Despite the initial feeling of uneasiness, I always get attracted towards mysterious things and places. So, when I got a chance to visit Barmer, I was sure that this was about to get interesting.
Barmer is one of the largest districts of Rajasthan in India. It is spread over an area of 28387 square kilometre on the west of Rajasthan and shares a border with Pakistan on its west.
In the 12th century this region was known as Mallani. It’s present name was given by its founder Bahada Rao, popularly known as Bar Rao, Parmar Ruler (Juna Barmer). He built a small town which is presently known as “Juna” which is 25 kms from the present city of Barmer.
After Parmer’s, Rawat Luka -Grand Son of Rawal Mallinath, established their kingdom in Juna Barmer with help of his brother Rawal Mandalak. They defeated the Parmers of Juna & made it their capital.
Thereafter, his descendant, Rawat Bhima, who was a great warrior, established the present city of Barmer in 1552 AD and shifted his capital to Barmer from Juna. (Source)
But what is exactly mysterious or interesting about Barmer?
Even I would have said that until I came across an article mentioning about the cursed temples of Kiradu, near Barmer in Rajasthan.
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Kiradu Temples of Barmer
Located at a distance of about 35 Kilometre from Barmer, Kiradu temples are the main tourist attractions in this area. It would take about half an hour to reach there by your own vehicle. These are 5 temples that exhibit marvelous Solanki style architecture.
These temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Some of these temples resemble the sculpture of Khajuraho temples. Hence, these are also famous as the Khajuraho of Rajasthan.
The intricate carving on the temples is marvellous which makes this place worth a visit. We didn’t see many people visiting this place. There are visible signs of intentional damage that has been done to these sculptures during foreign invasions. The ruins tell the tale of a much better and glorious past that these would have seen.
It looks like there is a lot that can be done to preserve and maintain this place. This is a place worth a visit for people interested in architecture, art, history, photography, temples and ruins.
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The Curse of Kiradu Temples
So many places in India have some kind of stories, myths or legends behind them. Kiradu temples of Barmer are among such places. Despite visiting this place during the day time, we couldn’t see many visitors around.
These temples date back to the 11th century. This land was known as Kiradkot during those times. King Someshwar of the Kirad clan ruled this place during the 12th century. It was a prosperous and happy land during those times. The fear of foreign invasion upset the King and the general public. In order to keep his people and kingdom safe from foreign invasion, the king requested a sage to bless and stay in his kingdom. He offered to take good care of him and his disciples.
Blessed with the presence of the great saint, the king’s land was happy and prosperous again. One day the saint decided to leave the place but asked one of his disciples to stay in the kingdom to safeguard it. In the absence of the saint, the king and his people forgot about the saint’s disciple and got busy in their own lives.
Meanwhile, the saint’s disciple fell sick but nobody except a potter’s wife paid any heed to him. When the saint returned back to the king’s land, he got furious seeing his disciple’s ill health. He cursed the people of that land saying- ‘A place which has no humanity, must not be burdened with humankind.’ As a result of his curse all the people turned into stones.
The saint only let the potter’s wife free of this curse. He told her to leave the village as soon as she could and not to look back while leaving. The woman followed saint’s advice but as she was almost out of the village, she looked back out of curiosity. This made her turn into stone too.
It is believed that that’s the reason nobody lives around this place as it is cursed to stay abandoned. It is a common belief that anyone staying at this place at night would turn into stone. Many people also believe that those who turned into rocks, turned into sand over a period of time.
Nobody visits this place after sunset due to these kinds of stories behind Kiradu temples. Such stories may make these places interesting but on the other side they also deter many people from visiting such places. These ancient temples have amazing architecture that is worth visiting. More people need to know about it and visit.
Ticket- INR 50 for Indians, INR 200 for Foreigners.
Keep in mind that there is no shop or place to eat around here. There are just some temples and ruins.
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Kiradu Temples- reality or just a myth?
Though this place may have a spooky and haunted feel to it, it’s just a myth that people staying here after sunset turn into stones or anything similar to this story. Just in case you are interested in visiting this place, please do so. You can check this video by BBC that bursts this myth.
Other Places to visit in Barmer
Pachpadra Lake in the Barmer district of Rajasthan is famous for its Sodium Chloride level of 98%. The lake attracts a lot of visitors as it sprawls over 25 Square Km of area in the middle of dry desert land. People visit it to unwind and relax as it is a visual retreat in itself.
Sri Nakoda Jain Temple
Sri Nakoda Jain Temple is also known as Parshwanath Temple. It was built during the 3rd century and has been renovated many times since then. Situated on Jodhpur-Barmer Road in Balotra, it is a famous pilgrimage centre of the Jain community. If you are into religious or spiritual places, you must visit this temple. You can also choose to stay at this peaceful and beautiful place at a very low price.
Barmer Fort & Garh Temple
Rawat Bhima built the Barmer Fort on a hillock during the 16th century. There are two temples on this hill- Jogmaya Devi Temple and Nagnechi Mata Temple. Both the temples are very famous in this area.
Along with being a place of worship, temples in India can be a place for learning and insight into the local religious rituals for the travelers. Check this post for some very useful tips for visiting temples in India.
Mahabar Sand Dunes
I hadn’t heard of Mahabar Sand Dunes before visiting Barmer. These are located at a distance of 5 Km from the city of Barmer. One needs to take Barmer-Ahmedabad Highway to reach Mahabar Sand dunes. This is a beautiful place for watching sunrise or sunset. You can also go for a camel ride in this area.
Juna Fort & Temple
Juna is actually the old Barmer before it was shifted to where the present Barmer city stands. Known for Jain Temple and old fort, it is located about 25 Kms away from Barmer. The ruins give a glimpse of the past to its visitors.
Shopping in Barmer
Similar to other places in Rajasthan, there are a lot of things that you shop in Barmer. It is a good place to shop for traditional and handicraft items. Ethnic cloths with traditional thread and mirror embroidery, shawls, wood carvings, pottery, paintings and rugs can be purchased in the local markets at great prices. Don’t forget to explore the market first and put your bargaining skills to use.
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Places to stay in Barmer
Away from the hustle-bustle of the city, Sanchal Fort is an excellent place to stay while visiting Barmer. It is a heritage property with all the modern facilities you need. Click here to check reviews, images and for booking.
Prime location, clean and spacious rooms, free parking, free wifi, fitness centre, pool, bar and many more such facilities make this property a good choice when staying in Barmer. Click here to check reviews, images and for booking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Barmer is a major city in Rajasthan. It is well-connected by road and rail with other major cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer. The nearest airport is located in Jodhpur at a distance of about 220 Km. Jaisalmer is 159 Km away and Udaipur is located at a distance of 355 Km. Traveling to Barmer from any other major city of Rajasthan is very easy as there are many trains and buses available.
There are many ancient temples and ruins that are worth visiting in Barmer district. Many of these ancient structures were destroyed due to foreign invasion. The ruins of these tell the story of a glorious past.
Sri Nakoda Jain Temple, Kiradu Temples, Mahabar Sand Dunes, Barmer Fort & Garh Temple.
The best time to visit Barmer would be October to March. Days are pleasant during these months but remember to carry woolens as it can get extremely cold at night. Barmer experiences extreme heat and cold during summer and winters respectively. It does not receive much rainfall and is usually hot and dry. The maximum temperature can go up to 51 degree Celsius during summer and minimum can fall below 0 degree Celsius during winters.