Hand Cloth Painting
Juna Jain Temple
Wood Carving Traditions
Welcome to Barmer,
Barmer is located atop a hill in western Rajasthan. It houses the remains of an old fort called Garh right on its peak. According to history, the 13th century founder of the district, Bahada Rao(popularly known as a Bar Rao ) gave the town its name - Barmer i.e., the hill fort of Bar.
You can trot to the beautiful Siwana Fort and visit the Juna Jain Temple. Sojourn to the Kiradu Someshvara Temple, the Khed Ranchorrai Mandir, the Rani Bhatiani Temple, the Sun Temple located in Devka should be part of your itinerary. Barmer is known for its rich crafts, dances and music. One on the ancient camel trade route, the town is now the center for wood carving, pottery carpets intricate embroidery work block printed fabrics and multi - hued traditional costumes. Every year in March,the town is at its colorful best during the exuberant Barmer festival. The festival is the best time to plan a visit to Barmer. The Most Interesting Part of a trip to Barmer is the journey through rural Rajasthan.
Perched on a rocky hill, the town has ruins of an old fort. Of interest are a temple dedicated to Balark (the sun) and the ancient ruins if Juna Barmer. The three Jain temples an inscription of 1925 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.
Located in west Barmer, the temple presents a picturesque sight situated atop a small hillock. Dedicated to the Jain Tirthankara Parasvanath, it was built sometime in the 12th century. The sculptures inside the temple are beautiful, but the really unique feature of the place, are the decorative paintings you find dotting the interiors of the complex. In addition the glass inlay work you find inside the temple lends a majestic air to the place.
About 62 km from Barmer and 12 km north of Shiv is a tiny hamlet by the name of Devka, also situated on the Jaisalmer-Barmer road. Established in the 12th or the 13th century the major tourist spot in this little village is the Vishnu Temple, famour for its temple architecture.. Nearby lie two more temples in a very dilapidated state. However, still existing in these temples are beautifully carved images of Lord Ganesh (the elephant god and Shiva's son) on stone. The Devka Sun Temple is also worth paying a visit to.
Barmer is also famous for its hand painted cloth. It specializes in the exquisitely rich red and blue ajrakh cloth (ajrakh comes from the Arabic word 'azrak' for the colour blue.) This cloth has a long and complex printing process of vigorous beating, successive dipping and polishing sessions. The finest ajrakh is a variety which is printed on both sides.
It is worn on special occasions by both Muslim and Hindu leather workers of the Meghwal caste. A garment most women wear in Barmer and all over Rajasthan is the odhani (long scarf), which is locally also called the chundri which literally means a fabric of dotted pattern. Another speciality of Barmer is its exquisitely crafted carpets.
About 42 Km from Barmer, perched on a rocky hill, the town has ruins of an old fort which encompasses an area of about 15 sq km. Of interest are a temple dedicated to Balark (the Sun) and the ancient ruins of Juna Barmer. The fort is surrounded by a series of hills, adjacent to which lies a small lake. Between the mountain peaks is a small island known as Juna Barmer which houses a small well.
At one time Juna was quite densely populated, but most of its inhabitants migrated from the area. It is believed that the ?migr?s from Juna established the town of Barmer. The chief claim to fame of Juna is a Jain temple which was built around the 12th or the 13th century. Jain Temple in Barmer is ascertained from an inscription carved on a stone pillar in the hall of the largest temple of Maharaja Kula Sri Samanta Sinha Deva, a ruler of Bahadmera.
A few hundred years ago Khed was the capital of the Rathores of western Rajasthan, whose influence extended over the entire region. It was at the beginning of the 13th century that the Rathore king Rao Sihaji the founder of the Rathore clan alongwith his son (Asthanji) conquered Khed from the Guhil Rajputs and planted the standard of the Rathores.
About 142 Km from Barmer, situated on the banks of the Luni River, the Khed town houses four Hindu temples, the most exquisite of whom are the Ranchor Rai Mandir. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu (the Preserver in the holy trinity of Hindu gods), the temple houses a mouldering image of a Hindu deity which looks as if it might collapse any minute. At the gate is an image of Garuda (an eagle which is Lord Vishnu's carrier) which seems to guard the complex. The Hindu temple was in a very decrepit condition a few years ago but extensive repairs have been carried out lately and it has been modernised.
Other smaller temples in Khed are dedicated to the other two Hindu gods making up the Hindu holy trinity, Shiva the Destroyer and Brahma the Creator. Also while in Khed, do not omit to seek an audience with Bhuriya Baba and Khediya Baba, the local seers. They will provide you with thoroughly entertaining wisdom and wit at their disposal.
The Kiradu temples are a group of five temples and are grouped as ancient temples, an important site from the archaeological point of view. The largest and the most impressive amongst them is the Someshvara Temple. Built in the 11th century, the Someshvara ancient temple is said to be the best example of its kind today. Constructed in honour of Lord Shiva (the Destroyer in the holy trinity of Hindu gods), it has a rather stumpy multi-turreted tower and beautiful sculptures dedicated to the god.
The inner sanctum has a resplendent image of the Lord. At its base, is a large reverse-curve lotus, which has a resemblance with the early Chola Temples of south India. This ancient temple also depicts scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana. Other notable features are sculptures of apsaras (mythical dancing girls from the abode of the Gods) and vyalas (a griffin-like mythical beast generally associated with the Buddha) which were rarely seen after 1050AD in temple architecture. All in all, although Barmer is a bit out of the way you'll get your money's worth when you visit Someshvara.
Mahaveer Park is a beautifully laid out park with a tiny museum housing ancient stone carved statues.
Once called Viranipur, this 12trh century village lies on the slope of a hill called Nagar - Ki - Bhakarian, 9km away from Baltra. The village has three Jain temples. The biggest of these is the one dedicated to Nakoda Parsvanath. A Vishnu Temple is also worth visiting.Mahaveer Park of Barmer in Rajasthan, India
Parshvanath Temple of Nakoda is one among the main Jain teerth centres in India. Nakoda pilgrimage, built in the desert land of Rajasthan, bears a gloriously pious dignity. Because of the importance given to adhisthayak in India, teerth is always full of pilgrims. It is situated on a beautiful hill as high as 1500ft on the road from Jodhpur to Barmer. There is an image of the Jain saint (tirthankara) Parshvanath in black stone and the ancient idol of Shri Parshwanath Bhagwan is very attractive and full of magical powers. It is said that 2300 years ago two brothers namely Veersen and Nakorsen has built up this city and the temples.
Neemari is another picturesque garden on Chohatan route, 23 km away from Barmer. An old swimming pool is an attraction.
The other four temples, also considered as ancient are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu (the Preserver in the holy trinity of Hindu deities). The temples show the influence of the Solanki school of architecture which originated in Gujarat, which is not surprising given the close links the Panwaras had with the rulers there.
About 158 Km from Barmer, Situated on the Nakoda-Balotara road, Jasol was once ruled by the Mallani clan of Rajputs, who held sway over Barmer for a long time. Jasol was their capital, and from the 12th century onwards to the 16thcentury a number of exquisite Jain temples were built in Jasol, most of which are in a state of disrepair now.
Safed Akhara (Sidheswara Mahadev Temple Complex) is a tiny yet pretty garden near Barmer. Temporary accommodation and cooking facilities are available.
About 151 km from Barmer, Nearby lies the Siwana Fort, which is not quite comparable to Jaisalmer fort, but well worth a look if you are in the vicinity. This famous fort was built by a famous Panwar ruler Raja Bhoj's son Veernarayan, who at one stage controlled much of Barmer and had close ties with the Solanki dynasty of Gujarat. Although the fort is a little worse for wear with the passage of time, it still houses a beautiful pond on its premises.
If you turn the pages of history you come across the time when Alauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, besieged the fort in the early 14th century and the people of Nakoda mounted a heroic defence. To commemorate this ancient event an annual fair called the Kalyan Singh Ka Mela is still held within the precincts of the fort in the month of Shravan (July-Aug).
The woodcarving traditions of Barmer in Rajisthan share their similarities with those of Jaisalmer in Rajisthan and Saurashtra in Gujarat. This carpentry and carving community locally known as Mistris converted simple motifs of camels, elephants, flowers, parrots, horses and other geometrical patterns into a vivid and imaginative mix. These skills, though earlier used extensively in architecture for carved pillars, jharokhas (bay windows with a little balcony) and archways have now shifted focus to intricately carved ethnic and European style furniture. This switchover, caused due to the demands of the market and the need for survival, has now flourished into another art form.
- Barmer Crafting Work, Vishnu Temple etc.