History, Art, Culture, Literature, Tradition & Heritage of Rajasthan

RPSC RAS/RTS Prelims and Main Exam General Studies Paper-1: General Knowledge and General Studies : Unit-I, Part A – History, Art, Culture, Literature, Tradition & Heritage of Rajasthan.

  1. Major landmarks in the History of Rajasthan from Pre-historic time to close of 18th Century, Important dynasties, their administrative and revenue system.
  2. Salient events of 19th& 20th centuries: Peasant & Tribal Movements.
  3. Political Awakening, Freedom Movement and Integration.
  4. Heritage of Rajasthan: Performing & fine Art, Handicraft and Architecture; Fairs, Festivals, Folk Music and Folk Dance
  5. Important works of Rajasthani Literature and Dialects of Rajasthan.
  6. Saints , Lok Devtas and eminent personalities of Rajasthan

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It is a land of art, crafts and festivals which will fascinate peoples from India and foreigners also. Every fair and festival is a reflection of its rich art and craft in terms of bazaars, music, dance, cuisine, sport events which provides an opportunity to gain an insight view of the life & culture of Rajasthan. Its art can be seen in terms of handicraft items made of stone, clay, leather, wood, ivory, glass, silver, gold, brass and textiles.

Rajasthan is renowned the world over for its hand-printed textiles, jewellery, painting, furniture, leatherwork, pottery and metal craft, The use of exuberant colours and ornate, designs are some unique features of the artwork of the state. Extensive areas of Rajasthan are monotone, beige –brown desert but the dramatic spectacle and visual variety that pervade it make it one of the most vibrantly colourful of Indian states. These paradoxes are seen again and again- a recurring motif reflected in its decorative arts and crafts. Though time and again, it has been ravaged by invaders from all across the world, Rajasthan still houses the most opulent and rich treasures. Its history is a long saga of blood feuds and violent battles, but the forbidding stone battlements of its forts shield mirrored rooms and marble carvings of delicacy and grace.

The high-balconies that sometimes were a deterrent to the freedom of women were also marvels of exquisite ornamentation. The jeweled belts and anklets that adorned them were not just ornaments but also rich symbols of love and pride. Needless to say, as an intimate part of everyday life, Rajasthani art and culture has withstood the vicissitudes of industrialism and tourism.  Rajasthan and its crafts are a source of endless fascination-whether one approaches them for purely visual, aesthetic pleasure or pauses to savoir the underlying history, culture and symbolism. Not all Rajasthani crafts however, have originated locally. Rajasthan was on the ancient trade route, which exposed its people to different cultures and traditions. Traces of these can be still seen in the various art forms. Sculptures that date back to 10th century has been found along with cave paintings, terracotta works in Baroli and Hadoti regions are live testimonials of Rajasthan’s allegory of love.

History reveals that kings and their kinsmen were patrons of arts and crafts and they encouraged their craftsmen in activities ranging from wood and marble carving to weaving, pottery and painting.

The constant battles amongst the Rajputs and other invaders were not only a time for change for the people but also art and culture. When a kingdom fell and a new ruler took over, it was time for change paintings depicting the new ruler’s victory, scenes from the battle and processions of the victorious march were faithfully reproduced on the walls and handmade paper. Rajputs, who sacrificed wealth, power, territory and life itself, to withstand the Mughals were also impressed by their art and aesthetics, taking styles, symbols and techniques, often stealing artisans and incorporating them into their own eclectic, rich tradition.

Clothes-their colour, design and cut-may tell people which village and caste someone comes from, but it is the jewellery in which people’s wealth is invested. In most Rajasthani villages, it is silver. Huge and heavy chunks of it are worn around ankles, waist, neck and wrists, dangling in rings from ears, nose and hair, in chains of buttons down the kurta or choli fronts. The beautiful, ornate designs of Adivasi jewellery have now become fashionable among the urban elite and can be bought everywhere. The aristocracy and the well-to-do did not wear silver. Kundan and enamel jewellery inlaid with precious stones was a speciality of Rajasthan, particularly of Jaipur. Rajasthan has abundant deposits of semi precious and precious stones that are much in demand these days.

Ivory: The ivory bangles that most Rajasthani women wear are considered auspicious. Ivory is also inlaid and shaped into intricate items of great beauty. Miniature paintings were also painted on ivory.

Lac and Glass: Lac bangles are made in bright colours and sometimes inlaid with glass. Other decorative and functional items are also available.

Sandalwood and Wood: Carved wood is presented in a wide range of objects and is simple and inexpensive.

Crafts: Stone statues on religious themes can be seen all over the state. In fact in some cities, there are still entire lanes where the stone carvers can be seen giving final touches to statues or even pillars. Other crafts like blue pottery, hand block printing, tie and dye, terracotta sculptures, painting on camel hide, embroidery, cloth painting, carpets, durries, inlay work on brass and wood are to be found all over Rajasthan.

The rich heritage of Rajasthan manifests itself in its unique art and culture. The latticed havelis, ornate palaces and intricately carved temples, the architectural beauty of forts and palaces symbolize the skills of its artists. On the other hand, its colourful fairs & festivals with traditional dance and music represent a unique culture of this vibrant state. RPSC RAS GS Paper

Rajasthan is famous for its forts, intricately carved temples, and decorated havelis, which were built by Rajput kings in pre-Muslim era Rajasthan. Rajasthan’s Jaipur Jantar Mantar, Dilwara Temples, Chittorgarh Fort, Lake Palace, miniature paintings in Bundi, and numerous city palaces and havelis are an important part of the architectural heritage of India. Jaipur, the Pink City, is noted for the ancient houses made of a type of sand stone dominated by a pink hue. In Bundi, maximum houses are painted blue. At Ajmer, the white marble Bara-dari on the Anasagar Lake is exquisite.

Jain Temples of Rajasthan from north to south and east to west, Dilwara Temples of Mount Abu, Ranakpur Temple dedicated to Lord Adinath in Pali District, Jain temples in the fort complexes of Chittor, Jaisalmer and Kumbhalgarh, Lodurva Jain temples, Mirpur Jain Temples, Sarun Mata Temple Kotputli, Bhandasar and Karni Mata Temple of Bikaner are some of the best examples.

Each region of Rajasthan has a different and diverse form of art, culture and heritage.

“Literature in Rajasthan” means all the literature works that has been created within geographical boundary of Rajasthan from start of time till now.

The Rajasthani literature written in various genres but, it is generally agreed that modern Rajasthani literature began with the works of Surajmal Mishran. His most important works are the Vansa Bhaskara and the Vir Satsai. The Vans Bhaskar contains accounts of the Rajput princes who ruled in what was then Rajputana (at present the state of Rajasthan), during the lifetime of the poet (1872–1952). The Vir Satsai is a collection of hundreds of couplets. RPSC RAS GS Paper

Medieval Rajasthani literature is mostly poetry only and it is more about the heroic poetry mentioning of the great kings and fighters of the Rajasthan as said by Rabindra Nath Tagore once, “The heroic sentiment which is the essence of every song and couplet of a Rajasthani is peculiar emotion of its own of which, however, the whole country may be proud”. Rajasthani literature is created by mostly Charans Earlier Rajasthani was known as Charani (or dingal), which was close to Gujarati. As a result, it includes Sanskrit, Prakrit, Rajasthani, Hindi and other Language works. RPSC RAS GS Paper

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