Rajasthan is the largest state of the India in terms of area and it is located in the northwestern part of the country. This state is surrounded by Pakistan to the west, Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, Gujarat to the southwest, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to the north east, and Punjab to the north. The capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur, popularly known as the Pink City. Gifted with natural beauty, a great history, splendid forts & palaces, colourful festivals & fairs, lively culture, varied landscape and thick forests, Rajasthan will never disappoint you. Miraculous legends of bravery and romance still resonate from its equally astonishing architecture that still stands to narrate its tale of a bygone era. The magic of Rajasthan is unequalled in the world for its heritage, culture, safaris, sand dunes and lush green forests with its wildlife. Rajasthan is often articulated as a huge open-air museum with historical object so well preserved for the travelers and the curious of the day.
It is action packed with outdoors too; take a safari on horses, camels, elephants or even jeeps with the Aravalis - the oldest mountain range of India in the backdrop, or caress your eyes on the sloppy sand dunes, or trail a tiger or just watch birds on wetland. You can also choose to indulge yourself in the lavish heritage properties. Rajasthan has something for everyone, just choose your activity.
Topography of Rajasthan
The State covers an area of 343,000 sq km. The Aravali Range, one of the oldest mountain ranges of the world, runs across the state from southwest Guru Peak (Mount Abu), which is 1,722 m in height to Khetri in the northeast. This divides the state into 60% in the northwest of the lines and 40% in the southeast. The northwest area is sandy and arid with little water but improves gradually from desert land in the far west and northwest to comparatively fertile and habitable land towards the east. Most of the northwest area is located in the Thar Desert.
The south-eastern area is comparatively more fertile than northwestern area. Southwest area has a much diversified topography. In the south lies the hilly area of Mewar. In the southeast a large area of the districts of Kota and Bundi forms a tableland, and to the northeast of these districts is a rugged region (badlands) following the line of the Chambal River. Further north the country levels out; the flat plains of the northeastern Bharatpur district are part of the alluvial basin of the Yamuna River..
The Aravali outlines the most important division of Rajasthan. The Chambal River, which is the only large and permanent river in the State, originates from its drainage to the east of this range and flows northeast. Its principal tributary, the Banas, rises in the Aravali near Kumbhalgarh and collects all the drainage of the Mewar plateau. Further north, the Banganga, after rising near Jaipur, flows to the east-wards before disappearing. The Luni is the only significant river west of the Aravali. It rises in the Pushkar valley of Ajmer and flows 320 km west-southwest into the Rann of Kachchh. Northeast of the Luni basin, in the Shekhawati territory, is an area of internal drainage characterized by salt lakes, the largest of which is Sambhar Salt Lake.
In the vast sandy north-western plain extending over the districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jalor, Sirohi, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Pali, and Nagaur, soils are mainly saline or alkaline. Water is scarce but is found at a depth of 30 to 61 m. The soil and sand are calcareous (chalky). Nitrates in the soil increase its fertility, and, as has been shown in the area of the Indira Gandhi (formerly Rajasthan) Canal, cultivation is often possible where adequate water supplies are made available.
The soils in the Ajmer district in central Rajasthan are sandy; clay content varies between 3 and 9 per cent. In the Jaipur and Alwar districts in the east, soils vary from sandy loam to loamy sand. In the Kota, Bundi, and Jhalawar territory, they are in general black and deep and are well drained. In Udaipur, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, and Bhilwara districts, eastern areas have mixed red and black and western areas red to yellow soils.
Languages of Rajasthan
Rajasthani language consists of five prime dialects i.e. Marwari, Dhundhari, Mewari, Mewati and Hadauti. It is derived from Apabhramsa, with all its linguistic and orthographical peculiarities. Rajasthani as a language of literature suffered a great set back during the British period. Today hundreds of poets and writers are writing in Rajasthani. Folk literature in Rajasthani is varied and rich and consists of songs, tales, sayings, riddles and folk-plays popularly known as khyals.
According to 2001 survey Rajasthan has a population of 56.5 million. Rajasthan has a large indigenous populace Minas (Minawati) in Alwar, Jaipur, Bharatpur, and Dholpur areas. The Meo and the Banjara are travelling tradesmen and artisans. The Gadia Lohar is the Lohar meaning ironsmith who travels on Gadia meaning bullock carts; they generally make and repair agricultural and household equipments.
The Oswals hail from Osiyan near Jodhpur is successful traders and is predominately Jains. While the Mahajan (the trading class) is subdivided into a large number of groups, some of these groups are Jain, while others are Hindu. In the north and west, the Jat and Gujar are among the largest agricultural communities. The Gujars who are Hindus reside in eastern Rajasthan.
The nomadic Rabari or Raika are divided in two groups the Marus who breed camels and Chalkias who breed sheep and goats. The Muslims form less than 10% of the population and most of them are Sunnis. There is also a small but affluent community Shiaite Muslims known as Bhoras in southeastern Rajasthan. The Rajputs though represent only a small proportion of the populace are the most influential section of the people in Rajasthan. They are proud of their martial reputation and of their ancestry.
The Bhils are one of the oldest peoples in India, inhabit the districts of Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Udaipur, and Sirohi and are famous for their skill in archery. The Grasia and nomadic Kathodi live in the Mewar region. Sahariyas are found in the Kota district, and the Rabaris of the Marwar region are cattle breeders.
Climate of Rajasthan
The climate of Rajasthan greatly varies throughout the state. The climate of Rajasthan can be divided into four seasons: Summers, Monsoon, Post-Monsoon and winter..
A summer, which extends from April to June, is the hottest season, with temperatures ranging from 32 degree C to 45 degree C. In western Rajasthan the temp may rise to 48 degree C, particularly in May and June. At this time, Rajasthan's only hill station, Mt Abu registers the lowest temperatures. In the desert regions, the temperature drops at night. Prevailing winds are from the west and sometimes carry dust storms (we call them aandhi).
The second season Monsoon extends from July to September, temp drops, but humidity increases, even when there is slight drop in the temp (35 degree C to 40 degree C). 90% of rains occur during this period
The Post-monsoon period is from October to November. The average maximum temperature is 33 degree C to 38 degree C, and the minimum is between 18 degree C and 20 degree C.
The fourth season is winter or the cold season, from December to March. There is a marked variation in maximum and minimum temperatures and regional variations across the state. January is the coolest month of the year. And temp may drop to 0 degree C in some cities of Rajasthan, like Churu. There is slight precipitation in the north and northeastern region of the state, and light winds, predominantly from the north and northeast. At this time, relative humidity ranges from 50% to 60% in the morning, and 25% to 35% in the afternoon