Barmer, located in the western part of Rajasthan, is a desert town just 153 km from Jaisalmer. It forms a major part of the Thar Desert. The original name of the village was 'Bahadmer', which means the hill fort of Bahada. The town has many historical sites and is a popular tourist destination. The trip to Barmer can be very interesting and offers fascinating sights as one gets to pass through rural Rajasthan. One will see small villages with mud-houses decorated with folk motifs, and colourfully attired people on the way. Though a barren land with harsh climate and tough terrain; Barmer is known for its rich crafts, dance and music.
Barmer-Barmer
rajasthan
2603751
Sindhi, Marwari, Gujarati, Hindi, English
September-February
Bus or train from Jaipur or Ahmedabad(Get Directions)
Bus, Jeep, Auto-rickshaw, Cycle-Rickshaw, taxi
Local hotels, or with the locals of Barmer
Daal Baati Choorma, Laal Maas, Rajasthani and Sindhi food

History

The name Barmer is derived from the ruler Bahada Rao Parmar (Panwar) or Bar Rao Parmar who is said to have founded the town in the 13th century. Earlier it was called Bahadamer, meaning The Hill Fort of Bahada. The present Barmer district was formed in 1949, when Jodhpur state was merged in Rajasthan. Recently, India's first onshore oil field was discovered in Barmer. In earlier times, the district was known by the name "Mallinath". Mallinath was the son of Rao Salkha and Mallinath is a God who is still worshiped by the Rajput clan. The whole area around the river "Luni" was said to have "Malani" derived from the name Mallinath.

Geography

Barmer is located in the western part of the state forming a part of the Thar Desert. The district borders Jaisalmer district in the north, Jalore district in the south, Pali district and Jodhpur district in the east, and Pakistan in the west. The total area of the district is 28,387 square kilometres (10,960 sq. mi). The district is located between 24,58' to 26, 32'N Latitudes and 70, 05' to 72, 52' E Longitudes. 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. Poorly planned and rapid urbanisation has increased Barmer's vulnerability to flash flooding. The local ecology and soil type is not equipped to deal with sudden or excessive water accumulation, which causes short- and long-term damage. Other areas suffer the gradual effects of 'invisible disasters', which also threaten the lives and livelihoods of the locals.

Environment

The Study area is Sheo tehsil of Barmer district in Rajasthan (India). Sheo tehsil is located between 25°40'35''N to 26°28'32'' North latitude and 70°05'23'' E to 71°45'38'' East longitude. The total area of Sheo tehsil is 6616.32 sq.km. Sheo tehsil adjoins the International boundary with Pakistan to its west and Jaisalmer district to its north. (Sheo) is a part of The Great Indian Desert (Thar Desert) and is least populated because of severe desert conditions and has very low literacy rate as compared to other tehsil's of Barmer district. Due to severe desert situation, the proportion of cultivable waste and fallow lands are very high. Rainfall is very scanty and unpredictable in nature. 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 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 twenty new lakes formed, with six covering an area of over 10 kmÂ⊃2;.

Infrastructure

Barmer had an average literacy rate of 56.53%, for gender wise 70% of the males and 40% of females literate. In the 2001 census, there were two subdivisions, Barmer and Balotra.  Now there are eleven subdivisions in the district: Barmer, Balotra, Guda, Malani, Sheo, Siwan, Chohtan, Baytoo, Ramsar, Sindhari, Sedwa, Dhorimana. The total of 1,941 villages in Barmer District come under Seventeen Panchayat Samitis. In 2009, the Barmer district came in news due to its large Oil basin. Barmer is the biggest crude oil producer in India with a production capacity of approximately 3 Lac Barrels/Day. A refinery of 9mppd is planned 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Barmer in Pachpadra.  The British exploration company Cairn Energy is going to start the production soon in the year 2009 on the large scale. Mangala, Bhagyam and Aishwariya are the major oil fields in the district. This is India's biggest oil discovery in 22 years. Cairn works in partnership with state owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).[4] Cairn holds 70% in the field, while state-run ONGC holds the remaining 30%. In March 2010, Cairn increased oil potential from this field to 6.5 billion barrels of oil - from an earlier estimate of 4 billion barrels. Uttarlai military airbase is situated in Barmer district; Uttarlai is India's first under ground airbase. India can counter any insurgency into India by Pakistan. The Battle of Longewala (4 December 1971 - 5 December 1971) was one of the first major engagements in the Western Sector during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, fought between assaulting Pakistani forces and Indian defenders at the Indian border post of Longewala, in the Thar Desert of the Rajasthan state in India. The Indian infantry company (reinforced) was left with the choices of either attempting to hold out until reinforced, or fleeing on foot from a mechanised infantry Pakistani force, choosing the former. The company officer commanding ensured that all his assets were correctly employed, and made the most use of his strong defensive position, and weaknesses created by errors in enemy tactics. He was also fortunate in that an Indian Air Force forward air controller was able to secure and direct aircraft in support of the post's defence until reinforcements arrived six hours later. The Pakistani commanders made several bad decisions, including failure of strategic intelligence to foresee availability of Indian strike aircraft in the Longewala area from Uttarlai air-force base, as Barmer is a border town. Barmer is noted for its camel milk, large cattle fair (Tilwara), carved wooden furniture, hand block printing, handicrafts, woollen industries, and guar industries among others.  

Architecture

The city is home to a goddess temple (Jagatambe MAA), which lies in the mountains at a height of approximately 450 feet (140 m) and was built around 500 years ago. The oldest Jain temple in the city is "Chintamani Parshvanath". Built by Shri Nemaji Jivaji Bohra in the 16th century, it is located at Mountain Hill at a height of 150 feet (46 m). The temple is well furnished with glasswork and images and is said to be identical to the "Gaudi Parsvanath"(can be compared with Jain temple in Mumbai). Some 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) west of the town lays the remains of Juna or Juna Barmer, the headquarters of Barmer prior to the 16th century. In Juna there 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 that the state was rich in Jain population at the time. Nowadays, the Jain population has shifted to Barmer city. History mentions a Maharajakula Sri Samanta Sinha Deva ruling Barmer at the time. The temple now lacks an image of God. To the Northwest there is beautiful old ruin temple of Lord Shiva in Keradu or Kherdhar or Keralu, which might have constructed before the 6th century at the time of "Parmar" Dynasty. There are 4-5 Big Temple structures of Golden colour and a Sun Temple. The temple is well entitled as "Khajuraho of Rajasthan". The designs of the temple are identical to the Khajuraoh Temple and Sun Temple at Orissa. The temple is ruin and with lack of images of God and Goddess. The Keradu was earlier Headquarter of Barmer and Mohammad Gauri attacked it in 1140AD who had destroyed the temple structure and its images.

Culture

Barmer district is part of the Great Indian Desert or Thar Desert. Like all other districts in the desert region, Barmer is known for its folk music and dance. The Bhopas (priest singers) are found in Barmer, who compose music in honour of the deities of the region and its war heroes. The other folk musicians come from a community called the Muslim Dholis (drummers) for most of whom this is the only means of livelihood. Langas and Manganiars are the some of these communities. Barmer is known for its carved wooden furniture and hand block printing industry. The village folk have developed their desert life and their own decorative skills. The villagers have some of the most beautiful mud huts that are decorated with delicate folk motifs. Jasol, Juna Burmer, Khed, Kiradu, Mallonath Fair (cattle fair), Meva Nagar (Nakoda), Bheemgoda, Aashotara's, Indroi, Biratra Maata temple, Chouhtan [Chouhtan is famous for a special fair named as Sai's jog or a fair belong to Sanyashi (Saint), this fair is very special because it is not organized every year in spite of that it is organized one time in a couple of years according to Nakshatras], temple Kanana (sheetla fair) Neemari, Nagneshi mata temple (nagana) are the prime attractions of the district. Tilwara cattle fair is a popular fair visited by thousands of tourists every year.

People

As per census of the 2011 India, District Barmer had population of 2,603,751 of which male and female was 1,369,022 and 1,234,729 respectively. The population of 0-6 year age group is 22% proportion to total population of district. Situated in southwest Rajasthan, Barmer shares administrative and cultural borders with the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat and Sindh in Pakistan. The potpourri of language, ethnicity and attire can be heady even for someone coming from a big city such as Delhi. Faces that could easily be placed in some distant Mediterranean village to the local dialect, a mixture of Marwari, Sindhi and Gujarati, interspersed with loan words from Persian, set ones imagination on fire. Stories on how some families may have travelled with their merchandise from Persian towns lost their way in the desert and decided to stay, come to life.

Famous For

Barmer is ardently famous for its vicinity to the Thar Desert, the abode of handicrafts it has nurtured through generations and the very hot but picturesque portrayal of the royal desert state. In recent years, it has also become well known for the oil refineries that have been set up and the sudden boom in the economy of Barmer.

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