A tiny yet lively town in sun-drenched sand, Barmer is a miniature Rajasthan with all its colour, warmth and tradition, according to history, the 13th century founder of the district, Bhahada Rao (Popularly known as Bar Rao) gave the town its name - Barmer, i.e. the hill fort of Bar, once called Mallani (12th century A.D.). The Present Barmer district, formed in 1949 upon the merger of Jodhpur state in the United States of Great Rajasthan, is a cluster of ancient paraganas - Mallani Shiv, Pachpadra, Siwana and the Chohatan area. Although a barren land with harsh climate and rough terrain, Barmer is known for its rich crafts, dances and music. Once on the ancient camel trade route, the town is now centre for wood carving, pottery, carpets, intricate embroidery work, block printed fabrics and multi-hued traditional costumes. Especially famous are the geometric ajrak prints in dark shades of red and blue, ideal for protection against the sun. The most interesting part of a trip to Barmer is the journey through rural Rajasthan. The small villages with mud-walled housed decorated with delicate folk motifs and colourfully attired people on the way offer a fascinating sight. Every year in March, the desert town is at its colourful best during the exuberant Barmer Festival. The festival is the best time to plan a visit to Barmer.