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Rajasthan Travel, Rajasthan Tourism Travel


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Rajasthan Travel, About Rajasthan
Rajasthan Art
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Rajasthan Forts and Palaces
Rajasthan Music
Rajasthan Music and Dance
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Rajasthan Pilgrimage
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Rajasthan Parks
Rajasthan Tours
4 Days Jaipur Tour
7 Days Imperial Rajasthan Tour
7 Days Rajasthan Tour
8 Days Golden Triangle Tour
8 Days Golden Triangle and Mandawa Tour
8 Days Taj Mahal and Wildlife Tour
8 Days Taj Mahal Tour
10 Days Rajasthan Desert Triangle Tour
11 Days Desert Golden Triangle Tour
11 Days Rajasthan Wildlife Tour
11 Days Shekhawati Desert Tour
12 Days Ayurveda in Rajasthan Tour
12 Days Desert Tour of Rajasthan
12 Days Horse Safari Tour
13 Days Rajasthan Desert Tour
13 Days Rajasthan Honeymoon Tour
Rajasthan Village Tour
Rajasthan Train Tour
Ideal Rajasthan Tour
14 Days Rajasthan Short Tour
Rajasthan Ayurveda and Yoga Tour
15 Days Rajasthan Horse Safari Tour
Rajasthan Camel Safari Tour
16 Days Ayurveda in Rajasthan Tour
16 Days Rajasthan Hadoti Tour
16 Days Cultural Rajasthan Tour
16 Days Rajasthan with Pushkar Tour
17 Days Rajasthan Camel Safari Tour
17 Days Vacations in Rajasthan Tour
17 Days Rajasthan Luxury Palace Tour
17 Days Colourful Rajasthan Tour
18 Days Rajasthan Women Tour
18 Days Rajasthan Round Trip Tour
19 Days Rajasthan and North India Tour
Rural Rajasthan Tour
Rajasthan Buddhist Tour
24 Days Rajasthan Forts and Palaces Tour
28 Days Rajasthan Heritage Tour
31 Days Wildlife with Rajasthan Tour
31 Days Rajasthan Intensive Tour


Rajasthan’s Cultural Heritage

The literal meaning of the word ‘Rajasthan’ or ‘Rajisthan’ is ‘Rajdhani’ i.e. the capital. It was in 1829 that Col. James Tod in his monumental work "The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan" first extended the denotation of the term to include the entire state. Before independence, Rajasthan comprised twenty-one principalities and two self

Rajasthan Cultural Heritage

governing feudal houses with Ajmer-Merwara – a British domain situated in the Center. Among the twenty-one States were Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, Pratapgarh, Shahpura, Bundi, Kota, Sirohi, Karoli, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Alwar, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kishangarh, Jhalawar, Datan, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Tonk and Palanpur. The feudal houses were Kushalgarh and Lava, of these, Datan and Palanpur were amalgamated in Gujarat while the rest formed the modern state of Rajasthan. The geographical features of the state have affected the people making tem not only hardy but also tenacious and chivalrous. Rajasthan is the land of warriors and heroes, saints and holy men patriots and martyrs. It was only with the amalgamation of the states in 1947 the note was taken of the arts and crafts that had been nurtured under the patronage of the princes and feudal lords. These, it was realized, were specimens of a distinctive culture. Modern Rajasthan cherishes these rich traditions that are still alive in the works of art and literature.

It is apparent from the archaeological remains at Kalibanga, Ganeshwar, Ahar, Noha, etc., that planned lay-out of towns and construction of buildings had started from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization (in nearly 3,000 B.C.). Architectural ruins of the Epic age and the subsequent Maurya, Gupta and Rapt eras are found scattered in many places. It is remarkable that from the 12th century works on architecture came to be written. Among these is the renowned Apraitoricha. Architecture further gained in originality and beauty through the renowned architect, Shilpi Mandan, who wrote extensively about this sphere of art in his works, Prasad Mandan, Rajvallabh, Debmurti Prakran and Vastu Mandan. The tradition was carried on by his brother Natha who wrote Vastu Manjiri and by his son, Govind, the writer of Kala Niddhi and Dwar Dipika.

Forts and Palaces

The forts of Rajasthan are amongst the foremost in the country, incorporating the special features elaborated in ancient texts on construction of forts. Thus there are the ‘Kavsees’ and ‘Jeev rakha’ that have the advantages of both sentinel towers or bases and embrasures. Noteworthy among the rock fortresses, ‘Giri Durg’ of Rajasthan is Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, Siwana, Jalore, Mehrangarh (Jodhpur), Taragarh, Aamer, Rajgarh, Dausa and Kuchaman. Outstanding among the ‘Jal Durgs’ (i.e. forts erected in water) is Gagron fort near Jhalawar, built on the confluence of the rivers Ahu and Kali Singh. Besides these, there are some well-known forts constructed in level plains, like the forts of Jaisalmer, Junagarh (Bikaner), Nagaur and Chomu. It is not only the architecture beauty, the imposing structure and reputed invincibility of the forts, but also the legends of chivalry associated with them that attract the tourist. Fergusson, a lover of art, marveled at the beauty of the many palaces of Rajasthan. While the palaces built by the Rajputs have small rooms and a simple design, the influence of Mughal art and architecture led to the construction of richly decorated large edifices, with Diwan-i-aam, jharokas (decorative windows) and gardens with fountains and ponds. With the advent of the British, palaces that were built within the ramparts of the fort came out of this enclosure. While almost every palace has its own unique beauty, there are some that stand out for the enduring beauty of their murals, frescoes, fine stone carvings and their ornamentation. The ‘havelis’ (mansions) at Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Karoli, Bharatpur, Kota, Ramgarh, Nawalgarh, Fatehpur, Mukundgarh, Mandawa, Pilani, Sardarsahar, Ratangarh, etc. are examples of architectural excellence. While some are admirable for the exquisite stone latticework, others are of interest for their murals or the harmony of design.


Rajasthan shares the composite culture of ancient India. Both near the Chittor and at Bairath near Jaipur there are ruins of the Buddhist period. And it was here again that the temple of Vishnu was built when the country came under the sway of the Vaishnav cult. Even in its ruins that stand today, on the banks of the river Bedach, can be seen that wonder which was the first Vaishnav temple of India. Rajasthan nurtured almost all the leading religions of India. Here were established large center of Buddhism, Jainsm, Vaishnavism and Shaivism. And while these have disappeared without a trace in other states, Rajasthan has preserved the legacy of these artistic creations that are an expression of the faith of the devotees of various religions. And therefore, several temples built from the Gupta age to the 19th century can be found here today. One of the earliest temples on which the date of its construction is inscribed is the temple of Sheetleshwar Mahadeo at Jhalarapatan. The major part of the temple was constructed in 689 A.D. from the 8th to the 10th century, temples in the Gurjar – Pratihara style were built at Lamba, Buchkala, Mandore, Abhaneri, etc. The Sachiyaya Mata temple at Osian is an excellent example of this style of architecture. Subsequently, the Chouhans built magnificent temples at Kaikeend, Harshnath, Nadol etc. In the south-eastern region, the temples at Badol, Ramgarh, Menal and Kansua need special mention. In Rajasthan there are numerous Jain temples. Among the principal ones are Mahavir Mandir at Ghanerao, Parshavanath Mandir at Sadri, Navlakha Mandir at Pali and Adinath Mandir at Narlai. Others are found at Nadola, Abu and Ranakpur. The Adinath temple at Dilwara built in 1031 A.D. by Vimal Shah is considered unparalleled for its ornate pillars, finely carved marble roof and the lincaments and forms of the statues ingeniously chiseled to express a wide range of emotions. It has, therefore, been considered an exquisite architectural achievement. Challenging comparison is the Jain temple at Ranakpur which is called by various names like Choumukha Mandir, Trailokya Deepak, Chaturbhuj Vihar, etc. It is said that the piety of Rajasthan may be seen enshrined in stone in the Surya Mandir of this temple. Fourteen miles to the north of Udaipur, on the road to Nathdwara stands the temple of Lord Sri Eklingji built by Bappa Raval. It has stood through the centuries in its beauty and splendid isolation a witness to momentous historical events.


The tradition in the art of sculpture in Rajasthan can be traced back to the Kalibanga civilization that flourished 4000 years ago. Many earthern statues were discovered in kalibanga, Ahad and Gilund. From time to time there are several other statues, (eastern, stone and metal) of ancient times, that have been excavated in different parts of Rajasthan. Most of these relate to the Puranic or Jain religions. One of these is the beautiful forty – two inch statue of Yaksh of the pre-Gupta era. Equally significant are the finds in Raid, Bairath and Nagar. One of the marvels of ancient sculpture is the statue of Mahishasurmardini. The statues of the pre-Gupta era are either in the Gandhara or the Mathura style. But there are also those of the Gupta period that have been found in excavations at Mukundara, Krishnavilas, Bhinmala, Mandore and Pali. The Vishnu, Krishna and Balarama pieces at Kama and the Goverdhandhari Krishna at Mandore are considered invaluable pieces of art. Also inimitable are the Shiv-Parvati at Rang Mahal, Sambhar, the Shiva statues at Kalyanpur and the Durga at Naliyasara. This art developed finesse after the Gupta period. The statues at Bharatpur, Karoli, Mainala, Dabok and Dholpur being expressions of varied emotions and states of mind, the rasas. The statues at Kiradu have been widely appreciated for the portrayal of ‘Sringar’ (adornment), and love and for their ornamentation. The statues are embodiments not only of beauty of form but also of spirit. These in the temple of Dilwara at Abu and also the ones at Jodhpur, Lordrava and Jaisalmer have been highly commended for their exquisite craftsmanship.

The advent of the Vallabh community in Rajasthan gave a new direction to sculpture. Amongst the creations that show their influence are Srinathji (Natdwara), Dwarkadeeshji (Kankroli), Mathureshji (Kota), Govindadevji (Jaipur), Ratnabihariji and Dauji (Bikaner) etc. A distinctive feature of the culture of Rajasthan is that its legacy in sculpture is a composite of various religions : Buddhism, Jainsm, Shaivism and the Vaishnav. It is sculpture of a very high caliber like Sri Maliram Gulabchand, T.P. Misra, Gopichand Misra, Ramratan Mishra, Rajendra Misra, Mukutbihari Natta, Omprakash Natta, Anandilal Verma, Ayyaz Mohd., Gangaram, Usha Rani Hooja, Haridutt Gupta, Devi Singh Rathore to whom Rajasthan owes its place of pride in the field of this art.


Art critics like Anand Coomaraswamy, Percy Brown and N.C. Mehta have considered Rajasthan’s contribution in the sphere of painting as significant. The earliest specimens of paintings in this states are found in the caves of the Chambal Valley, and the excavations/ruins of Kalibanga and Ahad. These include lines deciphered on pots, utensils and seals. Complete pictures and paintings are no longer in existence as, compared to other forms of ornamentation these perish faster with the passage of times. There are, however other sources that help to trace the progress of this art. The Buddhist Lama, Taranath in ‘Buddha Dharma indicates that there were accomplished painters in this desert region. The art of painting had developed in Gujarat and this arid land ‘the Maru Desh’ prior to the 13th century. An evidence of this is the exposition of the ‘Kalpsutra’ style in the Jain literature of the time.

Different styles of painting developed under the patronage of the rulers in the princely states of Rajasthan. Noteworthy among these are the styles of painting evolved in Jodhpur, Bikaner, Alwar, Jaipur, Kishangarh, Mewar and Bundi. The styles are identified by the difference in the use of color and border, portrayal of birds and animals, the human form and features, the shape of the eyes and ornaments. For instance, in the paintings of Jodhpur and Bikaner, the predominant color is a bright yellow, in Jaipur green, in Udaipur red, which in Kishangarh, bright saffron in Bundi and bright green in Alwar. For the scenic setting, the Jodhpur and Bikaner artists chose a mango tree, the crow the kite and the camel, Jaipur and Alwar a peepul trees and the peacock, Kota and Bundi, a palm tree, the deer and the lion. The smooth flowing lines of the eye in Jodhpur paintings give it an almond like shape, in Jaipur it is elongated like a fish, in Udaipur large and liquid like the eye of a deer, arched like the bow in Kishangarh, like a mango leaf in Bundi and like the little khanjan bird in the Bikaner style of painting. Initially, the influence of the Ajanta style is noticeable in the paintings but after the 17th century the influence of the Mughal style is evident. Later there was an admixture of the Punjabi style and when, subsequently, the Rapt rulers joined forces with the Mughals in their military expeditions to southern India, the influence of the South too crept in. the styles in Rajasthan undoubtedly had some basic similarities. Originally, the Mewar painters drew a round face with a pointed nose and ‘deer eyes’ or ‘meenadkshi – like eyes’. The Marwar School while retaining these facial features gave the forms vestments and ornaments in the Mughal style. Both in Nathdwara and Bundi, the facial features and forms were drawn in the Mewar style, with Bundi painters giving the background of mountains, streams and trees. The exquisite Kishangarh paintings have a clearly distinguishable style. The art developed in the time of Samand Singh who was also known as Nagridas. Nagridas was greatly influenced by the Vaishnav sect and the women popularly known by the name ‘Banithani’. Nagridas and Ban thani were painted together like Radha Krishna. But it is ‘Nihal Chand’s potrait of Bani thani that is generally considered to be a masterpiece of Rajastani painting. In the opinion of connoisseurs of art if stands comparison with the world famous Mona Lisa. Along with divergences, and touches of originality and paintings in Rajasthan share certain common features. These are the use of bright colors and the choice of themes like the Ragas, the seasons and scenes from the Bhagwat Gita, the Ramayana and the Geet Govinda. All the styles initially were influenced by the Ajanta paintings and later by Mughal ones. The art has been modernized through the efforts and creations of artists like Master Kundan Lal Mistry, Muller (a German artist), Bhattu Lal, Bhoor Singh Shekhawat, Nandlal Verma, Shivnarain ‘Chaugan’, Ramgopal Vijayvargeya, Devakinandan Sharma, Vishnudutt Sharma, Gopal Ghosh, Dwarka Prasad Sharma, Sakhalkar, Parmanand Choyal, V.C. Girl, Jyoti Swaroop Mohan Verma, Premcand Goswami, Vidhya Sagar Upadhyaya, Sumahendra, Radhavallab Suresh Sharma, Shail Choyal and others.


In his famous work the History of Persia Malcolm the well known historian recounts that in the 5th century the Emperor Bahram Ghor of Iran attacked India and carried away with him twelve thousand musicians. He further notes that it could only have been Rajasthan and Gujarat that could have survived such devastation. In Rajasthan, the royal houses accorded a place of honour to musicians. Rajasthan also has he distinction of having produced several treatises on music, e.g. Hamir’s ‘Shringarhaar’, Kumbha’s ‘Sangeetraj’. Pundrik Vithali ‘Raagmala’, Ustad Chand Khan’s ‘Swasagar’, Pandit Bhavbhatt’s ‘Murli Prakash’, Dwarka Prasad’s Bhatt’s ‘Raag Chandrika’, Radha Krishna’s ‘Raag Ratnakar’, Krishnanand Vyas ‘Raag Kallpadrum’. In the temples of Nathdwara, Kankroli, Jaipur, Kota, etc. ‘haveli sangeet’ with all its traditional distinctive features is still alive. The couplets and verses of Mira, Daadu, Charandas and other poet devotees have been set to music in the different ragas. The contribution of Rajasthan singers in the ‘Dhrupad’ style cannot be ignored. Through the encouragement of the court musician Bahram Khan, the Daagar Gharana (school of music) in ‘Dhrupad Dhamas’ came into existence and flourished in the time of Maharaja Swai Man Singh. The famous singer of old, Manrang is considered to be the fonder of the Khayal style of the Jaipur gharana. The art prospered through the dedicated efforts and innovative variations of several gharanas of music like the Allahdiyan Khan gharana, Soniya gharana, Bikaner gharana, Agra gharana, Qawal Bachhon gharana and others. The melodious ‘Maand Raga’ is also a creation of Rajasthan. In our time, Allahjillai Bai of Bikaner and Gavri Devi of Jodhpur have each added the charm of a freshness and individuality in their exposition of monad. In Rajasthan, Dholi, Mirasi, Langa, Dhadhi, Kalawant, Bhaat, Rao, Jogi, Kanad, Vairagi, Gandharva, Bhopa, Bhavai, Rana, Kalbelia, etc. are castes of professional musicians and singers. Folk instruments devised on simple principles of sound reveal the ingenuity of the creators. The wide varieties of the instruments provide music suitable for all occasions and festivals. The main folk instruments are Sarang, Jantar, Ravana – hatha, Ektara, Apang, Kamayacha, Bansuri, Algoja, Pungi, Shehnai, Satara, Mashq, Nad, Morchang, Tota, Bankiya, Shankh, Singi, Mridang, Dholak, Dhol, Nagada, Narpat, Maadal, Chang, Khanjari, Matka, Daph, Damru, Taasa, Manjira, Jhangh, Thali and Khartal.


The Origin of Kathak can be traced to Rajasthan. The style (of dramatizing and enacting a story in dance form) developed through the presentation of Puranic tales in temples. Here the Jaipur Gharana particularly that of Sanwal Das made a significant contribution in the development of the dance form. While the ghoomar is popular all over Rajasthan there are other regional folk dances too: the gidar and Chang Nritya of Shekhawati, the Gair of Marwar – Mewar, the Dandia of Marwar, the Dhol nritya of Jalore, the Agni nritya of Bikaner and the Bum nritya of Alwar-Bharatput. The Chari dance, Bhavai, Teratali and Kachchi ghori are the enchanting dances of some of the nomadic tribes.

Theatre Arts

There is a rich tradition in performing arts, especially folk theatre which includes performances of Bhopa, Bhand, Bahurupiya, madaari, Nat, Bajigar etc. The traditional folk presentations are Khayal, Rammat, Tamasha, Leela, Bhavai, Phad, etc. In the beginning of the 20th century the establishing of the ‘Parsi theatre’ gave a new dimension to dramatic performances. It provided a stimulis to producers like Mehboob Hasan (in Alwar) who produced a number of plays. Others whose contribution is significant are Manaklal Dangi, Kahhaiyalal Panwar and Ganpatlal Dangi. Among radio artists who have come to the limelight through the Jaipur Radio Station are Om Shivpuri, Sudha Mohan Mahirshi, Nandlal, Pinchoo Kapoor, Goverdhan, etc. In 1957, the Government of Rajasthan established the Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Academy, which further led to the instituting of various theatre groups like the Ravindra Manch at Jaipur, the Bhartiya Kala Mandal at Udaipur, and the building of the first modern auditoriums to promote the theatre. As a result there are today a large number of people working in this sphere: Devilal Samar, hamidullah, Mani Madhukar, Bhanu Bharti, Sartaj Mathur, D.N. Shaini, Vasudev Bhatt, Ravi Jhankal, Srichand Makhija, Suresh Kaul, Abhay Bajpai, Devendra Malhotra, Prithvinath Zutshi, N.P. Saxena, Ahatram Nagir, Mangal Saxena, A.G. Khan, Rizwan Zaheer Usman, Qayyum Bohra, Madan Mohan Mathur, Arjun Deo Charan, Ramesh Borana, Rajanand, Dalpat Parihar and others along with these is Komal Kothari who is associated with presentations in the country and abroad.


The story of man’s ingenuity and creativity goes back in antiquity to the Stone Age, but there is late archaeological evidence of not only earthen pots and pans but also of ivory articles having been crafted in the far-off historical past. Some of the traditional crafts are still flourishing today: Jaipur stands out for its enamel work, though enameling is done in Nathdwara and Pratapgarh too. Besides, Jaipur craftsmen are known for making ornaments inlaid with precious stones and for blue pottery. Famous for paintings and decoration of large vessels of camel hide is the usta family of Bikaner. Unbreakable earthen toys and crockery moulded at Molaila have made their way into the export market. Lakh bangles are now a part of the ethnic outfit. Block printing in traditional designs and colors is continued at Balotra, Barmer, Pali, Jaisalmer, Chittor, Sanganer, Bagru, Kaladera, Jodhpur etc. and is widely appreciated in the world of fashion today. While the dyers of Jodhpur have exhibited consummate skill in preparation of the work of ‘tie and dye’ fabrics in vibrant colors, there are skilled craftsman in Bikaner, Barmer, Pali, Udaipur and Nathdwara too. In many areas of Rajasthan attractive rugs and carpets are woven. The ‘badla’ or embellished water bottle of Jodhpur is again an elegant piece of handiwork.


The efforts of the litteraeurs in Rajasthan in no small way led to the growth of Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apbhransh, Dingal and other languages and dialects. Far back in the 7th and 8th century Chittor was the center of Bhinmal literature. Creative writing was enrichd by the works of Jinbhatt, Haribhadra, Ilacharya, Virsena, Jinabhadra Suri, etc. it was at Bhinmal in the 7th century that the poet Magh wrote Shishupul Vadh. A brilliantly executed work in literary merit equals the work of Kalidasa, Bhairava and Dandina. Bhinmal is also the birthplace of the mathematician and astrologer Brahm Gupta who in scholarship, is compared to Aryabhatt and Varahinihir. His well-known works are Brahmsiddhant, Khandkhandya and Dhyangraha. In the 14th century literature flourished through the efforts of Jain scholars. Among king’s Maharana Kumbha stands unrivalled. His reputation rests on his work Sangeet Raj and Sangeet Mimansha, the Jaidev’s celebrated Geet Govind. His rein witnessed the growth not only of Sanskrit and Prankrit but also of Rajasthan literature and language. With Maharana Kumbha, royal patronage of the arts and literature became a tradition, which bore rich fruit in the time of Amar Singh and Raj Singh. In the reign of the former, were written the Sanskrit texts. Amarsar and Amar Bhushan and it was in the reign of the latter that Ranchod Bhatt wrote Amar Kavya, a comprehensive work about the achievement of the ruler as well as about the culture of the time: dress, ornaments, festivals, etc Sadashiv’s Raj Ratnakar, written in the 17th century is also a work of considerable important.

The rulers of Marwar too encouraged the literati, Maharaja Gaj Singh having honored fourteen poets, bestowing on them the award Lakh Pasaav. It was under his patronage that Hemkavi wrote Gunbhasha and Kesavdas, Gunrupak. Maharaja Jaswant Singh was not only a royal benefactor of artists but also scholar himself. The poets Suratmishra and Narhridas and the historian Nainsi were his contemporaries. The reign of Abhay Singh produced three notable figures, Jagjeevan, the author Abhay Uday, Karnidan, the author of Surajprakash, and Virbhaan, the author of Raj Roopak. The time of Man Singh is considered the golden age of literature. The court poet Bankidas at this time composed Manaj Somandar and Nankidas reBatan that have great importance in the history of literature of Sanskrit and Rajasthan. Among poets who wrote in Dingal are Issar Das and Dursa Arha. Issar Das wrote both devotional poetry as well as fiery war poem celebrating the exploits of heroes in warfare. Bikaner too gave birth to a royal scholar – Rai Singh who wrote Jyotish Ratnakar and Mahotsav. More notable is his composition Krisna Rukmani reveli that has been considered a classic. Other works of a high order are Ganganand maithil’s Karnbhushan and Maharana Anoop Singh’s Anoopvivek, Kamprabhod and the commentary on Geet Govind. In his court was the musician Bhavv Bhatt (son of Shah Jehan’s renowned court musicians Janardhan Bhatt) who wrote treatise on music. Jerawar Singh encouraged critical study of ancient classics and during his reign were written commentaries of Vedaksar, Rasikpriya and Kavipriya and in the reign of Gaj Singh was produced Gopinath’s Granthraj. Another man of letters, Dayal Das is honored for his memorable work Khayaat.

A landmark in the history of literature in Rajasthan, is Suraj Mal Mishra’s history Vansh Bhashkar. Mishra is considered the precursor of a new awakening in literature. His Veer Satsainis an incomparable poetic exhortation rousing men, to chivalry and valour (a veer rasa poem). Man Singh of Amer was known for his munificence to men of letters. The story goes that when the poet Gung wrote a promissory note for a thousand rupees in favor of a beggar and sent him to the king, Man Singh reproved him for being niggardly. It was also the talk of the town that Man Singh’s confident; the poet hapoji had a hundred elephants. Of Maharaja Jai Singh who was famed to be a linguist, it was said that he presented a gold coin for each couplet composed for Bihari Satsain. Sawai Jai Singh was an astrologer and mathematician. The treatise that he wrote in 1733 Jeej Muhammedshahi after discussions with scholars in Europe and Arabia is considered a treasury of astronomical knowledge. In his court was an assemblage of learned men. The library of manuscripts and ancient texts at Jaipur is his gift to posterity. Each state can boast of a scholar or a ruler who contributed to the advancement of literature, e.g. in 16th century Dungarpur lived the famous scholar Bhatt Somdutt and in Kishangarh the renowned poet who wrote in Brijbhasha, Nagri Das. Amongst rulers there were Somar Singh and Kushal Singh of Banswara known for their patronage of the arts. The poets of renascent India today are Umardan Lalas, Ganeshilal Vyas, Kanhaiyalal Sethia, Satyaprakash Joshi, Gajanan Verma, Meghraj Mukul, Rewatdan Charan, Kishore Kalpana Kant, Mauj Dipawat, Chandra Singh, Gangaram Pathik and others.

Religious Traditions

One of the characteristic features of Indian culture is the importance of religious beliefs in the life of the people. Owing to its geographical situation, this state has, since medieval times, been able to preserve the various royal houses and the arts and culture, religion and literature nurtured by them. The wilderness of the vast desert areas and the mountain ranges discouraged invaders and gave people the security needed for the flourishing of the arts. Besides, all religions and sects, alien to the State, also found a place of refuge here. Along with this, the cults of the many saints and folk deities of Rajasthan have enriched the lives of the people, imparting to it a unique spirituality. A glance at these deities shows how religious belief is closely knit with the life of the people.

Gogaji is the most revered of the five saints of the land. His father Jeverji Dadrekha was the ruler of Churu in the 16th century B.C. He was martyred in the struggle for the protection of cows, the riches of the land. He is, therefore, represented as a warrior on horseback in icons and pictures. He is also worshiped in the form of a serpent. It is believed that if a person bitten by a snake seeks his protections, the venom is rendered harmless. The place sacred to him is the Khejri tree and under this his serpent statues are installed, and hence the well known saying: every village has a Khejri and every village a Goga. At the Gogamedi fair commemorating his birth, both Hindu and Muslim devotees from after, assemble to pay homage to him as ‘Nag-Raj’ – the victor over the serpent or ‘Goga – Pir’, the saint. A cord with nine knots, called the ‘Goga rakhdi’ is tied to the plough and the ploughman’s wrist before he begins his labours of the season.

Tejaji is another hero who laid down his life for the protection of cows. A gigantic fair is organized at Parhatsar (Nagaur) to commemorate the day on which his soul set forth in its journey to its heavily abode. At the fair, his life story is recounted, byavalas are recited and Khyalas pertaining to his life are performed. His followers wear silver amulets depicting him as a warrior on horseback with his sword drawn while a serpent is shown biting his tongue. It is believed that Tejaji’s cords tied round the right foot of a person bitten by a snake completely cures him. ‘Teja Ter’ is invariably sung throughout Marudhar before the sowing of crops.

The popular annual fair at Kolu (Phalodi) is dedicated to the memory of a valiant hero, Pabuji who is considered an incarnation of Lakshman. He died fighting for the protection of cows. Pabuji’s high ideals include honoring womenfolk, protecting pastoral wealth and helping the weak and desolate. He was also a reformist and opposed untouchabality. He has been hailed as the god of camels. Of the outbreak of diseases among camels, Pabuji’s help is sought and on the eradication of the disease Paabuji’s Phar is sung by Bhopas and Thorees.

Devji born in 1243 A.D. is accredited with the performance of many miracles in Mewar. His devotees are mainly Gujars who celebrate his birthday singing his praises in ‘Devji Ki Phar’, ‘Baghrawat Devji ki Baat’. Devji is considered to be an incarnation of bravery and chivalry. A large fair is held at Dehmali on theday on which Devje renounced the world.

Mallinathji became the ruler Mahewa in 1374 A.D. In 1398 he became a disciple of Ugamsi Bhati on the advice of his wife Roopande. It is believed that he became a Siddha (an entightened one) and had visions of future events. He was a monotheist and believed in Nirguna Nirakar God: a Supreme Being without feature and form. It is after him that Barmer is known as Malavi. He died at Tilwara (Barmer) on the banks of the river Looni. A large annual fair is held here every year around the temple constructed in his memory.

Ramdevji’s valour became evident at an early age, when he vanquished the cruel Bhairav and put an end to the atrocities he had committed on the inhabitants of Pokaran. He helped in the coming up of the village Runecha which is now famous as Ramdevra. The largest fair of the state is held at Ramdevra in the month of Bhadrapad. He is revered on the one hand by Hindus as an incarnation of Lord Krishna, and on the other by Muslims as the saint Rama Peer. He opposed casteism and welcomed the people of lower castes to his cult. Temples dedicated to him are called “Than” and usually have his Pagaliyas. His devotees are abundant in Gujarat also.

While living in Phalaudi, inspired by Ramdevji, Harbuji shunned weapons and was baptized by Guru Balinathji. Harbuji was considered to have the gift of prophetic speech. He was also an ardent reformist. His fame is testified by the fact that after him Phalaudi came to be known as harbhanmal.

Mehaji is included among the Panch Peer (the five holy men) of Rajasthan and is revered widely. Not much is known about his life.

There have besides these been innumerable holy men who have from time to time brought about a religious awakening and tried to improve the quality of life by overcoming social evils. In this tradition those who stand out are: Sant Dhanna, Peepa, Jambhaji, Jasnathji, Laldas, Haridas, Niranjani, Daadu dayal, Mira Bai, Charandas, Ramcharan, Acharya Bhikshu, Khwaja Muinuddin Chisthi, Shaikh Hamiduddin Nagori.



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