India

Rajasthan - the Land of Colours.

Rajasthan is the largest state of the Republic of India by 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. It is one of the most beautiful states of India and attracts very large numbers of tourists. The state 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.

Jaipur is the capital and the largest city of the state. 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.

One of the world's oldest mountain ranges, the Aravalli Range, cradles the only hill station of Rajasthan, Mount Abu, famous for Dilwara Temples, a sacred pilgrimage for Jains. Eastern Rajasthan has the world famous Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur, once famous for its bird life and is a World Heritage Site and two famous national tiger reserves, Ranthambore and Sariska Tiger Reserve. Rajasthan was formed on 30 March 1949, when all erstwhile princely states ruled by Rajputs, known as Rajputana, merged into the Dominion of India.

It was essentially the country of the Gurjars. Historian R. C. Majumdar explained that the region was long known as Gurjaratra (Country protected by the Gurjars or Gurjar nation), early form of Gujarat, before it came to be called Rajputana, early in the Muslim period. The historian John Keay in his book, India: A History stated that the Rajputana name was given by the British and the word even achieved a retrospective authenticity. In the 1829 translation of Ferishta's history of early Islamic India, John Briggs discarded the phrase Indian princes, as rendered in Dow's earlier version, and substituted Rajpoot princes.

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