The people of Rajasthan belong to the various castes and tribes. The area around Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur in the southwest of the state, locals belong to the Minas, Meos and Banjaras, Gadia Lohars, communities and were mostly traveling tradesmen and artisans. The Bhils, famed archers of the legends and one of the oldest tribes of India inhabit the districts of Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswarara, Udaipur, and Sirohi. The Grasias and nomadic Kathodis live in the Mewar region. The Sahariyas are found in the Kota district, and the Rabaris of the Marwar region are nomadic cattle breeders.
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The people of Rajasthan belong to the various castes and tribes. The area around Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur in the southwest of the state, locals belong to the Minas, Meos and Banjaras, Gadia Lohars, communities and were mostly traveling tradesmen and artisans. The Bhils, famed archers of the legends and one of the oldest tribes of India inhabit the districts of Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswarara, Udaipur, and Sirohi. The Grasias and nomadic Kathodis live in the Mewar region. The Sahariyas are found in the Kota district, and the Rabaris of the Marwar region are nomadic cattle breeders.…
Rajasthan is situated in north-western part of India. It is the largest state in India sharing the borders with the north western, western regions touching the borders of Indo Pakistan. Rajasthan is well-known for the beautiful and stunning forts which stand as pride and prestige of Rajasthan and India. The stunning forts and palaces are known for its fabulous architecture that is the great example of vast heritage of Rajasthan. The remarkable desert reigns and the intensely built and forts adds curiosity to visit. The marvelous forts and palaces of Rajasthan which are more attractive are Ranthambhore fort, Amber Fort, Chittorgarh Fort, City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Junagadh Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, Jaisalmer Fort Sonar, Nahagrah fort, Umaid Bhavan Palace etc. The Aravali range is the oldest mountain range in of world which is spread in between the zones and the where the mountain ranges are the pleasant one to visit. The hill station of Mount Abu gives the best scenery view from this range where the Aravali mountain range got its highest peak ,” Guru Shikhar” . The history of Rajasthan dates back to more than about 5000 years and the mythological origin of this history make a great impression in the minds of the Ancient, Medieval and Modern society. It is the land of Rajasthan where many historical wars have been fought and many rulers have ruled and become famous for ever.
Culture of Rajasthan
Despite the relative poverty of the desert people, and the harsh living conditions that they endure, the Rajasthanis are a colourful, happy and proud people with a culture deeply rooted in tradition. The Rajasthanis are traditional to the point of being orthodox and extremely conservative, especially in matters of caste and community. Till not so long back, women were restricted to living within the purdah and education and careers were distant dreams for most women. In matters of honour, the Rajasthanis are very touchy and any insult, real or imagined can end in bloodbaths, even today.
A taste of Rajasthan-The Scent of Chilies
We had a white Christmas this year in Seattle. While the flakes were swirling down, we were in the kitchen up to our elbows in masa. A Mexican tradition, my friend Yolanda taught me how to make tamales when I lived in Southern California. We had some friends over and spent the day drinking margaritas, kneading masa (corn dough), making molé, and filling masa smeared ojas (corn husks) with spicy chicken, roasted poblano chilies and jack cheese. The recipe for fun and food is simple: Sip, spread, stuff, steam, and eat until you burst. The masa has a pinch of chili powder in it. The mole has a healthy handful added. While purchasing the tamale ingredients, I bought some New Mexico chili powder at the Mexican Market in Pike Place Market. "It's hot," the proprietress assured me. Good. I like it spicy. But I couldn't resist mixing spices from countries and continents by throwing in a bit of Indian chili powder I bought during one of my visits to Rajasthan. The smell of it brought back memories. I was on my way to see gharials at the Chambal River in Sawai Madhopur. The crocodile-like reptiles are endangered and I wanted to see them in the wild. To do that, I had to be on the road by 5am for the nearly two hour ride. Apparently gharials get up early. I was in an open air jeep and the late February air was chilly. Then it became very fragrant. And spicy smelling. Suddenly, I saw mounds and hills of red. I thought it was flowers. As we got closer I saw massive piles of drying red chili peppers. The sun was rising, the gharials were probably waking up, but I made the driver stop. Women in colorful saris and dazzling smiles were squatting in the midst of it all sorting the peppers. Men stood by tractors sipping warm chai. I walked around the mass of chilies, took pictures and big whiffs. I got back in the jeep. The chili pepper detour made us "late." There were a few long-snouted gharials in the river, but I think we missed the bulk of them. And while I won't forget seeing these incredible reptiles motionless on the riverbanks, neither will I forget sniffing the air, heavy with the scent of drying chilies. When I got back to Jaipur I bought a big bag of chili powder at the bazaar. It was freshly sealed by a boy holding the plastic bag over a candle flame. POSTED BY KATHY SCHULTZ
Holy Cow Story
There are many holy cows in India. In fact, all cows in India are holy according to the Hindu religion. Cows freely roam the streets and alleyways in most large cites. They stop traffic, stand oblivious to motor scooters and cars in the middle of thoroughfares, and pensively chew their cud on the side of the road. On busy corners villagers sell fresh green fodder, bought by believing Hindus who in turn offer it to the cows as a religious gesture. For some, it is a daily ritual. The big bovines are considered sacred, and are attributed qualities such as matriarchal nurturing and abundance. Most of the free-roaming cows are stray, non-productive animals. They should be given a wide berth and caution should be exercised around them as they can get aggressive. As I was preparing to leave my friend's home in Agra I noticed a big, creamy colored cow standing outside of the house. It was looking through the wrought iron gate into the courtyard. "She comes every day," said Monica. "My mother used to feed her the first chapati of the day." Monica now carries on the tradition and offering. We walked outside and Monica grabbed a broom and shooed the cow away. Apparently the holy mother had already had her chapati that morning. I said my goodbyes to this kind family who welcomed me to their home and went on to Khajuraho. I now have another, and perhaps even better reason to visit this city, home to the Taj Mahal. POSTED BY KATHY SCHULTZ
As an animal lover, I never tire of the wildlife and domesticated animals running around the streets and jungles of India. I still get excited whenever I see a monkey. I love watching them go about their daily business in the city or the forest. They are very busy. They groom themselves, take care of their young, beg or steal food on the street, and pester residents and tourists alike. There is even a monkey patrol in New Delhi to keep them in line. http://en.rian.ru/world/20071024/85320947.html There are two very common types of monkeys in Rajasthan: the red-faced, red-rumped Rhesus Macaque and the black-faced Hanuman Langur. Drivers and guides have often told me: "Red-faced mean monkey. Black-faced nice monkey." Red-faced monkeys tend to be more aggressive and I've seen more of them in the cities. Black-faced monkeys have very long, graceful limbs and tails. I've heard their warning call in a forest when a tiger approaches. They look like hairy little men when then sit on walls with their legs dangling over. In Jaipur I've seen disagreements among disparate species. While walking down the alleys of Johari Bazaar, I saw a monkey get in a spat with a dog, though I'm not sure over what. There was snarling on the dog's part and paw swatting on the monkey's part. Smart and conniving monkeys hang out at temples where there's sure to be food. Devotees offer sweets to the Gods which are in turned blessed. Pilgrims leave with the blessed sweets. Monkeys don't miss a trick and watch your hands as you leave temples. In Deeg, my friend Regina was robbed of her plate of offerings as she left the Durga Goddess temple. Amid shouts from locals, a red-faced monkey ran up, slapped her plate from beneath and made off with her coconut. He smugly sat on the fence munching it right in front of us. In Sawai Madhophur, a black-faced monkey wrestled me for the rose garland around my neck. It was given to me by a priest at a local temple. I would have easily handed it over but the garland string got caught in my hat and earring, resulting in a tug of war. The monkey won, greedily stuffing roses in his mouth as I watched, massaging my ear. So far my favorite bit of monkey business was watching a monkey milk a cow. On the way to Pushkar, a troop of monkeys on the roadside were busy with a group of cows. One was presumably picking fleas off a docile caramel-colored cow's flank. Another was fastidiously combing through the cow's tail hairs. But one industrious fellow was actually milking the cow. Really. Well, more than likely, he was picking fleas off the udders, but it sure looked like he was milking it. Even the stoic driver on the trip had a big smile on his usually staid face. I really hope they never round up all the monkeys that carry on their business in busy cities. It would be far less entertaining. POSTED BY KATHY SCHULTZ