Located in western Rajasthan, Barmer is the municipal city forming part of the Barmer district– the third largest district by area in the state of Rajasthan. The city is famous for wooden cravings, ajrak prints, pottery and embroidery work. The town is built on a rocky hill topped by a fort and is surrounded by a sandy plain that is part of the Great Indian (Thar) Desert. This place is a beautiful experience for photographers, history buffs and  heritage lovers. 

 

Barmer India Train Station

 

History 

This area was known as Mallani in the 12th century. Its current name was given by its creator, Bahada Rao, also known as the Parmar Ruler (Juna Barmer). He established a small village, today known as "Juna," 25 kilometres from the current city of Barmer. Rawat Luka, the Grand Son of Rawal Mallinath, established their empire in Juna Barmer after Parmer's death, with the assistance of his brother Rawal Mandalak. They overcame the Parmers of Juna and established it as their capital.(1)


Following that, his descendant, Rawat Bhima, a famous warrior, founded the current city of Barmer in 1552 AD and relocated his capital from Juna to Barmer. He constructed a tiny fort on the outside of the city, which became known as Barmer Garh (Barmer Fort). The hill of Barmer fort is 1383 feet high, but Rawat Bhima built the fort at a lower elevation of 676 feet, which is a safer location than the top of the hill.(2)



Geography 

The Great Indian Desert encompasses the majority of the district. Exposures of hill ranges may be found in the eastern half of the area and to the west of Barmer city, with a flowing east-west direction. The district is actually a large sandy expanse. (3)

The Luni River, which runs from Balotra and Sindhari Charnan block to Jalor district, is the sole major drainage route in the area. Salt lakes can be found in the district's northeast and northwest. The district's typical geographic elevation ranges from 125 to 250 metres above mean sea level. The elevation ranges from 0.00 m above mean sea level in Chohtan block in the district's southwest to 931.8 m above mean sea level. In the eastern section of the district, in the Siwana block, which is part of the Aravalli range. Most of the district is covered by desert sand and sand dunes. The rock formation occupies the area in patches. (4) 

Rainfall in this district is scanty. Because of the arid Thar Desert and sandy soil, temperature varies greatly throughout the year. Summer temperatures range from 46 to 51 degrees Celsius. In the winter, the temperature lowers below 0 °C (41 °F). 

The Barmer district is primarily a desert, with an annual rainfall of 277 mm. However, heavy rains of 549 mm rain between August 16 and 25, 2006, caused several deaths and massive damages due to flooding in a nearby town Kawas, with the entire town inundated. There were up to twenty new lakes produced, with six covering an area of more than ten kilometres. (5)



Demography 

Barmer is divided into 40 wards, with elections occurring every five years. According to Census India 2011, the Barmer Municipality has a population of 96,225 people, with 50,787 men and 45,438 women. (6)


The number of children aged 0 to 6 in Barmer is 13592, accounting for 14.13% of the total population (M). The female sex ratio in Barmer Municipality is 895, compared to the state average of 928. Furthermore, the child sex ratio in Barmer is approximately 881, compared to the Rajasthan state average of 888. Barmer's literacy rate is 80.22% higher than the state average of 66.11%. Male literacy in Barmer is around 90.67%, while female literacy is 68.58%.(7)


According to the 2011 Census, the total Hindu population in Barmer is 78,357 people, accounting for 81.43% of the total population. Of addition, the total Muslim population in Barmer is 6,155, accounting for 6.4% of the total population. (8)

 

Barmer Demographics

 

Things to Do

Barmer City is well-known for its temples among other things. These temples act as places of prayer but also present one with the opportunity to see historical architectural works. Some of the most beautiful temples that you can see while visiting the city are: 


  • Kiradu Temples- It is a set of five temples located 35 kilometres from Barmer in a village in the Thar Desert. These temples have ornate and detailed sculptures and are known for their Solanki style of architecture. These temples are devoted to Lord Shiva, and the Mostshvara temple is the most impressive and complete of the five.(9)
  • Barmer Fort and Garh Temple- When Rawat Bhima relocated old Barmer (now JUNA village in Barmer Dist) to the present city in 1552 AD, he built a Barmer fort on a hillside in the modern city of Barmer. He constructed a fort on top of the city, which became known as Barmer Garh. The hill of Barmer fort is 1383 feet high, but Rawat Bhima built the fort at a lower elevation of 676 feet, which is a safer location than the top of the hill. This fort is bordered on all sides by temples.  Barmer Fort also features two prominent religious destinations–at the top of the hill is the Temple of Jogmaya devi (Garh Mandir), which is located at a height of 1383 feet, and at a height of 500 feet is the Nagnechi Mata temple. Both temples are highly famous and host fairs during Navratri festivals. The rest of the area is the old residence of the Barmer royal family. (10) 
  • Shri Nakoda Jain Temple- Built in the third century, the temple has been repaired several times. In the 13th century, Alamshah raided and robbed this temple but was unable to remove the idol since it was hidden in a village a few kilometres away. In the 15th century, the idol was returned and the temple was refurbished. (11)
  • Devka-Sun Temple- This temple was constructed in the 12th or 13th centuries. The temple is recognised for its magnificent construction and is located in Devka, a little hamlet about 62 kilometres from Barmer along the Barmer-Jaisalmer Road. The remains of two more temples in the village also feature stone sculptures of Lord Ganesha. (12) 
  • Vishnu Temple- The Vishnu temple, located near Khed, is one of the most important tourist destinations in Barmer. Even though the temple is in disrepair, it is nevertheless a work of art with a majestic aura surrounding it. The markets surrounding this temple are well-known shopping attractions in Barmer. (13)
  • Rani Bhatiyani Temple- Jasol is home to the Rani Bhatiyani Temple. She is highly revered by the Manganiar bard community since she is supposed to have granted Manganiar a divine vision. Many people call this goddess Majisa, or Mother, and perform hymns in her honour. According to legend, the goddess was once a Rajput princess named Swarup before becoming a goddess. (14)
  • Juna Fort and Temple- Juna is the former Barmer. It was the city built by Bar Rao, but under Rawat Bhima's reign, Barmer was relocated to its current location–leaving Juna as ruins of past greatness and old legacy. It is located 25 kilometres from Barmer and is famous for its Jain temple and medieval fort. It was built in the 12th or 13th century, according to inscriptions on a stone pillar near the temple. Juna is encircled by hills and a small lake.(15) 
  • Chintamani Parasnath Temple- This temple is well-known for its amazing sculptures and magnificent ornamental murals. The interior of the temple also has extensive glass inlay work. The temple was built in the 16th century by Shri Nemaji Jivaji Bohra and is located on top of a mound in the western section of Barmer.(16) 

Apart from the beautiful temples of Barmer City, the lesser known tourist spots include the gorgeous Mahabar Sand Dunes. The expanse of the Barmer Sand Dunes is equally stunning as the Sam Sand Dunes and will undoubtedly captivate you. The Mahabar Sand Dunes are accessible via the Barmer-Ahmedabad route. The road is passable by car, and getting to Mahabar Sand Dunes is not difficult. The sand dunes provide an ideal escape from the city because they are calm, less congested, and have yet to be explored in comparison to other locations.(17) 


Located on the way to the Mahabar Sand Dunes is the temple complex called Safed Akhara, also known as the Sideshwara Mahadev Temple. The temple complex contains shrines to Lord Shiva, Krishna and Radha, and Lord Hanuman, among others. The temple gardens are huge, and there are many peacocks walking around in their full splendour and elegance. (18)

 

Kiradu Temple, Barmer City

 

Lastly, if you are bitten by the shopping bug, you will find plenty of shops in Barmer City consisting of beautiful textiles such as ajrak print. The city is well-known for its outstanding wood carvings, carved wooden furniture, and hand block printed textiles. Sadar Bazaar is the major place to buy embroidered garments, while woodcarvings can be found along Station Road. Carpets, pottery, intricately embroidered fabric and purses, Pattius' Dari, rugs, blankets, and shawls are all available. (19) 


If you are interested in local crafts from the region, you can join our Kashidakari masterclass taught by generational artist Samjhu Devi. Kashidakari embroidery is a time-honoured craft practised by the women of the Meghwal community near Barmer. Read more about our travels here.

 

Kashidakari Embroidery from Rajasthan

 

 

 

References 

  1. INDIA, MAGIK. 2019. "Barmer, An Authentic City In The Thar Desert - MAGIK INDIA". MAGIK INDIA. https://magikindia.com/barmer/
  2. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  3. Ground Water Information, Barmer District, Rajasthan. 2013. Ebook. Jaipur: Ministry of Water Resources, Central Ground Water Board. http://cgwb.gov.in/District_Profile/Rajasthan/Barmer.pdf
  4. Ground Water Information, Barmer District, Rajasthan. 2013. Ebook. Jaipur: Ministry of Water Resources, Central Ground Water Board. http://cgwb.gov.in/District_Profile/Rajasthan/Barmer.pdf
  5. "Barmer District - Wikipedia". n.d. En.Wikipedia.Org. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barmer_district#Geography.
  6. "Barmer Population Census 2011 - 2022". n.d. Census 2011. https://www.census2011.co.in/data/town/800550-barmer-rajasthan.html
  7. "Barmer Population Census 2011 - 2022". n.d. Census 2011. https://www.census2011.co.in/data/town/800550-barmer-rajasthan.html.
  8. "Barmer Population Census 2011 - 2022". n.d. Census 2011. https://www.census2011.co.in/data/town/800550-barmer-rajasthan.html
  9. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  10. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  11. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  12. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  13. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  14. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  15. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  16. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  17. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  18. "Barmer Tourism: Places To Visit In Barmer - Rajasthan Tourism". n.d. Welcome To Rajasthan Tourism!. https://www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/barmer.html
  19. "Shopping In Barmer". n.d. India.Com. https://www.india.com/travel/barmer/things-to-do/shopping-shopping-barmer/.

2 comments

  • Sandeep Chibber: November 15, 2022
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    Very Well researched article. Great Job, all the best

  • Mayank Mohan: November 15, 2022
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    Very Nicely Written and Informative as well

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