With its history dating back to 1058 AD, the temple of Narayani Mata is as sacred to the people of Rajasthan as Pushkar or Ramdeora. It is located 45 minutes from Amanbagh, on the edge of Sariska National Park.
Legend has it that Narayani Mata is the site of the first sati in northern India – the Hindu practice in which a widow throws herself on her husband's funeral pyre. The story goes that Narayani and her new husband were returning to their village. While resting in the shade of a banyan tree, her husband was fatally bitten by a snake. As the cremation was taking place at this fateful site, Narayani, already renowned for displaying supernatural powers, chose to sacrifice herself, taking her husband’s head in her lap and asking the villagers whether she could be of any help. The villagers wished for water, which miraculously sprang from the ground and continues to flow to this day. Sparked by her prayers, the funeral pyre ignited and consumed them both. Narayani, of the Barber caste, became one of the oldest known and most revered sati, one with the power of truth.
Umaid Lake palace guests can travel by jeep or car to Narayana Mata to witness the evening ritual in which a Meena tribal priest conducts the aarti (song prayers). With bells and gongs resounding, it can be an intense experience.