The Thar desert
The kingdom of the brave 'Rajputs'
Rajasthan is described as the kingdom of the brave Rajputs. It has long been run with the help of Rajputs, Marathas, even Muslim rulers as well as other rulers, who have integrated the various sub-cultures of Rajasthan and added a vast repertoire of languages, customs, and designs. The state is famous for its royal palaces, castles and villas, deserts, camels, and puppet dolls. Rajasthan has huge royal palaces and forts. Several places in Rajasthan have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These are Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary (Bharatpur), Yantar Mantar (Jaipur), Kumbhalgarh Fort, Chittorgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Amer Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, and Gagarin Fort. It is popular as the land of kings. The name is fair because of the palaces here - a great puzzle of richness, romance, heroism, and loyalty.
Each state has its own characteristic. One of the states in India that makes us proud is Rajasthan. Rajasthan, I think it is the most peaceful state in India and the largest state in India with an area of 3,42,239 sq km (10.41% of the total geographical area of the country). Those who have never been to Rajasthan think that the place is full of sand, but this is a misconception. Only the western part of the state has the Thar Desert - Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner, Churu, half of Jodhpur, and the rest of the state is like other states.
It is popular as the land of kings
Everyone knows that the Great Wall of China is the largest wall in the world, let them know that the second largest wall in the world is - Kumbhalgarh Fort in the Aravalli Range of Rajasthan, with a virtually impenetrable 38 km long wall, the second-largest unbroken wall in the world. It is believed that the Aravalli is the oldest mountain in India, older than the Himalayas. Largest Desert in India - the Thar Desert which is also the 18th largest subtropical desert in the world. The state of Rajasthan was formed on March 30, 1949, consolidating 22 kingdoms and other territories.
Rajasthan's royal palaces, castles, lakes, deserts - Hollywood and Bollywood movie shooting destinations and always a popular travel destination among foreign tourists.
In Jaisalmer district, Pokhran is a town where India's first and second nuclear tests were conducted in 1974 and 1998, respectively. The famous Bollywood movie 'Pokhran' depicts the true story of the entire 1998 operation.
Almost every city in Rajasthan has color – Jaipur- Pink, Udaipur white, Jodhpur blue, Jhalawar purple. The landscape and the sky change their colors rapidly as if a painter were rushing to complete a colorful multihued painting. Let's continue on the road to Rajasthan - where there are very funny and lively people under colorful 'ghunghats' and turbans, who are attracted to live with their love and smiles.
Second largest unbroken wall
Some places and mysteries of Rajasthan
The city of Jaipur was the first planned city in India based on the scientific principles of architecture. The town was founded by Sawai Jay Singh (II) on 18th November 1727 and was planned by eminent Bengali architect Pandit Purohit Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, who succeeded in building one of the most beautiful and structurally strong cities in India according to ancient Hindu ecology and art, whose descendants still live in this city.
Jaipur, also known as the 'Pink City', the pink color was used to cover city walls and buildings - a visit to the Prince of Wales in 1876 as a mark of respect. The city of Jaipur is referred to as the 'Paris of the East'.
"Atithi Devo Bhava" (Guests are Gods) - a part of the Rajasthani culture. The hospitality and friendship here are appreciated all over the world. They always bring some sweets with water when anyone comes to their house and are always willing to welcome you into their home and heart. The people here are known for simplicity, hospitality, and love of guests. Located on the north-western edge, bordering Pakistan, Rajasthan is one of the unique and colorful provinces of India. The stimulus and diversity of India are very much present here. Rajasthan's friendship is appreciated all over the world.
Rajasthan was formerly known as Rajputana. Luni River, the only saline river in India, runs through the Thor Desert and ends at the Rahn of Kutch in Gujarat. Rajasthan is one of the most beautiful states in North India. Rajasthan has huge royal palaces and forts. Most Popular -
- Umaid Bhavan Palace (Jaipur),
- Lake Palace (Udaipur),
- Hawa Mahal (Jaipur),
- Rambagh Palace (Jaipur),
- Debigarh Palace (Delwara),
- Gorbandh Palace Hotel (Jaisalmer),
- Jagmandir Royal Palace (Jal Mahal) (Jaipur),
- Udai Bilas Prasad (Dungarpur), and
- Neemrana Fort (Nimrana).
For those who believe in supernatural powers, Rajasthan has a number of mysterious, abandoned, haunted places to explore. The ghost village of Kailadhara, 18 km from Jaisalmer, was deserted overnight on an unfortunate night in 1825. Another is the popular and cursed Bhangarh Fort, located in the Alwar district, one of the most haunted places in India, widely used by the then royal family, and is now considered one of the most mysterious places in the world.
Some known and unknown facts of Rajasthan
- Rajasthan was once considered part of the world's oldest civilization - the prehistoric Indus Valley Civilization. In Kalibangan, a town in the Hanumangarh district, 200 km from Bikaner, excavations have unearthed ancient sites, as well as an ancient civilization.
- According to Hindu mythology, the state of Rajasthan has its own significance. Rama of the Hindu epic Ramayana is believed to have spent some time in the jungles of Rajasthan during his 14-year long exile, as did another Hindu epic, the Pandavas of the Mahabharata.
- The ancient city of Mandor- about 10 km north of Jodhpur, is believed to have been the birthplace of Mandodari, the chief wife of the Lankan demon king Ravana, which means Ravana was the son-in-law of Rajasthan.
- One of the major ancient and spiritual relics revered by the Hindus, the now-extinct, mysterious river - the Saraswati River (considered the purest in the Vedas), is believed to have disappeared under the sands of the Thar Desert due to the rise of Mount Aravalli.
- 'Surya Nagar' (Sun city) Jodhpur is the second-largest city in Rajasthan, whose houses are painted blue and is also known as 'Blue City' and so that the terrible Mehrangarh fort is located.
- The lake city of Udaipur is known as the 'White City' due to the predominance of white structures. Udaipur is described as one of the most beautiful cities. The enchanted Lake Palace of Pichola Lake is a unique beauty.
- The ancient fort of Jaisalmer is the most unique. The fort is still probably the only populous fort in the world that has become the abode of a huge crowd.
- There is a beautiful hill station in Rajasthan called Mount Abu.
- Rawatbhata has a nuclear power plant.
- Rajasthan has the largest military airport in Asia.
- There is a metro here and there are many national educational institutions, e.g. - IIT, AIMS, IIM, IIIT, NIFT, NLU.
- Kota has well-known coaching hubs in India. Kota also has the largest grain market in Asia and the largest fertilizer factory in Asia.
- Rajasthan is rich in minerals. Krishnanagar has the largest marble mandi in Asia. Marble and red stone from Rajasthan - used in Taj Mahal and Red Fort.
- After Kachchh and Leh, Jaisalmer is the largest district in Rajasthan (39,313 sq km).
- There is no shortage of water here except in some areas like the Thar Desert, but now they are also getting water (water is supplied on daily basis in Jaisalmer). The Indira Gandhi Canal has changed the life of the Thar Desert, where wheat and mustard can now be grown.
- Rajasthan has many of the best hotels in the country as it is a famous tourist destination. Umed Bhavan in Jodhpur is one of the best traditional hotels in the world. This palace is one of the perfect places in Rajasthan for a big royal wedding. Many celebrities and business tycoons come here for weddings or birthday celebrations.
- Royal life can be lived from any traditional hotel in Rajasthan. Some of these are popular hotels- Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, Shiv Nibas Palace in Udaipur, and Gorbandh Palace in Jaisalmer.
- Rajasthan is a hot state but it gets just as cold in winter. The climate here is very hot in the morning but suddenly cold at night because there are a lot of Kota stones. In Fatehpur, a place in the Shikar district, the temperature dropped to -2 to -5 degrees Celsius.
- Ranthambore National Sanctuary in Rajasthan is one of the largest national sanctuaries in India, famous for its tigers, and covers an area of 392 sq km. Surrounding sanctuaries are Mansingh Sanctuary and Kailadevi Sanctuary. It is one of the best places in India to see wildlife in its natural habitat.
- Rajasthan is famous for its forts, palaces, deserts but there are several modern cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur.
- Udaipur has the largest number of lakes in India; hence it is also called 'the city of lakes' or 'Venice of the East'. Udaipur was named the most beautiful city in the world in 2009.
- Several popular religious places are located in Rajasthan. Some of these are - Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Dargah (Azam), Brahma Temple (Pushkar), Delwada Temple, Nakoda Bhairab, and many more.
- About 40 km from Jodhpur, in a village called Chotila in Pali district, there is a very special temple called 'Om Banna' or 'Bullet Baba'. The god here is the bullet motorcycle and his favorite offer is the wine.
- About 30 km from Bikaner, in a place called Deshnok, the temple of Karni Mata is extraordinary. More than 20,000 black rats live here and are said to be the reincarnated male heirs of the goddess Karni Mata.
- The Rajasthani people are brave, courageous, and generous, helpful, and hardworking.
Some forts and palaces
Culture And traditions of Rajasthan
If you want to get the real taste of Indian spices, you have to come to Rajasthan. The vegetarian food here is really great, healthy and delicious. The people here make dal-bati-churma for every special occasion which is a famous dish of Rajasthan. Chowkidhani in Jaipur is famous for its delicious Rajasthani food and Chat Street is famous for Golgappa or Panipuri or Fuchka lovers.
Almost every place has its own characteristics of edible items. For example, Azmer - Son Halua and Onion Kachuri, Jodhpur - Mawa Kachuri, Bewar - Sesame Petals, Alwar - Milk Cake or Milk Cake, Bikaner- Everything is fine but Rasgolla is the most famous, Bikaner produces about 60,000 kg and more of Bhujia every day, Kota - Famous for dal kachori. Besides, other tempting dishes of Rajasthan are- Mirchabara, Curry Sangri, Bikaniri Bhuji, Bajre Ki Roti, Garlic Ki Chutney, Gutte Ki Sabzi, Dil Khushal, Malpuas, Ghiwar, and Gheria. The Marwari people are strict vegetarians. A large portion of Rajasthani food is made with ghee. Mohan Mash and Lal Mash - the famous non-vegetarian food here. Due to the shortage of water, the people here use milk.
Bhujia Empire of Bikaner which has a business of 5000 crores. Haldiram was founded by Gangabisenji Agrawal in 1937 as a retail sweets and snack shop in Bikaner, and now Haldiram has its own retail store chain. Haldiram products are exported to many countries around the world, including Sri Lanka, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, and others.
Folk music is an important part of the culture here. They like loud music, especially the popular Rajasthani song "Arrrrrrrrrr" which can be heard on every special Rajasthani occasion. The melodies of folk music are based on stories of heroism and romance. Hymns and hymns are sung with the help of various musical instruments such as dholak, sitar, sarangi.
The Ghoomar dance of Jodhpur and Marwar and the Kalbelia dance of Jaisalmer are particularly noteworthy. There are also different types of dances, such as Chang, Bhopa, Tejali, Teratali, Ghidhar, Kachchighori, and Kathputli. There are Banjara, Mirasis, Jogi, and many more. The jhumra or ghoomar dance here comes from the 'ghomna' of the big ghagra.
The women here wear traditional ghagra, choli or corset, and chunari or orni (as a sign of respect) and ordinary silver gems and glass bangles. Usually, men wear dhoti, kurta, angarkha, and a kind of turban. The turban is called Pegar in Mewar and Safa in Marwar. Dhoti is also worn in different formats in different places, such as Marwar (Jodhpur region), Shekhawati (Jaipur region), or Hadoti (Bundi region). Rajasthani people use glass, gold, and silver gems in everything, which reflects the value of the decoration in their existence. Usually, yellow blue and orange colors are predominant in Rajasthani costumes.
Rajasthan has social customs that seem to be a replica of the old way of life. In Rajasthan, everyone doesn’t speak Marwari, Marwari is the language of the Marwan region (Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Pali, etc.). Other languages are Dhundadi (Jaipur), Hadoti (Kota), Shekhawati (Sikar), Mewadi (Udaipur). Not everyone here is ‘royal’, just ordinary people like other people.
Rajasthan still has the highest number of child marriages, with child marriages still occurring in rural areas, but declining, with 'education' playing a key role. People here, except for the urban and upper class, usually have a conservative mentality.
People here know the importance of water more than anywhere else and there are 'pious' (to serve water) at bus stops in almost every village. It can be seen that there is always one person, in particular, to maintain the pious and supply water to the visitors. Excluding villages, it is surprising to see groundwater structures known as 'tankas' in remote areas. These tankas built in such a way that after proper filtering, rainwater collects there and can be used for drinking.
This unique state attracts numerous tourists every year with its rich culture with captivating music and art. Starting on a low budget, anyone can travel to Rajasthan according to their ability.
In Rajasthani society, apart from the hegemonic Hindus, the Muslim and Jain communities are united. Jats are usually Hindus and Sikhs. To this day, the Meenas of Rajasthan follow the Vedic way of life.
The camel is the main animal of Rajasthan. Camels are solitary wayfarers that, due to scientific truth, also walk-through water scarcity and terrible winds. . Most of the camps have camel rides.
Every year fairs are held in Bikaner, Pushkar, and other places centered on camel dances, camel races, etc. This program usually lasts for two days.
The people of Rajasthan are very much in favor of various reforms. There are sixteen such activities that they celebrated, they are-
(1) Garhbandhan (Origin), (2) Pomswan (the ceremony of filial piety as a descendant), (3) Simantanayan (service to the mother), (4) Jatakarma (care of the child by breast milk), 5) naming (naming ceremony), (6) niskraman (when the child unexpectedly sees the sun and moon), (6) annaprasana (when the child is given the first solid food),7) ) Churakarana (leaving a bunch of hair and cutting the rest), (9) Karnaveda (piercing the ear), (10) Upanayan Bedarambha beginning of the child's education exploration), (11) Keshanta (cutting the hair), (12) Convocation (gaining uniqueness in education), (13) marriage (marriage), (14) banprastha (retirement), (15) sannyasa (renunciation of all responsibilities and connections), (16) funeral (mourning of the deceased).
Rajasthan has a unique tradition of marriage; marriage is seen as one of the main functions.
"Padharo Mahre Desh " (Welcome to my nation)- The Country of Heroic Rajputs
Rajasthan is recognized for its stunning handicrafts. Colorful prints, bagaru prints, Sanganer prints, and lace weaving are very famous. The best handicrafts of Rajasthan are studied all over the world. Some of the festivals here are - Desert Festival (January-February), Camel Festival (January-February), Marwan Festival (September-October), and Pushkar Fair (October-November).
The melodious melodies here reveal each unique story. Different human groups work here to sing. For example, Dholis, Nuts, Kanchri, Dhadhis, Hawaiis, Fedalis, Patras, Rawals, and many more. The puppet dance here is world-famous.
The Cobra tribe of Rajasthan, locally known as the Kalbelia tribe, it is one of the nomadic tribes of Rajasthan. They usually perform flamenco gypsy dances at village fairs. Kaleblia males catch cobras, play the flute and train cobras to stand and swing from woven baskets. Their traditional occupation is to catch snakes and trade in snake venom. The costumes of this community are similar to those of snakes, also known as snake charmers, jogis, or yogis. Men carry cane baskets from house to house in villages, and women sing, dance, and pray for alms. They respect cobras and are in favor of not killing reptiles. If a snake unknowingly enters a house in that village, the Kalbelias are called. For generations, the Kalabalias has gained a unique understanding of the local flora and fauna and are aware of herbal remedies for various diseases that are an alternative source of income for them.
They have moved away from their professional practice of handling snakes after wildlife laws came into force in 1972. Today, the performing arts are a major source of income and are widely known inside and outside India.
The markets here are a great and open place for shopping. Great for buying special work and handicrafts, blue ceramics, scarves, skirts, shoes, and more. It is possible to get items here at less than half the price as compared to other places as long as the bargaining can be done.
The land of the Maharajas is Rajasthan, a perfect blend of ethnic and modern values. The active customs, history, people, culture, stone monuments, castle conventions, Rajasthani melodies or music, palaces and castles, and stunning Havelis - attract explorers from all over the world. Seeing the Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur, Rudyard Kipling described it as a 'demon's work'. Located in the north-western part of the country, recognized by the kings, considered for the Rajputs, Rajasthan is one of the famous travel destinations in India.
Rajasthan, the land of kings under the desert sky in all its glory, is a living fairy tale.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Tulii Banerjee
Tulii Banerjee (author) from Kolkata on January 28, 2021:
Thank you so much Ann Carr for reading and commenting on this. Appreciate your kind words and support. I am glad that you found this helpful. Thank you and good day.
Ann Carr from SW England on January 27, 2021:
This looks lovely! Beautiful places, wonderful photos!
Thanks for the education. I knew nothing at all about these places but now I know quite a bit!