City Palace Jaipur

City Palace forms one of the most famous tourist attractions and a major landmark in Jaipur. The beautiful palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during his reign. Among the various forts and palaces of Jaipur, City Palace stands apart, with its outstanding art and architecture. City Palace complex covers a huge area, which is divided into a series of gardens, courtyards and buildings. Initially, Raja Jai Singh built the outer wall occupying a huge area. The additional grand buildings were constructed later by the succeeding rulers.

A part of the exquisite Palace still makes home for the former Maharaja/ King. The premises consists several buildings like Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Mukut Mahal, Maharani's Palace, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum. One would come across the Mubarak Mahal, as one enters the first square. Mubarak Mahal was built by Sawai Madho Singh in the 19th century to entertain his guests. Today, it has converted into a costume gallery, which displays royal attires of the Kings.

After crossing the first square, a beautiful gateway welcomes to Diwan-I-Khas, a hall meant for private audience. It has two sterling silver vessels on display and they are acclaimed to be the world's largest silver vessel. These vessels were made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II to carry water from River Ganga to drink on his trip to England. Diwan-I-Aam, which was meant for public audience, forms the other attraction of this courtyard. At present, it makes an art gallery showcasing enthralling painted ceilings and rare ancient handwritten original manuscripts of Hindu scriptures.

In the series, Maharani's Palace, which was meant for royal queens, has been converted into a museum, showcasing weapons dated back to 15th century. Chandra Mahal is essentially regarded as the best part, out of the whole tour to City Palace. It has seven stories and each story is known by a different name. The topmost story is known as Mukut Mahal. The wonderful architecture of this Palace with delicate paintings, mirror work on walls and floral decorations, makes it a 'must-see' for every visitor. In the present day, this palace serves as the residence of ex-ruler.

Badal Mahal stands opposite to Chandra Mahal and while crossing the path, one would find Govind Dev Ji Temple between them. Above all these, the Palace also offers delicacies in its multi cuisine restaurant. To sum up, the City Palace is a structure of historical importance and a souvenir of the regal past. The palace, with its royal grace stands as a symbol of magnificence. All these features of City Palace leave the tourists with no other option, but to visit it.

City Palace Jaipur

Located in the capital of Rajasthan, the City Palace of Jaipur or the main palace is an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthan and Mughal architecture. The vast palace complex occupies one seventh of the walled city of Jaipur. Originally built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of the Kachhwaha clan of Rajputs, additions have been made to the palace complex by many of his successors.

The complex is divided into a series of courtyards, sprawling gardens and buildings. It is home to several palatial structures like the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Badal Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.

In the first courtyard is the 'Mubarak Mahal', built by Maharaja Madho Singh II in the late 19th century. The Mubarak Mahal, or the Auspicious Palace, contains the textile section of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum. There is a magnificent gateway with a grand door in brass opening to a stately courtyard. There lies the Diwan-I-Khas or 'Hall of Private Audience'- an open hall with a double row of columns with scalloped arches.

On display are the two largest silver vessels in the world figured in the Guinness Book of World Records. These were used for carrying water from the holy Ganges for personal use, by Madho Singh II on his journey to England. Across the paved square, with its intricate decorations in deep red and gold, Afghan and Persian carpets, miniature paintings, astronomical manuscripts in Persian and Sanskrit lies the 'Diwan-E-Aam' or the 'Hall of Public Audience'. At the other corner is the gateway Ridhi Sidhi Pol, with four small doorways decorated with motifs depicting the four seasons.

To the north-west is the graceful seven storied 'Chandra Mahal', or the Moon Palace, home to the present Maharaja of Jaipur; Bhavani Singh, providing a fine view of the gardens and the city. Paintings, floral decorations, mirror walls and ceilings in the traditional style adorn the palace. Each storey has a distinctive name and is a place of sheer beauty and luxury. The ground and first floor of the Chandra Mahal form the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum. The museum has an extensive collection of art, carpets, enamelware and 15th century weapons. The paintings include miniatures of Rajasthani, Persian and Mughal schools. A section of museum also contains dresses and costumes of the former Maharajas and Maharanis of Jaipur.

'Sukh Nivas' or Hall of rest holds the drawing and dining room of the Maharaja, furnished with Mughal miniatures, European silver, glass dining tables and peep holes decorated with gold leafs, for ventilation. On the fourth floor of the 'Chandra Mahal' is the 'Shobha Nivas' or Hall of Beauty with mirror encrusted walls having exquisite blue tiled dadoes and glittering gold leaf and mica decoration. When the room was lit after dark the Maharajas could enjoy a breathtaking spectacle of the room bursting into a thousand flickering images. The Shobha Nivas and the Sukh Nivas is still occupied by the present Maharaja. The fifth floor is the 'Chhavi Nivas' or Hall of Images, the maharaja's retreat in the rainy season, with a polished floor of eggshell stucco and blue and white painted walls. The sixth floor with its mirrored ceiling and stucco floor has rows of double columns through which one can have a magnificent view of the rugged hills. The uppermost storey is called the 'Mukut Mahal' or the Crown Building.

Opposite the Chandra Mahal lies the 'Badal Mahal'. The Govind Devji Temple stands in the middle of the Chandra Mahal and the Badal Mahal. A delightful system of fountains is placed in the middle of the paved path between the Chandra Mahal and the Badal Mahal. Another integral part of the palace complex is the Hawa Mahal of unusual architecture, standing away from the main complex.
http://www.royalorienttrain.com/rajasthan/forts-palaces/jaipur-city-palace.html

Jaipur (Hindi: जयपुर)

Jaipur (Hindi: जयपुर), also popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital of Rajasthan state, India. Historically rendered as Jeypore, Jaipur is the former capital of the princely state of Jaipur. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, the ruler of Amber, the city today has a population of more than 5 million residents.

His Highness Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur (born 1931) is the current titular Maharaja of Jaipur.

The city is remarkable among pre-modern Indian cities for the width and regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors separated by broad streets 111 ft (34 m) wide. The urban quarters are further divided by networks of gridded streets. Five quarters wrap around the east, south, and west sides of a central palace quarter, with a sixth quarter immediately to the east. The Palace quarter encloses a sprawling palace complex (the Hawa Mahal, or palace of winds), formal gardens, and a small lake. Nahargarh Fort crowns the hill in the northwest corner of the old city. Another noteworthy building is Sawai Jai Singh's observatory, Jantar Mantar.

History

Jaipurwas founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, a Kachwaha Rajput, who ruled from 1699-1744. Initially his capital was Amber (city), which lies at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. Jaipur is the first planned city of India. The King consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the lay out of Jaipur.

After several battles with Marathas, Jai Singh was keen on the security aspect of the city. Being a lover of mathematics and science, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him design the city architecture.

The construction of the city started in 1727. It took around 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks, of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates.

For the time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1853, when the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted pink to welcome him. Today, avenues remain painted in pink, provide a distinctive appearance to the city.

In the 19th century the city grew rapidly; by 1900 it had a population of 160,000. The city's wide boulevards were paved and lit with gas.

The city had several hospitals. Its chief industries were in metals and marble, fostered by a school of art founded in 1868. The city also had three colleges, including a Sanskrit college (1865) and a girls' school (1867) initiated under the reign of the enigmatic Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II. There was also a wealthy and enterprising community of native bankers, particularly the Jains and the Marwaris.

Architecture

Jaipur is considered by many urbanists to be one of the best planned cities. In an era when most of the rajputs were busy fighting with each other, Jaipur's kings diplomatically broadened their control sphere maintaining good relations with the Mughals.

The city was planned according to Indian Vastu Shastra (Vedic or Pouranic Planning for the comfort and prosperity of the citizens). The directions of each street and market are east to West and North to South. The Eastern gate is called Suraj (Sun) Pol, while the Western gate is called Chand (Moon) Pol. There are only three gates facing East, west, and North including the Northern gate (known as Zorawar Singh gate) which faces toward the ancestral capital of Amber, while many gates face South.

Although the present city has expanded from outside of its walls, the original planning was within the walls. The gates used to be closed at sunset and opened at sunrise. Almost all Northern Indian towns of that period presented a chaotic picture of narrow twisting lanes, a confusion of run-down forts, temples, palaces, and temporary shacks that bore no resemblance at all to the principles set out in Hindu architectural manuals which call for strict geometric planning. Thus, for Sawai Jai Singh II and the Bengali Guru Vidyadhar (who was a 'Shaspati' - Hindu Priest Architect), the founding of Jaipur was also a ritual and a bronze opportunity to plan a whole town according to the principles of Hindu architectural theory.

The town of Jaipur is built in the form of a eight-part Mandala known as the 'Pithapada'. Nine signifies the nine planets of the ancient astrological zodiac. It is also known that Sawai Jai Singh II was a great astronomer and a town planner, and hence the 'Pithapada'. Also, the commercial shops are designed in multiples of nine (27), having one cross street for a planet.

Geography and Climate

Jaipur is located at 26°55′N 75°49′E / It has an average elevation of 432 metres (1417 ft).

The district is situated in the eastern part of Rajasthan. It is bound in the north by Sikar and Alwar, in South by Tonk, Ajmer and Sawai Madhopur. Nagaur, Sikar and Ajmer in the west and in east by Bharatpur and Dausa districts.

The major rivers passing through the Jaipur district are Banas and Banganga. Ground water resources to the extent of about 28.65 million cubic meter are available in the district. Although serious drought is rare, poor water management and exploitation of groundwater with extensive tube-well systems threatens agriculture in some areas.

Jaipur has a semi-arid climate. Although it receives over 50 cm (20 in) of rainfall annually the rainfall is concentrated in the monsoon months between June and September. Temperatures remain relatively high throughout the year, with the summer months of April to early July having average daily temperatures of around 30oC. During the monsoon months there are frequent, heavy rains and thunderstorms, but flooding is not common. The winter months of November to February are mild and pleasant, with average temperatures in the 15-18oC range and little or no humidity. There are however occasional cold waves that lead to temperatures near freezing.

Maharaja of Jaipur

His Highness Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur (born 1931) is the current titular Maharaja of Jaipur and head of the Kachwaha clan of Rajputs. The Maharaja is considered a political, cultural, and religious icon in modern Rajasthan, as well as a military official. He is styled His Highness, The Maharaja of Jaipur.He adopted his grandson, Kumar Padmanabh Singh, and made him the heir to the throne of Jaipur.

In the same vein as his father, the first hotelier prince in India, Sawai continues to run many palaces as hotels, including the Rambagh Palace, Raj Mahal palace, or other former royal residences. Sawai still conducts certain ceremonies and customs from the traditional seat of royal power, the sprawling The City Palace. He is also involved in local politics, like his stepmother, Gayatri Devi of Cooch Behar.
Jaipur
Kachwaha
Cadet branch of the Rajputs
Born: 1931 Died: Living
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur       — TITULAR —
Maharaja of Jaipur
24 June 1970 - present
Reason for succession failure:
Abolished by Dominion of India   Succeeded by
incumbient

Politics

Jaipur has been a stronghold of the opposition Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). The Indian National Congress has won only two of 14 parliament elections. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat has also has been elected MLA for Jaipur three times.

Infrastructure

In a recent international survey Jaipur was ranked the 7th best place to visit in Asia and in another poll it was ranked third among twelve major Indian cities.

Modern infrastructural facilities are developing fast, and in many cases surpass those of larger cities like Delhi and Calcutta. The city is expanding very quickly and has become a hot spot for development in Rajasthan. Jaipur International Airport is located at a satellite location of Sanganer and offer's flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Guwahati along with sproadic services to International locations such as Dubai.

Since 2000 Jaipur has become a centre for education. The city is very peaceful and many north Indian families prefer to send their offspring to Jaipur for higher and technical education. Jaipur has more than 40 engineering colleges, 40 business management institutes, 15 pharmacy institutes, 4 hotel management institutes, 3 medical colleges and 6 dental colleges. It also has 8 universities including Rajasthan University. Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur is one of the best technical institutes in India.

Jaipur has a well maintained road network with multi-story flyovers and traffic lights with closed circuit cameras. Police control room (PCR) vans are being equipped with GPS to monitor locations and help maintain law and order.

Jaipur boasts of International Living standards with well planned colonies of grid like patterns (sectors and blocks) and parks well maintained by JDA. Mansarovar housing colony is the largest housing colony in Asia. Two new colonies Anupam vihar and Abhinav vihar have been recently added to Jaipur by JDA. There are so many shopping malls and Multiplex which offer a urban lifestyle to Jaipurites.

SMS Criket stadium is also located here, which is a popular venue for many international matches and for Indian Premier League matches. Events like Jaipur Jewelry Show and Jaipur Literature Festival are offering a common platform for people not only from India but from other countries also, giving Jaipur a cosmopolitan image. .

Transport

Road

Jantar Mantar attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Amber Fort.
The Ganesh Pol of Amber fort. Amber is now part of Jaipur Municipal Corporation

The city of Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan and is centrally located. National Highway No.8 links Delhi to Mumbai, and No.11 links Bikaner to Agra, passing through Jaipur district with a total length of 366 km. The total length of different types of roads in the district was approximately 4,102 km at March 2000.

Rail
Jaipur is well connected by rail to all of the major cities and towns of India. Jaipur is on the broad-gauge and meter gauge network of the Indian Railways and has direct trains on the broad gauge network to cities like Agra, Delhi, Gwalior, Mumbai, Howrah, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mysore, Bangalore, Lucknow, Kanpur, Patna etc. across the country and to major cities in Rajasthan such as Ajmer, Sawai Madhopur, Kota, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Udaipur.

Jaipur is connected with metre gauge rail route with Sri Ganganagar, Churu, Sikar.

Jaipur is also connected with major centres of neighbouring states such as Agra (Uttar Pradesh), Ahmedabad (Gujarat) and Delhi through the broad gauge network. The Palace on Wheels makes a scheduled stop in Jaipur.

Air

Jaipur's Jaipur International Airport (IATA: JAI, ICAO: VIJP) is situated in its satellite town of Sanganer and offers sporadic service to Muscat, Sharjah, Bangkok and Dubai. Jaipur also has well connected domestic air links with Jodhpur, Udaipur, Aurangabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Goa, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Indore, Bangalore, Mumbai, Surat and Raipur, Lucknow, Gorakhpur.

Economy

Tourism is important to the city's economy

No. of large and medium scale running units: 48 No. of small scale units: 19,544 No. of industrial areas: 19 (Bagru, Bassi, Bais Godam, Bindyaka, Dudu, Hirawala, Jetpura, Jhotwara, Kaladera, Kanakpura, Kartarpura, Malviya Nagar, Phulera, Renwal, Sanganer, Shahpura, Sitapura, Sudarshanpur and Vishwakarma)

Jaipur district is a centre for both modern and traditional industries. The main industrial products include: acetylene gas, ACSR (Aluminum Conductor Steel Reinforced) cable, all-purpose flour (maida), atta flour, ball bearings, bottling of LPG, ceramics, pottery, cold roll strips, corrugated boxes, deoiled cakes, durries, dyeing and printing, edible oil, electronic items, engraving on brass items, ferrous and non-ferrous castings, gems and jewelry, general engineering and manufacturing, granite slabs and tiles, hand-made paper, handicraft items, halogen automobile headlamps, 'hawai' chappals (sandals), household electrical appliances, HT steel strips, iodized salt, lamps, laminated springs for railways, marble statues, marble tiles & slabs, moulded plastic components for electronics, nitrochlorobenzene, oxygen gas, perfumes, pigments, plastic containers, P.P. multifilament yarn, PVC cables, PVC doors, PVC footwear, canvas shoes, Portland cement, readymade garments (clothing), re-roller products, semolina (suji), steel furniture, steel ingots, stone grits, synthetic leather, suits & shirts made of synthetic materials, tablets and capsules, two way radio and line, washing soap, wheat, woollen carpets, refined vegetable oil and vanaspati ghee heavy Steel fabrication, brass and lacquer work, enamel work, gems and jewellery, granite tiles, handlooms, marble statues, printed cloth and textiles, readymade garments, woollen and silk carpets.

Jaipur has been ranked 31 among the 50 Emerging Global Outsourcing cities. Genpact and Infosys have their BPO already established and running successfully. In fact Genpact has the fastest growing location in Jaipur. Real Estate business is flourishing well from last 2-3 years. Some of the companies already present here include MICO, Coca Cola, IBM, Ericsson and NEI populary known as NBC Bearings.

Jaipur also has Reserve bank of India and many other prominent international banks. India's largest integrated IT SEZ Mahindra World City is located in Jaipur. Master planned by Jurong Constructions Singapore it covers nearly 3,000 acres (12 km2) of land off Ajmer highway and has already attracted major companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Truworth and Deutsche Bank. India's one of a kind World Trade Park is also under construction in Malaviya Nagar. It will be having luxury hotel, business halls, five screen multiplex, underwater restaurant and many showrooms of international brands. In coming years it will be the hub for modern business development in Jaipur. Jaipur is soon planned to have an International Convention Centre and a Golf course. A film city near Agra highway is also in the pipeline.

Tourism is a significant part of Jaipur's economy. Some of the world's best hotels are located here.

Tourism

Places of tourist interest:

Hawa Mahal
Amber Fort
Jaigarh Fort
Nahargarh Fort
Birla Temple
Chokhi Dhani
Jantar Mantar (Jaipur)
Chand Baori stepwell

Demographics

As of 2001 India census, Jaipur had a population of 2,324,319. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. In Jaipur, 15% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Culture

* Jaipur Literature Festival
* Jaipur Festival
* Jaipur Virasat Foundation
* Jaipur Rajasthan Culture

Tamasha

Jaipur Tamasha, a unique musical folk play, is a 19th century contribution by Jaipur to the folk theatre of Rajasthan. At the outset of the 18th century, in the peripherals of Agra, between two groups originated and developed a poetic dialogue. This later on came to be known as ‘Khayal-Tamasha’ during the reign of Aurangzeb, when musical art was becoming doomed, the contemporary emperor of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh brought a few artists to Jaipur and settled them in Brahmpuri. The foremost among them was the Bhatt Family of Jaipur. Here in under the proximity of the chief of the Bhatt family, Shri Banshidhar Bhatt, Tamasha style developed a specific form. This was a musical based folk dramatic form, which had an explicit composition of music acting and dance. The Tamasha form with its music comprising classical, semi classical and folk melody, replete with acting and dancing is being performed from the last 250 years in the open theatre called ‘Akhara’ at Brahampuri in Jaipur with a unique style of presentation. It is performed mainly on the day’s purrourding the festival Holi, on the days of Holi on the following Amaveasya and on Ramnavmi. A like the ‘Aagan Theatre’ the audience sit in a circle and the Tamasha actors perform in the centre with the singers, performers and musicians accompanied by their instruments the Tamasha begins with a ‘Lahariya’ there begins a special dancing performance upon a contemporary rhythm which moves from show to fast and reaches its perfection. This is followed by the duly performed ‘Ganesh Vandna’ after Ganesh Vandna the main actor of Tamasha introduces himself as the anchor to the audiences and the performance continues with its dialogue and songs, in this way the musical tamasha with its acting of skills, dancing performance and music reaches its perfection. the basic of the narrative of Tamasha is solidarity, love and religious co-existence (secularism) as the Sanskrit plays conclude with a ‘Bharat Vakya’ Tamasha too, at the end of its plot concludes with a happy ending, the fulfilling of the wishes of the protagonist and wishing for the welfare of all.In the Tamasha, the main rages whish are amply used are ‘Bhupali’ ‘Aasawari’ (Komal ishbh) “Jonpuri’ ‘Malkuns’ ‘Darbari’ ‘Bihag’ ‘Sindh Kafi’ ‘ Bhairvi’ ‘Kalingda’ and ‘Kedar’ ect. The accompanying instruments are Harmoniyam , Tabla, Sarangi, and Ghugroo. The costume are very impotent to the identity of Tamasha. The Tamasha (Crest) “kalangi’ (plume) Gotedar Bhagwavastra ( laced saffron garments) , a singi and seli (a sheat fish and a neck ornament) to give beats are among the chief costumes of the performance of Tamasha. The Tamasha actors also give an imagined description of the costumes of the performance to which the audience believes similarly the part of the female characters is and the audience enjoys suspending their disbelief. The creative texts used in tamasha are chiefly ‘Tamasha Gopichand’ ‘Jogi Jogan’ ‘Roopchand Gandhi’ ‘ Ranjah heer’ ‘ Jutthan Miyan’ ‘Chaila Panihari’etc.Change is the law of nature. If the humans do not change according to the time they live in either they feel themselves cut off from the society or the society itself sidelines them. This applies to Tamasha too.

In this way Tamasha is being improvised new Tamashas are being written upon the present circumstances and upon the contemporary problems. After Shri Banshidhar Bhatt, After Pt. Banshidhar Bhatt Mr Vsasudev Bhatt a man of his fourth generation wrote a couple of tamashas on many contemporary issues give a living heath to this skill. Also there have been new dramatic performance with Tamashas its base. There have been folk based dramatic performances all through India Tamasha style is being improvised and synthesized with the modern drama.

In the sequence, there have been many experiments with the form, which proved to be very popular. Sh Vasudeo Bhatt created ‘Ikkisvi Sadi’ ‘ Laila Maznu’ ‘ Mela Gangaur’ and ‘Vratraj’ in the Tamasha styleand Ashok Rahi’s ‘Aur Ravan Mil Gaya’, Hari Ram Acharya’s ‘Agni Pariksha’ and Mridula Bhasin’s ‘Katha Niranter”are being written and performed the Tamasha way. Similarity Tapan Bhatt of the Fifth generation of the Tamasha family has created and successfully performed ‘Rajputana’, Show Must Go On’ in the tamasha style.In present Jaipur Tamasha is a very famous folk tradition in north India.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaipur

Rājasthān (Devanāgarī: राजस्थान)

Rājasthān (Devanāgarī: राजस्थान), 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 132,150 sq mi or 342,269 km² (about the size of Germany).

The state capital is Jaipur. Geographical features include the Thar Desert along north-western Rajasthan and the termination of the Ghaggar River near the archaeological 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, once famous for its bird life.

Rajasthan was formed on 30 March 1949, when all erstwhile princely states ruled by Rajputs, known as Rajputana, merged into the Dominion of India. The only difference between erstwhile Rajputana and Rajasthan is that certain portions of what had been British India, in the former province of Ajmer-Merwara, were included. Portions lying geographically outside of Rajputana such as the Sumel-Tappa area were given to Madhya Pradesh.

History

The Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world's first and oldest civilizations centred around Rajasthan. Kalibangan in Hanumangarh district, Rajasthan was a major provincial capital of the Indus Valley Civilization. Traditionally the Rajputs, Naths, 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 Bargujars and 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. Bargujars were sardars in Alwar, Jodhpur and Ajmer areas. Bargujars and Meenas were ruler of Dhundhar region, Bundi. The earlier contributions of warriors and protectors of the land — Bargujars, Jats, Bhils, Gujars and Meenas — were neglected and lost in history.

Rajasthan includes most of Rajputana, which comprises 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.

Mewar led others in resistance to Muslim rule: Rana Sanga fought the Battle of Khanua against Babur with Bargujar allies, the founder of the Mughal empire; and Maharana Pratap Singh resisted Akbar in Haldighati, the Bargujars were Rana's main allies. Other rulers like Raja Maan Singh of Amber were trusted allies of Muslims rulers. 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.

The Marwaris (people from Marwar) and 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 Muslim and Jain architecture. The development of the frescos in Rajasthan is linked with the history of the Marwaris, who have also played a crucial role in the economic development of the region.

Geography

The main geographic features of Rajasthan are the Thar Desert and the Aravalli Range, which runs through the state from southwest to northeast, almost from one end to the other, for more than 850 km. Mount Abu is 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.

The northwestern portion of Rajasthan is generally sandy and dry. Most of the region is covered by the Thar Desert, which extends into adjoining portions of Pakistan. The Aravalli Range does not intercept the moisture-giving southwest monsoon winds off the Arabian Sea,as it lies in a direction parallel to that of the coming monsoon winds, leaving the northwestern region in a rain shadow. The Thar Desert is thinly populated; the town of Bikaner is the largest city in the desert. 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. Summer temperatures can exceed 45 °C in the summer months and drop below freezing in the winter. The Godwar, Marwar, 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 is 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.

The Aravali Range runs across the state from the southwest peak Guru Shikhar (Mount Abu), which is 1,722 m in height, to Khetri in the northeast. This divides the state into 60% in the northwest of the range and 40% 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 Thar Desert. The south-eastern area, higher in elevation (100 to 350 m above sea level) and more fertile, has a very diversified topography. in the south lies the hilly tract of Mewar. In the southeast, a large area within the districts of Kota and Bundi forms a tableland. To the northeast of these districts is a rugged region (badlands) following the line of the Chambal River. Farther north the country levels out; the flat plains of the northeastern Bharatpur district are part of an alluvial basin.Major tribe in region Ajmer is Rawat.

Districts

Seven divisions of the districts.
Rajasthan is divided into 33 districts and seven divisions:

* Ajmer Division: Ajmer, Bhilwara, Nagaur, Tonk.
* Bharatpur Division: Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur.
* Bikaner Division: Bikaner, Churu, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh.
* Jaipur Division: Jaipur, Alwar, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Dausa.
* Jodhpur Division: Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jodhpur District, Pali, Sirohi.
* Kota Division: Baran, Bundi, Jhalawar, Kota.
* Udaipur Division: Banswara District, Chittorgarh District, Pratapgarh District, Dungarpur District, Udaipur, Rajsamand

Government and politics

The Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the largest royal palaces in the world. Rajasthan's royal families continue to play a major role in the state's politics.
The Kings had much power even after Independence until Indira Gandhi took away much of their power.
The Jain temple of Ranakpur.

Rajasthan's politics has mainly been dominated by the two state stalwarts, namely, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Mohan Lal Sukhadia of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress respectively. Shri Sukhadia ruled Rajasthan for 17 years and died in February 1982 while Shri Shekhawat is now in the national political horizon. The earlier politics were dominated by the Congress party. The main opposition party was the Bharatiya Jansangh, headed by Rajasthan's most popular leader Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and the Swatantra party headed by former rulers of Rajasthan. The Congress rule was untouched till the year 1962. But in the year 1967, Jansangh headed by Shekhawat and Swatantra party headed by Rajmata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur reached the majority point, but couldn't form a government. In 1972, the Congress won a landslide victory following the victory in the 1971 war. But after the declaration of emergency, Shekhawat became immensely popular, especially after he was forced to be arrested and was sent to Rohtak Jail in Haryana. As soon as the emergency was lifted, a joint opposition Janta Party won a thundering landslide victory winning 151 of the 200 seats. Shekhawat became the Chief Minister. The government was dismissed by Indira Gandhi in 1980 after she restored power in Delhi. In the 1980 elections, the Janta Party split at the centre giving the Congress a victory in Rajasthan.

Indira Gandhi was assassinated in the year 1984, and in the year 1985, a sympathy wave let the Congress sail through in the elections. But in 1989, which could be called a Shekhawat wave, the BJP-JD alliance won all 25 Lok Sabha seats and 140 of 200 seats in the assembly. Shekhawat became the Chief Minister for the second term. Though Janta Dal took back its support to the Shekhawat government, Shekhawat teared apart the JD and continued to rule as the Chief Minister thus earning the title of master manipulator. After the Babri Mosque demolition in Ayodhya, Shekhawat government was suspended by the P.M., Narsimha Rao and President's rule was enforced in Rajasthan. Election took place in the year 1993 in which his party won even after the breaking of its alliance with the Janta Dal.But the then governor Bali Ram Bhagat didn't allow Shekhawat to form the government, but after immense pressure from Shekhawat, who reached the majority point after supports from independents like Sardar Gurjant Singh,Rani Narendra Kanwar, Sujan Singh Yadav, Rohitashva Kumar Sharma, Kr. Arun Singh, Sundar Lal etc. crossed the majority line of 101 seats in the assembly. Shekhawat became the Chief Minister for the third term. This time he ran a successful third term. This was pehaps the diamond phase for Rajasthan as it led to all-round development and Rajasthan also gained identity on the globe as a rapidly developing and beautiful state.Shekhawat introduced Heritage, Desert, Rural, Wildlife tourism to Rajasthan In 1998 elections, the BJP lost heavily due to the onion price rise issue. Ashok Gehlot ran a 5 year government.But he lost the Lok Sabha elections in 1999, only 6 months after its victory in the assembly elections. Shekhawat became the Vice-President of India in the year 2002 so he had to leave Rajasthan politics and the BJP. He appointed Vasundhara Raje as his successor. She led the BJP in 2003 elections and led it to a victory. She was the Chief Minister of Rajasthan from 2003 - 2008. Narpat Singh Rajvi was the Health Minister, Ghanshyam Tiwari was the Food Minister, and Gulab Chand Kataria was the Home Minister. The BJP won the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from here as well. But the tables turned in December 2008, when the infighting within the BJP, Raje's perceived autocratic and despotic rule, and the police excesses in the Gujjar-Meena agitation combined to overcome the incumbent Raje government's development and growth planks, and the Congress emerged victorious with the support of some independent MLA's. Ashok Gehlot was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

Economy

Rajasthan's economy is primarily agricultural and pastoral. Wheat and barley are cultivated over large areas, as are pulses, sugarcane, and oilseeds. Cotton and tobacco are 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. There are mainly two crop seasons. 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 Bhilwara District produces more cloth than Bhiwandi, Maharashtra. Several prominent chemical and engineering companies are located in the town of Kota, in western Rajasthan. Rajasthan is pre-eminent in quarrying and mining in India. The state is the second largest source of cement in India. It has rich salt deposits at Sambhar, copper mines at Khetri 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, residential buildings, etc. This stone is termed 'chittar patthar'.

Endowed with natural beauty and a great history, tourism is a flourishing industry in Rajasthan. The palaces of Jaipur, lakes of Udaipur, and desert forts of Jodhpur, Bikaner & Jaisalmer are among the most preferred destination of many tourists, Indian and foreign. Tourism accounts for eight percent of the state's domestic product. Many old and neglected palaces and forts have been converted into heritage hotels. Tourism has increased employment in the hospitality sector. 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 covering nearly 3,000 acres (12 km2) of land. Some of the companies operating in Rajasthan include Infosys, Genpact, Wipro, Truworth, Deusche Bank, NEI, MICO,Honda Siel Cars, Coca Cola , Gillete etc.

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. 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 and Punjabi.
See also: List of people from Rajasthan

Culture

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 often depicted symbolic of the state. Highly cultivated classical music and dance with its own distinct style is part of the cultural tradition of Rajasthan. The music is uncomplicated 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 also sung.
A decorate Indian elephant during a fair in Jaipur, India

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.

Rajasthan is famous for the majestic forts, intricately carved temples and decorated havelis, which were built by Bargujar kings in previous ages, they were the soul of pre-muslim era Rajasthan. 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

Though 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.

Transport

Rajasthan is is connected by many national highways. Most renowned being NH-8, which is India's first 4-8 lane highway. Rajasthan also has a good inter city surface transport system both in terms of railways and bus network. All important and tourist cities are connected by air, rail and road.

Statistics

* Population: 56.47 million (2001 Census, estimated at more than 58 million now)
* Cities and Towns: 222
* Major cities: Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Kota, Ajmer, Bikaner, Sikar, Churu, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Alwar, Sri Ganganagar ,Pali,Makrana, Bundi,chittorgarh, Didwana, Sujangarh, Nagaur, Sikar
* Roads: 61,520 km. (2,846 km National Highway)
* National highways crossing Rajasthan: Delhi-Ahmedabad, Agra-Bikaner, Jaipur-Bhopal and Bhatinda-Kandla
* Climate: Generally dry with monsoon during July-August
* Districts: 33
* Languages: English and Hindi commonly used, as well as indigenous Rajasthani languages
* Literacy: 61.03%
* In the Indian province of Rajasthan alone for instance, between the years 1999 and 2002, crimes against Dalits by upper caste average at about 8024 a year, with 76 killings and 1838 cases of rape.


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