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Rajasthan

GET TO KNOW The magic of vibrant Rajasthan - its heritage, culture, safaris, sand dunes, lush forests and wildlife-makes it destination nonpareil. - India's oldest mountain range as the backdrop; feast your eyes on spectacular sand dunes, take the tiger trail, or just watch the birds in the wetlands.

Our Rajasthan

our rajasthan

Folklore of heroism and romance resound from the formidable monuments that majestically stand to tell the tale of a bygone era. The magic of vibrant Rajasthan - its rich heritage, colorful culture, exciting desert safaris, shining sand-dunes, amazing variety lush forests and varied wildlife - makes it a destination nonpareil. Rajasthan is often portrayed as one vast open-air museum, with its relics so well preserved that it delights even the most skeptical traveler.

It is an incredible destination for the outdoor-tourist – take a safari on horses, camels, elephants or even in jeeps, with the Arrivals - India's oldest mountain range as the backdrop. Feast your eyes on spectacular sand-dunes, take the tiger trail, or just watch the birds in the wetlands. You can also choose to pamper yourself in the lavish heritage properties. Rajasthan has something for everyone – one just has to choose an activity appropriate to one's temperament.

HISTORY

The history of India has an antiquity going back to five thousand years. Rajasthan played a proactive role in the making of Indian history, its civilization and its culture. Rajasthan's impressive saga has a heroic past. Its extravagant splashes of bright hues juxtapose against the desert landscape. The miniature elegance of its small villages and impeccably maintained forts bring alive the story of the yore. The imposing appearance of its grand forts perched on rocky hills still tell the tale of the bravery of its men and the silent sacrifices of its women – not to forget the old world chivalry.

The Rajput’s claim to be descendent of the Kshatriyas of the Vedic period of India. Their ancestry has been divided into two main branches, the Suryavansa (race of he sun) and Induvansa (race of the moon). The former claim their descent from Lord Rama and the latter from Lord Krishna. A third branch was added later, the Agni Kula or those that descended from the sacrificial fire.

Dynasties like the Sisodias of Mewar, the Kachhwahas of Ambar, the Rathores of Marwar, the Haddas of Jhalawar, Kota and Bundi, the Bhatis of Jaisalmer, the Shekhawats of Shekhawati and the Chauhans of Ajmer form part of the Rajput clan.

During the ancient period of India history the Rajputs maintained their independent status. Even the great emperors of the Mauryan period did not interfere in Rajput affairs. The Rajput came into greater prominence in the political life of India during the period of decline and disintegration of the Gupta Empire.

Around 12th century Ad the Rajputs occupied vast territories including present day Jaipur, Ranthambore, Mewar, part of Bundi, Ajmer, Kishangarh, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and even, at one time, Delhi. The Branches of the Chauhans ruled territories known as Ananta (in present day Shekhawati) and Saptasatabhumi.

These Rajput kingdoms come into conflict with Muslim invaders at different stages of their evolution some of them lost their independence while others held against the enemies. The Muslim invaders as also those who established their rule in India realized that the Rajputs, universally known for their valour, courage and martial spirit would not easily be subdued by military might alone.

The Rajputs are passionately attached to their land family and honour and are known for their indomitable courage, chivalry and utmost regard for truth. The Rajput history is replete with instances of heroism and self-sacrifice both by the princes and the peasantry. There are innumerable heroes that stand out. However, some of them are legendry like Prithvi Raj Chauhan. He had succeeded to the kingdom of Delhi and Ajmer and had established a great reputation for chivalry and heroic exploits. He was attacked by Muhammad Ghori who commanded a large and powerful army. Both the armies met at the battle of Tarain in 1191 AD. The Rajputs charged the enemy with tremendous rigour, which scattered in all directions in sheer panic. Muhammad Ghori was serious wounded and carried off the battle field for safety of his life. The Muslim army retreated and fled. Never before had they experienced such a terrible rout. Muhammed Ghori ws licking his wounds. He organized another attack in 1192 AD at the same place, with a much larger force. The Rajputs were outmanoeuvred by the superior tactics of the Muslims invaders and lost the battle. Prithvi Raj Chauhan died following his defeat.

Another shining example is of Rana Pratap of Mewar, an embodiment of courage,bravery and fortitude, who endeavoured ceaselessly to redeem the honour of his race and defied the mighty Mughal emperor, Akbar who was militarily the strongest and the richest ruler of his time. He continued to raid the Mughal territory time and again despite heavy odds and betrayal of his kith and kin, who vied with one another to enhance the glory of Mughal empire. He opposed the Mughals till his this death in 1597.

His son Amar Singh succeeded in 1599, Mewar was invaded by the Mughal army under command of Prince Salim and Raja Man Singh. Amar Singh bravely led the attack but was defeated due to superior might of the Mughal army. Mewar was devastated by the imperialists.

Wise and far sighted that he was, Akbar realized the importance of support, cooperation and allegiance of the Rajputs and consequently, engineered matrimonial alliances with them in order to accomplish his objective of expanding and consolidating the empire. Akbar could not afford to ignore the brave Rajputs as these men who were capable of being formidable enemies, could also be cajoled to be his steadfast and loyal friends.

Many princely states continued to maintain their autonomy despite allegiance to a central authority at Delhi even during the British rule.

At the time of independence on 15th August 1947, Rajasthan was known as Rajputana (region of Rajputs). It comprised of 18 princely States, two chieftains and a British administered province of Ajmer-Merwara besides a few pockets and territories outside its main boundaries.

It took seven stages to form Rajasthan as it is defined today. In March 1948, the Matsya Union comprising Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karauli was formed. Banswara, Bundi, Dungarpur, Jhalawar, Kishangarh, Kota, Pratapgarh, Shahpura and Tonk also joined the Indian union in March 1948, and formed part of Rajasthan. In April of the same year, Udaipur joined the State and the Maharana of Udaipur was made Rajpramukh. Thus, in 1948 the merger of south and southeastern States was almost complete. Still retaining their independence were Jaipur and the desert kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. From security point of view, it was vital to the Indian Union to ensure that the desert kingdoms were integrated into the new nation. The princes finally agreed to sign the Instrument of Accession, and the kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur were merged in March 1949. This time, the Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Man Singh II, was made the Rajpramukh of the State and Jaipur became its capital. Later in 1949, the United State of Matsya, comprising the former kingdoms of Bharatpur, Alwar, Karauli and Dholpur, was incorporated into Rajasthan. On January 26, 1950, 18 states of united Rajasthan merged with Sirohi to form the State leaving Abu and Delwara to remain a part of Greater Bombay and now Gujarat.

In November 1956 under the States Re-organization Act, the erstwhile part 'C' State of Ajmer – Abu Road Taluka, former part of princely State, Sirohi (which were merged in former Bombay State) and Sunel Tappa region of the former Madhya Bharat merged with Rajasthan. Today with further reorganisation of the States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, Rajasthan has become territorially the largest State of the Indian Republic.

The princes of the former kingdoms were constitutionally granted handsome remuneration in the form of privy purses and privileges to assist them in the discharge of their financial obligations. In1970, Indira Gandhi, who was the then Prime Minister of India, commenced proceedings to discontinue the privy purses, which were abolished in 1971. Many of the former princes still continue to use the title of Maharaja, but the title is merely symbolic holding no regal significance. Many of the Maharajas still retain their palaces but some have converted them into profitable hotels while some others have made good in politics. The democratically elected Government runs the State with a Chief Minister as its executive head and the Governor, as the head of the State.

Topography

The State has an area of 343,000 sq km. The capital city is Jaipur.

The Aravali Range runs across the State from southwest Gurushikhar Peak (Mount Abu), which is 1,722 mt in height to Khetri in the northeast. This divides the State into 60 per cent in the northwest of the range and 40 per cent 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 Great Indian (Thar) Desert.

The south-eastern area, higher in elevation (100 to 350 mt above sea level) and more fertile, has a much diversified topography. In the south lies the hilly tract of Mewar. In the southeast a large area of the districts of Kota and Bundi forms a tableland, and to the northeast of these districts is a rugged region (badlands) following the line of the Chambal River. Further north the country levels out; the flat plains of the northeastern Bharatpur district are part of the alluvial basin of the Yamuna River.

The Aravali outlines Rajasthan's most important division. The Chambal River, which is the only large and perennial river in the State, originates from its drainage to the east of this range and flows northeast. Its principal tributary, the Banas, rises in the Aravali near Kumbhalgarh and collects all the drainage of the Mewar plateau. Further north, the Banganga, after rising near Jaipur, flows east-wards before disappearing in Bharatpur district. The Luni is the only significant river west of the Aravali. It rises in the Pushkar valley of Ajmer and flows 320 km west-southwest into the Rann of Kachh. Northeast of the Luni basin, in the Shekhawati tract, is an area of internal drainage characterized by salt lakes, the largest of which is Sambhar Salt Lake.

In the vast sandy north-western plain extending over the districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jalor, Sirohi, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Pali and Nagaur, soils are predominantly saline or alkaline. Water is scarce but is found at a depth of 30 to 61 mt. The soil and sand are calcareous (chalky). Nitrate in the soil increases its fertility, and, as has been shown in the area of the Indira Gandhi (formerly Rajasthan) Canal, cultivation is often possible where adequate water supplies are made available.

The soils in the Ajmer district in central Rajasthan are sandy; clay content varies between three and nine per cent. In Jaipur and Alwar districts in the east, soils vary from sandy loam to loamy sand. In the Kota, Bundi and Jhalawar tract, they are generally black and deep and are well drained. In Udaipur, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara and Bhilwara districts, eastern areas have mixed red and black soils and western areas have red to yellow soils.

Rajasthan is a north westerly State of India. It is bound on the west and northwest by Pakistan, on the north and northeast by the States of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, on the east and southeast by the States of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and on the southwest by the State of Gujarat.

The Tropic of Cancer passes through its southern tip in the Banswara district.

Language

As the State of Rajasthan was formed by merging the princely States, it has many dialects.

The four main dialects are Marwari (in western Rajasthan), Jaipuri or Dhundhari (in the east and southeast), Malvi (Malwi in the southeast), and, in Alwar, Mewati is spoken, which shades off into Braj Bhasa in Bharatpur district.

The main written and spoken language is Hindi. English is also commonly understood, except at the grassroots. However, tourist guides and interpreters are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese.

Today's Rajasthan

todays rajasthan

Rajasthan is a kaleidoscopic State where tradition blends with modernity. People are proud of their heritage and yet open to change and western values.

Todays rajasthan

Modern Rajasthan is now offering in amenities comparable to those available elsewhere in the world. It has remarkable roads and transport systems. Its roads are trafficked by some of the latest cars and buses, rickshaws, camel carts and horse drawn Tonga’s as well as improvised tempos. The markets are lined with shopping extravaganzas, with some of its stores being very posh.

Todays rajasthan

Rajasthan offers wide ranging accommodation, from single bed dormitories costing USD 1 per night to some of the most elite and luxurious five-star deluxe hotels in the world. Most of these five-star deluxe hotels are palaces and forts, once home to the Rajasthan nobility. They offer a delightful experience with their regal lifestyle. The chain provides reasonably priced accommodation in dormitory, single room, air cooled rooms and air-conditioned rooms. Each hotel has a restaurant and some have a bar. Normally, a Tourists Reception Centre is also located on the same premises and is handy for any information. International food chains like Mc Donald, Pizza Hut, and Dominos etc. exist along with international beverages like Coco Cola, Pepsi or Nescafe.

Rajasthan is famous for its vibrant trade and industry. It is rich in mineral resources and a recent exploration also found large deposits of oil. Modern Rajasthan has some of the best banking services and is well serviced by ATMs honoring all international credit and debit cards.