Rajasthan: Land of Kings – Lonely Planet Travel Video
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Rājasthān is the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert (Thar Desert), which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with Pakistan. The region borders Pakistan to the west, Gujarat to the southwest, Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to the northeast and Punjab to the north. Rajasthan covers an area of 132,150 sq mi or 342,269 km².
The state capital is Jaipur. Geographical features include the Thar Desert along north-western Rajasthan and the termination of the Ghaggar River near the archaeological ruins at Kalibanga, which are the oldest in the subcontinent discovered so far.
Rajasthan is one of the most popular travel destinations in India. Rajasthan is well known for historical monuments; Rajasthan Tourism is benchmarked for the warm hospitality and internationally awarded hotels & resorts. The major Tourist Destinations like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur are well interconnected with all the major domestic and international cities.
One of the world’s oldest mountain ranges, the Aravalli Range, cradles the only hill station of Rajasthan, Mount Abu, and its world-famous Dilwara Temples, a sacred pilgrimage for Jains. Eastern Rajasthan has two national tiger reserves, Ranthambore and Sariska, as well as Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur, once famous for its bird life.
Rajasthan was formed on 30 March 1949, when all erstwhile princely states ruled by Rajputs, known as Rajputana, merged into the Dominion of India. The only difference between erstwhile Rajputana and Rajasthan is that certain portions of what had been British India, in the former province of Ajmer-Merwara, were included. Portions lying geographically outside of Rajputana such as the Sumel-Tappa area were given to Madhya Pradesh.
- Population: 56.47 million (2001 Census, estimated at more than 58 million now)
- Cities and Towns: 222
- Major cities: Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Kota, Ajmer, Bikaner, Churu, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Alwar, Sri Ganganagar ,Pali,Makrana, Bundi,chittorgarh, Didwana, Sujangarh, Nagaur, Sikar, Balotra
- Roads: 61,520 km. ( 2,846 km National Highway)
- National highways crossing Rajasthan: Delhi-Ahmedabad, Agra-Bikaner, Jaipur-Bhopal and Bhatinda-Kandla
- Climate: Generally dry with monsoon during July-August
- Districts: 33
- Languages: English and Hindi commonly used, as well as indigenous Rajasthani languages
- Literacy: 61.03%
Rajasthan is divided into 33 districts and seven divisions:
- Ajmer Division: Ajmer, Bhilwara, Nagaur, Tonk.
- Bharatpur Division: Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur.
- Bikaner Division: Bikaner, Churu, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh.
- Jaipur Division: Jaipur, Alwar, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Dausa.
- Jodhpur Division: Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jodhpur District, Pali, Sirohi.
- Kota Division: Baran, Bundi, Jhalawar, Kota.
- Udaipur Division: Banswara District, Chittorgarh District, Pratapgarh District, Dungarpur District, Udaipur, Rajsamand
Rajasthan is connected by many national highways. Most renowned being NH 8, which is India’s first 4-8 lane highway. Rajasthan also has a good inter city surface transport system both in terms of railways and bus network. All important and tourist cities are connected by air, rail and road.
By Air: There are three main airports at Rajasthan- Jaipur airport, Udaipur airport and Jodhpur airport. These airports connect Rajasthan with the major cities of India such as Delhi and Mumbai.
By Rail: Rajasthan is well connected with the main cities of India by rail. Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur and Jodhpur are the main railway stations in Rajasthan.
By Road: Rajasthan is well connected to the main cities of the country by State and National Highways.
Rajasthan is also famous for National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. There are four national park and wildlife sanctuaries named the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Ranthambore National Park, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary and Desert National Park.
Ranthambore National Park and Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary both are known worldwide for their tiger population and considered by both wild lovers and photographers as the best places in India to spot tigers. Besides, it houses several small wildlife sanctuaries and eco-tourism parks . Prominent among them are Mount Abu Sanctuary, Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary, Darrah Sanctuary, Jaisamand Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary, and Jawahar Sagar sanctuary etc.
Rajasthan has a mainly Rajasthani population. Hindus account for 88.8% of the population. Muslims make up 8.5%, Sikhs 1.4% and Jains 1.2% of the population. The state of Rajasthan is also populated by Sindhis, who came to Rajasthan from Sindh province (now in Pakistan) during the India-Pakistan separation in 1947.
The mother tongue of the majority of people in Rajasthan is Rajasthani. Rajasthani and Hindi are the most widely used languages in Rajasthan. After independence, Rajasthani was used as a medium of instruction, along with Hindi and English, in some schools. Some other languages used in Rajasthan are Gujarati, Sindhi and Punjabi.
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