Capital : Jaipur
Largest city : Jaipur
District(s) : 32
Population : 56,473,122 (8th)
Density : 165/km² (427/sq mi)
Language(s) : Hindi, RajasthanGujarati is also spoken
Established : 1956-11-01
Rajasthan 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.
Rajasthan has a rich and colorful history making it one of the
most popular tourist destinations in India. Shown here is the
Chittorgarh Fort.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. Millions of them were martyred for this land.
‘The Hinduan Suraj’ title to Udaipur was due to
Bhils. Jats had been fighting since beginning. Gujars had been
exterminated in Bhinmal and Ajmer areas fighting with the invaders.
Bhils once ruled Kota and Bundi. Gujars were sardars in Alwar,
Jodhpur and Ajmer areas. Meenas were ruler of Dhundhar. The
earlier contributions of warriors and protectors of the land
Jats, Bhils, Gujars and Meenas were neglected and lost in history.
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.
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.
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 . Rajasthan state is
also populated by Sindhis, who came to Rajasthan from Sindh
province (now in Pakistan) during the India-Pakistan separation
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 Sindhi, Gujarati
The Thar desert near Jaisalmer.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 both fascinating and mesmerizing. Highly cultivated
classical music and dance with its own distinct style is part
of the cultural tradition of Rajasthan. The music is of uncomplicated
innocence 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
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.
Udaipur PalaceRajasthan is famous for the majestic forts, intricately
carved temples and decorated havelis, which were built by kings
in previous ages. Jantar Mantar, Dilwara Temples, Chittorgarh
Fort, Lake Palace Hotel, 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.
The main religious festivals are 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.
Flora and fauna
Great Indian BustardThough 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.
Tal Chhapar Sanctuary is a very small sanctuary in 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.
Important cities and towns