Rajasthan is a state in the Western part of the Republic of India. Etymologically it means the Land of Kings, Earlier it was known as Rajputana. It’s the international border to the West is with Pakistan. And within India, it is bordered by Gujarat to the south-west, Madhya Pradesh to the south-cast, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to the north-east, and Punjab to the north.
The Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world’s first and oldest, was in parts of what is now known as Rajasthan. In the mediaeval period, the Mughals were entangled in battles with the Rajput kings. Maharana Pratap of Mewar resisted Akbar in the famous battle of Haldighat (1576) and later operated from the hilly areas of his kingdom. When the Mughal Empire continued to weaken in the 18th century, Rajputana came under the Marathas, until Marathas were replaced by the British in early 19th century. After Independence, Rajasthan, as a State, was formed on 30 March 1949, when the region known until then as Rajputana, consisting of erstwhile princely states, merged into the Dominion of India.
Geographically, Rajasthan is the largest State of India by area containing 3,42,239 square kilometres. The main geographic features of Rajasthan are the Thar Desert and the Aravalli Range, which runs through the State from south-west to north-east, almost from one end to the other. Mount Abu lies at the south-western end of the range. The north-western portion of Rajasthan is generally sandy and dry. Most of this region is covered by the Thar Desert which extends into adjoining Pakistan. The Aravalli Range does not intercept the south-west monsoon winds off the Arabian Sea, as it lies parallel to it, resulting in a rain shadow. Though a large part of the total area is desert, and even though there is little forest cover, Rajasthan has a rich and varied flora and fauna.
The total population of the State is 68,621,102 as of 2011 census. And the literacy rate is 68%. As for religion, Hinduism is predominant, and next to that there are Islam, Sufism, and Jainism.
Like all other States in India, Rajasthan has a system of representative democracy for its government. It has a unicameral Legislative Assembly of 200 seats with the Chief Minister as the executive head. It also contributes 25 seats to Parliamentary constituency. Rajasthan is divided into 33 districts and seven divisions—Jaipur Division, Udaipur Division, Ajmer Division, Jodhpur division, Bikaner Division, Kota Division and Bharatpur division. Jaipur is the capital and the largest city of the State. Though Hindi is the official language, Rajasthani is widely spoken in the State.
Rajasthan is culturally rich and has artistic traditions which reflect the way of life of ancient and mediaeval India. There is a rich and varied folk culture. The classical music songs and dance have their own distinctive style. Rajasthani art more often focuses on fetching water from wells or ponds.
Rajasthan’s economy depends mainly on agriculture and industry. Wheat, barley, pulses, sugarcane and oilseeds are cultivated over large areas. Cotton and tobacco are the state’s cash crops. Rajasthan is among the largest producers of edible oil and the second-largest producer of oilseeds in India. The main industries are agro-based, mineral-based and textiles. It is noteworthy that Rajasthan is the second-largest producer of polyester fibre in India. It has rich salt deposits at Sambhar, copper mines at Khetri and zinc mines at Dariba. Dimensional stone mining is also taken in Rajasthan. Jodhpur sandstone is mostly used in monuments, important buildings and prestigious residential buildings. It is supposed that the Tajmahal was built from the white marble from Makrana in Rajasthan. Recently Rajasthan is earning high revenue from crude oil sector.
Rajasthan has a good transport system. It is connected by many National Highways. The most renowned NH 8-which is India’s first 4-8 lane highway is in Rajasthan. It has also an inter-city surface transport system both in terms of railways and bus network. All chief cities are connected by air, rail, and road.
Rajasthan is a favourite spot for tourists. In fact, tourism is a flourishing industry in Rajasthan, as it is endowed with natural beauty and a great history. The Hawa Mahal of Jaipur, the palace of Ajmer, the lakes of Udaipur including the sacred Pushkar lake, the forts of Jodhpur, Bikaner, and Jaisalmer rank among the most preferred destinations in India for many tourists — both Indian and foreign. Rajasthan is also noted for its National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries—Keoladeo National Park of Bharatpur, Sariska Tiger Reserve of Alwar, Ranthambhore National Park of Sawai Madhopur, and Desert National Park of Jaisalmer. Rajasthan now holds the fourth-highest position in tourism in India.