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Indian Subcontinent >> India >> Rajasthan >> History of Rajasthan

History of Rajasthan

Excavations at Kalibangan, in the Ganganagar district of northwest Rajasthan, show that an advanced society inhabited the region around 3000 BC, long before the Harappan civilisation. From the mid-6th century onwards the region came under the sway of the Rajputs, renowned as much for their bravery as for their strict code of honour. The Chauhans of Ajmer dominated the history of the region called Rajputana from the 7th to 12th centuries followed by the Gehlots of Mewar. As time passed, several kingdoms came into being - Marwar, Mewar, Jaipur, Bundi, Kota, Bharatpur, Alwar. Their rulers were constantly at war either among themselves as alliances were made and broken or with external adversaries like the Turko-Afghans, the Sultans of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughals.

For some 500 years the Rajputs directed all their energies at protecting their territories from repeated onslaughts by the Muslim rulers of Delhi. This was the glorious period of Rajputana when the brave exploits of rulers like Prithviraj Chauhan, Rana Sangha, Man Singh, Maharana Pratap and the beautiful Maharani Padmini become the stuff of legends. Peace finally came to the region in the 16th century as a consequence of military and matrimonial alliances forged by the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

The British followed a similar approach and provided protection to the various princely states in order to win their loyalty. When India became independent in 1947, there were over 20 autonomous princely states. Their time was over by 1958 as these states were progressively incorporated into the modern Indian state of Rajasthan. A fierce sense of pride in their heritage and culture still lives on in the hearts and minds of these erstwhile rulers and their former subjects. You can see this in the way palaces have been preserved as Heritage Hotels, the proud moustaches and colourful turbans sported by the men and the dance and music on view during the many fairs and festivals in the state.


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