History and Geography
Rajasthan, the largest State in India in terms of area, prior to independence, was known as Rajputana or the home of Rajputs - a martial community who ruled over this area for centuries. The history of Rajasthan dates back to the pre-historic times. Around 3,000 and 1,000 B.C., it had a culture akin to that of the Indus Valley Civilisation. It was the Chauhans who dominated Rajput affairs from seventh century and by 12th century, they had become an imperial power. After the Chauhans, it was the Guhilots of Mewar who controlled the destiny of the warring tribes. Besides Mewar, the other historically prominent states were Marwar, Jaipur, Bundi, Kota, Bharatpur and Alwar, while the other states were only offshoots of these. All these states accepted the British Treaty of Subordinate Alliance in 1818, protecting the interest of the princes. This naturally left the people discontented. After the revolt of 1857, the people united themselves under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi to contribute to the freedom movement. With the introduction of provincial autonomy in1935 in British India, agitation for civil liberties and political rights became stronger in Rajasthan. The process of uniting the scattered states commenced from 1948 to 1956, when the States Reorganisation Act was promulgated. First came Matsya Union (1948), consisting of a fraction of states. Slowly and gradually, other states merged with this Union. By 1949, major states like Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaislmer joined this Union, making it the United State of Greater Rajasthan. Ultimately in 1958, the present state of Rajasthan formally came into being, with Ajmer state, the Abu Road Taluka, and Sunel Tappa joining it. The entire western flank of the state borders with Pakistan, while Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh bind Rajasthan in north, north-east, south-east and Gujarat in south-west.
Roads: The total length of roads in the State is around 1,58,250 km. Railways: Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Kota, Sawai Madhopur and Bharatpur are some of the main railway junctions. Aviation: Regular air services connect Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur with Delhi and Mumbai.
Rajasthan is a land of festivals and fairs. Besides the national festivals of Holi, Deepawali, Vijayadashmi, Christmas, etc. birth anniversaries of Gods and Goddesses, saintly figures, folk heroes and heroines are celebrated. Important fairs are Teej, Gangaur (Jaipur), annual Urs of Ajmer Sherif and Galiakot, tribal Kumbh of Beneshwar (Dungarpur), Mahaveer fair at Shri Mahavirji in Swai Madhopur, Ramdeora (Jaisalmer), Janbheshwari Fair (Mukam-Bikaner), Kartik Poornima and Cattle Fair (Pushkar-Ajmer) and Shyamji Fair (Sikar), etc.
Hawa Mahal (Jaipur), Deserts of Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Mount Abu, Sariska Tiger Sanctuary in Alwar, Keoladeo National Park at Bharatpur, Ajmer, Jaisalmer, Pali and Chittorgarh are important places of tourist interest in the state.
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