Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, (“the land of kings”), is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. 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 state is bordered by 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 10.4% of India, an area of 342,269 square kilometres (132,151 sq mi).
Jaipur is the capital and the largest city of the state. Geographical features include the Thar Desert along north-western Rajasthan and the termination of the Ghaggar River near the archaeological ruins at Kalibanga of the Indus Valley Civilization, which are the oldest in the Indian subcontinent discovered so far.
One of the world’s oldest mountain ranges, the Aravalli Range, cradles the only hill station of Rajasthan, Mount Abu, famous for Dilwara Temples, a sacred pilgrimage for Jains. Eastern Rajasthan has the world famous Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur, a World Heritage Site known for its bird life. It also has two national tiger reserves, Ranthambore and Sariska Tiger Reserve, and a famous temple in Khatu, Sikar district, dedicated to Khatu Shyam Ji. Rajasthan was formed on 30 March 1949, when the region known until then as Rajputana, consisting of erstwhile princely states ruled mainly by Rajputs.
History of Rajasthan
Ancient Period, upto 1200 AD
Rajput clans emerged and held their sway over different parts of Rajasthan from about 700 AD. Before that, Rajasthan was a part of several republics. It was a part of the Mauryan Empire. Other major republics that dominated this region include the Malavas, Arjunyas, Yaudhyas, Kushans, Saka Satraps, Guptas and Hunas.
The Rajput clans ascendancy in Indian history was during the period from the eighth to the twelfth century AD. The Pratihars ruled Rajasthan and most of northern India during 750-1000 AD. Between 1000-1200 AD, Rajasthan witnessed the struggle for supremacy between Chalukyas, Parmars and Chauhans.
Medieval Period, 1201 – 1707
Around 1200 AD a part of Rajasthan came under Muslim rulers. The principal centers of their powers were Nagaur and Ajmer. Ranthanbhor was also under their suzerainty. At the beginning of the 13th century AD, the most prominent and powerful state of Rajasthan was Mewar.
Modern Period, 1707 – 1947
Rajasthan had never been united politically until its domination by Mughal Emperor – Akbar. Akbar created a unified province of Rajasthan. Mughal power started to decline after 1707. The political disintegration of Rajasthan was caused by the dismemberment of the Mughal Empire. The Marathas penetrated Rajasthan upon the decline of the Mughal Empire. In 1755 they occupied Ajmer. The beginning of the 19th Century was marked by the onslaught of the Pindaris.
In 1817-18 the British Government concluded treaties of alliance with almost all the states of Rajputana. Thus began the British rule over Rajasthan, then called Rajputana.
The erstwhile Rajputana comprised 19 princely states and two chiefships of Lava and Kushalgarh and a British administered territory of Ajmer-Merwara. Rajasthan State was heterogeneous conglomeration of separate political entities with different administrative systems prevailing in different places. The present State of Rajasthan was formed after a long process of integration which began on March 17, 1948 and ended on November 1, 1956. Before integration it was called Rajputana; after integration it came to be known as Rajasthan. At present there are 33 districts (including the new district of Pratapgarh) in the State.
Established 1 November 1956
Largest city Jaipur
Districts 33 total
• Governor Margaret Alva
• Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (INC)
• Legislature Unicameral (200 seats)
• Parliamentary constituency 25
• High Court Rajasthan High Court
• Total 342,269 km2 (132,151 sq mi)
Area rank 1st
• Total 68,621,012
• Rank 8th
• Density 200/km2 (520/sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-RJ
HDI increase 0.637 (medium)
HDI rank 21st (2005)
Literacy 68% (20th)
Official languages Hindi