Rajasthan, the largest state of India was formed on 30 March 1949 with Jaipur as the state capital. Once known as the ‘Land of the Kings’, the state still retains the glory and richness of those times with its marvelous monuments, colourful traditions and customs. It covers most of the area of the Great Indian desert (Thar Desert) with one edge paralleling the Sutlej – Indus river valley along with its border with Pakistan. It borders Pakistan to the west, the Indian state of Gujarat to the southwest, Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to the northeast and Punjab to the north.Rajasthani and Hindi are the widely used languages in the state.
Peoples of Rajasthan
Rajasthan has a large indigenous populace Minas (Minawati) in Alwar, Jaipur, Bharatpur, and Dholpur areas. The Meo and the Banjara are travelling tradesmen and artisans. The Gadia Lohar is the Lohar meaning ironsmith who travels on Gadia meaning bullock carts; they generally make and repair agricultural and household implements. The Bhils are one of the oldest peoples in India and inhabit the districts of Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Udaipur, and Sirohi and are famous for their skill in archery. The Grasia and nomadic Kathodi live in the Mewar region. Sahariyas are found in the Kota district, and the Rabaris of the Marwar region are cattle breeders.
The Oswals hail from Osiyan near Jodhpur are successful traders and are predominately Jains. While the Mahajan (the trading class) is subdivided into a large number of groups, some of these groups are Jain, while others are Hindu. In the north and west, the Jat and Gujar are among the largest agricultural communities. The Gujars who are Hindus dwell in eastern Rajasthan. The nomadic Rabari or Raika are divided in two groups the Marus who breed camels and Chalkias who breed sheep and goats.
The Muslims form less than 10% of the population and most of them are Sunnis. There is also a small but affluent community Shiite Muslims known as Bhoras in southeastern Rajasthan.
The Rajputs though represent only a small proportion of the populace are the most influential section of the people in Rajasthan. They are proud of their martial reputation and of their ancestry.
Area 342,236 km² (132,138 sq mi)
Largest city Jaipur
Population approximately 58 million
Language(s) Hindi, Rajasthani
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje
Rājasthān is the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert (Thar Desert), which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with Pakistan. The region borders Pakistan to the west, Gujarat to the southwest, Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to the northeast and Punjab to the north. Rajasthan covers an area of 342,239 km² (132,139 mi²).
The state capital is Jaipur. Geographical features include the Thar Desert along north-western Rajasthan and the termination of the Ghaggar River near the archeological ruins at Kalibanga, which are the oldest in the subcontinent discovered so far.
One of the world’s oldest mountain ranges, the Aravalli Range, cradles the only hill station of Rajasthan, Mount Abu, and its world-famous Dilwara Temples, a sacred pilgrimage for Jains. Eastern Rajasthan has two national tiger reserves, Ranthambore and Sariska, as well as Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur, famous for its bird life.
Rajasthan was formed on 30 March 1949, when all erstwhile princely states merged into India. The only difference between erstwhile Rajputana and Rajasthan is that certain portions governed directly by the British Government, in the former province of Ajmer-Merwara, were included. Portions lying geographically outside of Rajputana and belonging to Tonk state were given to Madhya Pradesh.
All the destinations of Rajasthan have some specialty in the terms of shopping. Some of the famous destinations where people enjoy shopping are as given below.
Bikaner– Camel products such as leather, footwear, wool carpets, blankets, cotton quilts, dyed cotton fabrics, maze, Kote Gate etc can be purchased from Bikaner.
Jaisalmer– This city can provide you the best carving in the form of wooden boxes with patterns and motifs all over the material to give an awesome look. Jaisalmer is famous for woolen, cotton rugs, blankets, embroidered fabrics, silver jewelry, trinkets are available from here.
Jodhpur– The zinc alloy pots, felted cloth, wooden toys, leather goods, paintings, juttees, silver jewelry, furniture and artifacts products are famous and can shopped from here.
Kota– Checked weave cotton sarees called Kota doriyas are the most famous.
Pushkar– Bangles, baubles, beads, blankets, camel saddles, embroideries, Fabrics, shawls, silver jewelry, terracotta pots, trinkets, utensils are the famous from Pushkar.
Shekhawati- Low legged Shekhawati chair, carving, metal utensils, old furniture and tie dye fabrics can be purchased Shekhawati.
Udaipur– Myriad style paintings, miniature paintings, pichwai, terracotta tables, plaques, dyed fabrics, textiles, embroideries, wooden toys, white metal objects and silver enamel artifacts can be purchased from here.
History of Rajasthan
Rajasthan has a rich and colorful history making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Historical traditions are that Rajputs, Nath, Jats, Bhils, Ahirs, Gujars, Meenas and some other tribes made a great contribution in building the state of Rajasthan. All these tribes suffered great difficulties to protect their culture and the land. Millionsof them were martyred for this land.
Rajasthan includes most of Rajputana, comprised of a number of Rajput kingdoms as well as Jat kingdoms and a Muslim kingdom. The Jats were rulers in Bharatpur and Dholpur. Tonk was ruled by a Muslim Nawab. Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur, and Jaipur were some of the main Rajput states. Rajput families rose to prominence in the 6th century CE. The Rajputs resisted the Muslim incursions into India, although a number of Rajput kingdoms eventually became subservient to the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire during those empires’ peak of expansion.
The Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur was built by Rao Jodha in 1498.Mewar led others in resistance to Muslim rule: Rana Sanga fought the Battle of Khanua against Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire; and Maharana Pratap Singh resisted Akbar in Haldighati. Other rulers like Raja Maan Singh of Amber were trusted allies. As the Mughal Empire weakened, the Rajputs reasserted their independence. With the decline of the Mughal Empire in the 18th century, Rajputana came under attack from the Marathas and Pindaris, and the Maratha general Scindia captured Ajmer. The Rajput kings concluded treaties with the British in the early 19th century, accepting British sovereignty in return for local autonomy. Following the Mughal tradition as well as its strategic location Ajmer became a province of British India, while the autonomous Rajput states, the Muslim state [Tonk]), and the Jat states (Bharatpur and Dholpur) were organized into the Rajputana Agency.
Rajasthan’s formerly independent kingdoms created a rich architectural and cultural heritage, seen today in their numerous forts and palaces ( Mahals and Havelis) which are enriched by features of Hindu, Muslim and Jain architecture.
Religion in Rajasthan
Hinduism, the religion of most of the population, is generally practised through the worship of Brahma, Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, and other gods and goddesses. Nathdwara is an important religious centre for the Vallabhacharya sect of Krishna followers. There are also followers of the Arya Samaj, a reforming sect of modern Hinduism, as well as other forms of that religion.
Jainism is also important; it has not been the religion of the rulers of Rajasthan but has followers among the trading class and the wealthy section of society. Mahavirji, Ranakpur, Dhulev, and Karera are the chief centres of Jain pilgrimage.
The Dadupanthi forms another important religious sect the followers of Dadu (d. 1603), who preached the equality of all men, strict vegetarianism, total abstinence from intoxicating liquor, and lifelong celibacy.
Islam, the religion of the State’s second largest religious community, expanded in Rajasthan with the conquest of Ajmer by Muslim invaders in the late twelfth century. Khwajah Muin-ud-Din Chishti, the Muslim missionary, had his headquarters at Ajmer, and Muslim traders, craftsmen, and soldiers settled there. The State’s population of Christians and Sikhs is small.
Districts of Rajasthan
Rajasthan has 33 districts: Ajmer, Alwar, Banswara, Baran, Barmer, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Bharatpur, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Churu, Dausa, Dholpur, Dungarpur, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jhalawar, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, Karauli, Kota, Nagaur, Pali,Pratpgrah, Rajsamand, Sawai Madhopur, Sikar, Sirohi, Tonk, and Udaipur.