BARMER: A VESTIBULE OF ART AND CRAFTS
A tiny yet lively town in sun-drenched sands, Barmer is a miniature Rajasthan with all its colour, warmth and traidtion.
According to history, the 13th century founder of the district, Bahada Rao (popularly known as Bar Rao) gave the town its name - Barmer i.e. the hill fort of Bar.
Once called Mallani (12th century A.D.) the present Barmer district, formed in 1949 upon the merger of Jodhpur state in the United State of Great Rajasthan, is a cluster of ancient paraganas - Mallani Shiv, Pachpadra, Siwana and the Chohatan area.
Although a barren land with harsh climate
and rough terrain, Barmer is known for its rich crafts, dances and music.
Once on the ancient camel trade route, the town is now the centre for wood
carving, pottery, carpets, intricate embroidery work, block printed fabrics
and multi-hued traditional costumes.
Especially famous are the geometric ajrak prints in dark shades of red and
blue, ideal for protection against the sun. The most interesting part of a
trip to Barmer is the journey through rural Rajasthan. The small villages
with mud-walled houses decorated with delicate folk motifs and colourfully
attired people on the way offer a fascinating sight. Every year in March,
the desert town is at its colourful best during the exuberant Barmer
festival. The festival is the best time to plan visit to Barmer.
Perched on a rocky hill, the town has ruins of an old fort. Of interest are temples dedicated to Balark (the Sun) and the ancient ruins of Juna Barmer. The three Jain temples, an inscription of 1295 A.D. and a massive pillar in the hall of the largest temple of Maharaja Kula Sri Samanta Sinha Deva, a ruler of Bahadmera (now, Barmer) are also worth a visit.
Situated on the foot of a hill near village Hathma in Barmer tehsil is Kiradu. The inscription dating back to 1161 A.D. reveals that the place was called Kiratkoop and had once been the capital of Punwars. The ruins of five ancient temples - one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and other four dedicated to Lord Shiva - are of interest to archaeologists and art lovers, alike. The biggest of these temples is the Someshwar Temples.
Rao Siha, the founder of the Rathore clan alongwith his son (Asthanji) conquered Khed from the Guhil Rajputs and planted the standard of the Rathores. Asn old Vishnu temple of Ranchhrji is surrounded by a cumbling wall and an image of Garuda (the eagle) at the gate guards the complex. Other temples nearby include temples of Brahma, Bhairva, Mahadev and a jain temple.
Once a principal state of Mallani, this ancient village has got its name from the descendants of a Rathore sub-clan. A jain temple and a Hindu Temple are worth visiting. The Hindu temple is ornamented with fine sculptures which were brought from a jain temple of Lord Mahaveer.
Once called Viranipur, this 12th century village lies on the slope of a hill called Nagar-ki-Bhakarian, 9 km away from Baletra. The village has three Jain temples. The biggest of these is the one dedicated to Nakoda Parsvanath. A Vishnu temple is also worth visiting.
GARDENS AND PARKS
Mahaveer Park is a beautiful laid out park with a tiny museum housing ancient stone carved statues.
(Sidheswara Mahadev Temple Complex) is a tiny yet pretty garden near Barmer. Temporary accommodation and cooking facilities are available.
Neemari is another picturesque garden on chohatan route, 23 km. away from Barmer. An old swimming pool is an attraction.
A verirtable shopper's paradise, Barmer is treasure trove of vibrantly coloured embroidery with excellent mirror work. Also famous are beautifully embroidered fabrics and pouches often patterned with tiny mirors. Traditional rugs, blankets, shawls, carpets, `Pattius' Dari in typical Barmer colours and weave are a speciality of the district. The shopping spots include the tiny shops along the narrow lanes of the colorful and lively Sadar Bazar.