Life in the Desert
Art & Craft
Music & Dance
People of Rajasthan are sturdy, cheerful and simple folks
relatively untouched by the fast pace of modern times -
making Rajasthan one of the safest tourist destinations
anywhere in the world.
The colourful attire offsets the barren, colourless landscape
and the monotony of its cloudless skies. From the simple
village folk or tribal to the Rajas and Ranis, the preferred
colours are bright red, dazzling yellow, lively green or
brilliant orange, highlighted by a lavish use of sparkling
gold and silver zari or gota. Tribal and nomadic women are
known for their love for silver jewellery (although men
too sport ear studs and earrings). The ornaments follow
age-old designs typical of a particular tribe.
old local saying sums it up - "The dialect, cuisine,
water and turbans in Rajasthan change every 12 miles".
In fact there are about 1,000 different styles and types
of turbans in Rajasthan, each denoting the class, caste
and region of the wearer. Turbans come in all shapes, sizes
and colours; there being specific turbans for specific occassions.
The Safa is a turban made from a single, colourful strip
of cloth and is originally from Rajasthan.
lineage of beautiful women
women have been renowned for their grace and beauty. Alauddin
Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, was so smitten by the beauty
of the legendary Maharani Padmini Devi of Chittaurgarh that
he waged a war - in vain - for her hand. Even women in remote
and impoverished villages display a proud carriage worthy
of a princess.
- the Jews of India
has made a great contribution to the country's economy.
The Bania community, traditionally traders par excellence,
migrated from their home state way back in the 16th century
and established trading outposts as far away as Assam -
the eastern corner of India. With their ingrained thrift
and perseverance (in those days, people had to walk miles
and miles over scorching sands for a pot of water!) and
business acumen, they soon converted these small businesses
into industrial empires. Today, these 'marwaris' dominate
India's business and economy. As an American sociologist
put it, "more than half the assets in the modern sector
of the Indian economy are controlled by the trading castes
originating in the northern half of Rajasthan".
The sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, Grammy winner Pandit
Vishwamohan Bhatt, the Dhrupad singers - Dagar Brothers,
the legendary oriental dancer Uday Shankar and the noted
ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, to name a few are from this
Namaskar or Namaste is the most popular
form of greeting in India, used both to welcome and also
for bidding farewell. Both the palms are placed together
and raised below the face to greet a person. Khama-Ghani
is the usual form of this greeting in Rajasthan.
Tilak is ritual mark on the forehead.
It can be put in many forms as a sign of blessing, greeting
or auspiciousness. The Tilak is usually made out of red
vermilion paste - a mixture of turmeric, alum, iodine, camphor,
etc. It can also be of a sandalwood paste blended with musk.
All rites and ceremonies of Hindus begin with a tilak topped
with a few grains of rice placed on this spot with the index
finger or the thumb.
Arati is performed as an act of
welcome, veneration, love or worship Five small lamps, filled
with ghee or oil and with a cotton wick are arranged in
a small tray. A conch shell filled with water, auspicious
leaves or flower, incense or lighted camphor are also placed
in the tray. The lamps are lit and the tray is rotated in
a circular motion in front of the deity or the person to
made with jasmine or marigold, is also offered as a mark
of respect and honour to the God and Goddesses and also
to welcome visitors. They are weaved in the thread tied
in the end with a help of a knot.
Typical Rajasthani womenfolk
Rajasthani men in
Applying Tilak to a guest
Utensils used in
Garlanding as a
form of welcome