Privacy | Disclaimer | Terms | Email

Rajasthan: The Land of Rajputs

Amber Fort, Rajasthan

Rajasthan, the land of Rajputs

Rajasthan, situated in the north-western part of the Indian Union, is now the largest State of India. Largely an arid state for most of its part, Rajasthan is bound in the west by part of the Indo-Pak International boundary. The State is girdled by Punjab and Haryana states in the north, Uttar Pradesh in the east, Madhya Pradesh in the southeast and Gujarat in the southwest.

Rajasthan is renowned for its great monuments, exquisite art and culture. It's history that date back to several centuries. No other region in the country, reconciles the many paradoxes of India in it, as does Rajasthan. Unexpected forest glens, lakes and temples, appear like mirages in the desert. Rugged forts on the cradle of the desert are testimonies to a turbulent history. Many temples, dating back to the 7th century, still survive amidst scattered ruins. Medieval cities exist around turreted marble palaces and spacious gardens.

Area 342, 239 sq.km
Population 68,621,012 (2011 census)
Languages Rajasthani, Hindi
Climate Arid & Semi-Arid
Summer - April to June (Max. Temp. 45 Degree Celciue)
Winter - Nov. to March. (Min. Temp. 7 Degree Celcius)
Monsoon - July to Sept (Rain fall 100mm)
Best Time to Visit October - March
Capital City Jaipur
Airports Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur
Major Towns Ajmer, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner Ranthambhor, Jhunjhunu, Udaipur

History

The desert areas of Rajasthan are among the few tropical deserts of the world, which have the highest population density. The earliest inhabitants of Rajasthan belonged to the Great Harappan Civilization. The archaeological findings from Luni Basin, Buddha Pushkar, Ahar valley, Kalibanga, Pilibanga and Sanchore reveal that early man inhabited this area 6000-8000 years ago.

Art work on Entrance to Amber fort

This area saw the arrival of the Aryans from central Asia in about 2000 BC. Rajasthan was under Mauryan rule around 400 AD. The settling of the Scythians in this region set the stage for the race of the Rajputs who were the offspring's of the Indo-Scythians. With the passing of time this new race proliferated into a number of new clans. Rajasthan thus became the homeland of these groups of warrior clans, collectively called Rajputs, who dominated this region for over a thousand years.

The Rajputs rose to prominence in the 9th and 10th centuries, and were a major force to reckon within medieval India. Passionately attached to their land, family and honour, chivalry was the hallmark of the Rajputs. They fought with courage and determination. Death to defeat was the theme of Rajput warring ideology. They would face the enemy with all the might even if defeat were imminent; in which case 'jauhar' was performed. In this grim ritual women and children would commit suicide by immersing themselves in a huge funeral pyre.

But the Rajputs were never united and often fought each other. Due to this lack of unity, the Rajputs were unable to put up a combined front against any common aggressor. As a result they are defeated or subjugated by the invaders and Mughals reduced them to the status of the vassals.

City Palace, Jaipur

With the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Rajputs were gradually able to recover their lost territories and status. These turn of events were however short-lived, as the British started taking control of the country. Under the British Raj most of the princely states in India signed treaties those ensured their independent existence subject to certain political and economic restrictions causing the decline of the once mighty and powerful Rajput dynasties of this region.

After independence, on 17th of March 1948, the Matsya Union was formed with Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karauli. Rajasthan was formed on 25th of March 1948 with a union of nine princely states - Banswara, Bundi, Dungarpur, Jhalwar, Kishangarh, Kota, Pratapgarh, Shahpura and Tonk. The State of Udaiapur joined the union on the 18th of April 1948 transforming the union into the Union of the United States of Rajasthan. In March 1949 Bikaner, Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur joined the United States of Rajasthan. In April, same year, Matsya Union joined up. The new union was known as the United Union of Greater Rajasthan. In 1950 the state of Sirohi also joined the union. In 1956, when states were reorganized based on languages, the state of today's Rajasthan was formed by integrating the United Union of greater Rajasthan with the State of Ajmer, the tehsil of Abu and the area of SunelTuppa.