Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 0 comments

Rajasthan : The Land of Kings



Rajasthan


Literal meaning : The Land of the Kingdoms
Established : 1 November, 1956
Capital (and Largest City) : Jaipur
Legislature : Unicameral (200 seats)
Governor : Dr. Shivraj Patil
Chief Minister : Ashok Gehlot (INC)
Parliamentary Constituency : 25
Borders : West - Pakistan
               Southwest - Gujarat
               Southeast - Madhya Pradesh
               North - Punjab
               Northeast - Uttar Pradesh, Haryana
Area : 342,269 sq. km ( Largest)
Official Language : Hindi
High Court : Rajasthan High Court, Jaipur
Old Names : Gurjaratra (R.C. Majumdar)
                    Rajputana ( George Thomas)

Administrative Divisions :

Rajasthan is divided into 33 districts and 7 divisions -

  1. Ajmer Division - Ajmer, Bhilwara, Nagaur, Tonk
  2. Bharatpur Division - Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur
  3. Bikaner Division - Bikaner, Churu, SriGanganagar, Hanumangarh
  4. Jaipur Division - Jaipur, Alwar, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Dausa
  5. Jodhpur Division - Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Pali, Sirohi
  6. Kota Division - Kota, Baran, Bundi, Jhalawar
  7. Udaipur Division - Udaipur, Banswara, Chittorgarh, Pratapgarh, Dungarpur, Rajsamand

Census 2011 stats (provisional) :

Population - 68,621,012 ( 8th Rank)
Density - 200/sq.km.
Literacy rate - 67.06% (80.51% male & 52.66% female)
Sex Ratio - 926 females/1000 males

History :

Maharana Pratap Singh, legendary sixteenth century Rajput ruler of Rajasthan.

  • The Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world's first and oldest civilizations, was located in parts of what is now Rajasthan. Kalibangan in Hanumangarh district was a major provincial capital of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Matsya, a state of the Vedic civilization of India, is said to roughly corresponded to former state of Jaipur in Rajasthan, and included the whole of Alwar with portions of  Bharatpur. The capital of Matsya was at Viratanagar (modern Bairat).
  • Gurjars ruled many dynasties in this part of the country. In fact this region was long known as Gurjaratra. Up to the tenth century almost the whole of North India, excepting Bengal, acknowledged the supremacy of Gurjars with their seat of power at Kannauj. The Gurjar Pratihar Empire acted as a barrier for Arab invaders from the 6th to the 11th century.
  • Modern Rajasthan includes most of Rajputana, which comprises mainly the erstwhile Rajput kingdoms as well as two Jat kingdoms and a Muslim kingdom. Marwar (Jodhpur), Bikaner, Mewar (Udaipur), Alwar and Dhundhar (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.
  • Most notably Rana Sanga fought the Battle of Khanua against Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire.
  • Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, the Hindu Emperor, also known as Hemu in the history of India was born in the village of Machheri in Alwar District in the year 1501. He won 22 battles against Afghans, from Punjab to Bengal and defeated Akbar's forces twice at Agra and Delhi in 1556, before acceeding to the throne of Delhi and establishing 'Hindu Raj' in North India, albeit for a short duration, from Purana Quila in Delhi. He was killed in the Second Battle of Panipat.
  • Maharana Pratap of Mewar resisted Akbar in the famous Battle of Haldighati (1576) and later operated from hilly areas of his kingdom. Bhils were Maharana's main allies during these wars.
  •  With the decline of the Mughal Empire in the 18th century, Rajputana came under attack by the Marathas and Pindaris until the Maratha general Scindia captured Ajmer.  Following their rapid defeat, 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.
  • The development of the frescos in Rajasthan is linked with the history of the Marwaris who also played a crucial role in the economic development of the region. Many wealthy families throughout Indian history have links to Marwar. These families include the legendary Birla,Bhandari, Bajaj, Mittal and Mirza families.


Geography :

The Thar Desert
The Aravalli Range adds diversity to the landscape of Rajasthan.

  • The huge portion of land is acquired by the biggest Indian desert – The Thar Desert also known as Maru-Kantar.
  • The oldest range of mountains the Aravalli mountains separates the into two zones the desert zone on one side and forest on the other. It  runs across the state from the southwest peak Guru Shikhar (Mount Abu), which is 1,722 m in height, to Khetri in the northeast. Mount Abu is the hilly visiting destination in the state and Gurushikhar as the highest peak of Arvalli range of mountains.
  •  Mount Abu lies 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 direction.
  • In wider terms the topography of Rajasthan can be divided into three main broad categories the Aravalli or the Hilly regions, the Thar and the other arid regions, the Plateaus of Vindhaya and the Malwa, the Fertile plains in  the Mewar, the Forest Regions and the Water resources including Rivers and Salt Lakes.
  • The versatility of soil is found in Rajasthan. The different category of soil is sandy, saline, alkaline and chalky (calcareous). Clay, loamy, black lava soil and nitrogenous.
  • Due to deserted area the rainfall is low and rare. However, food crops are grown in the plain areas with the help of rivers, canals and watershed programmes. 
  • Temperature in winder ranges from 8° to 28° C and in summer from 25° to 46° C.
  • The average rainfall also differs the western region has almost 100 mm (about 4 in) annually, where as  the southeastern part of the state receives 650 mm (26 in) annually, most of which falls from July through September during the monsoon season. 
  • 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. Temperatures can exceed 45 °C in the summer months and drop below freezing in the winter. The GodwarMarwar, 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 lies 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.
  • Merta City lies in the geographical center of Rajasthan.


Economy : 

A marble quarry in Kishangarh Ajmer

  • Rajasthan's economy is primarily agricultural and pastoral. Wheat and barley are cultivated over large areas, as are pulsessugarcane, and oilseeds.
  •  Cotton and tobacco are the state's 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.
  • 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 Pali and Bhilwara District produces more cloth than Bhiwandi, Maharashtra and the bhilwara is the largest city in suitings production and export and Pali is largest city in cotton and polyster in blouse pes and rubia production and export.
  • Rajasthan is pre-eminent in quarrying and mining in India. TheTaj Mahal was built from the white marble which was mined from a town called Makrana. The state is the second largest source of cement in India. It has rich salt deposits at Sambhar, copper mines at Khetri, Jhunjhunu 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 and residential buildings. This stone is termed as "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.


Tourism :

The Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the largest royal palaces in the world.

  • Rajasthan is famous for its majestic forts, intricately carved temples, and decorated havelis, which were built by Rajput kings in pre-Muslim era Rajasthan. Rajasthan's Jaipur Jantar MantarDilwara TemplesChittorgarh FortLake Palace, miniature paintings in Bundi, and numerous city palaces and havelis are an important part of the 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. In Bundi, maximum houses are painted blue. 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 AbuRanakpur Temple dedicated to Lord Adinath in Pali District, Jain temples in the fort complexes of ChittorJaisalmer and KumbhalgarhLodurva Jain temples, Bhandasar and Karni Mata Temple of Bikaner are some of the best examples.
  • Bikaner is famous for its namkeens, Jaipur for its jewellery, Jodhpur for sweets and Jaisalmer for yellow stone, wall paintings of bundi.

Culture :

A decorated Indian elephant during a fair in Jaipur, India

  • The Ghoomar dance from Udaipur and Kalbeliya dance of Jaisalmer have gained international recognition. Folk music is a vital part of Rajasthani culture. KathputliBhopa, Chang, Teratali, Ghindr, 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 dholaksitarsarangi etc.) are also sung.
  • Rajasthan is known for its traditional, colorful art.wall painting in bundi . The block prints, tie and dye prints, Bagaru prints, Sanganer prints, and Zari embroidery are major export products from Rajasthan. Handicraft items like wooden furniture and handicrafts, carpets, and 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 Deepawali, Holi, Gangaur, Teej, Gogaji, Shri Devnarayan Jayanti, 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 winter. 

Demographics :

  • 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. Rajasthani is 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.
  • The mother tongue of the majority of people in Rajasthan is Rajasthani. Rajasthani and Hindi are the most widely used languages in Rajasthan. Rajasthani is 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.


Flora and Fauna :

Great Indian Bustard

  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • The Great Indian Bustard, which is a state bird, is now at the stage of extinction. In Rajasthan bustard is also known as "Godavan".


Wildlife :

Aquila rapax in Tal Chhapar Sanctuary

  • There are four national parks named the Keoladeo National Park of BharatpurSariska Tiger Reserve of Alwar, Ranthambore National Park of Sawai Madhopur, and Desert National Park of Jaisalmer.
  • Prominent among the wildlife sanctuaries are Mount Abu Sanctuary, Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary, Darrah Sanctuary, Jaisamand Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Jawahar Sagar sanctuary and Sita Mata Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • There are a variety of wildlife species in Rajasthan, notably including the apex predator Caracal, Caracal caracal.


Transport :

  • By Air: There are three main airports at Rajasthan- Jaipur International AirportUdaipur Airport, and Jodhpur Airport. These airports connect Rajasthan with the major cities of India such as Delhi and Mumbai. There are two other airports in Kota and Jaisalmer, but are not open for commercial/civilian flights yet.
  • By Rail: Rajasthan is connected with the main cities of India by rail. Jaipur, Kota, Bikaner, Ajmer, Udaipur and Jodhpur are the principal railway stations in Rajasthan. Kota City is the only Electrified Section served by three Rajdhani Expresses and trains to all major cities of India. There is also an international railway, the Thar Express from Jodhpur to Karachi. However, this is not open to foreign nationals currently.
  • By Road: Rajasthan is well connected to the main cities of the country including Delhi, Ahmedabad and Indore by State and National Highways and served by Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation and Private operators. Most renowned being NH 8, which is India's first 4–8 lane highway. NH 71B is the Smallest in Rajasthan

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