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A REFERENCE ANNUAL
RESEARCH, REFERENCE AND TRAINING DIVISION
MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Area : 3,42,239 sq km
Population : 6,86,21,012 (Provisional, as per Census 2011)
Capital : Jaipur
Principal Languages : Hindi and Rajasthani
Historical origin of “Rajasthan”
The story of Rajasthan’s foundation is intriguing. At the time of Independence, Rajasthan was almost wholly contained in the Rajputana Agency, a political office of the British Indian Empire. It consisted of 22 princely states and estates. Less than 22 months after Independence, all 22 had assimilated to form what would become India’s largest state.
However, the story of the state’s foundation did not end there. Modifications were made to the boundaries after the State Reorganisation Act (1956), giving Rajasthan its present shape.
The question of princely states
Upon attaining independence from British rule, India faced multiple challenges. One of the most pressing ones was regarding princely states. The outgoing British administration handed over only 60 per cent of India’s land to the Indian government. The rest was in the hands of rulers of 565 princely states.
The British Empire had administered India using two parallel systems – direct rule in the provinces and indirect rule in the princely states. Rulers of these states had a degree of autonomy with regards to their domestic administration but accepted the suzerainty of the British Crown. When the British left, the Crown’s suzerainty lapsed. Thus, the ruler of every princely state had three options: join India, join Pakistan or remain independent.
This was a major problem for nascent India as each ruler had to be individually or collectively convinced to join the new Union of India. Especially in the aftermath of the Partition, it was of utmost importance to integrate these princely states into the union in order to maintain India’s territorial integrity.
Thus, the States Ministry, headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with VP Menon as secretary, was launched with the task of merging princely states into the Indian Union.
The Rajputana Agency
The Rajputana Agency spanned roughly 330,330 sq. km, with an agent under the Governor General in charge, residing at Mount Abu. All the princely states and estates in the agency (22 in total) were ruled by Hindu rulers with the exception of Tonk (which had a Muslim ruler). Most rulers were Rajput with the exception being Bharatpur and Dholpur which had Jat rulers.
Since they largely remained loyal to the British during the revolt of 1857, there were no major administrative changes made in these areas during British rule. After independence, these states were slowly integrated into the Indian Union, in stages.
The Matsya Union
The States Ministry believed that four princely states – Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karauli – at the eastern edge of the erstwhile Rajputana Agency had “natural, racial and economic affinities” with each other, as per VP Menon’s The Story of the Integration of Indian States (1956). Thus, the Matsya Union was inaugurated on March 18, 1948.
At the time, it was understood that this would be a temporary formation and eventually, the Matsya Union would be merged either with the United Provinces or with the upcoming Rajasthan.
The Rajasthan Union in south-east Rajputana
Almost parallelly, the idea of the state of Rajasthan began to take shape in the south-east of the erstwhile Rajputana Agency. Ten princely states, with Udaipur (also known as Mewar) being the largest, wanted to form an union. An idea to merge these into Madhya Bharat (roughly today’s Madhya Pradesh) was also floated, but that did not go through.
Another idea to merge these states into the much larger Udaipur was proposed by the Maharana of Udaipur, Bhupal Singh Bahadur. However, this was not agreeable to the other princely states. Hence, on March 25, 1948, the nine other states came together to form the Rajasthan Union. Within three days after its formation, Udaipur decided to join this union. After renewed discussions, the second Rajasthan Union was inaugurated by PM Jawaharlal Nehru on April 18, 1948.
However, while the Matsya Union and the Rajasthan Union accounted for much of the east and south-east of the erstwhile Agency, the four largest princely states – Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Jaisalmer – still remained independent. The latter three also shared a border with Pakistan, making their swift integration into the Indian Union even more important.
VP Menon suggested that these three, in addition to the other border state of Kutch (currently in Northern Gujarat), should be unified and put under the direct rule of the Centre. However, this move did not receive many backers. The alternative, backed by Patel, was to merge all four states into the newly formed Rajasthan Union.
Discussions to this effect bore fruit and on January 14, 1949, Sardar Patel announced “the impending reality of Greater Rajasthan”, Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan wrote in his book The Origin Story of India’s States (2021).
Greater Rajasthan was officially inaugurated by Patel on March 30, 1949 – the date still celebrated as Rajasthan Day. The capital of the new Union was picked as Jaipur with the 36-year-old Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Man Singh II, selected as the Rajpramukh.
On May 15, 1949, the Matsya Union merged with Greater Rajasthan to create a single, unified state of Rajasthan.
Modifications made by the State Reorganisation Commission
After demands for states based on linguistic lines emerged in various parts of India after Independence, the State Reorganisation Commission (SRC) was formed in 1953 to recommend new state boundaries to the government. The commission’s recommendations, with some modifications, were implemented in the State Reorganisation Act of November 1, 1956. For the state of Rajasthan, this brought some minor changes as well.
Ajmer had continued to exist as a small, independent “Class C” state (under direct control of the Centre) within the boundaries of central Rajasthan. It was formed in 1950 out of the former province of Ajmer-Merwara which, unlike the rest of Rajasthan, was under British administrative control. Given Ajmer’s linguistic, cultural and geographical links to Rajasthan, the SRC deemed that “there was no reason for it to continue existing as an independent state”. Thus, Ajmer was integrated into Rajasthan as a district.
Also integrated was the Abu Road Taluk. In 1950, this taluk of the Sirohi district of southern Rajasthan was sliced and included in the Bombay State. This had always been contested by Rajasthan and the SRC returned the taluk to the state.
Finally, the enclave of Sunel in Rajasthan’s southeastern edge was received from Madhya Pradesh in exchange for the enclave of Sironj, due to administrative reasons.
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
Rajasthan, area-wise the largest State in India prior to Independence was known as Rajputana. The Rajputs, a martial community, ruled over this area for centuries. States and Union Territories
The history of Rajasthan dates back to the pre-historic times. Around 3,000 and 1,000 BC, it had a culture akin to that of the Indus Valley civilisation. The Chauhans dominated Rajput affairs from seventh century and by 12th century they had become an imperial power. After the Chauhans, the Guhilots of Mewar controlled the destiny of the warring tribes. Besides Mewar, the other historically prominent States were Marwar, Jaipur, Bundi, Kota, Bharatpur and Alwar. Other States were only offshoots of these. All these states accepted the British Treaty of Subordinate Alliance in 1818 protecting the interests of the princes. This naturally left the people discontented.
After the revolt of 1857, the people united themselves under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi to contribute to the freedom movement. With the introduction of provincial autonomy in 1935 in British India, an agitation for civil liberties and political rights became stronger in Rajasthan. The process of uniting scattered States commenced from 1948 to 1956 when the States Reorganisation Act was promulgated.
First came Matsya Union (1948) consisting of a fraction of States, then, slowly and gradually other States merged with this Union. By 1949, major States like Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer joined this Union making it the United State of Greater Rajasthan. Ultimately in 1958, the present State of Rajasthan formally came into being, with Ajmer state, the Abu Road Taluka and Sunel Tappa joining it.
The entire western flank of the State borders with Pakistan, while Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh bound Rajasthan in north-east, south– east respective by and Gujarat in south-west.
Total cultivable area in the State was 219.46 lakh hectare and estimated food grain production was 123.59 lakh tonnes in the year 2009-10. Estimated total cultivated area in the State was 245.38 lakh hectares and estimated food grain production was 201.45 lakh tonnes in the year 2010-11. Principal crops cultivated in the State are rice, barley, jowar, millet, maize, gram, wheat, oilseeds, pulses and cotton. Cultivation of vegetable and citrus fruits such as orange and malta has also picked up over last few years. Red chillies, mustard, cumin seeds, methi and hing are commercial crops of the State.
Industry and Minerals
Endowed with a rich culture, Rajasthan is also rich in minerals and is fast emerging on the industrial scenario of the country. Some of the important Central undertakings are Hindustan Zinc Smelter Plant at Devari (Udaipur), Chanderia (Chittorgarh), Hindustan Copper Plant at Khetri Nagar (Jhunjhunu), Hindustan Salt Ltd. Sambhar (Jaipur), HMT Ltd. Ajmer, and Precision Instrument Factory at Kota. Small-scale industrial units numbering 3.49 lakh with a capital investment of Rs. 12552.50 crore provide employment to about 14.90 lakh persons in the State as in March 2011.
Major industries are textiles and woolens, engineering goods, Electronic items, Automobile, Food Processing, Gems and Jewellery, Cement, Marble slabs and tiles, glass, Oxygen, Zinc, fertilizers, railway wagons, ball bearings, water and electricity meters, sulphuric acid, handicraft items, television sets, synthetic yarn, Ceramic, Insulator, Stainless steel, Re-rolling, Steel Foundry and insulating bricks. Besides, precious and semi-precious stones, caustic soda, calcium carbide, nylon and tyres, etc. are other important industrial units.
Rajasthan has rich deposits of zinc concentrates, emerald, garnet, gypsum, silver, asbestos, felspar and mica. The State also abounds in Export Promotion Industrial Park of country has been established and made operational at Sitapura (Jaipur), Boranada (Jodhpur) and Nimrana (Alwar). Inland Container Depots have established in Jaipur. Bhilwara, Jodhpur, and Bhiwadi (Alwar) to promote the exporters. Special Economic Zone for Gems and Jewellery at Sitapura (Jaipur) and Special Economic Zone for Handicraft at Boranada (Jodhpur) have been established, and Multipurpose special Economic Zone "Mahendra World City" has been established in PPP model at Jaipur.
By the end of March 2011 irrigation potential of 37.51 lakh hectare was created in the State through various major, medium and minor irrigation projects. During the year 2010-11 (upto March, 2011) additional irrigation potential of 38,444 hectares (including IGNP) was created.
The installed power capacity in the State has become 9188.22 MW upto March, 2011 of which 4097.35 MW is produced from State owned projects, 972.94 MW from collaboration projects, 2240.23 MW from the allocation from Central power generating stations, 1607.70 MW from Wind, Solar and Biomass Projects and 270 MW from Private Sector Projects.
MAHATMA GANDHI NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE SCHEME
In first phase Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was initiated on 2.2.06 in 6 districts (Banswara, Dungarpur, Jhalawar, Karuoli, Sirohi and Udaipur) of the State. In second phase this scheme was initiated on 2.5.07 in other 6 districts (Barmer, Chittorgarh, Jaiselmer, Jalore, Sawai Madhopur and Tonk) of the State. In third phase this scheme was initiated on 1.4.08 in rest districts of the State.
During the financial year 2010-11 Rs. 3300.33 crores has been spend for employed to 58.24 lakh families. And 3026.65 lakh mandays have been created under the scheme.
Roads : The total length of roads was 1,88,534 km as in March, 2011.
Railways: Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Kota, Sawai Madhopur, Kota, Bharatpur and Udaipur are main Railway junctions of State. Total length of Railway line is 5683.01 KM. in the State as on March, 2008.
Aviation: All eminent cities are connected with Jaipur air port under domestic air services in which Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangaluru, Pune and Guwahati are important domestic air services. International air services are also available for Dubai, Mascutt and Sharjah from Jaipur air port.
Rajasthan is a land of festivals and fairs, besides national festivals of Holi, Deepawali, Vijayadashmi, Christmas, etc., auspices days related to deities, saintly figures, folk heroes and heroines are celebrated. Important fairs are Teej, Gangaur (Jaipur), annual Urs of Ajmer Sharif and Galiakot, tribal Kumbh of Beneshwar (Dungarpur), Mahaveer fair at Shrimahavirji in Karoli, Ramdeora fair (Jaisalmer), Jambheswar fair (Nokha-Bikaner), Kartik Poornima and Cattle Fair (Pushkar-Ajmer) and Khatu Shyamji Fair (Khatu-Sikar) etc.
Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Mount Abu (Sirohi), Ranthambhore National Park (Tiger Reserve) in Sawai Madhopur, Sariska Tiger Sanctuary in Alwar, Keoladeo National Park at Bharatpur, Ajmer, Jaisalmer, Pali, Chittorgarh, Bundi, Kota, Jhalawar and Shekhawati are important places of tourists interests in the State.
Governor : Shri Shivraj V. Patil
Chief Secretary : Shri Salauddin Ahmed (2012)/ C.K. Matthew
Chief Minister : Shri Ashok Gehlot
Jurisdiction of High Court
S. No. Name of the District Population (Prov. 2011 Census)
1. Ajmer 25,84,913
2. Alwar 36,71,999
3. Banswara 17,98,194
4. Baran 12,23,921
5. Barmer 26,04,453
6. Bharatpur 25,49,121
7. Bhilwara 24,10,459
8. Bikaner 23,67,745
9. Bundi 11,13,725
10. Chittorgarh 15,44,392
11. Churu 20,41,172
12. Dausa 16,37,226
13. Dholpur 12,07,293
14. Dungarpur 13,88,906
15. Ganganagar 19,69,520
16. Hanumangarh 17,79,650
17. Jaipur 66,63,971
18. Jaisalmer 6,72,008
19. Jalore 18,30,151
20. Jhalawar 14,11,327
21. Jhunjhunu 21,39,658
22. Jodhpur 36,85,681
23. Karauli 14,58,459
24. Kota 19,50,491
25. Nagaur 33,09,234
26. Pali 20,38,533
27. Rajsamand 11,58,283
28. S. Madhopur 13,38,114
29. Sikar 26,77,737
30. Sirohi 10,37,185
31. Tonk 14,21,711
32. Udaipur 30,67,549
33. Pratapgarh 8,68,231
- Population data have been taken from website of Census department "Census-2011"
Wildlife parks and sanctuaries: India
DESERT NATIONAL PARK
This Desert National Park spread over 3162 sq.km. does not offer much in the name of those charismatic species like tigers, elephants, etc. But the rugged beauty of nature is enthralling. Shifting sand dunes spread over a vast expanse is a sight to watch. Besides, Desert National Park reflects a true Ecofriendly outlook that people of this country have. The Bishno the local community, have lived here for ages in harmony with nature. Here one gets an opportunity to know more about them.
Black bucks and Chinkara are found in large numbers besides the Great Indian Bustard. During summer, temperatures reach upto 50 degree celsius.
Location: Jaisalmer, Barmer
Area: 3162 sq. km
Best time to visit: September to March
By Air Jodhpur By Rail: Jaisalmer (21 km)
KEOLADEO NATIONAL PARK
Popularly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, it is a world heritage and Ramsar site. It is one of the most visited national park in the country being on the international tourist circuit. The park is essentially semi arid scrubland, converted into a marsh by way of a series of canals and bunds. Abundant aquatic vegetation and small animals invite hoards of aquatic birds to this area. Wellplanned plantations provide ideal nesting sites making this park a bird lover's paradise.
More than 350 species of birds have been recorded including a large number of winter migrants. But the most important visitor is the Siberian Crane during October to February. The Indian rock python, Sambar, Blue bulls, are added attraction to the visitor. Keoladeo Ghana National Park is irresistible for any wildlife photographer.
Best time to visit: Throught the year. Breeding season == August to October, Migrants == October to February
Area: 28.73 sq. kms
Nearest Airport Agra (50kms) Nearest Railway Station Bharatpur (2 km) By Road Regular bus services
Forest Rest Houses, PWD Dak Bungalow (Ph.23766), Crane Crib(Ph. 24224), Hotel Paradise (Ph.23791), ITDC Bharatpur Forest Lodge
Keoladeo Ghana National Park Bharatpur, Rajasthan
RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK
Being on the tourist circuit with the probability of sighting a Tiger this National Park is one of the most visited and talked about. It is spread over 392 sq.km. area. The forest is dry deciduous and dotted with lakes and water pools. Availability of water even during extreme summers ensures good animal population and diversity.
Sighting of Sambar, Chital, Blue bull, and Tiger is very high especially during peak summers as most of the animals prefer to remain in the vicinity of the lakes and water bodies. Crocodiles are also found in good numbers.
The Ranthambore fort with the Ganesh temple attracts a large number of local visitors.
Location: 14 kms from Sawai Madhopur
Best time to visit: OctoberJune
Area: 392 sq. kms
Nearest Airport Jaipur(145 kms) Nearest Railway Station Sawai Madhopur (11 km), Jaipur (132 kms) By Road Good network of bus services
RTDC Hotel Jhoomar Baori, RTDC Hotel Kamdhenu, Sawai Madhopur Lodge, PWD Rest House Jhoomer Baori Forest Lodge (RTDC)
Field Director, Ranthambore National Park Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan
SARISKA NATIONAL PARK
Located at about 100 km from Jaipur on the DelhiJaipur highway, it is one of the most visited parks. Sariska can be termed as an 'oasis' in the otherwise barren Aravalli hills. This is mainly due to the protection given by the Maharaja of Alwar, who preserved this forest as his personal hunting ground. In this hilly terrain, gorges and gullies retain water and the water holes are the only water source ensuring good sightings of birds. The overall vegetation is dry deciduous except few evergreen patches in the gullies where water is available.
Sambar, Chital, Nilgai, are the common herbivores found besides good population of Tigers and Leopards. A number of historical places are located within the National Park, but the Hanuman temple at Pandupole attracts a large number of local visitors.
The forest lodge and dormitory provides camping at reasonable cost but for those who can pay a higher price, the Palace hotel offers all comforts. The Park is closed during the rainy season.
During March and April Butea species predominant in the valleys are in full bloom, with its spectacular display of bright crimson red and yellow, is a sight to watch. This is also the time for a large number of animals to concentrate around the water holes thus ensuring better sightings.
Location: 190 kms from Delhi.
Best time to visit: October June
Habitat: Dry deciduous forests and grassy lands
Nearest Airport Jaipur (108 km) By Rail Alwar (21 km) By Road Regular bus service from Alwar to Jaipur.
RTDC Hotel Den, Sariska and Palace Hotel, Forest Rest House
Field Director, Sariska Tiger Reserve Distt. Alwar, Rajasthan
The tour takes one to Rajasthan land of romantic history, chivalry and valour.
The trail starts from Udaipur and then departs to Jodhpur through semi desert country, passing the textile town of Pali, and heads towards the foothills of the Aravali ranges crossing Kotri Rawla which is the 200 year old residence of the Thakurs of Kotri. With the horses, the trail ride 4 km to Nadol, an archaeological site with ruins of 6th century being excavated. Maharani Bagh Orchard Retreat is worth a visit. The Maharani Bagh is a beautiful cottage complex owned by the Maharaja of Jodhpur. The famous Ranakpur Jain temples nereby provide a glimpse into the temple architecture of India. Built in the 1460's the architecture of these temples is awe inspiring, with every inch of pillar and ceiling intricately carved so that no two pillars are alike. Cover the Aravali hills enroute, the jungle track in the sanctuary, is home to panther, bear, wolves, sambar, nilgai, four horned deer, wild boar, crocodiles and many species of birds. The ride halts at Ghanerao. Ghanerao castle built in 1606 is run as a heritage property by the present Thakur. The ride takes a steep trailclimbing 2000 ft upto the Kumbhalgarh fort. The magnificent Kumbhalgarh fort built in 1458 by Rana Kumbha as a retreat from Chittor in times of war. The fort was never in its 400 years of battle ever conquered. Here the trail stops for a while, and marches back on the same path to come back to Udaipur.
Raj Risala Trail
The Raj Risala is based in the venerable and holy town of Pushkar. Raj Risala offers a unique experience of the glorious heritage of Rajasthan. traverse this timeless land on a leisurely safari in the footsteps of the Maharajas of yore, by horse. Visit wildlife parks and monuments which reverberate with hisotry.
This ride is conducted in the Shekhawati region, which is known for its Havelies having fascinating wall frescoes on them. The base of this ride is from Dundlod. The terrain in this area consists of a mixture of green fields, sandy tracks, sand dune areas and finally to the Aravali mountain range with flowing crystal clear streams and palm trees.
This ride is conducted in the desert of Bikaner, Nagaur and Jaisalmer areas. The vast desert of this area is known for its undulating terrain sparsely populated with the Indian Chinkara, Black buck and the nomadic tribes of Rajasthan.
The best safaris are in the heart of the Thar, around Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner. The safari varies from 3 days to 15 days, though the optimum is a week long safari.
The trail starts from Jaisalmer passing Moolsagar, Kuldhara, Massooradi on the first day of the ride. After a night stay the ride again proceeds from Massooradi to Jajiya, Khaba. The trail further covers crossing Khabia, Kanoi and Sam.
A fascinating journey into the Rajputana desertland with gala desert camping with highlights of Camel cum ballooon safari.
From Mandwa proceed on an interesting camel cum balloon safari with groups interchanging between the 2 interesting and offbeat modes of exploring the desert. The trail overlooks the city of Samode and Jaipur.