Thursday, October 12, 2006



The spring festival of Gangaur is the most popular festival of Rajasthani women. It is celebrated in honour of Gauri, another name for goddess Prvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. The festival begins a day after Holi and lasts for 18 days. Young women dressed in colourful regional costumes carrying brass pitchers on their heads go to the temple of goddess Parvati and ceremonially bathe the deity. The unmarried girls pray for a good match while the married ladies pray for their husband’s long life. The festivities come to an end when Lord Shiva accompanied by elephants comes to escort Gauri home. Although celebrated throughout Rajasthan with great enthusiasm, the celebrations of Gangaur in Jaipur and Udaipur have their own charm. In Jaipur a large procession of Gauri’s adorned image is taken out from the City palace accompanied by music bands, caparisoned elephants, camels, hourses and thousands of people. In Udaipur a board procession in Pichola Lake adds to the gaiety of the festival.

The Ghoomer is the most celebrated folk dance of Rajasthan. Dedicated to the goddess Parvati or Gauri, the dance is performed exclusively by women during Teej and other festivals and on happy occasions. Ghoomer means a spinning movement and the dancers go round gracefully in circles to the rhythm to the dholak (drum) and the manjeera (cymbals). The Ger dance on the other hand, is performed by men during Holi. It is danced at a hectic pace to the beat of a drum. Dancing men carry sticks which they manipulate with great finesse.



The Ranthambore National Park named after historic fort of Ranthambore, is probable one of the best places in India to see the tiger in its natural habitat. It was one of the eight national parks and sanctuaries designated as Project Tiger Reservers in 1973. Spread over an area of about 1500 km, the Ranthanbore National Park was the private hunting reserve of the maharajas of Jaipur till it was converted into a sanctuary. The 1000 year old Ranthambore Fort, once a Rajput stronghold, stands a mute witness to bygone days. The Ranthambore National park is closed to visitors during the monsoon season. November to March is the best time to visit its rich variety of birdlife and wildlife.



The Bishnois, a community living on the edge of the Marusthali near Jodhpur are the earliest ecologists known to the world. The Bishnoi sect founded about 500 years ago, believes that all forms of life apart from being sacred are vital to each other’s existence. The Bishnois derive their name from bees and nau – the 29 principles laid down by their founder Guru Jambhoji. They strictly adhere to these principles and revere and preserve all flora and fauna. The Bishnois, however, have sacrificed many lives for their principles. Three centuries ago Amrita Devi and about 360 Bishnois were hacked to death because they clasped to save the trees which the axemen came to cut for palace of Maharaja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur. On hearing the news of their sacrifice, the remorseful maharaja recalled his men and proclaimed that no tree or animal be killed in the Bishnoi villages. As a result, the blackbuck (Indian antelope) and CHINKARA (Indian Gazelle) wander freely in Bishnoi villages and no hunter dares to kill them.


In the extreme north of Rajasthan is Ganganagar. It lies in the heart of the Thar desert. Being an arid region, agriculture was poor and famine and scarcity caused by the failure of rains were frequent. But this picture completely changed with the advent of canal irrigation. In 1927 the Gang Canal taken from the Sutlej river of the Punjab brought water to this area. It worked a miracle. The district started producing a variety of crops, such as wheat, cotton, oilseeds and sugar cane. Then again in 1956, a model mechanized farm called Suratgarh was set up in the Ganganagar district with Russian collaboration. Spread over an area of nearly thirteen hectares, its aim was to promote mechanized farming and allied activities. The farmer readily accepted every innovation-tractors, fertilizers and improved seeds were used on a big scale. Even for carrying loads, Lorries replaced the traditional camel and bullock carts. Today Ganganagar houses one of India’s richest farming communities.



The 650 km long Rajasthan canal named the Indira Gandhi Canal is one of the longest man-made canals. The main canal along with 7,000 km of distribution canals is the biggest irrigation project in the world. The gigantic project was started in 1958. Originating from the Harike Barrage just below the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej rivers, the canal enters Rajasthan in the Ganganagar district after flowing for 176 km as a feeder canal. As many as 6,444 km long distributaries have been built and over 11, 00,000 hectares have been fed with water for irrigation. The canal and its branches have been lined with specially made tiles because of the sandy terrain.
In the desert region of western Rajasthan where water is more valuable than gold, the canal has been a boon to the people. Bumper crops of wheat, gram, cotton, mustard, sugar cane and pulses greet the visitor along the canal area which not long ago was sandy and desolate.


Makrana, a small town in Rajasthan, has been famous for its marble mines since ancient times. Four hundred years ago the Makrana marble adorned the magnificent monuments of the Mughals, including the world famous, Taj Mahal at Agra. Two centuries later, Viceroy Lord Curzon used the Makrana marble for Kolkatta’s Victoria Memorial. Marble is quarried in a series of channels or slots made in the face of the rock. It is extracted by manual labour as blasting may damage or crack the marble. In its pure from marble is ivory-white in colour. Impurities often give it shades of pink, green, brown and cream. Black and grey marble is very rare and hence expensive. The Makarana marble has very few veins and does not turn yellow even after years of the exposure to nature.

The rough marble blocks are cut and polished before being sold. Earlier cutters used hand saws while continuously pouring water and sand on the marble to facilitate cutting. Then during the 1920s, the English set up the first marble cutting machine. There are now over sixty such machines, making Makrana a major marble processing centre. Makrana’s entire economy revolves around marble. Most of the inhabitants depend on the mines for their livelihood. The marble quarries contribute an annual revenue of nearly ten crore repees to the state exchequer.



The Great Indian Bustard is the protected bird of Rajasthan. Once found almost throughout India, it is tragically on the verge of extinction. Hardly 1,000 of the species are found in the Desert National Park in Rajasthan. Shy and timid by nature, the bustard keeps away from humans, preferring open scrub lands where it lives in small groups. This spectacular bird undergoes a complete transformation at courtship when the gular sac in its neck inflates to the size of a balloon and hangs between its legs. Strutting majestically before its harem of hens, the bird utters a far-reaching call.

Although it has wings, the bird is slow a take-off because of its 16 kg weight. But is a swift runner. The hunter can easily spon and shoot the unsuspecting bird from his vehicle because of its long white neck which is visible from a distance. The bustard is hunted for its meat which is a gourmet’s delight.


Mewar and Marwar were two powerful Rajput kingdoms in Rajputana until kingdoms in Rajputana until the 20th century. The Mewar region now corresponds to Chittorgarh, Udaipur and Bhilwara districts, while the Marwar region consists of Jodhpur and Bikaner districts of Rajasthan. The kingdom of Mewar founded in 728 A.D. had its capital a Chittorgarh. Its rulers called themselves ‘Ranas’ and were famous in history. Later they shifted their capital to Udaipur. The kingdom of Marwar was founded in the 13th century by the Raos with their capital at Jodhpur. One of the Raos founded the state of Bikaner.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Marble In Rajasthan


The words marble and 'Sang-e-marar 'also means 'shining stone' and both have been derived from Latin word -Marmor ( originated from greek word - marmarus ) meaning 'shining stone'.

Rajasthan state is known for its richness in a great number of minerals and the most prominent group among them is building stones. Marble and marble products are used in the construction of houses and temples, statues , marble and dolomite powder and plaster making . The marble is a fascinating decorative building stone. It was known to Indians even in ancient times, hence quarried out and proceed since then at the several places in India . Most important buildings in the list are Taj Mahal ; Dilwara Temples ; Ranakpur temples etc,

Uniqueness of marble is due to its pleasant white colour with shining luster and easiness in carving. The state of Rajasthan is richest in marble in India; both quality wise and quantity wise. It produces about 95% of total India 's marble production and recoverable reserves more then 1100 million tonnes.

In the field of trade and commerce the marble is classified on the basis of colours, shades, stripes and patterns. On this basis marble is grouped into 10 categories - Plain White Marble, Panther Marble; White Veined Marble, Black Zebra Marble; Green Marble ; Pink Adanga Marble ; Pink Plain Marble ', Grey Marble and Brown Marble. Some other varieties are wood marble, Dendritic marble, Red marble etc.
Important deposits of marble in Rajasthan are located in Rajasamand , Udaipur , Nagaur , Alwar , Jaipur , Banswara , Sirohi and Ajmer .

District-wise description –

(1) NAGOUR DISTRICT- The word famous Makrana marble deposit are found here. It is usually coarse or fine grained.
(2) RAJASAMAND DISTRICT - It posses largest deposits of State and contribute 40% of state marble production. The marble is medium to coarse grained, white to grayish white having dark coloured stripes.
(3) UDAIPUR DISTRICT- The marble deposit here is of white or light to dark pink in colour and fine to medium grained .
(4) BANSAWARA DISTRICT - The marble of this area is used in tile making . The marble is white to creamish in colour having spots of pink, maroon , brown colour due to various in impurities .
(5) DUNGARPUR DISTRICT- The green marble of this district posses various shades from light to deep green colour and white stripes of calcite, hence known as 'green marble'.
(6) JAIPUR DAUSA DISTRICT - The marble of area is fine to medium grained , crystalline and gray to white in colour having patches of dark green , hence also known as 'Andhi pista marble'.
(7) Ajmer District-Here Kishangarh is the extension of makrana marble hence the quality is good.
(8) JAISALMER DISTRICT- 'Golden yellow colour' attractive limestone of jaisalmer Formation are found here, known as 'yellow marble'.
(9) JODHPUR DISTRICT-Fine to medium grained marble are found in various colours like white ,green ,pinkish ,gray etc.

Rajasthan is the largest marble producing state in the country. There are more then 3000 working marble mines and about 10 times more marble based industries in the state. It supplies marble to almost all the states of country and exporting too. Govt. agencies are still making active efforts to explore new deposits and to develop mines.