Rajasthan is situated in the north-western part of India. It covers 342,239 square kilometres (132,139 square miles). Rajasthan lies between latitudes 23 degree 3’and 30 degree 12′, north and longitudes 69 degree 30′ and 78 degree 17′, east. Compared to many countries that are located in a similar latitudinal belt, such as in northern Arabia, Rajasthan has a less harsh climate. The State’s scorching and dry summers and its parched landscape is undergoing significant changes because of the developmental effort that have led to the spread of the Indira Gandhi Nahar.
The southern part of Rajasthan is about 225 km from the Gulf of Kutch and about 400 km from the Arabian Sea. Rajasthan is bounded by Pakistan in the west and north-west; by the State of Punjab in the north; by Haryana in the north-east; by Uttar Pradesh in the east, by Madhya Pradesh in the east and Gujarat in the south-west.
The Aravali mountain ranges that run from Delhi to Gujarat cut through the State almost vertically. The Aravali ranges divide the State through south-east and north-west. The north-west region covering two-thirds of the state consist mostly of a series of sand dunes. Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and part of the Jhunjhunu districts form part of this region. The eastern region has large fertile tracts.
The climate of Rajasthan varies from semi arid to arid. The mercury touches 49 degrees centigrade at some places during summer and drops below freezing point during winter.
Though the average annual rainfall ranges between 200-400 mm, it is as low as 150 mm in extreme arid zones and as high as 1000 mm in the south eastern part of the State. Most of the rainfall (60-80%) is received with the South west monsoon in the period from July to September. The average number of rainy days vary from 6 to 42 depending on the aridity of the area.
People and Administration
The people of Rajasthan are famously called the Marwaris. The term Marwari has come to mean a canny businessman from the State of Rajasthan. The Birlas, Goenkas, Ruias, Singhanias, are among the top business groups of India. They are the famous marwaris from Rajasthan. The people of Rajasthan are of course, a lot more than the popular marwari. The term marwari is used rather sweepingly over a diverse set of people.
Equally famous are the Rajput chieftans of Rajasthan. These are the ones who built the grand forts, palaces and havelis of Rajasthan. History is replete with legends of their bravery, their romantic forays and their adventures. Local ballads sing songs of their valour and their sacrifices.
Rajasthan comes alive with exuberant folk dances, melodious music and spectacular festivities. Typically, men still wear twirling moustaches and women adorn themselves in multihued costumes. The people speak local dialects, and an old saying explains that the dialect and the men’s turban change every 24 miles. The group of dialects spoken in Rajasthan is called Rajasthani.
Traditional Rajasthani music is very typical. The folk music has a very melodious and typically local flavour. Bards sing ballads of local heroes in this musical style. This has also attracted the attention of modern day music composers. Music also received the patronage of the kingdoms of Rajasthan till recently. This led to the development of classical Hindustani music in the courts of the Palaces.
The 2001 Census of India enumerated 56.5 million people in Rajasthan. About 70 per cent of these live in eastern and south-eastern regions of the State. Hindi is the predominant language spoken. Besides, Rajasthan and several dialects of Hindi are widely spoken. Business is conducted in Hindi and English. Literacy is 61 per cent. The prominent religions practised are Hinduism, Islam, Jainism and Sikhism.
There are 32 administrative units, Districts, in Rajasthan. Jaipur is the Capital of the State. The Congress party has been elected to power.The High Court is situated at Jodhpur, with a bench at Jaipur.
State Symbols State Tree – Khejari, State Flower – Rohida, State Bird – Godawan or Great Indian Bustard, State Animal – Chinkara (an antelope)
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