When we speak of culture in one word we sum up the ways of living adopted over the ages by a group of people and handed over through generations. The culture is like a flowing river and keeps changing without leaving its banks - it encompasses the life style, recreation, dress code, eating habits, dancing, singing and family life of a group.
Rajasthan is the largest state of India. Jaipur is its capital city. Most of the area comprises of the great Indian Thar Desert that borders the ancient ruins of Kalibanga - one of the oldest in the world. The Aravalli Ranges host the lone hill station of Mount Abu in Rajasthan with its Dilwara temples.
In Eastern Rajasthan there are two tiger reserves – Ranthambore and Sariska and the famous bird sanctuary of Bharatpur.
Before its inclusion in India (1949) Rajasthan consisted of princely states ruled by Rajputs. Other tribes like Naths, Jats, Bhils, Ahirs, Gujars and Meenas all were part of Rajasthan and contributed to its creation.
Many shed their blood to safeguard their culture and traditions – annals lost in the history of the land. Todd’s annals on Rajasthan make for exceptional reading of the story of Rajasthan alias Rajputana.
The economy of Rajasthan is predominantly agricultural as well as pastoral. Wheat and barley dominate the scene with pulses, sugarcane, oilseeds, cotton and tobacco. Rajasthan also produces wool. Wells and tanks supply the water.
The majority of the residents are Hindus, followed by Muslims, Sikhs and Jains. The mother tongue is Rajasthani. Hindi also is widely spoken.
The tiny details about the land and the people are the threads that run through the canvas making up the stuff that is known as the culture in Rajasthan.
The state has a rich artistic tradition that has links with its rich past. Folk culture of Rajasthan is fascinating and hypnotic. Classical music is richly cultivated and the dances of Rajasthan are distinctive in style and taste.
The music is simple depicting the day-to-day song of life - the various relationships and work schedules with the dominating theme being the fetching of water in pots from wells. Folk songs are ballads narrating stories from the epics and history.
Rajasthani art is colourful - its block, tie and dye and bagaru prints having got international recognition. So too are zari and mirror work, handcrafted wooden furniture, carpets, blue pottery, swirling skirts or ghagras, majestic turbans with the touch of dominating masculinity - all etched against heroic forts and precious lakes make Rajasthan a living tapestry of its culture coming alive in the shops and markets.