Home  |  About Us  |  FAQ
    Google Search   www Indo Vacations      

Rajasthan Travel, Rajasthan Tourism Travel


Rajasthan - Tourism - Travel


Rajasthan Travel, Rajasthan History
Rajasthan Art
Arts of Rajasthan
Painting Schools of Rajasthan
Arts and Paintings of Rajasthan
Rajasthan Map
Maps of Rajasthan
Location Map
Road Map
Travel Map
Distance Chart
Rajasthan Crafts
Rajasthan Crafts
Shopping in Rajasthan
Rajasthan Adventure
Adventure Rajasthan
Rajasthan Cuisine
Rajasthan Cuisine
Rajasthan Festivals
Rajasthan Festivals
Festival Calendar
Rajasthan Forts and Palaces
Rajasthan Forts and Palaces
Rajasthan Music
Rajasthan Music and Dance
Rajasthan Pilgrimage
Rajasthan Pilgrimage
Rajasthan Parks
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


Structure of Society and Social Life in Rajasthan (1200-1900 AD)

Sources with reference to Structure of Society and Social Life
Rajasthani sources are lacking in the basic data for the reconstruction of the structure of society and social life in medieval Rajasthan. But if we take together inscriptions, literature and archival records, they are of great value, the Nadlai Inscription of 1143 A.D., the Rasiya-ki-Chhatri inscription of 1274 A.D., the Samadhishwara Inscription of 1428 A.D. and others throw much light on different aspects of the state of society and the people of Rajasthan. The Ranakpur inscription of 1590 A.D. and the Ekiingaprashasti refer to the joint family system and the custom of marriage by abduction. The Chirva inscription refers to an institution which impelled women to commit Sati. The Kanhadade Prabandha, the Ajitacharitra, the Ajitodaya, the Rajprashasti Mahakavya throw valuable light on the varna system, caste groups, pastimes and similar other institutions. The literary works also say something of the manners and customs of the people of that age. The Rajvilas and the Rajrupak record the names of several Brahmanas and Vaishyas who fought bravely against the Muslims who invaded Mewar and Marwar. The Samsaubhagya Kavya describes the socio-political set up of the Rajput society and preserves the glorious deeds of the Rajput dynasties. The Archival records like Dastur Komwar, the Hatha Bahis, the Jamakharcha Bahis and others constitute important sources for our knowledge of the position of society and social life of the period under review. The Dastur Records of Jodhpur are like complete gazetteer of the customs and festivals of the 17th to 19th century. The data furnished by these sources when coordinated with current accounts and descriptions enable us to prepare a dependable frame work of the history of structure of society and social life of Rajasthan.

Varna and Castes

From the contemporary writings we learn the Varna system was known to the people of the period. But Varna, as a scheme indicated an idealistic state of society. In fact numerous castes and sub-castes, based on birth, heredity, occupations and class privileges formed the frame work of social structure. The complex and complicated groups and sub groups, known as castes or Jatis were important divisions of society. Within each group there were sub-groups or sub-castes arranged in hierarchical order, bound by socio-religious customs. They were largely governed by traditional rules regarding inter marriage, inter dining and other forms of contacts. This feature guided the isolation of one caste and the other. There was also occupational pattern which was exclusive and optional. A Brahman, for example, followed traditional occupations as well as agriculture. Trading which was mainly the occupation of the Vaishyas was also open to other castes. Below are some of the details of the hierarchical and occupational features of castes in Rajasthan.

The Brahmins

They were divided into a number of sections and sub-sections, such as Shrimali, Nagar, Pokharna, Sikhwal, Gaur, Sanadhya, Dadhich, etc. They were engaged in both secular and religious pursuits. They were helping people in performing religious sacrifices, attending domestic ceremonies, worshipping religious sacrifices, attending domestic ceremonies, worshipping at temples, reciting of kathas, acting as family priests etc. As these pursuits were not found profitable, some of the Brahamans engaged themselves in agriculture. Such Braganans were found in large number in Mewar and Marwar. The Brahmans of the border areas of Jaisalmer, Bharatpur, Karauli, Nagor, Mallani and Banswara engaged in carrying trade. As war condition was a general feature in medieval Rajasthan, some of the Brahmans also took to a military career. According to the Rajrupak many a Brahmans played a brave and a heroic part along with Durgadas in all his activities against Aurangzeb. Pushkarna Akhayaraj, BalkrishnaDronacharya Vyas and Lakshmichand were helping Durgadas in rescuing Prince Akbar. Purohit Garbdas was a great military general of Maharana Raj Singh. Several Brahmans were also offering their civil and diplomatic services to the States. One Madhusudan Bhatt waited upon Sadulla Khan and dissuaded him from his destructive designs against Chittor. Pushkarna Brahmans held the office of Diwan and Bakshi in the reign of Maharaja Man Singh and Takht Singh, as it is evident from the Kharita Bahls of the 19th century. Kripa Ram’s services were utilized by the Marwar Raj is visiting Sindia’s court many a times. References are also found of the Bhojak, Lohara and Katiya Brahmins who were regarded low in rank on account of following professions other than those of dignified nature. Those Brahmans who begged from to door were deemed very low in rank.

The Rajputs
The Rajputs come next in the scale of social hierarchy by virtue of their being either the ruling class or the class or the class associated with war. They were originally divided into two principal and co-coordinated branches, styled as Suryavamshi and Chandravamshi. To these were added four Agnikulas. The writer of the Kanhadadeprabandha further divides them into 36 clans. The Chauhans, the Shishodiyas, the Rathors, the Chavdas, the Parmars, the Pratiharas, the Bhatis, the Solankis, the Kachawas, the Chandelas, etc., were further subdivided into clans and sub known after their own chiefs and families. These Rajput clans were extensive in their ramifications and had hierarchies within hierarchies with in hierarchies of social and clannish nature. These hierarchies were also exclusive groups as regards the inter marriages among members of the same clan was concerned.

The Vaishyas

The Vaishyas also, like Brahmans and Rajputs had divisions and sub-divisions of castes based on either the names of ancestors or place names. They are Agarwals, Oswals, Paliwals, Porwal etc. From the study of the contemporary records it appears that the main livelihood of the Vaishyas during the period of our study was trade, banking and finance. They also helped the state in managing the administration. Sometimes they made their career by military profession. Bhama Shah, Tarachand distinguished themselves as great warriors and administrators. Karam – chandra was an able administrator, general and patron of art and learning who flourished during the reign of Majaraja Raj Singh of Bikaner. Similarly, Bhandari Khirsi was one of the trusted lieutenants of Ajit Singh of Marwar. Indar Raj Singhvi was a powerful diwan and Bakshi of Maharaja Man Singh of Jodhpur. The names of Kanirama and Amarchand occur as diwans of Jaipur in the 19th century. As the Vaishyas happened to be related with commercial activities they became men of distinction and wealth. They occupied, thus, an important place in the social hierarchy and displayed intelligence and zeal in promoting the interest of religion and the states.

The Kayasthas

In the socio – political hierarchy Kayasthas had an important and independent role. As revenue officers, expounders office and keepers of registers they occupied important position in the States. With the growing influence of the Mughals in Rajasthan, the importance of Kayasthas increased overwhelmingly, in all the courts, by virtue of their knowledge of Persian and efficiency in practical state – craft. In Rajasthan Bhatnagar, Pancholi and Mathur have been vary prominent in playing their part as administrators and warriors in Merta war of 1553 the name of Ratan Pancholi and at Dharmat the name Gordhan Pancholi stand out for their gallantry and for their gallantry and self-sacrifice. Kayastha Kesari Singh preferred death by taking poison rather than disclose Jaswant Singh’s possessions to the Mughals. Pancholi Bhagchand was a daring general of Jagat Singh of Mewar. According to the Dastur Komwar Udaichand, Kanirama, Kevalrama, Gaj Singh and Kushal Chand were holding various important posts in the state of Jaipur.

The Charans
This is a caste which enjoyed great respectability and exercised great influence in the courts of Rajasthan. The speciality of the caste is that it was devoted to literary pursuit. In receiving gifts and composing poems it was near the Brahmans and in drinking wine, worshipping Shakti and participating in war it resembled the Rajputs. Through the writings of the Charans we know much about the glorious deeds and dynastic histories of varies Rajput Houses and families. Such writings consisted of the Khyats, Vartas, Vatas, Raso and Vamshavalis. They have been recorded, if traditions are believed, to be the savior of their masters and fighters of great repute. Kaji, the helper of Bika is still worshipped as a Devi. Charan Khemraj and Naru Charan are remembered as great warriors. In the battle of Delhi when Durgadas planned the rescue of Ajit Singh, Charan Sandu and Mishan Ratan distinguished themselves as martyrs for cause of their land. John Malcolm has described the functions and status of Charans thus: ‘They rank as the genealogists of proud and ignorant chiefs; and favored individuals often combine with that office the station of counselors, and establish as ascendancy over the minds of their superior, which is stronger from being grounded upon a mysterious feeling of awe. It is to them that the proudest Rajput looks for solace in adversity, and for increased joy and exultation in prosperity.” In the Dastur Komwar the names of the Dhannaji Charan and Ghan Rama of Jaipur have been recorded as traders. There is another caste of the genealogists known as Bhats who concerned themselves about the pedigree of families belonging to various castes. Their main functions have been receiving presents at weddings, performing duties of marriage negotiations and reciting Vamshavalis at public festivals. Sometimes they also engaged themselves in cultivation of land, trading and fighting as soldiers.

Other Castes
Besides these castes there were Jats, Dhakars, Kumbis etc., who adopted. Agriculture as their main occupation. In the social ladder the position of the agricultural caste was just equivalent to the artisans of higher order. The Ahirs, Gayaris and Gujars also adopted the profession of tilling of soil and domesticating cattle. Out of these Gujar maids were employed to look after royal prince and princesses and were respected as Dhayamas. The male members of this caste were termed as Dhayabhais. In case they were picked up by some royal families they very often rose to the position of trust and responsibility.

The Artisans and Craftsmen
In this group we include goldsmiths, patwas, weavers, thateras etc.. Who claimed a status distinctly superior to other artisans like Chhipcis, Gamchis, blanksmiths, shikligars, etc. in the lowest rank of the artisan’s hierarchy, washermen and barbers are include.

Besides these groups of caste there were Kasai, Chamar, Balai, Bora, Regar, Bhangi, Bambhi, etc., who were assigned lower status in Hindu society. Their despised position as been mentioned in the Rasiya – ki- Chhatri inscription of 1274 A.D., the Ekiinga inscription of 1488 A.D., the Rajvallabh (13th century) and other literary works of the 17th and the 18th centuries. As these people were poor they also supplemented their income by taking to agriculture, to lifting stones and other types of work.

In the social hierarchy of medieval Rajasthan slaves, generally termed as das, dasi, gola, goli and chakar constituted a group in the structure of Hindu society. This was a clan of heterogeneous element of casual persons, male and female, which remained attached with the princes and well-to-do aristocratic families. This group was composed of persons who were prisoners of wars (male and female), purchased girls, poverty ridden persons or beautiful ladies who had no scruple for their chastity. Many of them were given away in dowry or retained for domestic or managerial purposes. They were looked after by a department, if they were the part of royal household. The state used to contribute money on the occasion of marriages or death of slaves. The widows and children of the deceased slaves were looked after by the chiefs. From the conventional practice the slaves had low status in the social hierarchy, But the circumstances helped a talented male slave or beautiful and clever female slave to occupy elevated position in the court or harem. The Rajlok records of Bikaner Archives show that ordinary slaves and slave girls acquired position and power in the State due to their merits.

Aboriginal Tribes
They are also a class constituted of the Minas and Bhils. Minas are found in the hilly regions of Kota, Bundi, Sirohi, Jaipur and Alwar districts. The Bhils are generally found in greatest number in the area of Mewar, Dungarpur , Pratapgarh, Sirohi and Banswara. The Sringirishi inscription, the Samyakatva and the Resthod – Daneshwar – Vamshavali speak much about their habits and activities. The chiefs of Mewar made use of the Bhils in their wars against the Turks and the Mughals. Though they had no status in the social hierarchy, they played an important part in the history of Rajasthan. The coronation ceremony of a Rajput chief in some of the states of Rajasthan was not considered complete unless the Tika or mark of kingship was impressed upon the forehead of the new chief by the bleeding thumb of the head of the family of Bhil or Mina to which that hereditary privilege belonged.

The Mohammadans

Due to a wide difference of culture and belief, the Mohammadans had no place in the indigenous social structure. But like Hindus, Muslims had also a kind of social hierarchy. At the top, there were Qazis and the Sayids who enjoyed a privileged position. The converted Muslims were lower than the Kayam – Khanis on account of their descent from Chauhan Rajputs. The Pathans who had settled round the North – eastern region of Rajasthan entered into the services of the local chiefs as armymen. The position of this class was just below the theologians and the ascetics. Then followed the Muslims masses composed mainly of the artisans, like blacksmiths, stonecutters, tinkers, etc. Many Hindu converts joined the state services, as Mahavats, jalebdars, bandukchi and golandaz, as referred to in the Siyah Hazur.


As regards the structure of Hindu society we observe certain marked features. In the first place the hierarchy was relevant with both traditional and functional values of castes – Secondly, there had been a tendency in castes to move both vertically and horizontally, though the lower castes never viewed with favour the horizontal spread of lower castes. In the third place we notice that in Spite of rigidity of dietary and marriage relations with the same caste there existed social relations between one caste and the other at certain levels. In the ceremonies of marriage or birth the Brahmans and the barbers had lot of work to do. Similarly, on the occasion of the marriage of the daughter of the chief (Ajit Singh), gur was distributed to both high and low. The presents were sent to the princes even by the persons of lower rank. The men of lower order were invited to the feast served, by the chief. Even on economic plane inter-caste relations were existing. Both in the villages and the towns the services of artisans of clean and unclean occupations were needed. Lastly the relations between Hindus and Muslims were very close in the corporate life of the village and court life of the State. Very often, it appears from the Dastur Komwar that Muslim dyers were preferred to Hindu dyers. The Hindus and Muslims were very close in the corporate life of the village and court life of the State. Very often, it appears from the Dastur Komwar that Muslim stone-cutters worked side by side and were generally supervised by Hindu architects.

Some Aspects of Social Life
Our study of the structure of society suggests that the idea of hierarchy is non-existent in the case of the social life. Various aspects of social, behavior, customs, institutions, games and sports are common with the men of status and men of lower position. It is quite another thing that the degree of the various aspects may vary, but the basic principles of social norms exist in one form or the other. This is evident from the study of some of the main aspects of the social life of medieval Rajasthan.

Modern Princes

The land of Rajasthan has always been exotic and the Western countries have always fantasised about. Rajputs, the martial races that ruled India, and who traced their origin from the war gods, and also known for their chivalry and bravery, belongs to Rajasthan. The rich people and splendid rare jewels are also found in this rich state of Rajasthan. Over the centuries, different dynasties ruled from different parts of the country, and built their kingdoms on reciprocity with neighboring kingdoms. However, under the rule of the Mughals and the British, an attempt was made to unify the land and breadth of the country as one nation. The members of the royal houses, and those of the aristocratic order that functioned just under them, drew up an elaborate system that reflected in a lifestyle that consisted of amazing discipline and sometimes also indulge in hunting and balls. Some elaborate ceremonies and marriages that were held during those days lasted for months, and festivals were celebrated with great pomp. The rulers built various greatest architectural monuments like forts, palaces and temples to ensure employment and food for the poorest. And thus arose the great monument wonders, some of the most exquisite the world has seen. These royal families were derecognized by the Constitution of India in 1971, and their privileges were withdrawn but the dynasties that once ruled over independent states continue to live graciously, and are now the famous industrialists, professionals and hoteliers. Some of the ruling dynasties have also converted their ancestral homes, forts and palaces into heritage hotels, which reminds of the glorious past. Some of the Rajasthani families welcomes you in the homes by saying ‘Khamaghani’. Hospitality is a courtesy that comes naturally to most of the Indians, and graciousness is a way of being. The courtesies go hand-in-hand with festivals and celebrations that are a part of a way of being in one of the oldest civilizations of the world.

The Joint Family
In the study of social life, the family is the major unit of domestic life. The general pattern of this kind of group consisted of the father, mother, grand father, and grandmother, daughters, sons and wives. The tie which keeps every one bound to the group of the group of the joint family is due to common inheritance in the form of land, house, wells and even the joint trade. The consciousness of mutual interest and obligations make them owe and work. The kind of family grouping is responsible for gaining social security to its members. The life of the individuals living under the same roof often becomes colourful and enthusiastic. Under the family grouping there grew certain traditions and institutions connected with the Samskaras of birth, marriage and death, the major events of life. The Brahmans and the Kshatriyas observed the Upanciyana, the rite of initiation.


Another important religious and social obligation was the marriage. In order to finalize it, Title-presents and betrothal presents were made. The neg and dowry systems associated with the marriage ceremony was so taxing that it had became a problem for persons of ordinary means. Inter-caste marriage also formed an important part of social ties among the rulers of Rajasthan. We know from our Rajlok Records that there were ladies of various communities in the harems of the Rajput Rajas. Inter-religious marriage grew popular from the time of Akbar, though the forced marriage was in practice prior to the Mughals. The practice of willing inter-marriage between the Rajput princesses and the Mughal princes continued up to the reign of Farrukhsiyar. There is no secret about this fact that these marriages were the outcome of political pressure on one hand and the policy of expediency on the part of Rajput Rajas on the other. But it must be noted that inter-religious marriage was certainly a practice which was a case of deviation from the tradition. Another important feature relevant to marriage is the practice of polygamy. Our period had ample evidence of the fact that the kings, courtiers, Sudras and members of wealthier classes were polygamous. We know for certain that all Rajput princes of our period had about nine wives on an average in addition to several co-wives. Though polygamy was a fashion of the age, the fate of the woman who lost her husband was pathetic. According to several documents of 17th and 18th century, a widow, it appears, had no right to the share of her husband’s property. Her claim in practice was only to her maintenance. A Hindu widow was life – long dependence on the male members, and her sub-ordinate position under young wives naturally subjected her to a hard lot. From a contemporary painting of the Khajanchi Collection it appear that she had to use coarse, black or dark brownish clothes, shave her head and wear no ornaments. Her life had been miserable in the extreme as she was denied permission to attend either family or public festivals, lest her presence should bring bad luck to those. Who were participating in such-functions.

The natural outcome of the polygamous and monogamist marriage was divorce. It was not permissible in the higher order of society, though it was permitted in the lower order of society. Side by side to these practices prostitution existed. The Bikaner Gazal and Jaisalmer Garnl fully bear out the fact that it was a part of the town life of the Middle Age. According to the writers of the Gazals the prostitutes lived in the best street and house of the town – These streets and houses were beautifully decorated with flowers and paintings. Our Jamakharch records reveal that the State of Rajasthan had a regular staff of prostitutes who were paid monthly salaries and were provided with seasonal rations and occasional rewards. The Devasthan records refer to women-dancers who were attached to the temples of Jagannath Raj, Udaipur; Govindji, Jaipur and Mathuradhish, Kota.

Funeral Ceremony
In Hindu society the funeral rites were performed with great care and devotion. Sati system is also one of the important aspects of this ceremony. Numerous Sari stones and Sati-impressions show that, in medieval times, it seems, this practice of Sati in which from princesses down to the common women ended their lives. The Ajitoday a presents a vivid picture of the entire procedure of the performance of Sati. Associated with the practice of Sati in Rajasthan in particular, there was another rite which is called Jauhar, through which ladies made an end of themselves without waiting for the death of their husbands. It was observed when a Rajput chief and his warriors were reduced to utter despair against enemy troops. The performance of Jauhars during the invasions of Chittor and Ranthambhor by Alauddin Khilji and Akbar are well-known.

Amusements and Recreations
In the scheme of social life sports, games and means of amusement and recreation occupied significant position. The pastimes in which both rich and the poor participated can he classified as indoor and outdoor. Among indoor games, gambling with dice was very popular. Mandan in his Rajvallabha has recommended the construction of a gambling hall attached to the king’s palace. our classical and pictorial sources of the period under review refer to a board gems called chess or satranj. It seems that it was the most common diversion for the soldiers in camp. For the well-to-do people it stakes in which large sums were either won or lost. Chaupar was another important game which was a common pastime in the harem. From the Dastur Komwar and the paintings of the 18th century we find that Charbhar, narchhari (tiger-goat), govind prem etc., were very popular among the laborers and domestic servants, who spent their leisure hours in these games which needed only pebbles to move and a few cowries or shells for throw. As regards out-door games for children we find reference to games like Chakkhi, kite-flying, dalkudavani, Ghoda-dari, throwing of fruits, hide-and –seek etc. One important feature of the pleasures and amusements of the age was that many a pastime was strongly influenced by the martial character. Wrestling, boxing and animal fights were very common pastimes which were cultivated as physical culture during the period under review. These games were popular pastimes both in the court and with the commoners. From the Amassar and the Jamakharcha Bahis we find that boxers and wrestlers were employed by the princes on monthly or yearly or half-yearly remuneration. On occasions of birthdays of princes and religious festivals elephant fight was witnessed by the rulers and the ruled. In the Rajratnakar and the Rajvinoda mention has been made of fighting of birds. In the sculptured art at Raj Samudra, Mewar, and Jagatsiromani Mandir, Jaipur, there are depiction of various birds and animals and their fights. Archery, swordsmanship, cudgeling, stickmanship, pattabazi, etc., were much. Coveted amusements of the youths in the towns and at the courts of the states of Rajasthan. similarly, hunting was a favorite amusements of kings and nobles of our period. A regular department was maintained in the States to assist the princes in organizing hunting expeditions. Among other amusements references have been made to Boating, swimming, singing and dancing, etc. Acrobatic feats of rope dancing by nats seem to have been very popular during our period. There are also passing references to the dramatic performances of rasa and khyala.



Home    |   About Us     |    FAQ    |    Site Map    |   Contact Us


Rajasthan Tourism and Travels

Rajasthan - Tourism - Travel

Copyright ©, Indo Vacations®. All Rights Reserved.