Rajasthan – ‘land of kings’ is one of the most vibrant and colorful states of the country. It is the largest state of the country by area and covers 10.4% of India’s total area. The region is well steeped in history and culture. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations of our country. The forts and palaces of Jaipur, sand dunes of Bikaner and Jodhpur, havelis of Jaisalmer and lakes of Udaipur...you need to see them to believe the beauty and grandeur. There are so many facets of Rajasthan that one can always find something new and exciting. The state capital is Jaipur, which also happens to be the largest city of the state.
History of Rajasthan
The state was formed on 30 March 1949. It was during this time that Rajputana (the name adopted by British to manage the dependencies in the region) was merged in India. The history of the region dates back to around 5000 years. Before being called Rajputana, the region was called ‘Gujratha’ – the land protected by Gujjars.
Ancient History of Rajasthan
Experts believe that some regions of Rajasthan were a part of the Indus Valley civilization. The excavations at Kalibanga (northwestern Rajasthan) in 1998 revealed the existence of human settlements from the Harappan times. The region was considered to be very strategic for many rules and dynasties throughout history. It was a part of the Mauryan Empire around 321-184 BCE. The Guptas reigned in 4th century and Rajasthan was an important ruling region for the empire.
Medieval History of Rajasthan
Medieval history is believed to be the golden era for Rajasthan. Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya popularly known as Hemu defeated the Afghans at the first rebellion in 1553 at Ajmer. Emperor Akbar arranged matrimonial ties with Rajput rulers to gain their trust. He married Rajput princess Jodha Bai, the daughter of Maharaja of Amer. It was a great move and cordial relations were formed between the Mughals and the Rajputs. Rulers like Raja Maan Singh of Amer were trusted allies. It was during this time that Raja Uday Singh formed the city of Udaipur. He never accepted the Mughal supremacy and was in a constant battle with the Mughals. Akbar forcefully seized Chittor, his capital. After the death of Raja Uday Singh, this struggle was continued by his son Maharana Pratap.
British India in Rajasthan
With the arrival of the East India Company, the scenario in the country saw a complete change. The region was given a new identity under the name of Rajputana. The Rajput kings concluded treaties with the British in the early 19th century, accepting British suzerainty and control over their external affairs in return for internal autonomy. The state finally got its name as Rajasthan in 1949.
(Click on the image on the right to view an enlarged one)
Rajasthan lies between 23°30' and 30° 11' North latitude and 69° 29' and 78° 17' East longitude. It shares the northwestern and western border with Indo-Pakistan border. Rajasthan is bordered by Pakistan in the west and northwest, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in north and northeast. Madyha Pradesh lies in southeast and Gujarat lies in southwest. The Tropic of Cancer passes through its southern tip in the Banswara district.
The state of Rajasthan is located in the north western part of the
Indian subcontinent. It is the largest state of the country covering an
area of 3, 42,239sq.km comprising of the 10.41% of the total
geographical area of the country. It stretches a length of 869 km from
west to east and 826 km from north to south. About three-fifths of
Rajasthan lies northwest of the Aravallis, leaving two-fifths on the
east and south direction.
The Thar Desert of Rajasthan lies mostly in the state of Rajasthan with some portions extending to Gujarat and Haryana. It is the world's 9th largest desert with an area of more than 200,000 square km. Thar has a mention in the Indian epics - both Ramayana and Mahabharata. IN Mahabharat it finds mention in the Kamakhya Forest which was situated at the Thar Desert and in Ramayana it was mentioned as Lavanasagara. It also has an interesting mix of wildlife species which are about to become extinct. The endangered Great Indian Bustard, the Indian Wild Ass, chinkara, and black buck are found here.
Rajasthan Quick Facts
Date of Formation – November 1, 1956 State capital – Jaipur Total area – 3, 42, 239 sq. km Districts – 33 Governor – Kalyan Singh Chief Minister – Smt. Vasundhara Raje Parliamentary constituency – 25 Total population (2011 Census) – 68,621,012 Population density – 201 per sq. km Official language – Hindi Literacy rate – 67.68% Male literacy rate – 76.28% Female literacy rate – 51.18% State animal – Chinkara and Camel State Bird – Great Indian Bustard State Tree – Khejri State Flower – Rohida Rivers: Beas, Chambal, Banas, Luni Minerals: Zinc, mica, copper, gypsum, silver, magnesite, petroleum Industries: Textiles, woollen, sugar, cement, glass, zinc smelters Airports: Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur Forests and national parks: Sariska Tiger Reserve, Keoladeo Ghana NP, Ranthambore NP, Dhawa WS Neighbouring states: East: Madhya Pradesh; North-east: Uttar Pradesh; North: Haryana and Punjab; West : Pakistan, South: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh
Did you know?
The Aravalis are the oldest mountain range in India, even older than the Himalayas.
Topography of Rajasthan
The state has varied topography, but a large section is parched and dry. The topography includes the following – rocky terrain, sand dunes, wetlands, river drained plains, land filled with thorny shrubs, wooded regions, plateaus and ravines. The broad categorization of the topography of the state is as follows –
The Aravalli range or the hilly areas
Thar Desert and other arid regions
Plateaus – Vindhya and Malwa
Fertile plains – Mewar
Waterbodies – rivers and lakes
Soil and Vegetation of Rajasthan
The soil and vegetation of the state is also largely varying like the topography. The various kinds of soil that can be found in the state include – sandy, alkaline, saline and chalky. In addition to these loamy, clay and black lava soil can also be found in some regions. The vegetation of the region is directly connected with the rainfall that the particular region receives. Courtesy the limited rainfall in the area, the vegetation like grass, shrubs, and dwarf trees can be found. The food crops are usually grown in the river drenched plains and are irrigated using the canal water. The Aravalli hills have loamy and black lava soil which is ideal for growing cotton and sugarcane.
Flora and Fauna of Rajasthan
The flora and fauna of the region is as per the dry and arid topography. Although a large part of the area is desert and a small part is under forest cover, the flora and fauna is richly diverse. One of the best examples of the ecosystem of the desert is the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer. The park is specifically known for its resident and migratory birds. Visitors can spot falcons, harriers, buzzards and vultures. Short toed eagles, tawny eagles and spotted falcons can also be seen. Seashells and massive fossilised tree trunks in this park record the geological history of the desert. The fauna of Rajasthan consists of 23 species of lizards and 25 species of serpents including the Spiny Tail Lizards and the Russel's Viper. Other wildlife species include antelopes, great Indian bustard, chinkara, black bug, silver foxes, nilgai and wild cats. Climate of Rajasthan
The climate varies throughout the state. On average winter temperatures range from 8° to 28° C (46° to 82° F) and summer temperatures range from 25° to 46° C (77° to 115° F). The same is the case with the annual rainfall. The desert region in west witnesses an annual rainfall of about 100 mm, the south eastern part of the state receives 650 mm rainfall. The major part of the rainfall occurs in the monsoon from July to September.
Culture of Rajasthan
Rajasthan is a very colorful state and is known for its rich traditions and historical past. A large of the culture of the state is influenced by folk culture which is mainly concentrated in the villages. Considering the royal past of the state, the influences of grandeur and lavishness can be clearly seen in food, festivals and people of the region. Some of the descendants of the royal family still live in different palaces of Rajasthan.
It is this rustic and royal feel of the culture of Rajasthan that is the highlight. Rajasthan is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the country. It is very popular among foreign tourists as well as they get to see a glimpse of India culture and traditions. Each aspect of Rajasthan, be it the food, art and architecture or people, has a unique feel to it.
Music and Dance of Rajasthan
Music and dance is an important part of the culture of any place. Since there are many tribes based in Rajasthan, music and dance becomes all the more important. Kalbelia dance and Ghoomer dance are the two most popular dance forms of the state. The dance forms are adorned by elaborate costumes and effortless moves. The traditional ‘Padharo Maare Desh’ song is the first thing that we relate to when talking about folk music of Rajasthan. Folk songs are commonly ballads which relate heroic deeds and love stories. In addition to that religious songs in the form of bhajans and banis are also sung.
Arts and Craft of Rajasthan
Rajasthan is famous for its textiles, semi-precious stones, traditional jewelry and blue pottery handicraft. The entire region is a paradise for shopaholics. Travelers can take different souvenirs for their friend and family back home. Bandhej dupattas, meenakari jhumkas (earings), blue pottery handicrafts of Jaipur, block prints, tie and dye print suits and sarees etc. are some of the most popular items.
Did you know?
Jaipur is also known as the pink city because of the pink color that adorned the walls of the city as a mark of respect for the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1876. Udaipur is also known as ‘White City’ because of the predominant use of white color in the various structures across the city.
Costume of Rajasthani People
The dresses of a region talk a lot about the culture of the region. Adding a lot of color to the desert land of Rajasthan are the colorful dresses. The dresses have a riot of colors and mirror work. The traditional Rajasthani dress for women is an ankle length skirt and a short top, also known as a lehenga or a chaniya choli. The quintessential dupatta is commonly known as Chunari. Women use chunaris to cover their faces and this practice is known as ghoonghat. The traditional dresses greatly vary from that of the cities. Tie and dye, leheriya and block prints are the most popular textile patterns used in Rajasthani dresses.
Festivals of Rajasthan
Festivals are a major part of the culture and tradition of a region. India is such a diverse country that one can see varying traditions at every ten steps. The people of Rajasthan are warm and welcoming. They celebrate nearly all festivals with great zeal and enthusiasm. The main festivals celebrated in Rajasthan include – Holi, Diwali, Gangaur, Teej, Sankranti, Janamshtami.
Famous Personalities from Rajasthan
Bahiron Singh Shekhawat Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is a former Vice-President of India. He has served as the chief minister of the state three times from 1977 to 1980, 1990 to 1992, and 1993 to 1998.
Jagjit Singh The famous ghazal singer with a golden voice, that’s Jagjit Singh. He was born in Ganganagar in Rajasthan. He has been synonymous with Indian ghazals and has given music a new meaning. In 2003, Jagjit Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India's highest civilian honors, from the Government of India.
Lakshmi Niwas Mittal Lakshmi Narayan Mittal is a London-based Indian billionaire industrialist. He was born in Sadulpur village, in the Churu district of Rajasthan. Currently residing in London, he is a world renowned Indian. Since 2005, Mittal has been the richest person residing in the United Kingdom, the richest person in Asia and the fourth richest person on the planet.
Smt. Vasundhara Raje Smt. Vasundhara Raje is the present Chief Minister of the state. She is the fourth child of the incumbent Ruler of Gwalior Jivaji Rao Scindia and his wife Rajmata Vijaya Raje.
Maharani Gayatri Devi Talking about the famous personalities of Rajasthan and one cannot miss Maharani Gayatri Devi. She is the wife of Sawai Man Singh II and is popularly referred to as ‘Rajmata of Jaipur’. She was born in 919 as Princess Gayatri Devi of Cooch Behar. She was the third Maharani of Jaipur from 1939 to 1970. Maharani Gayatri Devi has been honored in Vogue magazine's Ten Most Beautiful Women list.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is an Indian shooter who won the silver medal in Men's Double Trap at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He also won the gold in the individual and team events in men's double trap at the 2005 Asian Clay Shooting championships at Bangkok. He won the Arjuna award in 2003-2004 for shooting. In addition to that, he also won Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna – the highest sporting honor in India in 2004- 2005.
Smt. Pratibha Patil Smt. Pratibha Patil is the former president of India. She was sworn in as President of India on July 25, 2007 and was the first lady to hold the office of president of India.
Mehdi Hassan Mehdi Hassan was a Pakistani ghzala singer born in Luna in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan in undivided India. After Independence, Hasaan, then a 20 year old young man, migrated to Pakistan along with his family where they face financial hardships. After beginning his career in Radio Pakistan, he started experimenting with ghazals. He soon began his flourishing career in playback singing. Also known as 'Shahenshah-e-Ghazal' he influenced a generation of ghazal singers like Jagjit Singh.
The cuisine of Rajasthan is as rich as its
culture. Though the royal cooks or Khansamas kept the secret recipes of
their kitchens to themselves but some have been passed down to the
descendants. Though today, most of the people residing in Rajasthan are
vegetarians, but in ancient times meat was predominantly used in the
cuisine. Rajasthani platter is a gastronomer's delight! The food uses a
lot of spices and ghee. Use of spices, legume and milk along with
lentils and legumes is predominant in Rajasthani food. Some of the must
try food in Rajasthan are dal baati choorma, lal maas, papad, pickles
and a variety of sweets like Rabri topped Jalebi, Dil Jani of Udaipur,
Malpuas of Pushkar, Mishri Mawa of Ajmer.
Economy of Rajasthan
Rajasthan has the eighth largest economy with a Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) of over US$ 11.5 billion. Over the last decade, 1994 to 2003 the state underwent growth at a Compounded Average Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6% increasing from US$ 6.4 billion to US$ 11.5 billion.
Rajasthan is basically an agrarian economy. A major contributing factor to the economy of Rajasthan is agriculture. Agriculture employs about two thirds of the total working population of the state. The total cultivated area of the state encompasses about 20 million hectares and out of this only 20% of the land is irrigated.
Despite the scanty rainfall, nearly all types of crops are grown in Rajasthan. The major crops grown in the state include –
Pearl Millet in the desert region
Sorghum around Kota
Corn around Udaipur
The growth of wheat and barley is distributed all over the state. The same holds true for pulses, peas, lentils, beans, sugarcane and oilseeds. Cotton and Tobacco are important cash crops grown in the region. Rice is grown in the southeast and the northwest regions of the state. Since the growth of rice needs plenty of water, it can be only grown only in the well irrigated regions.
The two main crop sections of Rajasthan are – Rabi and Kharif.
Rabi crops are winter crops. These are sown in October – November and harvested in March – April. The principal Rabi crops are Barley, Wheat, Pulses, Gram, and Oil Seeds. The major oil seed is Mustard.
Kharif crops are grown in the summer season. They are sown in June – July and harvested in September – October. The main Kharif crops include – pulses, bajra, jowar, ground nuts and maize. In addition to these crops an assortment of fruits and vegetables are also grown in the local fertile regions of the state. These fruits include Oranges, Guavas, Lemon, Pomegranates and Mangoes.
The major crops of Rajasthan can be mentioned as follows:
Bajra (Pennisetum typhoideum) - Rajasthan is the largest producer of bajra in India.
Juar (Sorghum vulgare) - An important pulse crop grown during the monsoon.
Gram (Cicer arietinum) - An important pulse crop grown in rabi season.
Wheat (Triticum sp.) - Major crop of Rajasthan grown almost everywhere.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare) - The second largest crop in Rajasthan.
Maize (Zea mays) - In northern Rajasthan, maize is interestingly eaten with butter and the green leaf of the mustard plant.
Sesame (Sesamum indicum) - Rajasthan is the second highest producer sesame in India.
Cotton (Gossypium sp.) - Cotton plays an important role in the making of Rajasthani textile industry.
Irrigation in Rajasthan
Considering the soil type of Rajasthan, it needs a lot of irritation support from the neighboring state of Punjab. A large part of the water for irritation is received from the rivers of Punjab, Western Yamuna Canal in Haryana and the Agra Canal in Uttar Pradesh. The Sabarmati project of Gujarat and Narmada Sagar project of Madhya Pradesh also transfer water to Rajasthan.
The desert region in north-west and western Rajasthan is irrigated by Indira Gandhi Canal. The canal which as previously known as Rajasthan Canal carries water from Beas and Sutlej rivers in Punjab to Rajasthan by covering a distance of about 640 km. The state also shares the Bhakra Nangal project with Punjab and Haryana and the Chambla Valley project with the state of MP. The water received from both these projects is used for irrigation and drinking purposes.
Industries and Manufacturing in Rajasthan
Apart from agriculture, industries form a major part of the economy of the state. The industrial sector accounts for about 32.5 per cent of the total share of the state's economy. The main industries of the state include –
Ceramics and glassware
Heavy industries – zinc and copper smelting
Leather and footwear
Textiles, vegetable oil, wool, minerals, and chemicals are among the major manufactures of Rajasthan. The textile production in Rajasthan is very popular.
Jaipur is the hub of all activities in Rajasthan. The city has a lot of career opportunities and is the industrial hub of the state. Some of the top companies of Rajasthan include –
Rajasthan is becoming a leading choice for investors. Thus, the state offers a wide range of industrial infrastructure for investors. Rajasthan State Industrial and Investment Corporation (RIICO), a State government agency, has developed 322 industrial areas in Rajasthan.
These industrial areas are provided with water, power, roads, shops and telecommunication facilities. Following are the details of the industrial parks (IT parks) in the state.
Agro Food Park
RIICO has developed 4 Agro Food Parks for development of agriculture based industries. These parks are located in – Kota, Alwar, Jodhpur and Sriganganagar. Export Promotion Industrial Parks (EPIPs)in Rajasthan
There are 2 EPIPs in the state – Jaipur, and Jodhpur. The park in Jaipur is the largest in north India.
The State has developed an industrial estate in Neemrana dedicated for Japanese investors. A total of 317 acre land is allotted to 23 Japanese companies in the area. The companies currently functional in the area include –
Nissin Brake India (manufactures brakes)
Mikuni India (manufactures auto parts)
Daikin Air-Conditioning India (manufactures air conditioner units)
Imasen Manufacturing India (manufactures slide adjusters)
Nippon Express India (logistics company)
Watch the Video of Japanese Zone Neemrana posted on RIICO website by downloading it from here
Mahindra World City
Mahindra & Mahindra Group has established Mahindra World City in partnership with RIICO. It is a multi-product SEZ in Jaipur with an area of about 3000 acres.
Till date, MWC has over 25 customers, including Wipro, Infosys, ICICI Bank, Deutsche Bank, QH Talbros, Connexions, Nagarro Software and Tech Mahindra.
Did you know?
The state is the fourth largest producer of spun yard in India. It is second largest mineral producing state and the third major salt producing state in India.
Economy from Tourism in Rajasthan Tourism is also a major contributor to the economy of the state. Rajasthan is one of the most popular tourist destinations of our country. Each year thousands of people visit this royal land. The best part about tourism in Rajasthan is that it attracts both domestic as well as international tourists and travellers. Tourism accounts for about 15% of the economy of Rajasthan. Rajasthan contributes about 11.2% and 3.3% share in India's foreign and domestic tourist arrivals respectively. The palaces and forts of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, sand dunes in Jaisalmer and Bikaner and the rustic culture and traditions of Jodhpur – there is so much to explore in the state. In addition to these, there are hill forts, Jain temples and many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Rajasthan.
Society of Rajasthan
Non-Government Organizations, NGOs as they are commonly referred to as contribute greatly to the upliftment of the society. In addition to these, voluntary organizations and support groups are also an indispensable part of the social welfare scheme. These organizations operate at different levels and target varying sections of society. The main aim is to help the people and provide unending support. There are different kinds of NGOs operational in Rajasthan that work for varying causes – animal welfare, old age homes, upliftment of slum children, women empowerment, disaster management, cancer patients, rehabilitation centers etc.
Some of the NGOs in Rajasthan include – Oxam India Jaipur B-8, Bhawani Singh Road, C Scheme, Opposite Nehru Sahkar Bhawan, Jaipur Phone: 9887834262
Hope of the Children Society 2, Shri Nagar, Near Ramada Resort, Rampura, Udaipur Phone: 9929027157
Rajasthan Cancer Society B-8, Vivekanand Mg, C Scheme, Jaipur Phone: (0141) 2361476
Mother Teresa Balika Utthan and Grameen Kalyan Sansthan P No-1, Sirsi Road, Shree Gopal Nagar, Meenawala, Jaipur Phone: 9667352404
Whether it is the mystical hawelis or the mighty forts, the far and wide stretches of sand dunes or the warm and welcoming people, or the rich and tasty food one gets to see a new Rajasthan every time. Deeply connected with its roots but happily adopting the latest trends and techniques, that’s Rajasthan for you. A perfect getaway to know about the rich and glorious past! And an ideal example of hot to live life king size.