People and Religion
According to the 2001 census, Rajasthan has a population of 56.5 million. Rajasthan has large indigenous populace–The Meo and Minas (Minawati) in Alwar, Jaipur, Bharatpur, and Dholpur areas. The Banjara are travelling tradesmen and artisans. The Gadia Lohar is the ironsmith (lohar) who travels in bullock carts (Gadia); they generally make and repair agricultural and household implements. The Bhils are one of the oldest peoples in India, and inhabit the districts of Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Udaipur, and Sirohi and are famous for their skill in archery. The Grasia and nomadic Kathodi live in the Mewar region. Sahariyas are found in the Kota district, and the Rabaris of the Marwar region are cattle breeders.
The Oswals hail from Osiyan near Jodhpur are successful traders and are predominately Jains. While the Mahajan (the trading class) is subdivided into a large number of groups, some of these groups are Jain, while others are Hindu. In the north and west, the Jat and Gujar are among the largest agricultural communities. The Gujars who are Hindus dwell in eastern Rajasthan. The nomadic Rabari or Raika are divided in two groups the Marus who breed camels and Chalkias who breed sheep and goats.
The Muslims form less than 10% of the population and most of them are Sunnis. There is also a small but affluent community Shiaite Muslims known as Bhoras in southeastern Rajasthan.
The Rajputs though represent only a small proportion of the populace are the most influential section of the people in Rajasthan. They are proud of their martial reputation and of their ancestry
The miniature paintings of Rajasthan are renowned the world over. The famous schools of painting in Rajasthan are: the Mewar School, Bundi-Kota Kalam, Bikaner, Jaipur, Marwar and Kishangarh Schools. Artists engaged in miniature paintings exist in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Nathdwara and Kishangarh and continue to work on handmade paper. Rajasthan’s popular dance is Ghoomer which gets its name from ghoomna. The other graceful dance is Kalbelia. Jaipur, the Pinkcity of Rajasthan, is famous for its Blue Pottery. It is also famous for precious and semi-precious gem stones. Jaipur has been famous for the diamond industry throughout the world.
The range of Rajasthani textile is very huge. Block prints, tie & dye and embroidered fabrics. The Bandhani (tie & dye and leharia) work from Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jodhpur is world famous. Printed Kota Doria sarees are also famous. Hand block printed bed sheets in Ajrak prints come from Barmer; sarees, wraps and kerchiefs from Nathdwara and embroidered textiles from Bikaner and Barmer are well known. Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Alwar & Bikaner are famous for terracotta craft.
Culture & Tradition:
Fairs and festivals of Rajasthan reflect its rich culture and tradition. Gangaur festival, Teej festival, Pushkar fair, Desert festival, Marwar festival, Camel festival, Urs fair, Nagaur festival, Summer festival and Elephant festival are some of the popular festivals in Rajasthan. People of Rajasthan love celebrations.
Music of Rajasthan:
Rajasthan Music adds more symphony to the art & culture of Rajasthan. There is abundance and diversity in Rajasthani music, which is rich, heroic, melancholic and joyful, and governs all aspects of Rajasthani lives. The music of Rajasthan is compelling and intoxicating.
Rajasthan has a rich tradition of cuisines – for this land of princes had some of the finest cooks in the palaces. The common-folk also took epicurean delight in the culinary art. Aptly has it been said that the royal kitchens of Rajasthan raised the preparation of food to the level of a sublime art. It is not surprising therefore that the ‘Khansamas’ (the royal cooks) who worked in the State palaces kept their most prized recipes to themselves. Some recipes were passed on to their descendants and the rest were passed on as skills to the chefs of semi States and the branded hotel companies.
One special feature of the Rajasthani cooking is that it has its roots in the lifestyle of the medieval Rajasthan when the chieftains were mainly at war. The focus was on edible items that could last for several days and could also be eaten without heating. Food was also prepared out of necessity rather than choice. It depended on the items available in particular regions. Furthermore, the scarcity of water as well as fresh green vegetables have had some impact on their art of cooking.
In the desert belt of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner, cooks use a minimum of water and prefer, instead, to use more milk, buttermilk and clarified butter. A distinct feature of the Maheshwari(a trading company) cooking is the use of mango powder, a suitable substitute for tomatoes, scarce in the desert, and asafetida, to enhance the taste in the absence of garlic and onions.