| CULTURE OF RAJASTHAN IN INDIA
Rajasthan- the land of royalty is a glittering jewel set in the golden sands of a barren deserts landscape. The light that reflects off the golden sands engulfs a land renowned for its vibrant colors, people in bright clothes and beautiful jewelry, living in cities dotted and dominated by towering forts and palace of Rajasthan that rise from the sands like mirage.
The royal Indian state of Rajasthan, promises to be an experience of a lifetime with its wealth of culture and traditions in Rajasthan. The arts and crafts, music and dance, cuisine and people of Rajasthan, all are instances of the cultural rainbow of India. The women from Rajasthan in brightly colored clothes, wearing tons of jewelry and the huge turbans adorned by the men are examples of the cultural diversity of Rajasthan in India. The trip to Rajasthan not just offers unique sights like the architectural magnificence of the forts and palaces in Rajasthan. The picturesque dunes, the enigma of the beautifully built palaces and the atmosphere of the cities of Rajasthan are few features of the culturally astounding state.
The culture of Rajasthan is a wide spectrum of brilliant hues caressed by waves of settlers ranging from ancient Indus Valley urbanites to pastoral Aryan herdsmen, Bhil forest dwellers, Jain merchant princes, Jat and Gujjar cultivators, Muslim craftsmen, and the Rajput warrior aristocracy in Rajasthan. All shaped this region called the land of kings. Colorful costumes, festivals and customs relieve the tedium of coping with a harsh, demanding land in Rajasthan. People travel to Rajasthan to savor its splendors and imbibe its enviable heritage. Discover it all in the fairs and festivals, folk music, Rajasthani cuisine and crafts of Rajasthan.
Rajasthan has a vibrant culture and a thousand-year-old heritage. The official language of the state is Hindi but the primary spoken language is Rajasthani. There are however deviations according to various regions. For instance, Malwi in South-East Rajasthan, Mowati in North East Rajasthan and Jaipuri in the eastern part of the state to name just a few.
Ethnicity of Rajasthan
The ethnicity of Rajasthan is a blend of fusion and tradition. The Rajputs of Rajasthan were a major force to reckon with in medieval India. Most of the leading Rajput clans married into Mughal royalty and nobility, and went into direct State service of the Mughal Empire. This made a big difference as people of two different ethnicities merged, influencing the ethnicity of the state. Rajasthan also has a number of tribal groups such as the Bhils, Minas, Gaduliya Lohars, Sahariyas, Damors and Sidhis in Rajasthan.
Starting from brocade garments of the royal family to the typical tie and dye ghagra choli of the locales the variety of Rajasthani clothing is endless. The cotton hand painted fabric from Sanganer, silk brocades, dupattas and odhni with Zari work, mirror worked blouses, tied and dyed dresses for both men and women, tying design and motifs in mehandi mandana are some of those related to the traditional attire of Rajasthan. Besides clothing, the accessories that Rajasthani people wear are characteristic of Rajasthan. The silver karas (bangles) worn by the women on her hand and feet, the jootis made of camel skin, the turban worn by the male are some of the things that add to the colorful image of Rajasthan
Art & architecture of Rajasthan
Rajasthan is among the richest states in the country as far as the field of arts and crafts is concerned. May be it was a result of the war like lifestyle of the people of Rajasthan which sharpened the creative senses, artistic skills and inspired them to create the most opulent and richest of treasures. Stone, clay, leather, wood, ivory, lac, glass, brass, silver, gold and textiles were given the most brilliant forms. For women there was infinite variety -- tie and dye fabrics, embroidered garments, enamel jewellery inlayed with precious and semi-precious stones, leather jootis etc in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan is known for its traditional and colorful art. Rajasthani art and crafts, with its staggering variety, beauty and color has contributed the most to the crafts collage of India. Rajasthan has also given the world famous phad paintings, pichwais, and exquisite miniature paintings that are the pride of serious collectors the world over. As far as paintings are concerned, the Rajasthani miniature paintings can be found in palaces of Rajasthan. In certain old and historic towns in the interiors of Rajasthan's Shekhawati region, paintings and exquisite frescoes can be seen adorning the parapets of even the huts of Rajasthan. They exude with a rich sense of humor. The paintings found in the palaces of Rajasthan are particularly evocative of Lord Krishna's legends.
Rajasthani jewelry, mostly the silver embellished with meena work; fabulous fabrics; the arrestingly lovely costumes; traditional items of furniture; traditional art of tie-and-dye textiles; Laheriyas or the delicately created patterns in waves, the pachranga or five colored bhandej (tie -and-dye) on sarees, odhnis; or mantles and safas or turbans; sarees from Kota; hand block printing; geometric ajraks; historic jajam prints; feather-soft and feather-light Jaipuri razai (quilt); handmade paper; blue pottery; jootis or remarkably sturdy footwear; lamp shades, vases; perfume vials; photo frames; gesso work in floral designs; hand-knotted woolen carpets and extensive range of cotton rugs called durries are some of the mention worthy work of art and craft that have always attracted the attention of the people globally. The block prints of Rajasthan tie and die prints, Bagaru prints, Sanganer prints, Zari embroidery are major export products from Rajasthan. Handicraft items of Rajasthan like wooden furniture and handicrafts, carpets, blur potteries are some of the things you will find here. Rajasthan is shopper’s paradise in India.
Rajasthan is famous for the majestic forts, intricately carved temples and decorated havelis. Jantar Mantar, Dilwara Temples, Chittauragrh Fort, Lake Palace Hotel, City Palaces, Jaisalmer Havelis are true architectural heritage of Rajasthan.
Shopping in Rajasthan
Rajasthan often called as the Shoppers Paradise. Rajasthan is famous for textile, semi-precious stones and Handicraft. Know Arts and Crafts of Rajasthan
Music of Rajasthan
The music of the desert is vibrant with haunting rhythms. The music and dances of Rajasthan are heady, exciting, hypnotic and compelling and very much a part of the eternal appeal of this strange and wondrous land. The popular music and dance of Rajasthan is so enchanting, that it has won devoted admirers on an international scale. There are songs for every occasion, every mood, and every moment. Of the many types of communities of professional folk musicians, Bhopas (singing priests), Nats, Bhat puppeteers, Kalbelias and Kanjars, who pursue music as an ancillary vocation and operate in a rustic ambience, have made some vital contributions in this field. Apart from classical forms like khayal and dhrupad, a unique form of singing called maand also flourished in the royal courts of Rajasthan. This was a semi-classical form with a milieu, text and structure of its own that had an affinity with both the classical thumri and tappa forms as the popular folk music of Rajasthan.
Musical Instruments of Rajasthan
A perfect complement to the music could be found in the lively folk dances of Rajasthan. The tera tali performed sitting, is an exercise in rhythmic dexterity of Rajasthan. It is performed by a group of two to three who have manjiras or metal cymbals tied to their limbs. Wizened old bhopas and dholis, jogis and miraasis-all traditional singers of Rajasthan -chant ditties about folk heroes of yore-Baba Ramdeo, Gogaji, Tejaji, Dhola Maru and Jethwa Ujli-in voices surprisingly strong and passionate. Performances open with the stirring call of the imposing trumpet, the bankia. Musicians use ancient, unsophisticated instruments that produce strangely mesmeric sounds-twin flutes called algoza, the hypnotic Jewish harp or morchhang, the stringed instrument with a tinkling cluster of bells called the ravanhatta and the earthen pitcher or matka turned in the hands with amazing dexterity and used as a percussion instrument are some of these instruments. The chang is yet another percussion instrument which is made of sheepskin pasted onto a large circular or octagonal wooden frame. This is used as a rhythmic accompaniment to the erotic songs and dances performed on the colorful festival of Holi. The khanjari is a tambourine used traditionally by the Kalbeliya women who belong to the snake charmer community of Rajasthan.
Dances of Rajasthan
Rajasthani dances are a spectacular celebration of life and color. Among the best known is the Ghoomar dance in which the dancer pirouettes gracefully and her full Ghaghra (skirt) flares out in a blaze of color and movement. The Kachhi-ghodi is a particularly vigorous dance in which the bridegroom's party boisterously sings folk ballads and stages a mock fight with much nimble side-stepping, sharp pirouetting and brandishing of swords; dancers are ensconced within the figure of a horse with just their torsos showing. A statelier dance is the ghair performed mainly in the Mewar region; regal men in fulsome, gathered white ankle-length skirts and brilliant turbans swirl slowly in alternately clockwise and anticlockwise motions, clicking long, painted sticks with each other, the periodic clash of sticks creating its own fevered cadence. The charee dance of Rajasthan, on the other hand, is full of drama. In this performers deftly execute intricate choreographic patterns, balancing brass pitchers containing smoldering cottonseeds on their heads. The sapera (snake charmers) dance of the Kalbelias, a snake charmer community of Rajasthan, is sensuous and riveting in the extreme. The gavvi dance of Rajasthan are performed by males in honor of Lord Mahadeo, an incarnation of Lord Shiva and his consort, the spectacular community dances of the Meena and Bhil tribals, the wanton uninhibited dances of the dhobi (washerwomen) and the raasmandal performed by mammoth congregations of villagers in honor of Lord Krishna in the Krishna country of Karauli constitute some of the other dance forms of Rajasthan.
Cuisine of Rajasthan
There is scarcity of rainfall in Rajasthan, which is not conducive for the growth of vegetables, has resulted in increased stress on the cultivation of, pulses especially moong, moth and gram. Most Rajasthani cuisine uses pure ghee (clarified butter) as its medium of cooking. A favorite dish is prepared with broken wheat (dalia) sautéed in ghee and sweetened. Bikaner ki Bhujia is a savory that is world famous and unlike in other parts of India is prepared out of a pulse called moth (a type of lentil). Similarly a sweet made from pumpkin is a Bikaner specialty affectionately named as petha. The list is endless, the palate insatiable.
Fairs and Festivals of Rajasthan
Fairs and Festivals form a very important part of Rajasthan Culture. The Desert Jewel of India, Rajasthan shimmers with even more vibrancy during the time of its colourful fairs and festivals. The desert glitters with the colors of joyous celebration and gay abandon with every fair and festival of Rajasthan. There is a celebration for every religious occasion, every change of season and every harvest, all invariably a reflection of the genius of their arts and crafts and their ascetic refinement. In fact, celebrations occur almost round the year and are a splendid opportunity for tourists to gain an insight into the life of the Rajasthan during their travel.
Puppets or "Kathputtlis" as they are referred to in the local parlance are an integral part of Rajasthan's folk entertainment. The puppets of Rajasthan are gorgeously designed and through puppet shows, historical legends and mythologies to modern day issues like education for the girl child and child labour are highlighted during festivals and village fairs.
Rajasthan has its usual Indian festivals but the ones to watch out for are the Gangaur and Teej Festivals of Rajasthan where marital and conjugal bliss is the primary significance of the festivities. There are also the world famous Pushkar cattle fair and the Jaisalmer Desert Festival which are hugely popular with foreign tourists in Rajasthan.