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Rajasthan - 'The Land of Kings, Palaces, Valor and Sacrifices'. Rajasthan derives its name from Rajah Sthana, which literally means home of Kings.1 Rajasthan being situated in the Northwest part of India, is a land of majestic Aravali Hills, crowned with sand dunes of Jaisalmer and Bikaner, Scenic and serene beauty and warrior princes � the land of regal creatures bird watcher and many more. The formation of Rajasthan in its present form has come in gradual states after the independence of the country. The present state of Rajasthan is effectively a union of 22 former princely states. Rajasthan has a total area of 0.342 Sq. Kms, making it geographically the largest state in the country. The state shares its geographical boundaries with the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat in India and also has a long 1070-Kms west boundary with India�s neighboring country Pakistan. The topography of Rajasthan mainly comprises of three regions, namely, the Aravali hills range, the Great Indian Thar Desert and the Eastern part of the state. The population of the state is around 56.5 Million according to the 2001 census which constitutes nearly 5.5% of the nation�s population. The principal language of the state is Rajasthani, the four important dialects being Marwari in the West, Jaipuri in the East, Malwi in South-east and Mewati in North-east. Hindi is widely spoken and is rapidly replacing Rajasthani language.
The Govenment of India has Sanctioned four smart cities for the Rajasthan State.
Rajasthan "Land of Kings" is India's largest state by area (342,239 square kilometres (132,139 sq mi) or 10.4% of India's total area). It is located on the northern side of the country, where it comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert (also known as the "Rajasthan Desert" and "Great Indian Desert") and shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley. Elsewhere it is bordered by the other Indian states: Punjab to the north; Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the northeast; Madhya Pradesh to the southeast; and Gujarat to the southwest. Its features include the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization at Kalibanga; the Dilwara Temples, a Jain pilgrimage site at Rajasthan's only hill station, Mount Abu, in the ancient Aravalli mountain range; and, in eastern Rajasthan, the Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur, a World Heritage Site known for its bird life. Rajasthan is also home to two national tiger reserves, the Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur and Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar.
Rajasthan is a land of great beauty and diversity. From the Thar Desert in the west to the fertile Southeastern plains, Rajasthan's topography too shares in this diversity. The state is home of brave Rajput warriors, is popular for its culture, from the lively folk dances to the many schools of Indian classical music. The main cities in Rajasthan are Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mount Abu, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Chittor, Bharatpur and Alwar which enjoying benefit of tourists attraction. The customs and traditions, fairs and festivals, handicrafts, art and music reflect the very broad spectrum of the Rajasthani culture where much of the Rajasthani thought, philosophy and culture is being reflected all over the state.
Rajasthan accounts a major contributor to the country�s production of gypsum, silver ore, asbestos, feldspar and mica and has rich salt deposits at Sambhar and copper mines at Khetri and Dariba. The state is also famous for production of building stones like sandstone, marble, kotastone and granite in different colors and in large quantities. Rajasthan also has an emerging industry sector, the main industries being textiles, manufacture of rugs and woollen goods, vegetable oils and dyes. Traditional handicrafts such as jewellery, marble work, embossed brass, block printing, embroidery, pottery and decorative paintings are good foreign exchange earners for the state. The state includes heavy industries such as railway rolling stock, copper and zinc smelting. The chemical industry produces caustic soda, calcium carbides, fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. The principal industrial clusters in the state are at Jaipur, Kota, Alwar, Udaipur and Bhilwara. Another sector that has always played an important role in the state economy, particularly during the last few decades is tourism. Rajasthan tourism industry has seen a strong growth in both the domestic and international tourist arrivals over the decades.
Tourism industry in Rajasthan is a vital breath in the economic activity. Tourism has direct and indirect impact on financial, social and cultural life of people. This industry is considered as leisure industry with many economic benefits like foreign exchange earnings, regional development, promotion of local handicrafts and artisans, infrastructure development and increasing standard of living. The state government has already realized the potentials of this industry for the economic development in the state and has adopted vital measures to promote tourism in the state adopting schemes like �Padharo Mhare Desh� means �Rajasthan Invites You�. 3 The former president of USA, Bill Clinton�s visit to Rajasthan helped to turn the world�s spotlight on this popular tourist destination and the state is already witnessing an increasing tourist traffic ever since. No doubt officials of Rajasthan tourism are very enthusiastic about this welcome development and pitching with their efforts to make Rajasthan a most preferred destination in the world. There are good reasons to believe why tourism in Rajasthan is being accorded the priority it deserves? The Chief Minister of Rajasthan has declared tourism as one of the key area of economic development and termed this sector as the �Hope Sector� for Rajasthan.
No wonder that Rajasthan has been called the �Designer State� as far as tourism is concerned because of its people, culture, cuisine, costumes, clothes and its numberless art forms. Really for Rajasthan Tourism sky is not the limit�. Tourism in Rajasthan is a major source of revenue earnings and it contributes about 15% of the economy of Rajasthan. Rajasthan contributes about 11.2 per cent and 3.3 per cent share in India's foreign and domestic tourist arrivals respectively. To enhance the role of tourism in the state the Rajasthan government has brought down the luxury tax from 10% to 8% to boost the tourism industry in the state. Hence the state Rajasthan has all potential to attract more number of tourists by providing various types of tourism facilities which play an important role for growth of the economy.
Rajasthan's economy is primarily agricultural
and pastoral. Wheat and barley are cultivated over large areas, as
are pulses, sugarcane, and oilseeds. Cotton and tobacco are the
state's cash crops. Rajasthan is among the largest producers of
edible oils in India and the second largest producer of oilseeds.
Rajasthan is also the biggest wool-producing state in India and the
main opium producer and consumer. There are mainly two crop seasons.
The water for irrigation comes from wells and tanks. The Indira
Gandhi Canal irrigates northwestern Rajasthan.
The main industries are mineral based, agriculture based, and textile based. Rajasthan is the second largest producer of polyester fibre in India. The Pali and Bhilwara District produces more cloth than Bhiwandi, Maharashtra and the bhilwara is the largest city in suitings production and export and Pali is largest city in cotton and polyster in blouse pieces and rubia production and export. Several prominent chemical and engineering companies are located in the city of Kota, in southern Rajasthan. Rajasthan is pre-eminent in quarrying and mining in India. The Taj Mahal was built from the white marble which was mined from a town called Makrana. The state is the second largest source of cement in India. It has rich salt deposits at Sambhar, copper mines at Khetri, Jhunjhunu, and zinc mines at Dariba, Zawar mines at Zawarmala for zinc, Rampura Aghucha (opencast) near Bhilwara. Dimensional stone mining is also undertaken in Rajasthan. Jodhpur sandstone is mostly used in monuments, important buildings and residential buildings. This stone is termed as "chittar patthar". Rajasthan is also a part of the Mumbai-Delhi Industrial corridor is set to benefit economically. The State gets 39% of the DMIC, with major districts of Jaipur, Alwar, Kota and Bhilwara benefiting.
Rajasthan is earning Rs. 150 million (approx. US$2.5 million) per day as revenue from crude oil sector. This earning is expected to reach ₹250 million per day in 2013 (which is an increase of ₹100 million or more than 66 percent). The government of India has given permission to extract 300,000 barrels of crude per day from Barmer region which is now 175,000 barrels per day. Once this limit is achieved Rajasthan will become leader in Crude extraction in Country. Bombay High leads with a production of 250,000 barrels crude per day. Once the limit if 300,000 barrels per day is reached, the overall production of the country will increase by 15 percent. Cairn India is doing the work of exploration and extraction of crude oil in Rajasthan.
TYPES OF TOURISM IN RAJASTHAN
Heritage Tourism: The state Rajasthan has been always famous for its rich heritage and ancient cultural diversity with glorious past which attracts millions of tourists in each year. Rajasthan�s rich heritage is adequately reflected in the various temples, palaces, monuments and forts that can be found everywhere in the state. The state abounds with some of the best forts and palaces in the country spread throughout the state. The state government will encourage the preservation, conservation and upkeep of such heritage properties and selectively open some of them for being developed into hotels and tourist complex. The state Rajasthan occupies unique place in heritage tourism because of various forts, palaces and monuments at various cities of Rajasthan such as Jaipur, Jodhpur, Mount Abu (Hill station) and Udaipur which attract domestic and foreign tourist every time. Rajasthan is also famous for Mandawa castle. The government also invited corporate sector to join hands for conservation of historical heritage and monuments in the state.
Spiritual Tourism: India is one of the most spiritually enriched places on the earth with gift of structure of spirituality. India is the spiritual capital of the world because of the land of the vedas and temples. India, its people, its infrastructure and in fact, it�s very soil, encourage and foster spiritualism, allowing religions to succeed, flourish and prosper. Spiritual tours of Rajasthan take one on tours to several spiritual destinations of the state which are much renowned for their religious and spiritual significance. The major spiritual places visited in the state are Khwaja Saheb Dargah (Ajmer), Eklingji temple in Udaipur, Govind Devji temple at Jaipur, Dilwara temples in Mount Abu and Jain temples in Ranakpur where tourist receives the peace of mind, refresh their essence, body and mind.
Cultural Tourism: India is known for its rich cultural heritage and an element of mysticism, which is why tourists come to India to experience it for themselves. One can see the influence of various cultures in dance, music, festivities, architecture, traditional customs, food and languages. This richness in culture goes a long way in projecting India as the ultimate cultural tourism destination. Among the various states for cultural tourism in India, Rajasthan is the most popular state for its cultural tourism. Rajasthan is famous for its rich cultural heritage and renowned for many magnificent palaces and forts which showcase the rich cultural heritage of Rajasthan. The various folk songs and music also reflect the cultural heritage of Rajasthan. A large number of fairs and festivals held in Rajasthan such as the Camel festival, Marwar festival and Pushkar festival which shows image of Rajasthan culture. All these fairs and festivals attract many tourists to Rajasthan so that they get to see the rich culture of the state.
Wild life & Eco-Tourism: Wild life and Eco- tourism involves personal growth and learning new ways to live on the planet and enjoying company of nature without harming it. The conceptual experience of eco-tourism is for the travelers who research and understand the environmental phenomena around them. Rajasthan is a hot destination for eco tours. Rajasthan is proud for being a responsible ecotourism place and it includes programs to minimize the negative aspects of traditional tourism on the environment and gives immense possibilities to relate with the local people. Hence, in addition to environmental and cultural features, eco-tourism in Rajasthan is also a promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation and creation of economic opportunities for the local communities. Tourist will see solar panels for hot water provision, biogas and solar for cooking purpose. The clean ambiance, bio degradable utensils like leaf plates, glass bottles are some of the characteristics of Rajasthan eco-tours. The numbers of eco parks are here for attraction of tourists and they also preserve and restore the endangered wildlife. The wild life parks provide a natural habitat to a plentiful species of wild animals, birds, reptiles and floral kingdom. The most notable wild life parks in Rajasthan are Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Sariska Tiger Reserve and Keoladeo Ghana National Park which gives an immense picture of wildlife tourism.
Desert Tourism: The Thar Desert in Rajasthan also known as the Great Indian Desert, the Thar Desert extends into two states of North West India (Rajasthan and Gujarat) and in the Eastern region of the neighboring country, Pakistan. The desert environment in the western parts of the state is a major attraction for visitors, particularly the foreign tourist. Rajasthan receives a great gift in the form of Thar Desert where various desert festivals are celebrated to attract tourists to visit this colorful festival. The major desert cities in Rajasthan are Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur where Tourism Development Corporation arranges many desert festivals. The golden city of Jaisalmer, which lies courageously as the western guard of India, is a place worth visiting. The Jaisalmer fort provides a delicate backdrop to the annual desert festival. This festival is sponsored by the Rajasthan State Tourism Corporation, which is a joyful celebration of the traditional performing arts and creative crafts of Rajasthan. Jaisalmer is the place where this desert festival is celebrated with great passion and enthusiasm. The grand part of this festival is to enjoy pleasure of a camel ride.
MICE Tourism: India is a perfect destination for hosting Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions. This makes MICE tours India very exciting. India offers excellent business opportunities for business houses such as IT, Medical, Telecommunications, Tourism, Textiles, Media, Banking, Insurance, Oil and Petroleum, Sporting and Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Agriculture and Food Products.
Adventure Tourism: As a kind of tourism, Adventure Tourism in India is endless because the country has a rich diversity in terms of climate and topography. The various kinds of adventure tourism in India are Rock climbing, Skiing, Camel safari, Para gliding, Mountaineering, Rafting in white water and Trekking. The various places in India where tourists can go for adventure tourism are Badami, Kanheri Caves, Manori Rocks and Kabbal for rock climbing. The state Rajasthan provides a great attraction to foreign and domestic tourists for adventure tourism in the state. Most of the tourist shows their preference for adventure activities like Trekking, Horse and Camel Safaris, Polo and Golf. Apart from the Desert, there are numerous lakes in all over the state where water sports would be developed in a phased manner. The major water sport activities are Yachting, Canoeing, Kayaking and Water Sports would be launched in collaboration with the Department of Sports.
The literacy rate among males in Rajasthan in 2001 was 75.70 per cent and among females 43.85 per cent, up from 54.99 per cent and 20.84 per cent respectively, in 1991. These numbers make Rajasthan among the best performers on this count during the decade. Consequently, the gap between literacy rates in the state compared to the national aggregate has reduced from being 15 per cent points in 1991 to a mere three per cent points in 2001. A better way of looking at our achievements in literacy is in terms of Incremental Literates to Incremental Population (above 6 years) Ratio. Gender difference in the spread of literacy is not stark. The ratio of male incremental literacy to female incremental literacy during 1991-2001 was 130. In two districts viz., Sikar and Jhunjhunu, girls outperform boys. The ratio exceeds 150 in Alwar, Bhilwara, Dungarpur, Jalore and Tonk. The spread of literacy appears more inclusive when analysed with respect to socially deprived groups, viz., SCs and STs. In the said incremental populations, SC/ST groups�despite the age-old discrimination (against SCs) and isolation (among STs)�have experienced a virtual equality in literacy: the incremental literate to incremental total population ratio among SC/STs, and the same ratio among total incremental population in this period, has been almost unity: only in seven districts out of 32 has this ratio been some what less than one.
The eventual mark of a long-standing iniquitous status of women in society is the declining sex ratio. Adverse sex ratios occur when there is prolonged neglect and (even) infanticide/foeticide of one sex. Rajasthan, like other states in north-western India belongs to that category of states where adverse sex ratio is an issue. Sex ratio was 910 in 1991 (female for thousand male), and 921 in 2001. The juvenile (age 0--6 years) sex ratio� which is a better indicator than the overall sex ratio, since women who survive the earlier years tend to outlive men in the later years�was 909 in 2001; there was almost a one per cent deterioration over the last count in 1991. Sex ratios are worse in western and northern regions compared to southern and south-eastern regions. However, there is thus, some equalisation of sex ratios across districts: those that had more balanced sex ratios are changing for the worse, and the converse for other districts. An overall deterioration in the juvenile sex ratio, however, is evidence to the fact that improvement in worst performing districts does not off‐set deterioration in the better performing ones.
The Millennium Development Goals
Millennium development goals are targets set by the United Nations in social and human development and international co-operation, which must be achieved in a defined time frame. As many as 189 countries (including India) are signatories to the MDGs. While India, and by the same token Rajasthan follows its own goals set in the Five-Year Plan documents rather than the ones set by the UN, there is often a convergence observed. Performance of Rajasthan in achieving MDGs may be summarised as � The goals in poverty reduction are well within sight; � Goals in literacy could be achieved with some effort; � Goals in gender parity might be achieved with some concerted effort; � Goals in IMR are well off the mark in spite of a sharp decline during recent period. This might require a great deal of effort to make headway.
Rajasthan is connected by many national highways. Most renowned being NH 8, which is India's first 4�8 lane highway. Rajasthan also has an inter-city surface transport system both in terms of railways and bus network. All chief cities are connected by air, rail and road.
Air: There are three main
airports at Rajasthan- Jaipur International Airport, Udaipur
Airport, and Jodhpur Airport. These airports connect Rajasthan with
the major cities of India such as Delhi and Mumbai. There are three
other airports in Kota, Jaisalmer and NAL(Bikaner) but are not open
for commercial/civilian flights yet. Jaisalmer airport is open for
civilians but only during season time (from August to March). One
more airport at Kishangarh, Ajmer is being constructed by the
Airport Authority of India
Rail: Rajasthan is connected with the main cities of India by rail. Jaipur, Kota, Bharatpur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Alwar, Udaipur, Abu Road and Jodhpur are the principal railway stations in Rajasthan. Kota City is the only Electrified Section served by three Rajdhani Expresses and trains to all major cities of India. There is also an international railway, the Thar Express from Jodhpur to Karachi. However, this is not open to foreign nationals.
Road: Rajasthan is well connected to the main cities of the country including Delhi, Ahmedabad and Indore by State and National Highways and served by Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) and Private operators.