (1459 AD).

Polity in Marwar

Source :

The first Rathore kingdom of Jodhpur in Rajputana was founded by Rao Jodha but Rathores had had already secured a foothold for themselves a long time ago due to Rao Siha Setramot, grandson of Jaichand of Kannauj. Siha’s descendant Rao Chunda, whose father Viramdeo was killed in a battle against Johiyas, was raised by a Charan called Alhaji Barhath. Chunda was the first Rathore ruler who acquired a fort, namely Mandore, from its earlier rulers, Inda Pratiharas.

Rao Chunda came to Suwap in Vikram Samvat 1463 (1406 AD) for Karniji’s darshan (blessing). He had 14 sons, the eldest being Rao Ranmal. Chunda captured and occupied Nagaur in Vikram Samvat 1465 (1408 AD) and decided to stay there leaving Mandore under the charge of one of his sons. They wanted Ranmal to succeed their father but the fourth brother Randhir was inclined towards Satta who was born of the favored queen. Thus, Randhir succeeded in depriving Ranmal of his patrimony. Satta was put at Mandore while Rao Chunda established his headquarters at Nagaur. Meanwhile, Ranmal settled in Chundasar founded by his father with a promise of a jagir to be granted in due course.

Chunda’s aggressive expansion intimidated the surrounding chieftains, who made an alliance against him. This alliance included the Rao of Pugal, Sankhlas of Janglu and Khidar Khan of Multan. They attacked at Nagaur, Chunda did not anticipate the attack and was not able to prepare an army to give battle. On Vaisakh Badi 15 Vikram Samvat 1470 (1413 AD), finding no way out of the situation, he charged his enemies and was killed in action.

Assassination of Ranmal (1438 AD)

Source :

Rao Chunda was succeeded on the throne of Mandore by his favorite son Satta whereas his eldest son Ranmal had joined the court of his brother-in-law, Rana Lakha Singh of Mewar. There, he amassed significant influence, eventually becoming regent to his minor nephew Mokal Singh following the death of Lakha in 1421. In 1428, Ranmal returned to Marwar to claim his ancestral throne, defeating his brother Satta in 1430 and captured Mandore. When Mokal Singh was assassinated five years later, Ranmal once again took on the governance of Mewar, now in the name of Mokal’s young son Kumbha. However, he was greatly resented by the nobles of Mewar due to the considerable Rathore influence he brought to the Sisodia kingdom. In his arrogance, Ranmal was heard claiming to rule the kingdom of Mewar for himself. When a Mewari prince was murdered on his orders, a coup was launched against him in 1438, culminating in his assassination and the invasion of Marwar.

Prince Jodha, Ranmal’s son, was able to escape from Chittor but the invasion of Mandore by Sisodia forces had left him greatly weakened. Picking as much treasure as he could, he left Mandore, in haste, to seek, as his father and grandfather had done in times of adversity, the blessings and advice of the patron deity of the Rathores-Shri Karniji. Reaching Deshnok, he narrated how Rao Ranmal had incurred the suspicion of the Maharana and Mewar nobles leading to his assassination.

Condemning Ranmal’s conduct, Karniji enjoined Jodha to shun the path of Adharma and impressed upon him the advantages of moral rectitude, she assured him that by living a life in the service of Dharma, he would reconquer Mandore.

“For the time being, ” she said, “you should repair to Janglu, which shall always be beyond the pale of the Sisodia’s swords. ”

Thus, prince Jodha repaired to Janglu, strengthened its defenses, and began preparations for the fulfillment to avenge his father’s death and evict the Sisodias from Mandore.

Kingdom of Jodhpur

Source :

Coronation of Jodha (1439 AD)

Due to weakening of Rathore power after the Sisodia assault on Mandore, Rathore chiefs set aside their internal feuds and rallied under the banner of Jodha. At Kavani, Rathore clansmen collectively decided to declare Jodha as Rao, and successor to Rao Ranmal, and the succeeding day was fixed for the Raj-Tilak. Rao Jodha sent emissaries to Deshnoke to request Karniji to grace the occasion and herself apply the Tilak. She was unable to come and instead sent Pugree Dastoor to Kavani with her sons and Jaggu Doshi.

Therefore, on Kartik Vadi 5th of Samvat 1496 (1439 AD), Jodha was put on the Rathore throne and declared the Rao. On the request of the assemblage, Karniji’s son Punya Raj, on her behalf, performed the ceremony and applied the Raj-Tilak. Punya Raj gave five leaves of Jhadberi as Karniji’s gift which Jodha respectfully put in the Pugree that he had received from Karniji. After the ceremony, Jodha proceeded to Deshnoke, paid respects to Karniji, and obtained her blessings.

Jodha captures Mandore (1453 AD)

Mandore was occupied by Sisodia forces and on behalf of Maharana of Mewar, Narbad (son of Rao Satta) was stationed there with a strong garrison at Mandore with orders to pursue and destroy Jodha. For the next 12 years, Narbad would relentlessly devise ways to draw out and capture Jodha. He would often deliberately leave his flanks exposed and even leave the route to Mandore ill-defended in the hope enticing Jodha to attack in the open. But Karniji had forewarned Rao Jodha. She had told him not to risk a major battle until she gave an all clear. Thus forewarned, Rao Jodha bided his time at Kavani for 12 years.

One day in Samvat 1510 (1453 AD), Karniji sent a message to Rao Jodha asking him to promptly reach Deshnoke with as many Rathores as he could muster. Accordingly, he reached Deshnoke and appearing before Karniji sought advice and directions. Karniji told him that the opprtune time for invading Mandore had arrived and he must march with his men towards Mandore.

During the way to Mandore, Jodha camped at the hamlet of Modhi Moolani in village Sirdan. Here, Jodha was served affectionately by Modhi with halwa dish. The Modhi told him, “Don’t worry. I put some majith to make up for the shortage of maida. This auspicious hue on your mustache is a sure sign of Karniji’s blessings. Your victory is certain. Proceed at once to Mandore.”

Jodha next camped at Bengati where Harbuji Sankhla, one of the five well-known holy men of Rajasthan, played host. Jodha and his men were offered bajra khichri by the saint. While depating, Harbuji told Jodha he will suffer no defeat so long as he has Sri Karniji’s blessings and that he shall reconquer his heritage. Thus Jodha proceeded accepting assistance from chiefs of estates and villages falling on the route.

Jodha arrived near Mandore with a contingent of 700 horses and 10,000 foot soldiers where with the assistance of Kalu Mangalia, who was Jodha’s confidant and worked as an insider for the enemy, was able to enter with 1000 of men in the citadel. These men let inside the rest of the army in the night and stormed the fort from within. This took the Sisodias and their Rathore supporters by surprise and by sunrise Jodha took over Mandore.

Nearest remaining outpost of Sisodias, Chokri was attacked by Rao Kandhal (brother of Rao Jodha) the following day. Rao Kandhal then marched an army on Merta and Ajmer which he conquered in the course of year, Samvat 1510 (1453 AD). Thus, Rao Jodha was able to reconquer his inheritance & restrengthened the Rathores in Marwar.

Foundation of Jodhpur – Mehrangarh Fort (1459 AD)

!Mehrangarh Fort|||Mehrangarh Fort Rao Jodha was an ambitious ruler and Mandore and its fort were not adequate since he had plans for a larger capital commanded by a stronger fort. A site five miles from Mandore was chosen which was protected by low hills and presented a view rising above the adjoining hills and terrain. An ascetic called Jogi Chidyanath had made this place his hermitage. When requested to move he refused categorically. This happened many times. Rao Jodha then took extreme measures and sought help from Karniji. Amaraji Barhath, a close ally of Jodha, was chosen to personally carry the invitation to Deshnoke because of his high status, and the fact that he belonged to the clan in which Karniji was married. Amaraji was accompanied by the Rajpurohit of the Rathores (the estate holder of Tinwari) descended from the purohits of Kanauj who came with Rao Siha to Marwar. They soon reached Deshnoke and conveyed the invitation to Karniji, which was accepted.

A royal reception was held from the site of the fort to village Chopasani near to the Amaraji’s estate Mathania. Rao Jodha advanced up to Chopasani to receive the guests from Deshnoke and escort his tutelary deity Karniji to the site where on Jeth Sud 11th of Samvat 1515 (1459 AD), a Thursday, Karniji laid the foundation of the fort and the city of Jodhpur at an auspicious hour. Seeing a superior power, Jogi Chidyanath left the place at once.

The assembled Rathore clansmen while paying respectful homage to Karniji with one voice solicited blessings for their dynasty to rule until eternity.

“This cannot happen, ” Karniji replied, “as the grant of such a boon is impossible. It is against the natural sequence of destiny. Neither incarnations like Lord Rama and Krishna, nor great souls like Yudhishthira and Ikshvaku got such a boon. All had to bow to the inevitable. Kingdoms change hands according to the theory of Karma and those who misuse power are replaced by those who earned virtue in their previous lives. He who is born shall die and that which is established shall fall. Even the Almighty himself would not grant the boon prayed for. ”

Jodha relented but then requested to foresee the future of his dynasty. The Goddess thereupon, reportedly, prophesied, “This fort and Jodhpur shall be ruled for 28 generations by your descendants. The generations that follow shall live as Bhomias. ”

Kingdom of Bikaner

Source :

In search of a kingdom (1465 AD)

Rao Jodha, proud of the new capital Jodhpur and a chain of victories had decided to expand his kingdom’s boundaries through further conquests. Jodha has 20 sons one of whom was Rao Bika. One day, Jodha saw his brother Rao Kandhal in conversation with Rao Bika and jokingly enquired if Kandhal was secretly planning to conquer new territory and put his favorite nephew on the throne. The tradition proud Kandhal took this seriously as a challenge and took upon himself the responsibility of carving a kingdom for his nephew Bika. Bidding good-bye to his brother Jodha, Kandhal proclaimed, “I shall not appear before you till Bika has a Kingdom.” Thus, accompanied by his uncles Kandhal and Mandala and 400 horses, the determined Bika left Jodhpur in search of new territory, on Dussehra day of Samvat 1522 (1465 AD).


!Kodamdesar bheruji|||Bhairav Temple at Kodamdesar Since childhood, Bika was a devotee of Bhairava and an ardent believer in Karniji’s blessings. He carried the an idol of Bhairava with him and proceeded to Deshnoke with his uncles and soldiers. Arriving at Deshnoke, they approached Karniji in humility, apprised her of their aim, and requested her to give them success in their ventures.

Rao Kandhal spoke, “Bhuvaji (aunt), we left Jodhpur on the strength of our faith in your protection. Your sanctuary was our destination. We are at your command ready to fight for the establishment of Dharma. Kindly direct us to the destiny of Rajputs. We abide by your directions.”

The goddess placed her hand on Bika’s head conferring blessings and spoke “Of Jodha’s sons who are all dear to me, I like thee most. A brilliant future awaits you. In these lands, your name and glory shall be greater than that of your father. You shall abide your time at Chundasar in the worship of the Bhairava idol which you carry. Do not be hasty or covetous like your grandfather Ranmal and await instructions for the next venture.”

Bika and Kandhal proceeded to Chundasar where they remained for three years, utilizing the time to organize and arm their contingents. When during this sojourn, Bika’s queen conceived, they thought it best to move to Deshnoke. Bika and Kandhal moved to Deshnoke with their families leaving the contingents in Chundasar. At Deshnoke, they spent their time in the worship and service of Karniji. Here on Magh Shukla 10th of Samvat 1526 (1469 AD), Bika’s rani gave birth to a son.

They stayed a few more years at Deshnoke. After some time, Bika and Kandhal once again stated their ambition to the goddess. Satisfied by their patience and pious lives, Karniji, in Samvat 1537 (1480 AD), directed them to proceed to Kodamdesar and install their Bhairava idol.

At Kodamdesar, Bika and Kandhal arrived with their families and soldiers and settled here, installing the idol of Bhairava at the banks of Kodamdesar lake.

Kodamdesar Fort (1480 AD)

At Kodamdesar, after installing the idol of Bhairava, Bika decided to build a fort around the shrine. The Bhatis under Rao Shekha of Pugal considered the fort a threat to their land. They opposed the move and the Baghodas, another Rajput clan joined with them. The began preparations for war to prevent Bika from constructing the fort. Bika proceeded to Deshnoke to consult Karniji and narrated the design of his opponents and requested Karniji to accompany him to Kodamdesar as, he believed, her presence would deter his opponent Rajput chieftains from attacking.

This request put Karniji in a dilemma since both Rao Bika and his opponent Rao Shekha of Pugal were her devotees, morever Shekha was also her sworn-brother (dharma bhai). She didn’t want Bika to built a fort at the location as it threatened the kingdom of Pugal and the Bhatis were justified in their aggression. Therefore, while predicting his success, Karniji advised him to drop the idea of constructing the fort at Kodamdesar.

Bika returned. A couple of days later, Rao Shekha came and told Karniji that fighting appeared inevitable and prayed for blessings. Karniji replied that his apprehensions are true but the battle, ultimately, will be won by Rao Bika. Thus, when Rao Kelan of Tanot gave the call for war, Rao Shekha excused himself feigning illness. His dropping out of the Bhati alliance was a great set back to old Rao Kelan and meant a substantial reduction in the strength of the attacking force. However, Kelan, undaunted, continued preparations for the attack. Before the battle, the old Rao Kelan decided to travel to Deshnoke and pay his homage and sought blessings.

Karniji replied “Thou shalt have the thing most coveted by a valiant Rajput-a heroic and glorious death on the field of battle.”

The valiant Rao Kelan, 80 at the time, took this as a blessing and returned to his camp. Accompanied by 2000 Bhatis and Baghodas, Rao Kelan of Tanot marched on Kodamdesar. Bika met them with 500 chosen warriors including his uncle Kandhal and Mandla, brother Bida and Sankhla Napa. The Rathores won the battle and Rao Kelan died fighting until the last. The Bhatis lost 300 men but despite the defeat continued guerrilla warfare. Rao Bika was compelled to approach Karniji at Deshnoke and sought her intervention.

Karniji advised him, “You cannot expect the Bhatis to take their defeat lying down. The guerrilla war they have begun will be intensified. You have an important mission to fulfill and cannot afford to tie down a sizable part of your army to Kodamdesar or neglect preparations for more important battles. You should, therefore, drop the idea of building a fort at Kodamdesar and thus make a victor’s gesture for conciliating the Bhatis who justly object to it. I will bring about reconciliation as this is necessary for peace and prosperity in the land and meeting the threat from Multan and Delhi.”

The fort construction was abandoned and as a result, the Bhati aggression stopped.

Rathore-Bhati alliance

An alliance of Bhatis and Rathores was required to maintain peace and prosperity in the land. Since, Bhatis had stopped raiding Bika’s territory and Bika had abandoned the fort construction, Karniji advised Rao Shekha of Pugal to give his daughter princess Rangkunwari to Bika in marriage.

However, Shekha was hurt by the proposal and complained, “Holy lady, you are asking me to do a thing which I consider an insult. Bika is not the heir apparent to Rao Jodha’s throne because misled by Rao Kandhal, he has relinquished his rights of succession to Jodhpur. He has ceased to be the leader of Rathores and is merely a wandering prince. His brother is now Rao Jodha’s heir. On the other hand, I am a ruler. How can a ruler’s daughter be married to a disinherited prince? I cannot show my face to my people if I agree.”

A few days after the above conversation, Shekha at the head of 25 camels, made a plundering raid on Multan. On their return journey to Pugal, the Subedar of Multan rode in pursuit with 400 horses. The Bhatis were overtaken and overpowered. Rao Shekha was taken prisoner and put in a jail in Multan.

Attempts were made by Shekha’s sympathizers to escape but couldn’t succeed and for about two years he remained captive. When all efforts failed, Rao Shekha’s wife prayed to Karniji, “Holy Goddess, is it not surprising that one who is brother to you should famish in a dungeon for so long? How can a well-wisher tolerate this situation? Will it not be said that the dharam bhai of an incarnate Goddess is a helpless captive of a Muslim Subedar?”

Grieving and weeping she fell asleep and in a dream saw Shri Karniji holding a trident and saying that the only way of securing Shekha’s freedom is to marry Rangkunwari to Rao Bika. The next morning, she called her son Haru and related her dream. Haru sought advice from his kinsmen. They decided to proceed to Deshnoke and seek instructions from the Goddess. The Rani accompanied by her son and the kinsmen of her husband reached Deshnoke. After customary homage, they sat down. Karniji was requested to suggest a spouse of her choice for the princess.

Karniji said, “I had expressed before Shekha my desire of seeing her united with Rao Bika, but he did not agree. "

Shekha’swife replied, “According to our custom, a mother has a prior say about the daughter’s fate, and that of the son is linked with the father. In exercise of this right, I accept your proposal and would abide by the promise till the last.”

Thus, the marriage between royal families of Bhati and Rathore was fixed at the behest of Karniji and a suitable date was chosen for nupitals.

Release of Rao Shekha from Multan (1482 AD)

The wedding rituals started at Pugal and Shekha’s wife was worried who would perform Kanyadan as Rao Shekha was still a prisoner in Multan. At the other end, Rao Shekha was languishing in the Multan prison and had lost all hopes of escape. Believing his end was near, he invoked Karniji thus: “O Karniji! appear as a samali and free me from this bondage.” Availing Herself of her divine power, Karniji in the flicker of a moment reached Multan and appeared with a trident in hand before the prisoner, Rao Shekha. Amazed at Karniji’s presence and answering his prayers, Shekha prostrated before her form. Prostrating, he took an oath to never indulge in any further raids and robbery. Karniji freed him from bondage and carried him the same moment to Pugal at the nuptial grounds of wedding.

The marriage festivities took Shekha by surprise and his along with his relieved wife, he performed Kanyadan, ceremony of making a gift of his daughter to the bridegroom, Rao Bika.

Thus, the wedding was solemnized in Samvat 1539 (1482 AD) which united the families in an alliance. Asking Rao Shekha to forget all his objections to the marriage, Karniji swore the Rathores and the Bhatis to a lasting friendship.

Founding of Bikaner (1485 AD)

Gardens Junagarh Fort 2007|||Gardens of [Junagarh Fort](./Junagarh_Fort), Bikaner During one his homages to Deshnoke in Samvat 1540 (1483 AD), Karniji predicted that a quarrel would soon start between the Jat principalities and advised him to give shelter and help to those who approached.

It soon came true and Pandu Godara sought Rao Bika’s help against other Jat tribe who had captured his territory. Forewarned by Karniji, Bika promised help on the condition of Pandu accepting Rathore protection. The anti-Pandu alliance, in turn, sought the help of Tanwar Rajputs and the combined forces of the Tanwars and the Jat chiefs confronted the Rathores at Dhenka where Rao Bika launched a determined attack. In the battle, the Tanwar chiefs were killed and the battle was won by Rao Bika. The defeated Jat chiefs surrendered and accepted Rao Bika’s suzerainty who thus added 720 villages to his kingdom.

Karniji’s desire to see order and peace in the region that was prey to frequent feuds and looting was thus fulfilled by her devotee Rao Bika. The victorious Bika came to Deshnoke to seek blessings where Karniji advised him to formally lay the foundations of his kingdom by building his capital. A site was suggested near the meeting point of roads connecting Multan with Nagaur and Ajmer.

For the fort, Bika selected the rati ghati (the red pass) and requested the Goddess to lay the foundation. Thus, Karniji, in Samvat 1542 (1485 AD) laid the foundations of the Bikaner citadel, the second Rathore kingdom of the Thar desert.

Coronation of Rao Bika

When the Bikaner fort and capital were completed, Karniji was approached for gracing the coronation of Rao Bika. Similar to the coronation of Rao Ranmal and Rao Jodha, Karniji instead sent Punya Raj to put the tilak on her behalf. Punya Raj conveyed her blessing and gave five leaves of a Jhadberi tree as a gift ensuring peace and prosperity to the kingdom.

On the following day of the coronation, Rao Bika accompanied by his wife, his uncle Rao Kandhal, and his brothers Mandla and Bida reached Deshnoke to pay homage to the Karni Mata. Karniji gave blessings for a prosperous reign and advised him to remember the obligations and selfless services of Rao Kandhal.

Prediction to Rao Loonkaran

Rao Bika ruled until Samvat 1561 (1504 AD) and was succeeded by his son Loonkaran. On the occasion of his coronation, Karniji again declined to attend and was represented by Punya Raj who applied tilak to the new Rao.

During the reign of Rao Bika, Loonkaran, then a prince, reached Deshnoke along with his sons Jaitsi, Pratapsi, Bersi, Ratansi, and Tejsi to pay homage to Karni Mata. Karniji then made a prediction which is recorded in these Dingal verses: पातलियो परताप रूड़ो रतनसी,

सारां में सिरदार जाडो जैतसी,

बैर उग्राहरण बैरसी।

Translation: “Jaitsi shall have numerous progenies and head the clan, Bersi and his descendants would be extraordinarily brave and vindicate the clan’s honor, Partap would be so so while Ratansi and progeny will win prestige.” In Samvat 1583 (1526 AD), Loonkaran planned an attack on Narnaul. He sought Karniji’s guidance. Though, she advised him against the venture, Loonkaran went on to attack Narnaul and died fighting at Dhosi where the battle was fought on Srawan Vadi 4th of Samvat 1583.

Rao Jaitsi took the reins of the kingdom after his father’s death and paid homage to Karniji at Deshnoke on Asoj Sudi 14 V.S. 1583 (1526 AD).

Later days and mahaprayana

Source :

Like the Rathore rulers of Marwar and Bikaner, the Bhati rulers of Jaisalmer and Pugal also had strong faith in Karniji. The rulers of Jaisalmer, Chachagdev, Devidas, Ghadsi and Jaitasi had paid homage and sough blessings from Karniji at Deshnoke.

The frontier of Bikaner and Jaisalmer

After the establishment of the Bikaner kingdom in Samvat 1541 (1484 AD), a dispute about the frontier had started on the boundary between village Gadhiyala in Bikaner and Girachar in Jaisalmer. Even though the arbitration process had resolved the issue, a snide remark from Rathore side enraged the Bhatis of Jaisalmer. The resultant skirmish eventually led to full declaration of war between the two kingdoms.

Seeing the peace of the region threatened, Karniji intervened and declared the Dhineru talai and catchment between the villages of Gadhiyala and Girachar as a no man’s land between the two kingdoms and serve as pasture ground for the cattle. She further declared that she would breathe her last near the Dhineru talai and the boundary pillar between the two kingdoms should be installed at the spot.

Visit to Jaisalmer (1537 AD)

Karniji used to worship the goddess Avad Mata. There are 52 dhams (pilgrimage sites) in the Jaisalmer state of Avad Mata. Out of these, Karniji had a strong faith in Temra Rai (another name of Avad Mata) and from time to time she used to go to Temra Rai Temple for darshan. Sometime after Navratri of Samvat 1594 (1537 AD), she made a pilgrimage to Temra Rai Temple. At that time, the ruler of Jaisalmer was Maharawal Jaitsi, who was suffering from a chronic boil (tumor). Knowing that the end time was near, he expressed desire to have final darshan of Karni Mata. When Maharawal Jaitsi heard the news of Karniji’s arrival to Temra Rai, in spite of being in pain, he travelled all the way himself to see Karniji and bowing his head at her feet, he said “You have done me a great favor by giving me darshan at the last moment because now my death is near.”

At the same time, Karniji moved her hand on the back of bowing Maharawal and gave a boon that you will not die from this disease and you will start curing from today. In few days, the disease left Jaitsi’s body and he started getting healthy.

The grateful Maharawal Jaitsi respectfully presented a village to Karniji. Karniji granted that village to a Solanki Rajput before leaving to visit Temra Rai and returning to Deshnoke.

Pratima of Karni Mata

Karniji was now 150 years old. She bid adeau to her family and embarked on a final journey to Jaisalmer and Amarkot. In the beginning of the Magh month of 1594 VS (1537 AD), Karniji left Deshnoke to visit Temra Rai in Jaisalmer and Bahuchara and Boot Bhawani in Kharoda of Amarkot-Sindh. She was accompanied by her eldest son Punya Raj, charioteer Sarang Vishnoi, a Daroga servant and other attendants.

During her stay at Jaisalmer, Karniji called on her devotee Bana Suthar), who was blind since birth, and in the following words directed him to prepare her Pratima (statue):

“The desires and lusts of the world have not touched you as you are born blind. You are also my devotee. Hence you are the proper person to draw my likeness on a stone for the benefit of posterity. Your sight will be restored, for the present, temporarily to see and remember my likeness in your mind. Your sight will be permanently restored when the Pratima is ready and installed at Deshnoke after my departure from earth.”

Journey to Kharoda-Sindh

From Jaisalmer, the travelers proceeded to Kharoda (Sindh) where Karniji enjoyed the hospitality of sister goddesses Bahuchara and Boot Bhawani for twelve days. Goddess Deval Mata was the cousin sister of Karni Mata. She had two daughters, Boot and Bahuchara, who are also considered to be incarnations of Shakti. Karniji stayed with them for 12 days.

Bidding good-bye, the entourage turned back for Deshnoke and in due course, reached Bengati where Karniji called on the pious Rajput saint Harbuji Sankhla. After a stay of two days, the journey was resumed.

Mahaprayana (1538 AD)

On Chaitra Shukla 9th of Samvat 1595 (1538 AD), after an overnight journey, Karniji’s entourage reached Dhineru talai-the place Karniji declared as the no man’s land between the kingdoms of Bikaner and Jaisalmer. It is at this place that Karniji is said to have disappeared into a flame at the age of 151 years.

“The sun was about to rise. She had Her chariot stopped and asked Punya Raj to arrange water for her bath. Unable to find water at hand, he proceeded as directed to get some from the nearby Dhineru talai. She then asked Sarang Vishnoi to look for water in the silver pitcher. It had only a few drops. Sarang was directed to pour it on Shri Karniji who sat in meditation facing the east and the rising sun. As the sun emerged in the east, the water poured from the pitcher touched her head and with it appeared a flame sublimating the physical form which became a part of the Universal Flame.”

The Karni Mata Temple (1538 AD)

After Karni Mata’s mahaprayana, her son Punya Raj and other attendants returned to Deshnoke. On the fourth day, Banna Suthar arrived with the pratima (idol) of Karni Mata and on Chaitra Shukla 14 Thursday of V.S. 1595 (1538 AD), the idol was installed in a temple according to the orders of Karniji, which became the most important pilgrimage site for the devotees of Karni Mata.


!Maharaja Gaj Singhji (1723, r.1745-1787) of Bikaner worshiping goddess Karni Mata|||Maharaja Gaj Singh of Bikaner worshiping goddess Karni Mata, 1723 CE_of_Bikaner_worshiping_goddess_Karni_Mata.jpg?width=300)

The spiritual importance of the symbol of the Karni Mata as that of non violence, protector, peaceful coexistence and provider of the power & legitimacy to the Rajputs. One of the most revered deities of Rajputs is Karni Mata, whom many Rajput clans worship as family goddess and link their community’s existence or survival in dire times. Karni Mata is also attributed with having a close relationship with the Rathore rulers, not only of Bikaner but also of Jodhpur. Throughout the history of both states, there are numerous accounts of the deity interceding on behalf of a ruler during times of battle, or in matters of alliance building. As Karni Singh, the last titular Maharaja of Bikaner, noted: “Karniji has always been important for the house of Bikaner. My father was a great devotee of the Goddess, as was his father before him. She has protected every member of this lineage. My wife and I worship her in her temple each day and she continues to watch over us all … … the first act of Bika upon entering the territory of the Jangli Desh, was to come to touch the feet of the most revered incarnate deity, Karni Mata …’” In present times, the Karni Mata temple in Deshnoke has become an important gathering spot for many Charan clans. Her devotees often mention that after the 1947 Partition of India and the subsequent problems in reaching Hinglaj, Karni Mata temple of Deshnoke has become the most important site for the community.

Cāraṇa Sagat

Karni Mata worshipped Awad Mata who was an earlier incarnation of Hinglaj in 8-9th century. When Charans chart the genealogy of incarnate deities, they usually begin with Hinglaj Mata and continue the list with the names of Awad Mata and then Karni Mata. Each successive figure is believed to be an incarnation or avatar of the previous sagat. However, important to note that not all incarnate deities follow this genealogy and not all are considered to be forms of, nor linked to, any previously known sagat.

Temples of Karni Mata

!20191212 Świątynia Karni Maty w Deśnok 1031 8078 DxO|||Sri Karni Mata Temple of Deshnoke Source :

Sri Karni Mata Temple (Deshnoke)

The Deshnoke temple is the most important pilgrimage site for the devotees of Karni Mata. The temple is famous for the approximately 25,000 black rats and a few white rats (which are rarest to be seen) that live, and are revered, in the temple. These holy rats are considered to be reincarnated Cāraṇas devotees of previous birth, taking birth among humans and mouse form alternatively. Many people travel great distances to pay their respects. The temple draws visitors from across the country for blessings, as well as curious tourists from around the world.

The Gumbhara in which the idol (carved by a suthar named Banna Khati on beautiful yellow marble of Jaisalmer in three months) has been installed in presence of Karniji herself, it’s an uncemented structure with the roof of Jal tree Salvadora oleoides. The speciality of the structure is that for the shelter of Kabas, no mortar has been used. After the victory over Kamran Mirza, the king Rao Jaitsi (fourth ruler of Bikaner) constructed a structure around the Gumbhara called ‘The Mandh’. Later Maharaja Surat Singh changed it to Pucca structure. The gold door of the sanctum (temple) was presented by Maharaja Bakhtawar Singh of Alwar. In the 20th century, Maharaja Ganga Singh renovated the most part of the temple.

Temra Rai Temple

It is dedicated to goddess Awadji and located at the same place where Rao Kanha suffered for his obstinacy. The original Karand (basket used by Karniji to worship Awadji) and the Idol of Awadji are still present there in the temple.

Sati Mankumariji Temple

The temple is a cenotaph containing the image of Mankumariji, Karniji’s grand-daughter, and her friend Sakhi. Mankumariji declared herself a Sati) upon receiving news of her husband’s death, and her friend Sakhi too joined her.

Sri Nehriji Temple (Deshnoke)

Shri Nehriji is another temple at Deshnoke associated with Karniji when she lived at Deshnoke. The word Nehriji means a dry wood which was revived to life to serve the requirement of churning the curd.

When the migrants from Sathika first arrived at Johad in Janglu, they needed facilities for extracting ghee and churning curd from the cow milk. While pots and other required materials for the task had been brought, extraction of butter could not begin without a nehri (a Rajasthani name for one of the churning tools). Karniji asked one of the servants to fetch a piece of wood for the purpose who searched but what he did bring was not fit for making a proper nehri. Karniji thereupon planted the deadwood branch brought by the servant and sprinkled it with curd. The wood (a piece of dead Jal tree), took root and grew up as the only green Jal tree now to be seen in the Deshnoke Oran (protected village forest). A noteworthy feature of this tree is marks of sprinkled curds that have survived to this day.

Karni Mata Temple (Mathania)

This is the oldest temple of Karni Mata built by her follower, Amaraji Barhath of Mathania. After laying the foundation stone of the new capital of Jodhpur, Mehrangarh fort, Karniji on her return journey en route to Deshnoke stopped at Mathania on the request of its estate ruler Amaraji Barhath who had earlier came to Deshnoke as an emissary of Rao Jodha. Mathania was about 12 miles from Mandore. To commemorate the visit of the goddess, Amaraji raised a temple and dedicated it to her which became the first Karni Mata Temple in history. Thanks to blessings from Karniji, Amaraji had numerous progeny who came to be known as Amrawat.

The Temple’s inner sanctum consists of foot imprints of Karni Mata which are worshipped.

Harsiddhi Temple (Porbandar)

Once a devotee Jagadu or Jhagdu Shah, a 15th-century Gujarati trader was sailing in sea, and was stuck in sea storm. Then he called Maa Karni from his small ship, and was helped while she was milking cow at her home. And got him reached Porbandar port. After reaching safely, Jhagadu shah came to Maa Karni at Deshnoke for thanksgiving her kindness, and told his wish to construct temple. Then Karni Mata told him to construct temple at Porbandar as Harsiddhi temple.

Karni Mata Temple (Mathura)

This temple was originally built by Lakhaji Barhath in the 16th century in Mathura. In the 20th century, it was renovated and reconstructed by Thakur Akshay Singh Ratnu.

Karni Mata Temple by Rana Sanga (Mewar)

A shrine dedicated to Karni Mata was built by the Cāraṇas in the village of Bheemal Charanan in the Mewar kingdom. The priestess of the temple, Viri Maa, was renowned in the region for her prophecies. When the crown princes of Mewar: Sanga, Jaimal, and Prithviraj, were in tussel over the decision to succeed the throne, their uncle Surajmal suggested visiting the venerated shrine of Karni Mata at Nahar Magra (“Tiger’s Mount”) to obtain an omen from Viri Maa. Due to this belief, the dispute between Sanga and his brother Prithviraj to become Maharana was decided in this shrine and the prediction of Rana Sanga becoming the ruler of Mewar was made by Viri Maa.

However, this prediction did not sit well with the crown prince Prithviraj who gravely injured Sanga causing him to lose vision in one eye. Ultimately, Rana Sanga defeated Prithviraj and became the ruler of Mewar and constructed a temple dedicated to Karni Mata at this shrine.

Manshapurna Karni Mata Temple (Udaipur)

Another temple dedicated to Karni Mata is Shri Manshapurna Karni Mata Temple or Karni Mata, Udaipur, located on the Machla Hills, near Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Park in Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Between the years 1620 and 1628, Maharana Karan Singh developed a residential area at Machla Magra for Udaipur’s safety. The temple was built by Maharana Karan Singh as a symbol to mark the boundary and safety of Udaipur. Though for a long period the temple was deserted, in 1997 the Shri Manshapurna Karni Mata Development Committee rebuilt it.

Karni Mata Temple (Alwar)

A further temple dedicated to Karni Mata is located in the historical city of Alwar, Rajasthan. It is situated in the heart of city, near the Sagar Palace and Bala Qila.

This temple was built by the second ruler of the Alwar State, Maharao Raja Sawai Bakhtawar Singh (1791–1815). Since then, the royal family of Alwar has been worshipping Karni Mata for which two temples were built in Bala Qila and Rajbhawan.

Shree Madh Khurad Dham (Nagaur)

Another historical temple dedicated to Maa Karni is located at Khurad, 12 km northeast from Gachhipura in the district of Nagaur, Rajasthan. The original temple was built by the Cāraṇas of village Khurd. Inder Baisa, a 20th-century figure, was seen as an incarnation of the goddess Karni by her followers. The Bikaner ruler Maharaja Ganga Singh was also among her devotees and on her advise sanctioned Rs. 11,157 on 8 September 1930 from his privy purse for carrying out the original works and repairs of the temple of Goddess Karni. Ganga Singh entrusted this work to his trusted Army Minister Hari Singh of Sattasar. It was built in the form of a fort. Being very near to marble city Makrana, it is built mainly of white marble.

New Delhi

This newly built temple can be found in the city of Delhi near the Majlis Park metro station.


This temple has been newly built in the city of Jorhat, Assam by people originated mainly from Nokha, Sri Dungargarh tehsil of Bikaner.


Sri Karni Mata temple construction started at Regent International Haat NH-6 Bombay road Domjur, Hawrah WB. Bhoomi pujan held on 8 May 2022.

In Rajasthan, the goddess Karni Mata is believed to protect the cows and Krishna Saara Mriga (blackbuck).

  • Read Details about Karni Mata Temple
  • National Geographic News: Rats Rule at Indian Temple
  • Deshnok Temple A three-minute video news report on Karni Mata, aka the “Bagwati Karniji” temple in Deshnoke, Rajasthan. Accessed 10 August 2007.