A country as diverse as India is symbolized by the plurality of its culture. India has one of the world’s largest collections of songs, music, dance, theatre, folk traditions, performing arts, rites and rituals, paintings and writings that are known, as the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage‘ (ICH) of humanity.
Unity in variety is one of the major characteristics of Indian culture which makes it unique. A synthesis of various cultures came about through the ages to give shape to what is predictable as Indian culture today.
India is characterized by different castes. People of different castes possess different living standard. Even people of dissimilar castes live life with different standards and values. Each caste has its divide rituals and traditions of marriage and other religious ceremonies.
History of Rajasthan
Rajasthan, one of the most sought-after destinations for domestic and international travelers, exudes an aura of royalty, culture and tradition. With varied locales to offer, ranging from hills, golden desert, lakes and forests, Rajasthan is a land of wonder. Home to the erstwhile Indian royalty, the state has many forts which are reminiscent of the rich lives and opulence of the kings and queens. Architectural marvels in themselves, the forts, temples and other historical sites leave the tourists in complete awe.
Rajasthan is known to be atleast 5000 years old with many parts being occupied by Indus Valley Civilization. Kalibunga in northern Rajasthan is one of the famous excavation sites which have revealed ancient human settlement. Rajasthan has witnessed the rule of the kings since the early 11th century upto 19th century when the British rule took over. During these years, many empires flourished in the state, leading to the development of varied architectural styles, traditions, rituals, clothing styles, cuisines and culture. Many temples, mausoleums, dargahs and forts were built during these centuries, each one outdoing the other.
Culture of Rajasthan
Rajasthan has a collective belief in “Atithi Devo Bhava”, meaning that God resides in every guest. The people of this state are warm, indulgent and happy to assist visitors and tourists in every way. With a lot of people involved in hospitality and tourism here, one will not find any problem in travelling here.
From colourful clothes, jewellery, dances and food, it is a delight to be here.
- Clothes :Women like to dress in an attire called “odhni” which consists of a dupatta, blouse and a skirt. Available in different colours and materials, the dressing is attractive and vibrant. Men like to dress in kurta and pajama with a headgear called “pagdi”.
- Folk music and Dance :Rajasthan has varied forms of folk music and dances. One of the few folk music groups include Manganiyars, Langas, Banjaras, Mirasis and Jogis. These groups are divided because of geographical diversity and follow their own set of beliefs which are reflected in the music and performing styles. Famous dancing styles belonging to this state are Tejali, Ghoomar, Chang, Bhopa and Kathipuli. Most of these performances revolve either around sagas of bravery or love.
- Food :Rajasthan is known for its various hot spices and sweets. Famous eating items include dalbati choorma, kachori, ghewar, laal maas and more. These delectable items are traditionally prepared in pure ghee and have their roots in the royal kitchens. Spices are said to ignite the fire in the bodies of royal warriors and sweets are said to calm the mind.
- Handicrafts :Unique handicraft items like blue pottery, metal work, marble and stone statues and decoratives are famous in Rajasthan. Mirror work, embroidery, bati work and tie-and-dye are also famous here. These make for lovely souvenirs for tourists coming here.
Frescoes of Rajasthan
The Shekhawati region of India lies in the eastern part of the state of Rajasthan. The region is very large and has many buildings which were once where the royals of Rajasthan lived. The buildings, mostly havelis, are either abandoned or rented out to the local people
The Shekhawati region is situated in the middle of the former major trade route or the ‘SILK ROAD’ which connected the modern-day India, Pakistan and China. This benefited the local traders, called the Marwari, who built these havelis as a public show of their wealth. With the decline of the Silk Road, the Marwari’s moved on but left behind the treasure trove of the art and architecture that is their homes.
The havelis depict many themes – the daily life of the locals, gods and goddesses, folk mythology and the relatively newer buildings, those of the 19th and 20th century, depict the advent of the British. Each haveli is a piece of splendour and each has its own story to tell. The frescoes in these buildings are made with natural pigment. The oldest frescoes use ochre, red, white lead, lamp black, Indian yellow. The newer ones use synthetic pigments that were imported from Europe.
For the most part, the frescoes depict the god and goddess and folk mythology. The meeting of the gods, the armies and their battles are all depicted in rich colours and few of them gilded in 22 karat gold leaves. The gods Ganesha and Krishna have been depicted several times over. The popular loves stories of Laila -Majnu and Heer-ranjha , the equivalent to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet have been depicted, besides these, Rajasthan’ s most popular romantic tale of Dhola and Maru and also of other lesser known tales are recurrently seen. The murals depicting the Europeans have a funny undertone and are an insight into how they were viewed by the Indians there.
Jewellery of Rajasthan
Other than the historical monuments the amazing thing to explore in Rajasthan is the market place. Markets in Rajasthan are glorious. Many different varieties of things can be found in there, people are often amazed to see how beautiful, colourful and variant those markets are.
Let us tell you about the most eye-catching product in these markets, the ethnic jewelleries. First of all, you can see people dressed in colourful ethnic outfits. Women’s mainly wear ‘Lehenga choli’ or ‘Saree’ and these outfits usually come in vibrant colours like red, orange, yellow and green or the bright shades of other colours and to compliment these bright ethnic dresses comes the ethnic jewellery. These jewelleries are not just limited for women but men in Rajasthan also wear some special jewelleries.
Leather Embroidery in Rajasthan
Most of the dresses in Rajasthan are vibrant in colour and have some work done on it like mirror work bandhani work or embroidery. These works are not just limited to fabrics they are also done on jewellery, shoes, hats, bags, containers and other products. Leather embroidery is one of the specialities of this State.
When exploring the markets one can notice that the most common thing in almost every product there is the embroidery. It is like the identity that the product is bought from Rajasthan. Many bright colours are used for the embroideries. There are different types of embroideries and done on different products. Rajasthani Embroidery gives everything an ethnic look and these multi coloured embroidered products matches with almost every outfit.
5.Miniatures of Rajasthan
The Miniature painting of Rajasthan is an old art form known for its intricate painting and rich colours. The first evidence of this art form exists in the form of illustration of old Buddhist texts which were executed by the Palas of Northern India. The 16th century painting were presented to the rulers by their partisans as a symbol of a significant event. These were collected by rulers and displayed in their courts.
But the miniature paintings developed mostly in the Mughal period when the emperor Humayun brought Persian artists into India. The next emperor, Akbar set up a National painting school, in which an atelier for the miniature painting, artists from various parts of India trained under the Persian masters. Simultaneously several other school of painting were set up in Mewar (Udaipur), Bundi, Kotah, Marwar (Jodhpur), Bikaner, Jaipur, and Kishangarh.
Pottery in Rajasthan
Rajasthan is a state marked by its distinct art and culture. Hand crafted products are a major speciality here and one of those specialities is Pottery. There are varieties in this category too. Some of them are Blue pottery from Jaipur, Black pottery from Sawai Madhopur, Kagzi Pottery from Alwar, Golden Pottery from Bikaner etc.
Wood work and Furniture
The existence of jungles in some parts of Rajasthan like Jaipur, Kota and Udaipur is what gave rise to Suthars or the carpenter class of craftsmen. Suthars either belong to the Meghwal community who are known for the cots and camels’ carts or from Barmer, who are known for their intricate craftsmanship
Stone Carving in Rajasthan
Rajasthan is a land of rich culture. It is famous for its heroes and their valorous deeds and sacrifices. It is also very famous for its architectural monuments made of stone. Rajasthan is home to temples, forts, palaces which have no competition.
The architecture in Jaipur grew under the Rajputs. The marble and the sandstone are used in the City Palace, Jantar Mantar ,Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal and Tripola gate in Jaipur. Jantar Mantar and Amer Fort are world Heritage sites. These architectural master pieces have been instrumental in putting the city in the world map. Jaipur forms part of the golden triangle, consisting of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The Golden Triangle is called so because they are three most visited places in India.
Jhodpur is another city with palace like the Ummed Bhawan and Chittar Palace, forts made with red sandstone. The perfect beauty and brilliance of the palaces will be bound to sweep you off your feet.
The city of Jaisalmer is situated in the heart of the Thar Desert is called the ‘The Rose in the Desert’ because of its red stone buildings. Places of interest include the Jaisalmer fort with its massive sandstone walls which turn into a magical honey gold as the sun sets.
Rajasthan’s Travelling Temples: Phad Paintings
For almost 700 years ago, every evening the Bhopa and Bhopi, the priest and his wife, unroll their scrolls of Phad paintings depicting the deities and performed dramatic renditions of stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata any other mythological tales. The priest and the priestess belong to a nomadic tribe which are a tribe of camel and goat herders Originating from the Bhilwara region of Rajasthan, this tribe realising that there was no one temple they could visit, travel from village to village with their ravanhatta, a two-string instrument, performing their own form of oral worship.
Phad paintings are scroll paintings which are created on hand-woven coarse cloth. It is a complex process which takes a certain level of talent and hard work in equal proportions. The threads of the cloth are made bulkier and is starched and rubbed with moonstone to make a smooth canvas. The colours are derived from flowers and herbs and are mixes with gum which acts as a binding agent.
Paper Making Industry
Paper making industry is another interesting thing to know about Rajasthan. The art of making paper was given importance in those areas by the Mughal emperors centuries ago. This paper making industry is quite different from other paper making industries. A lot of factors make it different from others. The prime factor here is that its eco- friendly.