Rajasthan is a land of imperial history boasting a magnificent culture and grandeur past. Unlike other historical places, Rajasthan remains a land that is well rooted in its past.
You can feel the glorious past of this land everywhere, in fact, Rajasthan exudes the charm of its royalty even today. The splendor of its forts and their architectural marvels has attracted millions of visitors for centuries. The vast stretches of sand of the Thar Desert tell a tale of valor and courage of the Rajput rulers who once ruled the place. The history of Rajasthan dates back to 1200AD, it is perhaps even older; some associate it with the Harappan civilization of 1000 BC. The land is not just a civilization but a tale that is well played out as an act, visible to anyone who is interested in learning about her.
The history and culture of the people of Rajasthan could be divided into two vast eras namely:
• Rajasthan before the reign of the Rajputs.
• Rajasthan after the dawn of the Rajputs.
Before we delve into the details of each of these interesting periods in Rajasthan’s history, let us look at a brief account of these times. These are more or less vague sketches about the era, the history of Rajasthan is not something that could fit into a paragraph or two, interested readers can enjoy the charm and exuberance of these people from the accounts of many, not to forget the antiques, treasures and architectural buildings left behind as a legacy by the rulers of this place.
Rajasthan before the Rajputs – The ancient history of Rajasthan dates back to about 5000 years. There have been excavations that were carried out in the past fifty years that associate Rajasthan with Harappan Civilization. Many archeological excavations have also placed Rajasthan as a part of the Indus Valley Civilization during the 3000 to 500 BC. The place was also a part of the great republics of Hunas, Kushans, Malvas and Yaudhyas. Later Gupta Empire ruled the place in the 4th century, buildings and palaces were built in great numbers and the place acquired prominence in the world map.
Buddhist caves and Stupas that was built during the era were found near Jhalawar, which is in the southern part of modern Rajasthan. Ancient Hindu scriptures refer to sites in modern Rajasthan in a pretty well formatted detail.
The dawn of the Rajputs- The word “Rajput” literally means king’s son. After the glorious period of the Gupta Dynasty ended in 5th century, Rajasthan descended into anarchy and political instability. The unrest in rest of Northern India did not help the cause, the era led to various small kingdoms and chieftains gaining and abusing their power. The prevailing situation hindered the cultural and architectural advancements.
However, the epoch of this instability ended with the advent of the Gujara Parthiharas, they were the first Rajput dynasty to rule Rajasthan in around 700 AD. Therefore the place came to be known as “Rajputana” or the land of Rajputs. The land was later conquered by Babur after fierce battle with the Rajputs, the Moghul Empire too flourished in this land, but there were Hindu kingdoms still reminiscent across Rajasthan, it in fact survived till the creation of the modern state of Rajasthan.
Modern Rajasthan- The modern Rajasthan state reflects the past of this place like a mirror of time, the present day Rajasthanis still follow the same traditions that were followed by their ancestors. The place is a heaven for discovering new culture. It would not be appropriate if we do not mention about the Rajasthani cuisine, the Rajasthanis are a very hospitable people and mix with everyone very well.