Royalty, Courage, Valour, Power, Luxury are some of the words always associated with the state of Rajasthan. Rajasthan is a northern Indian state with its palaces and forts as reminders of the many kingdoms that historically vied for the region. Rajasthan literally means Land of Kings or King's Abode. In this page we are taking you on a journey to showcase Rajasthan in its true spirit.
The first mention of the name "Rajasthan" appears in the 1829 publication Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan or the Central and Western Rajpoot States of India, while the earliest known record of "Rajputana" as a name for the region is in George Thomas's 1800 memoir Military Memories. John Keay, in his book India: A History, stated that "Rajputana" was coined by the British in 1829, John Briggs, translating Ferishta's history of early Islamic India, used the phrase "Rajpoot (Rajput) princes" rather than "Indian princes".
Modern Rajasthan includes most of Rajputana, which comprises the erstwhile nineteen princely states, two chiefships, and the British district of Ajmer-Merwara. Marwar (Jodhpur), Bikaner, Mewar (Chittorgarh), Alwar and Dhundhar (Jaipur) were some of the main Rajput princely states. Bharatpur and Dholpur were Jat princely states whereas Tonk was a princely state under a Muslim Nawab.
Rajasthan's formerly independent kingdoms created a rich architectural and cultural heritage, seen even today in their numerous forts and palaces (Mahals and Havelis), which are enriched by features of Rajput and Jain architecture.
The development of frescos in Rajasthan is linked with the history of the Marwaris (Jodhpur-pali), who played a crucial role in the economic development of the region. Many wealthy families throughout Indian history have links to Marwar. These include the legendary Birla, Bajaj, Dalmia, and Mittal families.
The early history of Rajasthan includes some of the great Maharanas, Nawabs and Rulers. Prominent among them were Prithiviraj Chouhan, Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya (also known as Hemu), Mughal Emperor Akbar, Maharana Udai Singh, Maharana Pratap, Raja Maan Singh and others.
Rajasthan has a rich tradition of both oral narrative and written literature. The most-famous song is “Kurja,” which tells the story of a woman who wishes to send a message to her absent husband by a kurja (a type of bird), who is promised a priceless reward for his service. In the literary tradition, Chand Bardai’s epic poem Prithviraj Raso (or Chand Raisa), the earliest manuscript of which dates to the 12th century, is particularly notable.
The typical dance of Rajasthan is the ghoomar, which is performed on festive occasions by only women. Other well-known dances include the geer, which is performed by men and women; the panihari, a graceful dance for women; and the kacchi ghori, in which male dancers ride dummy horses. Performances of khyal, a type of dance-drama composed in verse with celebratory, historical, or romantic themes, is also widely popular.
Arts and architecture
Rajasthan abounds in objects of antiquarian interest. Early Buddhist rock inscriptions and carvings are found in caves in the southeastern district of Jhalawar; the area around Ajmer has a number of mosques and Muslim tombs, the oldest of which dates to the end of the 12th century; and Bikaner, in the northwest, has a spectacular 15th-century Jain temple. Splendid princely palaces, many elaborately decorated with wall paintings, are scattered throughout the state; the palace at Udaipur is especially notable. Those and other historic structures (e.g., temples) are often within several historic Rajput hill forts, six of which—including those at Chittaurgarh, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, and Jhalawar—were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013.
Cultural life in Rajasthan is characterized by numerous religious festivals. Among the most popular of those celebrations is the Gangaur festival, during which clay images of Mahadevi and Parvati (representing the benevolent aspects of the Hindu mother goddess) are worshipped by women of all castes for 15 days and are then taken out to be immersed in water. Another important festival, held at Pushkar near Ajmer, takes the form of a mixed religious festival and livestock fair; Hindu pilgrims come seeking salvation during the celebration, while farmers from all corners of the state bring their camels and cattle to show and sell. The tomb of the Sufi mystic Khwājah Muʿīn al-Dīn Chishtī at Ajmer is one of the most-sacred Muslim shrines in India. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, many from foreign countries, visit the shrine each year on the occasion of the saint’s ʿurs (death anniversary).