Facts about Rajasthan (Know Your States)

Hawa Mahal
Rajasthan is the largest Indian state by area and seventh largest state by population.

The literal meaning of its name is "land of kings." It is located on the northwestern side of India.
It comprises the inhospitable Thar Desert, which is also known as "Rajasthan Desert" and "Great Indian Desert."

Rajasthan (along with Gujarat, Punjab, and Jammu and Kashmir) forms India's international border with Pakistan. It shares its regional border with Punjab on north, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the northeast, Madhya Pradesh on the southeast and Gujarat on the southwest.

Known for its rich culture, forts, places, and landscape, Rajasthan is a major tourist destination in India. Some of the major tourist attraction are Amer Fort, Keoladeo National Park (known for its exotic bird life), Ranthambore National Park, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Mukundra Hill Tiger Reserve (home to Indian big cats, Tiger), Indus Valley Site at Kalibanga and famous Jain Dilwara Temple at Mount Abu.

Quick Facts
Established: 26 January 1950
Capital: Jaipur
Largest City: Jaipur
Districts: 33
Legislature: Unicameral (200 seats)
Lok Sabha Seats: 25
High Court: Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur
Area: 342239 km²
Area Rank: 1
Population: 6,85,48,437
Density: 200/km²
Official Language: Hindi
Additional Language: English
Literacy: 67%
Sex Ratio: 928 females per 1000 males

State Symbols of Rajasthan
State Animal: Camel and Chinkara
State Bird: Gondawan
State Flower: Rohida
State Tree: Khejri

History
The earliest settlements in Rajasthan dates back to 3500 BC. Kalibangan (in present Hanumangarh district) was a major provincial Capital in Indus Valley Civilization.

The Matsya Kingdom of Mahabharata is said to correspond with present-day Jaipur, Alwar and portion of Bharatpur, whereas modern-day Jhunjhunu, Sikar, along with Mahendargarh and Rewari of Haryana correspond to the Vedic state of Brahmavarta.

From 8th Century to 11th Century AD, Gurjara-Pratihara ruled the region. The period is known as the classic age of Rajasthan. They were successful in repelling Arabic Muslim forces from invading India for more than three centuries.

The struggle to defend India's northern border continued till the 12th century. In 1191, Prithviraj Chauhan defeated invading Mohammad Ghori in First Battle of Tairan in 1191, but he was subsequently defeated by Ghori in Second Battle of Tairan, 1192.

In the 13th Century, Rajput continued their struggle against Muslim rule, but some Rajput clans started to show their allegiance to Delhi Sultanate. Rana Sanga is one such example, who fought against the Muslim rule, and defeated Lodis. He was later defeated by Mughals, due to the treachery of Tomar ruler, Sihadi.

Akbar arranged matrimonial alliances with Rajput clans. He eventually married Heer Kunwar (famously known as Jodha Bai) of Amer. Many Rajput Kings accepted the suzerainty of Mughal rule, but many don't. One such Rajput clan was the Kingdom of Mewar.

During this turbulent time, when Rajput rulers lost to foreign invaders, women of these clans, commit suicide by self-immolation, known as Jauhar.

During the 17th Century, the Maratha Kingdom under the rule of Bajirao I rose to prominence, establishing the Maratha empire. After the continuous attack from Holkars and Scindias, and degradation of Mughal empire, most of Rajputana started giving Chauth (revenue tax) to Pune, till British replaced them.

It was British who brought different kingdoms and houses of Rajasthan under one name. They were the first to call the state Rajputana. The name continued up to the independence of India. It was in 1949, the name was officially changed to Rajasthan. The name "Rajasthan" itself first appeared in 1829's Annals and Antiquities of Rajas'than or the Central and Western Rajpoot States of India.

Post-independence, the present of Rajasthan emerged after States Reorganization Act 1956. At present, there are 33 districts, 105 sub-divisions, 241 tehsils, 37889 villages and 222 towns in Rajasthan.

Gurumukh Nihal Singh was appointed as first Governer of Rajasthan. Hiralal Shashtri was first Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Tika Ram Paliwal was first elected Chief Minister of Rajasthan. He took oath on 3 March 1951. Vasundhara Raje is the current elected Chief Minister of the state.

Geography
The geographic features of Rajasthan are Thar Desert, Aravali Range, Eastern Plains and Hadoti Plateau.

Thar Desert
The Thar Desert, also known as Maru Kantar or Great Indian Desert, encompasses 61% of total area cover of Rajasthan. Rajasthan Desert is the largest desert region in India and it encompasses the districts of Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur.

Aravali Range
Aravali divides Rajasthan into two parts, with 3/5 toward the Thar Desert, and 2/5th on the eastern side of Banas and Chambal catchments. Guru Shikhar (Mount Abu) is the highest peak measuring at 1722 m lies at the southernmost tip of Aravali.

Eastern Plains of Rajasthan
The Eastern plains comprise regions of Alwar, Bharatpur, Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Bundi, Kota, Udaipur, Chhitorgarh, and Bhilwara. It consists 23% of total area of Rajasthan. The Eastern plain is further divided into Chambal Plain, Banas-Banganga Plain, and Mahi Plain.

Hadoti Plateau

Hadoti Plateau, also known as Southeastern Rajasthan Pathar, comprises regions of Bhilwara, Karauli, Dholpur, Sawai Madhopur, Bundi, Baran, and Jhalawar. It is known for its rich black soil. The Uppermal Plateau and Mewar Plateau are part of Hadoti Plateau. The region is further divided into 1. Vindhyas Scrapland and 2. Deccan Lava Plateau.

Economy
The economy of Rajasthan is agriculture based. Other two major economic drivers are mining and tourism.

Wheat, barley, pulses, sugarcane, oilseeds, cotton, and tobacco are some of the main crops. Rajasthan is the largest edible oil producer and second largest oilseeds, producer. In term of minerals, Rajasthan is one of the biggest producers of marble, zinc, copper, zinc, jasper, lead, gypsum and other.

Thanks to its rich culture and glorious past, Rajasthan witness a huge influx of tourist, both domestic and foreign. It is ranked fourth in terms of average tourist footfalls across the nation.

Transport
Rajasthan is well connected with rest of nation by road, rail, and air.

There are three main airports in Rajasthan at 1. Jaipur, 2. Jodhpur and 3. Bikaner. There is one more airport in Kota, but it is not open to public/commercial use.

On another hand, every major and minor town of Rajasthan is well connected by rail and road.

Culture
Rajasthan is known for its rich culture and tradition. Rajasthan is known for its folk music, dance (Ghoomar and Kabeliya), cuisine (dal, baati, and churma), and kathaputali dance.

The major festivals of Rajasthan are Diwali, Holi, Gangaur, Teej, Gogaji, Makar Sakranti, and Janmasthami.

Literacy
Literacy rate has drastically improved in past two and half decades. The literacy rate of Rajasthan was 38% in 1991. Now, it stands up at the mark of 67% (by 2011 census data).