History of Rajasthan: History of Rajasthan, Geography of Rajasthan

Rajasthan, Rajasthan Information, Rajasthan Tour

History of Rajasthan

History of Rajasthan

The history of Rajasthan is very rich. It is believed, that some centuries ago, the Lord Rama drew an arrow in his bow. He want to target Lanka, the island capital where the demon king Ravana has captivated his wife. However, the power of its annihilation was such that the gods pleaded the Lord Rama to desist from his intended purpose. Unfortunately, the arrow, once drawn, could not be withdrawn. The heat generated by the arrow dried the sea, and in its place arose a desert, dry, arid and hot. The fossils excavated in the Thar desert also revealed the remains of marine life.

Various centuries ago, the men traveled to this desert. Its earliest inhabitants were part of the Indus Valley civilization that arose 4,500 years ago. The Indus Valley civilization went into decline and its causes can not be known. Although it was also believed that due to the earthquakes and invasions, the Indus Valley civilization declined. The recent excavations also revealed that the settlements penetrated here deep into the heart of the desert. It is easy to imagine that noting but the desert winds howled here for centuries. Whereas, in other parts of the world, other civilizations arose, and with them developed a sophisticated network of trade that linked different countries. Most of the part of Europe was linked to Asia along a trade route that traveled along the West Asia and through the vast spaces of the desert to the rich plain of Hindustan, and then on to the Hindukush mountains and to China. These caravans supported the commercial services, and the sarais of the desert soon became settlements. Later the invaders and settlers came, who in return for the protection they offered these caravans, levied a tax on the goods they carried through their territory and thus the transformation of the desert started.

Rajasthan’s medieval history is as rich in tales of valour and chivalry as it is in folklore. The first kings were the Rajputs, who claimed to be the original Kshatriyas or warriors and had once controlled much of Hindustan under their rule. But with the coming of stronger forces, invasions and wars, their hold over their kingdoms began to disintegrate, and their centres of power collapsed. So, they looked for the place, from where they could lay the foundations once more for kingdoms they could command and came to the Thar where, the Aravalli hills lay like a beam across the desert. In this place, they built various magnificent forts and palaces to their power and controlled different parts of Rajasthan from about 700 AD.

The Rajputs were very religious and so they also built splendid temples, elaborate wells, mansions, and memorials to their dead. The rulers were not only known for their valour on the field, but also for the sensitivity with which they offered patronage to artists. 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, Arjunas, Yaudhyas, Kushans, Saka Satraps, Guptas and Hunas. The Pratihars ruled Rajasthan and most of northern India during 750 to 1000 AD. Between 1000 and 1200 AD, Rajasthan witnessed the struggle for supremacy between Chalukyas, Parmars and Chauhans. The Rajputs control the whole of Rajasthan during the period from the eighth to the twelfth century AD.

Around 1200 AD, a part of Rajasthan came under Muslim rulers. The principal centers of their powers were Nagaur, Ajmer and Ranthambore. At the beginning of the 13th century AD, the most prominent and powerful state of Rajasthan was Mewar. Rajasthan had never been united politically until its domination by Akbar, the Mughal emperor. Akbar created a unified province of Rajasthan and after 1707, the Mughal power started to decline. 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.

Before independence, the state of Rajasthan comprises of 19 princely states and two chiefships of Lava and Kushalgarh and a British administered territory of Ajmer - Marwar. Under the British rule, the nineteen Rajput states signed a treaty and came under an umbrella called Rajasthan. The present State of Rajasthan was formed after a long process of integration of 19 states which began on March 17,1948 and ended on November 1,1956. Before integration it was called Rajputana. Rajasthan was the land of the Rajputs and therefore it was known as Rajputana. After integration, it came to be known as Rajasthan.

Today, very little has changed in Rajasthan as its past is linked with its present. While the kingdoms celebrated their victories, their defeats were disastrous. When the warriors went to the battlefield and lost to the rulers or were killed, then their womenfolk performed the jauhar or voluntary acceptance of death by jumping in a ritual fire-pit. In later years, as peace became common, the rulers created stately palaces outside their forts, most of which are now open to visitors as hotels or museums.

Geography of Rajasthan

Rajasthan is situated in the north western part of India. Rajasthan is geographically the second largest state in India. The state shares its geographical boundaries with the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat as well as with Pakistan. The political boundaries of Rajasthan between India and Pakistan do not limit the Thar or the Great Indian Desert to fall into the adjacent country as the Cholistan Desert. The Ghaggar river happens to be another remarkable geographical feature of Rajasthan. This seasonal river of India originates from the Shivaliks in Himachal Pradesh and ends in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. The Aravalli Hills, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world which runs across the south of the state is another geographical feature of Rajasthan. This mountain range is a natural divider of Rajasthan that discriminates the sub humid areas of the desert in the east and other areas in the west.

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