|Culture of Rajasthan
Folklore of heroism and romance resound from the formidable monuments that majestically stand to tell the tale of a bygone era. The magic of vibrant Rajasthan – its rich heritage, colourful culture, exciting desert safaris, shining sand-dunes, amazing variety lush forests and varied wildlife – makes it a destination nonpareil. Rajasthan is often portrayed as one vast open-air museum, with its relics so well preserved that it delights even the most skeptical traveler.
The mother tongue of the majority of people in Rajasthan is Rajasthani. Rajasthani and Hindi are the most widely used languages in Rajasthan. Rajasthani is used as a medium of instruction, along with Hindi and English, in some schools. Some other languages used in Rajasthan are Gujarati, Sindhi and Punjabi.
Rajasthan has a mainly Rajasthani population. Hindus account for 88.8% of the population. Muslims make up 8.5%, Sikhs 1.4% and Jains 1.2% of the population.
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.
Generally, Rajasthani curries are brilliant red but not as spicy as they look. Most Rajasthani cuisine uses pure Ghee (clarified butter) as a means of cooking. A favorite sweet dish called lapsi is prepared with broken wheat (Dalia) sautéed in ghee and sweetened. Perhaps the best known Rajasthani food is the combination of dal, and churma BATI (dal is lentils; BATI ball is cooked wheat and cereal powder churma sweetened), but for the adventurous traveler, willing to experiment, there is much variety available. In addition, each region is distinguished by its popular sweet – Mawa Kachori from Jodhpur, Alwar ka Mawa, Malpuas of Pushkar, Rasogullas of Bikaner, Jaipur Ghevar just to name a few.
Contrary to popular belief, people of Rajasthan are not all vegetarians. One of the unique creation is the Junglee maas. Junglee maas was a great favourite among the Maharajas and due to paucity of exotic ingredients in the camp kitchen, the game brought in from the hunt was simply cooked in pure ghee, salt and plenty of red chillies. However, now this dish has been adapted to the less controversial ingredients like kidlamb, pork or poultry.
Music and Dance
Rajasthan is culturally rich and has extensive tradition in art and culture, which reflects the Indian way of life. The dance, music and art forms have been consciously cultivated and patronized by the erstwhile royal courts. An equally rich and varied folk culture from villages is both fascinating and mesmerizing. The music is of uncomplicated innocence and songs depict day-to-day relationships and chores, more often about the bringing of water. Rajasthan’s cultural tapestry takes in simple folk to highly cultivated classical music and dance, in its own distinct style.
Major handicrafts made in rajasthan are: Blue Pottery, Metal Craft, Metal Lamps, Wood Craft, Leatherwear, Metal Craft, Stone Carving, Terracotta, Wooden Chair, Sandalwood Art, Hand Embroidered Bag, Jewelry and Silverware.