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Rajasthan History

Jain Temple part of Rajasthan HistoryRajasthan, a state in the north-western region of India, is a place with ancient history. There are Buddhist caves and stupas (Buddhist shrines) at Jhalawar. Ancient Hindu scriptural epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana, refer to the holy pilgrimage site of Pushkar.

The emergence of Rajput warrior clans in the 6th and 7th centuries had the greatest impact on the subsequent history of Rajasthan. The name Rajputana, by which the collection of princely states came to be known during the Muslim invasion of India, is because of the Rajput clans.

The Sisodias who claim to be Suryavanshi (descendents of the Sun), originally from Gujarat, in the mid-7th century and reigned over Mewar, the present day Udaipur and Chittorgarh. The Kachhwaha clan, originally from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, travelled to Rajasthan in 12th century. The majestic fort at Amber near Jaipur was built by them. Like the Sisodias, they too are Suryavanshis. Rathores (earlier known as Rastrakutas and also Suryavanshis) came from Kanauj, in Uttar Pradesh. They settled in Pali, near the present-day Jodhpur, but moved to Mandore in1381 and ruled over entire Marwar (Jodhpur). Later they commenced construction on the stunning Meherangarh Fort at Jodhpur. The Bhattis, who are Chandravanshis (descendants of the Moon), left their homeland in the Punjab after being attacked by the Turks, and settled at Jaisalmer in 1156. All these princely clans managed their desert kingdoms until they were integrated into the state of Rajasthan following India’s Independence.

These rulers not only lived opulently but also contributed to the arts and crafts, culture and development of the land and their people in a big way. The effects of their contributions can be seen even till date in the forts and palaces that are now heritage hotels, the luxurious textiles, embroideries, opulent jewelry, paintings, fairs and festivals and other aspects of life in Rajasthan.

Throughout history, since 713 onwards, Rajasthan has faced external threats and was attacked several times. Mughals eventually controlled some parts of Rajasthan and the ones that they could not conquer, they married into and formed alliances. Very few parts of Rajasthan were left immune from the effects of Mughal rule. The impact of the Mughals can be seen in the architecture and heritage of Rajasthan. Similarly, when the British ruled over India, several parts of Rajasthan they annexed directly and the others they signed treaties with.

The erstwhile rulers of Rajasthan had the title of Maharaja and Maharani; nowadays these are merely symbolic titles, although the members of ruling families are still held in high esteem by the people of their erstwhile kingdoms. While some of them are now involved in politics, others have turned to hospitality business by converting their forts and palaces into luxury hotels.

Tucked away in remote parts of Rajasthan as well as in all the main cities, a stay in one of these luxury hotels offers a brush with a slice of history of Rajasthan.

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Taj Mahal, Agra

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had Taj Mahal constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who is entombed here alongside Shah Jahan (who was buried later).

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