Ancient History of Rajasthan | Competitive Exams Preparation

The history of Rajasthan dates back around 5000 years. The Bhil and the Mina tribes are said to be its original inhabitants and the first Aryan settlement was established here.

The recorded ancient history of Rajasthan dates back to 1200 AD. It was ruled over by the various dynasties including Mauryan Empire (321-184 BC) followed by the first Rajput dynasty during 700 AD. Rajput clans consolidated their rule (eighth – twelfth century AD) with 21 dynasties. So the region got named as Rajputana (the land of the Rajputs). Later period (1000-1200 AD) is marked by wars for supremacy among the Parmar, Chalukyas, and Chauhan rulers.

In this medieval era (1200 AD), this region formed a part of Mughal Empire. Modern era starts with the British rule from 1817 to 15th August, 1945 when India became independent.

Rajasthan which is also known as the “Land of Maharajas” is the largest state of India, covering an area of about 342,239 sq. km. It comprises of 33 districts and its largest city is Jaipur, which is also its capital. Being located on the western side of the country, it shares its border with Pakistan to its northwest and to the west it shares its border with Sindh. To its north it has Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to its northeast; to its southeast it has Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to its southwest.

The glory of the state is retained by its majestic palaces, forts and monuments. The vibrant culture and rich heritage of this princely state draw innumerable tourists from across the globe.

Its major attractions include the ruins of Indus Valley Civilization, the oldest mountain range- Aravalli, a Jain pilgrimage site known as Dilwara Temples, Karni Mata Mandir, the only hill station of Rajasthan- Mount Abu, Keoladeo National Park (formerly known as Bharatpur National Park, the Ranthambore National Park and the Sariska Tiger Reserve.

Some of its major architectural wonders include Chittorgarh fort – the largest fort in Asia, Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpur, Jaipur “The Pink City” houses a number of well known tourists spots which include Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), Lake Palace, City Palace, Amber Palace, Jantar Mantar, Umaid Bhawan in Jodhpur, Jaisalmer Fort in Jaisalmer and many more.


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Contents

1 Periods of history of Rajasthan

1.1 Stone Age

1.2 Bronze Age

1.3 Vedic Period

1.4 Classical Period

1.4.1 Ancient Kingdoms of Rajasthan

1.4.2 Under Gupta Empire

1.5 Rajput Period

2. Indus Valley Civilisation (3300–1500 BCE)

2.1 Kalibangan Civilization

3. Matsya kingdom (1500-500 BCE)

3.1 Geography

3.2 Kurukshetra War

4. Ancient Kingdoms of Rajasthan (500 BCE–300 CE)

4.1 Northern Rajasthan Area

4.2 Eastern Rajasthan Area

4.3 Central Rajasthan Area

4.4 Western Rajasthan Area

4.5 Southern Rajasthan Area

5. Parihara dynasty (550–1036 CE)

5.1 Mandor Branch (550–880)

5.2 Bhinmala (Kannuj) Branch (725–1036)

5.3 Baddoch Branch (600–700)

5.4 Rajogarh Branch

5.5 Pratihara Art

5.5.1 Mahavira Jain temple, Osian

5.5.2 Bateshwar Hindu temples complex

5.5.3 Baroli temples complex

6. Chahamanas or Chauhan dynasty (500-1315 CE)

6.1 Chahamanas of Shakambhari (500-1194)

6.1.1 Territory

6.1.2 History

6.1.3 Cultural Achievements

6.1.4 List of rulers

6.2 Chahamanas of Naddula (950-1197)

6.2.1 List of rulers

6.3 Chahamanas of Jalore (1160-1311)

6.3.1 List of Rulers

6.4 Chahamanas of Ranastambhapura (1192-1301)

7. Mewar dynasty (550–1950)

7.1 History

7.2 List of Rulers

7.3 Guhil dynasty (550–1303)

7.4 Branching of Guhil Dynasty

7.4.1 Post-split Rawal branch

7.5 Rana branch (1162–1326)

7.6 Sisodia Dynasty (1326-1950)

8. Early Modern period (1526-1858 CE)

8.1 Mughal Conquests

8.2 Maratha Empire

9. British colonial period (1858-1947 CE)

10. Post-independence (1947 CE – present)


The history of human settlement in the West Indian state of Rajasthan dates back to about 5,000 years ago. This region was inhabited during great floods after the ice age as well. This area was known as Matsya kingdom. It was the site of the Indus Valley Civilization. The early medieval period saw the rise of many Rajput kingdoms like Pratihar, Chauhan of Ajmer, Guhilot and Sisodia of Mewar, Shekhawat of Shekhawati Sikar, Rathore of Marwar.

The Pratihar Empire acted as a barrier for Arab invaders from the 8th to the 11th century. It was the power of the Parihara army that effectively barred the progress of the Arabs beyond the confines of Sindh, their only conquest for nearly 300 years.

After Matsya kingdom this area was known as Rajputana around the time when the Kachwaha migrated to the region. The Kachwaha continued to assist their Rajput allies in many fatal battles including First Battle of Tarain and later in the disastrous Second Battle of Tarain. The last time where Kachwaha fought for Rajputs was under Rana Sanga of Chittor in the Battle of Khanwa.

Sisodia of Chittor, who continue to resist Mughals against heavy odds and gave rise to Maharana Pratap who became a symbol of Rajput valour along with Rana Sanga and Prithviraj Chauhan. After Indian Independence in 1947, the various princely states of Rajasthan were integrated. The British made several treaties with rulers of Rajasthan and also made allies out of local rulers, who were allowed to rule their princely states. This period was marked by famines and economic exploitation.

Important Topics / Areas of Ancient History of Rajasthan

1.    Stone Age in Rajasthan

2. Indus Valley Civilization in Rajasthan

3. Iron-Age in Rajasthan

4. Historical Period of Rajasthan

5. Theories of Origin of Rajputs

6. Gurjara-Pratihara Emipre & Pratihara of Mandore

7. Pratihara of Bhinmal

8. Guhil Dynasty of Mewar

9. Chauhan of Shakambhari

10. Chauhan of Ranthambore

History of Rajasthan for RPSC RAS, Lecturer, AEN, JEN, RSMSSB and other competitive exams

The history of Rajasthan dates back around 5000 years. The Bhil and the Mina tribes are said to be its original inhabitants and the first Aryan settlement was established here. The recorded ancient history of Rajasthan dates back to 1200 AD. It was ruled over by the various dynasties including Mauryan Empire (321-184 BC) followed by the first Rajput dynasty during 700 AD. Rajput clans consolidated their rule (eighth – twelfth century AD) with 21 dynasties.

So the region got named as Rajputana (the land of the Rajputs). Later period (1000-1200 AD) is marked by wars for supremacy among the Parmars, Chalukyas, and Chauhans rulers. Stone Age tools dating from 5,000 to 2, 00,000 years were found in Bundi and Bhilwara districts of the state.

The ancient civilised history of Rajasthan goes back to 5,000 years ago when in the present day districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar, along with other areas of Jaipur district bordering south Haryana, which formed the part of Vedic state of Brahmavarta along with districts of Mahendragarh and Rewari in Haryana, that Vedic seers started composing Vedic scriptures, which form part of Sanatan Dharma, the base of present-day Hinduism. Revered Saraswati and Drishadwati rivers formed the then Brahmavarta state. Drishadwati River is identified as the Vedic Drishadwati by Bhargava.

The parts of Rajasthan may have been occupied by the Indus Valley Civilization (Harappans). Excavations at Kalibanga in northern Rajasthan around 1998 revealed the existence of human settlements of Harappan times on the banks of a river that dried up later, which some people believe to be the Saraswati, archaeologists hope the Saraswati will unlock mysteries of the past. Rajasthan’s geographic position in India has caused it to be affected by the expansionist efforts of various empires. It was a part of the Maurya Empire around 321-184 BCE.

The state of Rajasthan in India has a history dating thousands of years. It was the site of the Indus Valley Civilization. The early medieval period saw the rise many Rajput kingdoms like Chauhans of Ajmer, Guhilot and Sisodias of Mewar, Rathores of Marwar. Later the region came under suzerainty of the Mughal Empire. The Mughals granted high positions to Rajput rulers who allied with them.

However, some Rajput kingdoms did not accept Mughal suzerainty and were constantly at war with them. The Mughal rule effectively ended in the 18th century, in Rajasthan and Maratha influence grew in the region.

Around 1200 AD a part of Rajasthan came under Muslim rulers. The principal centers of their powers were Nagaur and Ajmer. Ranthambore was also under their suzerainty. At the beginning of the 13th century AD, the most prominent and powerful state of Rajasthan was Mewar.

The Gurjar Pratihar Empire acted as a barrier for Arab invaders from the 8th to the 11th century. The chief accomplishment of the Gurjara-Pratihara Empire lies in its successful resistance to foreign invasions from the west, starting in the days of Junaid. Historian R. C. Majumdar says that this was openly acknowledged by the Arab writers. He further notes that historians of India have wondered at the slow progress of Muslim invaders in India, as compared with their rapid advance in other parts of the world.

Now there seems little doubt that it was the power of the Gurjara Pratihara army that effectively barred the progress of the Arabs beyond the confines of Sindh, their only conquest for nearly 300 years.

Rajput king of Delhi and Ajmer Prithviraj Chauhan defeated the invading Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191. In 1192 CE, Muhammad Ghori decisively defeated Prithviraj at the Second battle of Tarain. After the defeat of Chauhan in 1192 CE, a part of Rajasthan came under Muslim rulers. This defeat mark a watershed moment in medieval India’s history.

.The principal centers of their powers were Nagaur and Ajmer. Ranthambhore was also under their suzerainty. At the beginning of the 13th century, the most prominent and powerful state of Rajasthan was Mewar. The Rajputs resisted the Muslim incursions into India, although a number of Rajput kingdoms eventually became subservient to the Delhi Sultanate.

The Rajputs put up resistance to the Islamic invasions with their warfare and chivalry for centuries. The Rana’s of Mewar led other kingdoms in its resistance to outside rule. Rana Hammir Singh defeated the Tughlaq dynasty and recovered a large portion of Rajasthan. The indomitable Rana Kumbha defeated the Sultans of Malwa and Gujarat and made Mewar the most powerful Rajput Kingdom in India. The ambitious Rana Sanga united the various Rajput clans and fought against the foreign powers in India.

Rana Sanga defeated the Afghan Lodi Empire of Delhi and crushed the Turkic Sultanates of Malwa and Gujarat. Rana Sanga then tried to create an Indian empire but was defeated by the first Mughal Emperor Babur at Khanua. The defeat was due to betrayal by the Tomar king Silhadi of Raisen. After Rana Sangas death there was no one who could check the rapid expansion of the Mughal Empire.

Since the early 1700s, the Maratha Empire began expanding northwards, led by Peshwa Baji Rao I of Pune. This expansion finally brought the newly founded Maratha Empire in contact with the Rajputs. Rajasthan saw many invasions by the Marathas, under military leadership of Holkars and Scindhias.

In 1707 Bharatpur city was further developed by a Jat (peasant caste) conqueror. By 1803 Maratha conquered some parts of Rajasthan and was led by Peshwa Baji Rao I of Pune. Most of the Rajputs passed under the control of the Maratha Empire and continued to pay tribute to Pune. This kept on happening till the British East India Company replaced the Marathas as preeminent rulers. In 1857, the British started their rule in India and most Rajput states allied with them.

Association of Rajput and British allowed Rajasthan to continue as independent states, subject to certain political and economic constraints. Under the British rule, the nineteen Rajput states signed a treaty and came under an umbrella called Rajasthan.

The arrival of the British East India Company in the region led to the administrative designation of some geographically, culturally, economically and historically diverse areas, which had never shared a common political identity, under the name of the Rajputana Agency. This was a significant identifier, being modified later to Rajputana Province and lasting until the renaming to Rajasthan in 1949. The Company officially recognized various entities, although sources disagree concerning the details, and also included Ajmer-Merwara, which was the only area under direct British control. Of these various areas, Marwar and Jaipur were the most significant in the early 19th century, although it was Mewar that gained particular attention from James Tod, a Company employee who was enamored of Rajputana and wrote extensively, if often uncritically, of the people, history and geography of the Agency as a whole.

Alliances were formed between the Company and these various princely and chiefly entities in the early 19th century, accepting British sovereignty in return for local autonomy and protection from the Marathas and Pindari depredations. Following the Mughal tradition and more importantly due to its strategic location Ajmer became a province of British India, while the autonomous Rajput states, the Muslim state of Tonk, and the Jat states of Bharatpur, Dholpur were organized into the Rajputana Agency. In 1817–18, the British Government concluded treaties of alliance with almost all the states of Rajputana. Thus began the British rule over Rajasthan, and then called Rajputana.

The name of Rajasthan was probably popularized by Tod and during his lifetime some people believed that he had coined it. Although he claimed that it was the classical name for the region, the term seems first to be documented in an inscription dating from 1708 and to have become popular by his time.

It took seven stages to form Rajasthan as defined today. In March 1948 the Matsya Union consisted of Alwar, Bharatpur, Dhaulpur and Karauli was formed. Also, in March 1948 Banswara, Bundi, Dungarpur, Jhalawar, Kishangarh, Kota, Pratapgarh, Shahpura and Tonk joined the Indian union and formed a part of Rajasthan. In April 1948 Udaipur joined the state and the Maharana of Udaipur was made Rajpramukh. Therefore, in 1948 the merger of south and southeastern states was almost complete. Still retaining their independence from India were Jaipur State and the desert kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer. From a security point of view, it was claimed that it was vital to the new Indian Union to ensure that the desert kingdoms were integrated into the new nation.

The princes finally agreed to sign the Instrument of Accession, and the kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur acceded in March 1949. This time, the Maharaja of Jaipur, Man Singh II, was made the Rajpramukh of the state and Jaipur became its capital. Later in 1949, the United States of Matsya, comprising the former kingdoms of Bharatpur, Alwar, Karauli and Dholpur, was incorporated into Rajasthan. On January 26, 1950, 18 states of united Rajasthan merged with Sirohi to join the state leaving Abu and Dilwara to remain a part of Greater Bombay and now Gujarat.

Gurumukh Nihal Singh was appointed as first governor of Rajasthan. Hiralal Shastri was the first nominated chief minister of the state, taking office on 7 April 1949. He was succeeded by two other nominated holders of the office before Tika Ram Paliwal became the first elected chief minister from 3 March 1951.

In November 1956, under the provisions of the States Re-organisation Act, the erstwhile part ‘C’ state of Ajmer, Abu Road Taluka, former part of Sirohi princely state (which were merged in former Bombay), State and Sunel-Tappa region of the former Madhya Bharat merged with Rajasthan and Sirohi sub district of Jhalawar was transferred to Madhya Pradesh. Thus giving the existing boundary Rajasthan. Today with further reorganisation of the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Rajasthan has become the largest state of the Indian Republic.

The princes of the former kingdoms were constitutionally granted handsome remuneration in the form of privy purses and privileges to assist them in the discharge of their financial obligations. In 1970, Indira Gandhi, who was then the Prime Minister of India, commenced under-takings to discontinue the privy purses, which were abolished in 1971. Many of the former princes still continue to use the title of Maharaja, but the title has little power other than as a status symbol.

Many of the Maharajas still hold their palaces and have converted them into profitable hotels, while some have made good in politics. The democratically elected Government runs the state with a chief minister as its executive head and the governor as the head of the state. Currently, including the new district of Pratapgarh, there are 33 districts, 105 sub-divisions, 37,889 villages, 241 tehsils and 222 towns in Rajasthan.


FAQs

Que. Who was the founder of Rajasthan?

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan which was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II on November 18, 1727. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II was a Kachwaha Rajput who ruled Jaipur from 1699-1743. Prior to Jaipur, his capital was Amber which is 11 km away from Jaipur.

Que. What was the old name of Rajasthan?

Rajputana

Rajasthan, meaning “The Abode of the Rajas”, was formerly called Rajputana, The Country of the Rajputs.

Que. Which was the first Rajput Kingdoms?

The first major Rajput kingdom was the Sisodia-ruled kingdom of Mewar.

Que. Who ruled Rajasthan before Rajputs?

The whole or parts of present-day Rajasthan were ruled by Bactrian (Indo-Greek) kings in the 2nd century BCE, the Saka satraps (Scythians) from the 2nd to the 4th century CE, the Gupta dynasty from the early 4th to the late 6th century, the Hephthalites (Hunas) in the 6th century, and later Harsha (Harshavardhana).

Que. Who is the father of Rajasthan history?

Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod

Que. Who is the greatest Rajput king?

Maharana Sangram Singh

Maharana Sanga was considered to be the most powerful king despite having close to 80 wounds on his body and having lost one arm and an eye. Maharana Sangram Singh was a fierce Rajput king who was known for his courage and tenacity. The king belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajput and was born on April 12, 1482.

Que. Who was last Rajput king?

Like Charlemagne and King Arthur, the twelfth-century Indian ruler Prithviraj Chauhan stood on the cusp of two periods in a time of great change. He has often been described as “the last Hindu emperor” because Muslim dynasties of Central Asian or Afghan origin became dominant after Prithviraj Chauhan’s death.

Que. What is Rajasthan best known for?

Rajasthan is known for its historical hill forts & palaces; it is claimed as the best place for tourism-related to palaces. Umaid Bhawan Palace: It is the largest Royal Palace in Rajasthan. It is also one of the largest private residences in the world.

Que. What is Stone Age period?

The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make tools with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted for roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 4,000 BCE and 2,000 BCE, with the advent of metalworking.

Que. Why was it called Stone Age?

The Stone Age lasted from 30,000 BCE to about 3,000 BCE and is named after the main technological tool developed at that time: stone. It ended with the advent of the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

Que. Is Paleolithic New or Old Stone Age?

The Paleolithic Era (or Old Stone Age) is a period of prehistory from about 2.6 million years ago to around 10000 years ago. The Neolithic Era (or New Stone Age) began around 10,000 BC and ended between 4500 and 2000 BC in various parts of the world.

Que. What were humans called in the Stone Age?

Paleolithic humans

Paleolithic humans made tools of stone, bone (primarily deer), and wood. The early paleolithic hominins, Australopithecus, were the first users of stone tools.

Que. How many kingdoms are there in Rajasthan?

Modern Rajasthan includes most of Rajputana, which comprises the erstwhile nineteen princely states, two chiefships, and the British district of Ajmer-Merwara. Jaisalmer, Marwar (Jodhpur), Bikaner, Mewar (Chittorgarh), Alwar and Dhundhar (Jaipur) were some of the main Rajput princely states.

Que. Who has successfully established their kingdom in Rajasthan?

Akbar

Growing disagreement and rivalry between the two rulers resulted in a fierce battle among the two. With this battle, Akbar established his rule all over Rajasthan while having most of the Rajput rulers as his faithful allies.

Que. Did Mughals rule Rajasthan?

First Mughal Invasion of Marwar (1562-1583) – Akbar invaded Marwar and occupied Jodhpur. The ruler Rao Chandra Sen continued his struggle until his death in 1581 after which Marwar submitted to Mughal rule in 1583.

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