Rajasthan

The colourful and exotic state of Rajasthan, the spell-binding ‘Land of the Kings’, epitomizes the core essence of India. This is the abode of the mighty Rajputs, a group of intrepid warriors who variously claim descent from the sun, the moon and the flames of a sacrificial fire, lit up to revive the meandering souls of ancient ‘kshtraiyas’. Aeons ago, it is believed, Sri Ram drew an arrow in his bow to burn the golden Lanka, the island capital where his wife Sita was held captive by the demon king Ravana. Unfortunately, the prophesy was about to take many innocent lives and hence Lord Ram, in response to the plea of the Gods, pointed the arrow at a distant sea and let it escape. The heat produced by the arrow dried the sea, and in its place, arose a desert, dry, arid and hot.

But again, ‘Puranas’ proved themselves true, a junction where the mind starts to agree but the heart is still at hold. Fossils excavated in the Thar desert reveal the remains of marine life. And the dancing sands of the desert, fly from one point to another, with a memory of the sea that once shimmered in its place.

The great history of Rajasthan is epitomised by the internecine wars among the Rajput clans shook their roots. This was accompanied with sustained foreign invasions and hence after a few centuries, their hold over their own kingdom began to totter – chivalrous Rajputs became refuge in their own country. Bereft of their kingdoms, they started looking or an opportunity and a shelter, where they could lay their foundation once more. They emerged and held their sway over different parts of the Thar from about 700 AD. As time continued its journey, a part of Rajasthan came under the possession of Muslim rulers. The principal centers of their powers were Nagaur and Ajmer while Ranthambhore was also under their suzerainty. In later years, as peace became common, and as the English infiltrated into the heart of the ‘golden bird’ in 1817-18, the Government concluded treaties of alliance with almost all the states of Rajputana. Thus began the British rule over Rajasthan, then called Rajputana. After the unfortunate, but innocent sands of Rajasthan had enough of blood and blade, the present State of Rajasthan was formed, after a long process of integration which began on March 17, 1948 and ended on November 1, 1956.

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