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Rajasthan at a glance
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The state is diagonally divided into the hilly and rugged south-eastern region and the barren north-western Thar Desert, which extends across the border into Pakistan. There are plenty of historic cities, incredible fortresses awash with legends, and rare gems of impressionistic beauty, such as Udaipur. There are also a number of centers that attract travelers from far and wide, such as Pushkar with its holy lake, and the desert city of Jaisalmer, which resembles a fantasy from "The Thousand & One Nights".
Rajasthan is one of India's prime tourist destinations. Nobody leaves here
without priceless memories.
Rajasthan - History
Rajasthan is the home of the Rajputs, a group of warrior clans, who have controlled this part of India for 1000 years according to a code of chivalry and honor akin to that of the medieval European knights. While temporary alliances and marriages of convenience were the order of the day, pride and independence were always paramount. The Rajputs were therefore never able to present a united front against a common aggressor. Indeed, much of their energy was spent squabbling among themselves and the resultant weakness eventually led to their becoming vassal states of the Mughal empire. Nevertheless, the Rajputs' bravery and sense of honor were unparalleled.
Rajput warriors would fight against all odds and, when no hope was left, chivalry demanded that jauhar (mass suicide) take place. In this grim ritual, the women and children committed suicide by immolating themselves on a huge funeral pyre, while the men donned saffron robes and rode out to confront the enemy and certain death. In some of the larger battles, ten of thousands of Rajput warriors lost their lives in this way. Three times in Chittorgarh's long history, the women consigned themselves to the flames while the men rode out to their martyrdom. The same tragic fate befell many other forts around the state. It's hardly surprising that Akbar persuaded Rajputs to lead his army, nor that subsequent Mughal emperors had such difficulty controlling this part of their empire.
With the decline of the Mughal empire the Rajputs gradually clawed back their independence through a series of spectacular victories, at least until the British arrived. As the Raj inexorably expanded, most Rajput states signed articles of alliance with the British, which allowed them to continue as independent states, each with its own King, subject to certain political and economic constraints.
These alliances proved to be the beginning of the end for the Rajput rulers. Indulgence and extravagance soon replaced chivalry and honor so that by the early 20th century, many of the maharajas spent much of their time traveling the world with scores of concubines and retainers, playing polo, racing horses, and occupying entire floors of the most expensive hotels in Europe and the USA. While it suited the British to indulge them in this respect, their profligacy was economically and socially detrimental. When India gained independence, Rajasthan had one of the subcontinent's lowest rates of life expectancy and literacy.
At Independence, India's ruling Congress Party was forced to make a deal with the independent Rajput states in order to secure their agreement to join the new India. The rulers were allowed to keep their titles, their property holdings were secured and they were paid an annual stipend commensurate with their status. It couldn't last forever, however, and in the early 1970s Indira Gandhi abolished both the titles and the stipends and severely sequestered the rulers' property rights.
While some of the rulers have survived this by converting their palaces into
luxury hotels, many have fallen by the wayside, unable to cope with the financial
and managerial demands of the late 20th centuary.
Once visit this state in your life and get the real experience of History, Culture, Royalty and Romance.
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