Barmer is the headquarters of the Barmer district in the state of Rajasthan, India. The name Barmer is derived from the ruler Bahada Rao Parmar (Panwar) or Bar Rao Parmar (Panwar) who is said to have founded the town in the 13th century, when it was named Bahadamer (“The Hill Fort of Bahada”).
The present Barmer district, formed in 1949 upon the merger of Jodhpur state with the United States of Great Rajasthan, is a cluster of ancient paraganas – Mallani Shiv, Pachpadra, Siwana and the Chohatan area, known for its rich crafts, dances and music. Barmer town is now a center for wood carving, pottery, carpets, intricate embroidery work, block printed fabrics and multi-hued traditional costumes.
As of 2001 India census, Barmer had a population of 83,517. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Barmer has an average literacy rate of 66%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 63% of the males and 37% of females literate. 15% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Barmer is located at 25.75°N 71.38°E. It has an average elevation of 227 metres (744 feet). The total area of Barmer district is 28387 km². The whole district lies between 24°58′ – 26°32′ N and 70°5′ – 72°52′. On its north is Jaisalmer, to the south is Jalore, and Pali and Jodhpur are to the east. Pakistan is 270 km to the west.
Barmer district is above sea level and 22 km in length. The longest river in the district is the Luni. It is 480 km in length and drain into the Gulf of Kutch passing through Jalore. The variation in temperature in various seasons is quite high. In summers the temperature soars to 46 °C to 51 °C. In winters it drops to 0°C (41 °F). Primarily Barmer district is a desert where average rainfall in a year is 277 mm. However, extreme rainfall of 549 mm rain between 16 August and 25 August 2006 left many dead and huge losses due to flood in a nearby town Kawas and whole town submerged. As many as 20 new lakes formed, and 6 covered an area of over 10 km². Barmer is the second largest district of Rajasthan. Recently, a large onshore oil field has been discovered and made functional in Barmer district.
To the immediate west of the city lie the remains of Juna or Juna Barmer and to the south are the ruins of three Jain temples. There is an inscription dated 1295 AD on one of the pillars of the hall of the largest temple at Juna. This mentions a Maharajakula Sri Samanta Sinha Deva ruling Barmer at the time. Barmer is famous for its carved wooden furniture and hand block printing industry, woolen industries, gaur industries, oil.
There are number of festivals held in Barmer, the most famous of which is a cattle fair held every year at Tilwara village situated on the banks of the Luni river. The fair goes on for a fortnight in the months of March and April. The other major festival is the Barmer Thar Festival, started as a practice to enhance the tourism potential of this town. During the annual Barmer festival in March, the town is at its colourful best and that is the best time to visit Barmer. Siwana fort is a very old fort. It is at about 1000 years old. In local language its name is Gadh Siwana.
In and around Barmer
Situated at the foot of a hill near the hathma village, Kiradu has ruins of five ancient temples one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the other four dedicated to Lord Shiva.
An old Vishnu temple of Ranchhrji, surrounded by a crumbling wall, an image of Garuda (the eagle) at the gate guards the complex. Other temples nearby that are worth visiting are the temples of Brahma, Bhairav, Mahadev and a Jain temple of Lord Mahaveer.
This picturesque park has a tiny museum housing ancient stone carved statues.
Once called Viranipur, this 12th century village is located on the slope of a hill called Nagar-ki-Bhakarian, 9km away from Balotra. The town has three Jain temples the biggest one dedicated to Nakoda Parsvanth. A Vishnu temple is also worth visiting.
Juna Barmer (42km)
Juna Barmer is an ancient town perched on a rocky hill. The major points of attraction here include the ruins of an old fort, a temple dedicated to Surya and the ancient ruins of Juna Barmer. The three Jain temples and a huge pillar in the hall of the largest temple of Maharaja Kula Sri Samanta Sinha Deva a ruler of Bahadmera (earlier name of Barmer), are worth visiting.
This ancient village named after the descendants of a RathoreSub-clan is famous for its Jain temple and a Hindu temple. The Hindu temple is known for its fine sculptures, which were brought from a Jain temple dedicated to Lord Mahavir.
This beautiful garden on the Chohatan route is a popular picnic spot outside the town. The old swimming pool in the garden is a major attraction.
Famous for its cattle fair.
How to get there
Barmer is connected by road with Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Pali, Jalore, Jaipur, Ajmer and Ahmedabad. The nearest airport is at Jodhpur (222km).