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Location of Rajasthan in India
Largest city Jaipur
Governor Shilendra Kumar Singh
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot
Legislature (seats) Unicameral (200)
• Density 56,473,122 (8th)
• 165 /km2 (427 /sq mi)
Language(s) Rajasthani, Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area 342,269 km2 (132,151 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 IN-RJ
Seal of Rajasthan
Coordinates: 26.90°N 75.80°E Rājasthān (राजस्थान, pronounced [raːdʒəsˈtʰaːn] ( listen)) 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 state 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 132,150 sq mi or 342,269 km².
The state capital is Jaipur. Geographical features include the Thar Desert along north-western Rajasthan and the termination of the Ghaggar River near the archaeological 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, once famous for its bird life.
Rajasthan was formed on 30 March 1949, when all erstwhile princely states ruled by Rajputs, known as Rajputana, merged into the Dominion of India. The only difference between erstwhile Rajputana and Rajasthan is that certain portions of what had been British India, in the former province of Ajmer-Merwara, were included. Portions lying geographically outside of Rajputana such as the Sumel-Tappa area were given to Madhya Pradesh.
9 Flora and fauna
13 Important cities and towns
15 See also
17 External links
Maharana Pratap Singh, legendary sixteenth century Rajput ruler of Rajasthan.
The iconic Mehrangarh Fort built by Rao Jodha in 1459.
The Chittorgarh Fort is one of the largest fort in Asia.
Hawa Mahal or "Palace of Winds" in Jaipur.
The Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world's first and oldest civilizations, was located in part of what is now Rajasthan. Kalibangan in Hanumangarh district, Rajasthan was a major provincial capital of the Indus Valley Civilization. Traditionally the Rajputs, Yadavs, Jats, Bhils, Gujars, Meenas and 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. Millions of them were martyred for this land. ‘The Hinduan Suraj’ title to Udaipur was only due to Sisodia Rajputs. Gujars had been exterminated in Bhinmal and Ajmer areas fighting with the invaders. Bhils once ruled Kota and Bundi. Bargujars were sardars in Alwar, Jodhpur and Ajmer areas. Bargujars and Meenas were ruler of Dhundhar region, Bundi.
The earlier contributions of warriors and protectors of the land — Bargujars, Jats, Bhils, Gujars and Meenas — were neglected and lost in history. Rajasthan means the Land of the Kings. Modern Rajasthan includes most of Rajputana, which comprises mainly the ertwhile Rajput kingdoms as well as two Jat kingdoms and a Muslim kingdom.Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur, and Jaipur were some of the main Rajput states. The Jats were rulers in Bharatpur and Dholpur. Tonk was ruled by a Muslim Nawab .Rajput families rose to prominence in the 6th century CE. The Rajputs put a very valiant resistance to the Islamic invasions and protected this land with their warfare and chivalry for more than 500 years.They also resisted Mughal incursions into India, but contributed to the slower than anticipated access to the Indian Subcontinent. Later The Mughals ,with a technique based on the combination of treachery and skilled warfare were able to set firm grip on northern India. The fighter spirit and valour of Rajputs impressed the Mughals to such an extent that they started treating their Rajput aides as the backbone of their Kingdom.Even after defeating, the Mughals took Rajput valour and value in highest esteem.
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, the Bhils were Rana's main allies. Most of these attacks were evenly met as the Mughals outnumbered Rajputs in great numbers in all the wars fought between them.The Haldighati war was fought between 1,000 Rajputs and 1,00000 Mughal force. Over the years the Mughals began to have internal disputes which took their concentration away at times. They also had to fight off Pathan warriors from neighbouring Afganistan and the newer enemy, the British Empire which consisted of large numbers of natives whilst engaging against various other regional powers such as the persians. The Mughal Empire eventually weakened to which several groups across their kingdom (including sikhs) saw opportunities to establish their power whilst the army was fighting somewhere else. The Rajputs saw this as an opportunity to reassert their independence. With the decline of the Mughal Empire in the 18th century, Rajputana came under attack by the Marathas and Pindaris, and the Maratha general Scindia captured Ajmer. The Rajput kings following a rapid defeat, 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.
The Marwaris (people from Marwar) and 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 Muslim and Jain architecture. The development of the frescos in Rajasthan is linked with the history of the Marwaris, who have also played a crucial role in the economic development of the region. Most of the wealthiest families throughout Indian history have links to Marwar. These families include the legendary Birla, Bhandari, Bajaj, Mittal,Agrawal and Khandelwal families.
The Aravalli Range adds diversity to the landscape of Rajasthan.
The Thar Desert
The hills around Jaipur.
The main geographic features of Rajasthan are the Thar Desert and the Aravalli Range, which runs through the state from southwest to northeast, almost from one end to the other, for more than 850 km. Mount Abu is at the southwestern end of the range, separated from the main ranges by the West Banas River, although a series of broken ridges continues into Haryana in the direction of Delhi where it can be seen as outcrops in the form of the Raisina Hill and the ridges farther north. About three-fifths of Rajasthan lies northwest of the Aravallis, leaving two-fifths on the east and south.
The northwestern portion of Rajasthan is generally sandy and dry. Most of the region is covered by the Thar Desert, which extends into adjoining portions of Pakistan. The Aravalli Range does not intercept the moisture-giving southwest monsoon winds off the Arabian Sea,as it lies in a direction parallel to that of the coming monsoon winds, leaving the northwestern region in a rain shadow. The Thar Desert is thinly populated; the town of Bikaner is the largest city in the desert. The Northwestern thorn scrub forests lie in a band around the Thar Desert, between the desert and the Aravallis. This region receives less than 400 mm of rain in an average year. Summer temperatures can exceed 45 °C in the summer months and drop below freezing in the winter. The Godwar, Marwar, and Shekhawati regions lie in the thorn scrub forest zone, along with the city of Jodhpur. The Luni River and its tributaries are the major river system of Godwar and Marwar regions, draining the western slopes of the Aravallis and emptying southwest into the great Rann of Kutch wetland in neighboring Gujarat. This river is saline in the lower reaches and remains potable only up to Balotara in Barmer district. The Ghaggar River, which originates in Haryana, is an intermittent stream that disappears into the sands of the Thar Desert in the northern corner of the state and is seen as a remnant of the primitive Saraswati river.
The Aravalli Range and the lands to the east and southeast of the range are generally more fertile and better watered. This region is home to the Kathiarbar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion, with tropical dry broadleaf forests that include teak, Acacia, and other trees. The hilly Vagad region lies in southernmost Rajasthan, on the border with Gujarat. With the exception of Mount Abu, Vagad is the wettest region in Rajasthan, and the most heavily forested. North of Vagad lies the Mewar region, home to the cities of Udaipur and Chittaurgarh. The Hadoti region lies to the southeast, on the border with Madhya Pradesh. North of Hadoti and Mewar is the Dhundhar region, home to the state capital of Jaipur. Mewat, the easternmost region of Rajasthan, borders Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Eastern and southeastern Rajasthan is drained by the Banas and Chambal rivers, tributaries of the Ganges.
The Aravali Range runs across the state from the southwest peak Guru Shikhar (Mount Abu), which is 1,722 m in height, to Khetri in the northeast. This divides the state into 60% in the northwest of the range and 40% in the southeast. The northwest tract is sandy and unproductive with little water but improves gradually from desert land in the far west and northwest to comparatively fertile and habitable land towards the east. The area includes the Thar Desert. The south-eastern area, higher in elevation (100 to 350 m above sea level) and more fertile, has a very diversified topography. in the south lies the hilly tract of Mewar. In the southeast, a large area within the districts of Kota and Bundi forms a tableland. To the northeast of these districts is a rugged region (badlands) following the line of the Chambal River. Farther north the country levels out; the flat plains of the northeastern Bharatpur district are part of an alluvial basin.
Main article: Economy of Rajasthan
Industrial plant near Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Rajasthan's economy is primarily agricultural and pastoral. Wheat and barley are cultivated over large areas, as are pulses, sugarcane, and oilseeds. Cotton and tobacco are cash crops. Rajasthan is among the largest producers of edible oils in India and the second largest producer of oilseeds. Rajasthan is also the biggest wool-producing state in India and the main opium producer and consumer. There are mainly two crop seasons. The water for irrigation comes from wells and tanks. The Indira Gandhi Canal irrigates northwestern Rajasthan.
The main industries are mineral based, agriculture based, and textiles. Rajasthan is the second largest producer of polyester fibre in India. The Bhilwara District produces more cloth than Bhiwandi, Maharashtra. Several prominent chemical and engineering companies are located in the town of Kota, in western Rajasthan. Rajasthan is pre-eminent in quarrying and mining in India. The state is the second largest source of cement in India. It has rich salt deposits at Sambhar, copper mines at Khetri and zinc mines at Dariba, Zawar mines at Zawarmala for zinc, rampura aghucha (opencast) near Bhilwara. Dimensional stone mining is also undertaken in Rajasthan: Jodhpur sandstone is mostly used in monuments, important buildings, residential buildings, etc. This stone is termed "chittar patthar".
Rajasthan is now the preferred destination for IT companies and North India's largest integrated IT park is located in Jaipur and is named as Mahindra World City Jaipur covering nearly 3,000 acres (12 km2) of land. Some of the companies operating in Rajasthan include Infosys, Genpact, Wipro, Truworth, Deutsche Bank, NEI, MICO, Honda Siel Cars, Coca Cola, Gillette etc.
Main article: Tourism in Rajasthan
The Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the largest royal palaces in the world. Rajasthan's royal families continue to play a major role in the state's politics.
The Jain temple of Ranakpur.
Endowed with natural beauty and a great history, tourism is a flourishing industry in Rajasthan. The palaces of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, and desert forts of Jodhpur, Bikaner & Jaisalmer are among the most preferred destination of many tourists, Indian and foreign. Tourism accounts for eight percent of the state's domestic product. Many old and neglected palaces and forts have been converted into heritage hotels. Tourism has increased employment in the hospitality sector.
Rajasthan is famous for the majestic forts, intricately carved temples and decorated havelis, which were built by Bargujar kings in previous ages, they were the soul of pre-Muslim era Rajasthan. Jantar Mantar, Dilwara Temples, Chittorgarh Fort, Lake Palace, City Palaces, Jaisalmer Havelis are part of the true architectural heritage of India. Jaipur, the Pink City, is noted for the ancient houses made of a type of sand stone dominated by a pink hue. At Ajmer, the white marble Bara-dari on the Anasagar lake is exquisite. Jain Temples dot Rajasthan from north to south and east to west. Dilwara Temples of Mount Abu, Ranakpur Temple dedicated to Lord Adinath near Udaipur, Jain temples in the fort complexes of Chittor, Jaisalmer and Kumbhalgarh, Lodarva Jain temples, Bhandasar Temple of Bikaner are some of the best examples.
Rajasthan is often called a shopper's paradise. Rajasthan is famous for textiles, semi-precious stones and handicrafts. The attractive designs of jewellery and clothes are eye-catching and invite shoppers. Rajasthani furniture has intricate carvings and bright colours. Rajasthani handicrafts are in demand due to the intricate work on them. Above all, Rajasthan's shopping appeals to both tourists and people from other parts of India due to its cheap prices for quality goods.
Camel ride in the Thar desert near Jaisalmer.
A decorated Indian elephant during a fair in Jaipur, India
Rajasthan is culturally rich and has artistic and cultural traditions which reflect the ancient Indian way of life. There is rich and varied folk culture from villages which is often depicted symbolic of the state. Highly cultivated classical music and dance with its own distinct style is part of the cultural tradition of Rajasthan. The music is uncomplicated and songs depict day-to-day relationships and chores, more often focused around fetching water from wells or ponds.
The Ghoomar dance from Udaipur and Kalbeliya dance of Jaisalmer have gained international recognition. Folk music is a vital part of Rajasthani culture. Kathputali, Bhopa, Chang, Teratali, Ghindar, Kachchhighori, Tejaji etc. are the examples of the traditional Rajasthani culture. Folk songs are commonly ballads which relate heroic deeds and love stories; and religious or devotional songs known as bhajans and banis (often accompanied by musical instruments like dholak, sitar, sarangi etc.) are also sung.
Rajasthan is known for its traditional, colorful art. The block prints, tie and dye prints, Bagaru prints, Sanganer prints, Zari embroidery are major export products from Rajasthan. Handicraft items like wooden furniture and handicrafts, carpets, blue pottery are some of the things commonly found here. Rajasthan is a shoppers' paradise, with beautiful goods found at low prices. Reflecting the colorful Rajasthani culture, Rajasthani clothes have a lot of mirror-work and embroidery. A Rajasthani traditional dress for females comprises an ankle length skirt and a short top, also known as a lehenga or a chaniya choli. A piece of cloth is used to cover the head, both for protection from heat and maintenance of modesty. Rajasthani dresses are usually designed in bright colours like blue, yellow and orange.
The main religious festivals are Eid Deepawali, Holi, Gangaur, Teej, Gogaji, Makar Sankranti and Janmashtami, as the main religion is Hinduism. Rajasthan's desert festival is celebrated with great zest and zeal. This festival is held once a year during winters. Dressed in brilliantly hued costumes, the people of the desert dance and sing haunting ballads of valor, romance and tragedy. There are fairs with snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers. Camels, of course, play a stellar role in this festival.
Main article: Government of Rajasthan
The current government in Rajasthan is that of Indian National Congress. The Chief Minister is Ashok Gehlot.
Main article: Politics of Rajasthan
Politics of Rajasthan is dominated by two parties Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress.
Locals performing traditional folk dance in Jaisalmer.
Rajasthan has a mainly Rajasthani population. Hindus account for 88.8% of the population. Muslims make up 8.5%, Sikhs 1.4% and Jains 1.2% of the population. The state of Rajasthan is also populated by Sindhis, who came to Rajasthan from Sindh province (now in Pakistan) during the India-Pakistan separation in 1947.
The mother tongue of the majority of people in Rajasthan is Rajasthani. Rajasthani and Hindi are the most widely used languages in Rajasthan. After independence, Rajasthani was used as a medium of instruction, along with Hindi and English, in some schools. Some other languages used in Rajasthan are Gujarati, Sindhi and Punjabi.
See also: List of people from Rajasthan
Flora and fauna
Great Indian Bustard
Though a large percentage of the total area is desert, and even though there is little forest cover, Rajasthan has a rich and varied flora and fauna. The natural vegetation is classed as Northern Desert Thorn Forest (Champion 1936). These occur in small clumps scattered in a more or less open forms. Density and size of patches increase from west to east following the increase in rainfall.
Some wildlife species, which are fast vanishing in other parts of India, are found in the desert in large numbers such as the Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), the Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), the Indian Gazelle (Gazella bennettii) and the Indian Wild Ass.
The Desert National Park, Jaisalmer, spread over an area of 3162 km², is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert, and its diverse fauna. Great Indian Bustard, Blackbuck, chinkara, desert fox, Bengal fox, wolf, desert cat etc. can be easily seen here. Seashells and massive fossilized tree trunks in this park record the geological history of the desert. The region is a haven for migratory and resident birds of the desert. One can see many eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, kestrel and vultures. Short-toed Eagles (Circaetus gallicus), Tawny Eagles (Aquila rapax), Spotted Eagles (Aquila clanga), Laggar Falcons (Falco jugger) and kestrels are the commonest of these.
The Ranthambore National Park located in Sawai Madhopur, is one of the finest Tiger Reserves in the Country which became a part of Project Tiger in 1973.
The Sariska Tiger Reserve located in Alwar district, 200 km from Delhi and 107 km from Jaipur covers an area of approximately 800 km2.The area was declared a National Park in 1979.
Tal Chhapar Sanctuary is a very small sanctuary in Sujangarh , Churu District, 210 km from Jaipur, in the Shekhawati region. This sanctuary is home to a large population of graceful Blackbuck. Desert Fox and desert cat can also be spotted along with typical avifauna such as partridge and sand grouse.
Rajasthan is also famous for National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. There are four national park and wildlife sanctuaries named the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Ranthambore National Park, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and Desert National Park.
Ranthambore National Park and Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary both are known worldwide for their tiger population and considered by both wild lovers and photographers as the best places in India to spot tigers. Besides, it houses several small wildlife sanctuaries and eco-tourism parks . Prominent among them are Mount Abu Sanctuary, Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary, Darrah Sanctuary, Jaisamand Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary, and Jawahar Sagar sanctuary etc.
Rajasthan is connected by many national highways. Most renowned being NH 8, which is India's first 4-8 lane highway. Rajasthan also has a good inter city surface transport system both in terms of railways and bus network. All important and tourist cities are connected by air, rail and road.
By Air: There are three main airports at Rajasthan- Jaipur airport, Udaipur airport and Jodhpur airport. These airports connect Rajasthan with the major cities of India such as Delhi and Mumbai.
By Rail: Rajasthan is well connected with the main cities of India by rail. Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur and Jodhpur are the main railway stations in Rajasthan.
By Road: Rajasthan is well connected to the main cities of the country by State and National Highways.
Seven divisions of the districts.
Main article: Districts of Rajasthan
Rajasthan is divided into 33 districts and seven divisions:
Ajmer Division: Ajmer, Bhilwara, Nagaur, Tonk.
Bharatpur Division: Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur.
Bikaner Division: Bikaner, Churu, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh.
Jaipur Division: Jaipur, Alwar, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Dausa.
Jodhpur Division: Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jodhpur District, Pali, Sirohi.
Kota Division: Baran, Bundi, Jhalawar, Kota.
Udaipur Division: Banswara District, Chittorgarh District, Pratapgarh District, Dungarpur District, Udaipur, Rajsamand
Important cities and towns
Population: 56.47 million (2001 Census, estimated at more than 58 million now)
Cities and Towns: 222
Major cities: Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Kota, Ajmer, Bikaner, Churu, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Alwar, Sri Ganganagar ,Pali,Makrana, Bundi,chittorgarh, Didwana, Sujangarh, Nagaur, Sikar, Balotra,Kuchaman
Roads: 61,520 km. ( 2,846 km National Highway)
National highways crossing Rajasthan: Delhi-Ahmedabad, Agra-Bikaner, Jaipur-Bhopal and Bhatinda-Kandla
Climate: Generally dry with monsoon during July-August
Languages: English and Hindi commonly used, as well as indigenous Rajasthani languages
List of people from Rajasthan
Districts of Rajasthan
^ a b Thakur Deshraj, Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992 pp 587-588.
^ Dr Natthan Singh, Jat-Itihas, (Jat History), Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad, F-13, Dr Rajendra Prasad Colony, Tansen marg, Gwalior, M.P, India 474 002 2004, page-91
^ "Census Population" (PDF). Census of India. Ministry of Finance India. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
^ a b Indian Census
Gahlot, Sukhvirsingh. 1992. RAJASTHAN: Historical & Cultural. J. S. Gahlot Research Institute, Jodhpur.
Somani, Ram Vallabh. 1993. History of Rajasthan. Jain Pustak Mandir, Jaipur.
Tod, James & Crooke, William. 1829. Annals & Antiquities of Rajasthan or the Central and Western Rajput States of India. 3 Vols. Reprint: Low Price Publications, Delhi. 1990. ISBN 81-85395-68-3 (set of 3 vols.)
Mathur, P.C., 1995. Social and Economic Dynamics of Rajasthan Politics (Jaipur, Aaalekh)
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State Government of Rajasthan - Official home page
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Rajasthan at the Open Directory Project
Rajasthan travel guide from Wikitravel