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An ecological niche at Kodamdesar temple

TreeTake is a monthly bilingual colour magazine on environment that is fully committed to serving Mother Nature with well researched, interactive and engaging articles and lots of interesting info.

An ecological niche at Kodamdesar temple

The Kodamdesar temple is situated 26 km from Bikaner, on the fringes of the Thar desert...

An ecological niche at Kodamdesar temple


At Kodamdesar temple situated on the fringe of the Thar desert, biodiversity is supported by anthropogenic activities and displays the magic of human-animal relationships, writes Dr Monika Raghuvanshi

The Kodamdesar temple is situated 26 km from Bikaner, on the fringes of the Thar desert, hence it is challenged in terms of natural resources. Due to the tough environment, the place battles the unavailability of water with extreme weather conditions. This makes survival a challenge for living species in the area.

Kodamdesar is situated among sand dunes with rare plant species adaptable to extreme solar conditions and lack of water. The groundwater level is also continuously declining in the area. Still, Kodamdesar temple is unique, being completely open and having no rooms and doors. It is made of white marble floor. It is amazing to see the presence of a large number of dogs in the temple complex. Kodamdesar Bhairu Ji Temple was built by Rao Bika Ji, the founder and ruler of Bikaner (1472-1504 AD), who belonged to the royal family of Jodhpur. He left Jodhpur in 1465 AD to establish Bikaner State and built this temple during the first three years of his arrival from Jodhpur. This place of worship was initially chosen as the site to lay the foundation of Bikaner, but was later shifted to its present location.

Kodamdesar Temple is dedicated to Lord Bhairon Ji, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. One of the first establishments by Rao Bika, the Kodamdesar Temple is a unique place to visit. This temple is the location for the Bhadrapad Fair, which sees local artisans and craftsmen flock to the place. The temple is visited by newly-wedded couples to seek the Lord's blessings. Newborn babies are also brought here for Mundan (first hair-shaving ceremony). It is very common to see dogs sleeping and relaxing in the vicinity of the temple. This temple has thousands of visitors on special occasions and still, it is surprising to see dogs relaxing even near the idol of the deity, priests, and worshippers.

The dog is the mount of Lord Bairav. Hence people consider dogs pious in the temple. They feed dogs and treat them lovingly. This has raised the population of dogs in the temple. As people treat dogs nicely, the canines live in the temple as if it is their home. Animals are generally agitated by the presence of humans, especially when in large numbers. However, in this temple, humans and dogs share a very friendly relationship. Dogs are not disturbed due to the human population and they sleep and relax even when the temple is crowded. Dogs also express their love to humans. They pleasingly approach humans as they are habitual of being fed. Even if they are not fed, they peacefully walk behind humans without scaring them.

People are often seen clicking photos with dogs. The canines are strong in physique as they are fed properly and that may also be the reason for their peaceful behaviour. The temple has an open area where people throw food grains for birds. Hence a large population of pigeons is continuously sitting in that area. As predator dogs are already fed by the people, the pigeons are not attacked and peacefully keep on feeding the whole day. The temple also has a pond in the backyard. Feeding fish with wheat flour balls is considered a noble deed here and this has raised fish population in the pond. Thousands of fish can be easily seen in such a small pond. Ducks can also be seen; However, ducks are a rare species in the desert.

Crows are also found here Worshippers put out food for them. This temple is truly an ecological niche in unique environmental and biological conditions. The desert is known for extreme temperatures and unavailability of resources. However, the biodiversity at Kodamdesar is supported by anthropogenic activities and displays the magic of human-animal relationships.


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