The desert town of Barmer, just some 20 odd kilometres from the Indo-Pak border, lying in the Thar Desert region of Rajasthan is as historic a place as it can get. With a proud lineage of Indian rulers who have left their impressions on the city, Barmer is often neglected when touring Rajasthan. However, it’s a secret jewel that needs to be explored by the avid traveller.

The Nakoda Jain Temple is among the primary attractions of Barmer. Located amidst the forests of the Aravali Hills, the temple is an architectural marvel with the most intricate stone-carvings. For a slightly more historic appeal, the Kiradu Temples, right in the heart of Thar Desert, is a must-visit. A conglomeration of five temples that are close to 1500 years old, what make them even more special are the details in the construction and erotic statues carved on them, very similar to the Khajuraho Temples.

A trip to a desert town is incomplete without exploring the sand dunes; and the Mahabar Sand Dunes in Barmer are a rather rare breed. Since it’s not as popular as the ones in Jaisalmer, there are fewer people here, which makes it one continuous sea of golden sand. A casual stroll in the desert around sunset is highly recommended.

For the shoppers, the Barmer Market is nothing short of a sensory delight – several hundred shops sell interesting, aesthetically pleasing and decorative items as well as beautiful embroidery on colourful bed sheets, carpets and shawls.

Round off your trip to Barmer with a visit to the elegant Barmer Fort, perched atop the hill, overlooking the city. While the panoramic views of the city from the top is breath-taking, the fort houses two temples – Jogmaya Devi and Nagnechi Temple – that command some time is kept aside to range over them.