Geography & History of Rajasthan

Geography of Rajasthan

Lying between 23°30' and 30°11'North latitudes and 69° 29' and 78 ° 17' East longitudes in the northwestern part of India, Rajasthan is indeed one of the biggest states in the country. The state shares its north-western and western boundary with the Indo-Pakistan international border that extends about 1,070 km and touches the major districts including Barmer, Ganganagar and Jaisalmer.

Rajasthan is edged by Pakistan in the west and northwest, the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the north and northeast. The state of Madhya Pradesh lies in the southeast and Gujrat in the southwest. The Tropic of Cancer passes across the southern point of the state in the Banswara district. The capital city of Rajasthan is Jaipur also known as the Pink City.

Rajasthan has an extensive area of 3, 42, comprising of 11% of the total geographical area of India. The extensive topography includes rocky terrain, rolling sand dunes, wetlands, barren tracts or land filled with thorny scrubs, river-drained plains, plateaus, ravines and wooded regions .A massive portion of the state of Rajasthan( about 70% of total landmass) is desiccated and encloses the biggest Indian desert- the Thar Desert known as the 'Maru-kantar'. This desert region embraces the districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur.

The oldest chain of fold mountains

The Aravali Range spearheads Rajasthan into two geographical zones. The Mount Abu is the only hill station of the state which houses the loftiest summit of the Aravali ranges- Guru Shikhar Peak. The soil and vegetation of Rajasthan alters with its wide-ranging topography and the availability of water. Rajasthan soils are mostly sandy, saline, alkaline and chalky (calcareous), Clay, loamy and black lava and so on. Only 9.36% of the total geographical region lies under forest vegetation. The flora and fauna are particularly endemic to the arid regions and are specially adapted biologically to survive in the dry, waterless regions of the "Desert State of India". The wildlife consists of 23 species of lizards, 25 species of snakes, various species of the deer family and 450 species of avifauna.

Rajasthan experiences extreme climate or weather and consists of four distinct seasons- Pre-monsoon, Monsoon, Post-monsoon and winter. The average temperature in winter ranges from 8° to 28° C (46° to 82° F) and in summer the average temperature ranges from 25° to 46° C (77° to 115° F) making the region parched and draught-prone.

History of Rajasthan

Considered as the original abode of Kshatriyas, Rajasthan has a history of about 5000 years and the mythological origin of this gigantic land is related to the famous myth of Ram, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The history of Rajasthan can be classified into three parts owing to the different epochs- Ancient, Medieval and Modern. The ancient history of Rajasthan belongs to 1200 AD when Rajasthan was a part of different dynasties including the glorious Mauryan Empire in around (321-184 BC). The Dundhmer region was the first Aryan settlement and the first inhabitants of this area were the Bhil and the Mina. The earliest Rajput dynasty that emerged around 700 AD was the Gurjara Partiharas and since then Rajasthan was cited as Rajputana (the land of the Rajputs). During the eighth - twelfth century AD, the Rajput clan gained supremacy and the Rajputs were divided into 36 royal clans and 21 dynasties. The armed conflicts and the struggle for supremacy among the Parmars, Chalukyas, and Chauhans around 1000-1200 AD resulted in a lot of bloodshed.

In this medieval era around 1200 AD, the major regions of Rajasthan such as Nagaur, Ajmer and Ranthanbhor came under the Mughal hegemony headed by the Mughal ruler- Akbar. The most famous Rajput warriors who represented the vigor and valiance of the Rajput dynasty and whose tales of chivalry are still imprinted in the sands of Rajasthan were Rana Uday Singh, his son Rana Pratap, Bhappa Rawal, Rana Kumbha and Prithviraj Chauhan and others.

With the end of the Mughal regime in1707, the Marathas gained supremacy and captured Ajmer in1775. The Maratha ascendancy ended in the late 17th century with the British suzerainty in 1817-18. On 1st November, 1956 the Indian state Rajasthan came into existence after the amalgamation of the princely states.

Popularly known as the 'Land of Kings', Rajasthan actually epitomizes the core essence of the country. The kings' proud moustaches reflected their confidence and their swords revealed their artistic armour. The rulers of Rajasthan were also known for their extreme sensitivity that allowed them to offer patronage to the numerous artists residing in different corners of the world. A truly opulent centre for arts and crafts, Rajasthan has a rich collection of forts, palaces, elaborate wells, templates, mansions and memorials of the dead kings/rulers.

About Rajasthan