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(rä`jəstän), state (2001 provisional pop. 56,473,122), 132,150 sq mi (342,269 sq km), NW India, bordered on the west by Pakistan. The capital is JaipurJaipur
, former native state, W India. It is now part of Rajasthan state. The region of Jaipur is semiarid and mostly level, with scattered rocky hills. Despite light rainfall, fair crops of corn, millet, and cotton are raised.
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; other large cities are AjmerAjmer
, former state, NW India. Now part of Rajasthan state, it formerly consisted of two detached areas surrounded by Rajasthan and was identical with the former British province of Ajmer-Merwara. The city of Ajmer (1991 pop.
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, JodhpurJodhpur
or Marwar
, former principality, Rajasthan state, NW India. Except for the eastern section, it is largely an arid wasteland. The principality was founded in the 13th cent. by the Rathor clan of Rajputs and was later a vassal of the Mughal empire.
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, BikanerBikaner
, former native state, NW India. The state is now part of Rajasthan state. The region, almost entirely in the Thar desert, raises sheep and camels, spins and weaves wool, and mines coal. The city of Bikaner (1991 pop.
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, KotaKota
, city (1991 pop. 537,371), Rajasthan state, NW India, on the Chambal River. Kota, enclosed by a massive wall, is a district administrative center and a market for sugarcane, oilseed, and building stone.
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, and UdaipurUdaipur
or Mewar
, city and former princely state, now part of Rajasthan state, NW India. The Udaipur region, thickly wooded in the south and west, is mostly an alluvial plain watered by many intermittent streams. Grains, sugarcane, corn, and oilseed are grown.
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. In the west of the state is the Thar (Indian) Desert, which is sparsely inhabited by pastoral nomads; there are significant oil deposits in the west. In the east is part of the upland region of the Deccan, where, with the aid of irrigation, millet, wheat, and cotton are grown. The state's cultivated acreage has increased through irrigation projects, including the Indira Gandhi Canal, opened in 1984. The Aravalli Hills cross the state from the northeast to the southwest; they produce salt, lead, zinc, marble, coal, mica, phosphate, and gypsum. Handicrafts are Rajasthan's leading industry. Hindus comprise about 75% of the population, which also includes Muslims, Jains, and native peoples. Rajasthani and Hindi are the principal languages.

The state was formed in 1948 from several former principalities of Rajputana. Other small areas were added in 1949, 1950, and 1956. Rajasthan is one of the strongholds of the conservative Hindu Bharatiya JanataBharatiya Janata party
[Hindi,=Indian People's party] (BJP), Indian political party that espouses Hindu nationalism. The BJP draws its Hindu nationalist creed from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS; National Self-Service Organization), a group founded in 1925 in opposition to
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 and Janata Dal political parties, which are supported by many former Rajput princes. The state has numerous famous Buddhist, Jain, and Mughal monuments. In 1974 the desert region of Rajasthan was the site of the underground explosion of India's first nuclear device. Rajasthan is governed by a chief minister and cabinet responsible to an elected unicameral legislature and by a governor appointed by India's president.



a state in northwestern India. Area, 342,000 sq km. Population, 25.7 million (1971). The capital is Jaipur. Most of the inhabitants are Rajasthani and Hindustani.

Northern Rajasthan lies on the Indo-Gangetic Plain, and the southern part of the state is on the Deccan Plateau. In the northwest lies the Thar Desert, large sections of which are sandy ridges and solonchaks. The central part of the state is bisected from southwest to northeast by the Aravalli Range, which rises to 1,722 m. The Malwa lava plateau is located in the southeast. The climate is tropical and monsoonal, dry in the northwest and with significant summer precipitation in the southeast. There is sparse, drought-resistant vegetation, with sparse monsoon forests in the southeast.

The state’s economy is dominated by agriculture, which occupies 72.7 percent of the economically active population (1971). The main branch of agriculture is the breeding of goats, sheep, cattle, and camels. Rajasthan is India’s most important wool supplier. The soil is cultivated in the less dry eastern regions; pearl millet, durra, wheat, Indian corn, cotton, oil crops, and fruit are grown. The land requires artificial irrigation and has the properties of an oasis. The USSR aided in establishing the state farm Suratgarh on the irrigated lands. Further development of the land requires an expansion in irrigation, and here new government projects play the most important role. The largest government projects are the hydraulic-engineering complex of Chambal on the Chambal River and the Rajasthan Canal, which is about 700 km long and leads from the Sutlej River.

Marble, gypsum, asbestos, limestone, mica, sodium chloride, lignites, manganese, lead-zinc ores, and gems are found in the state, and oil has been discovered with the aid of Soviet and Rumanian specialists; the mining and manufacturing industries are not, however, well developed. The most common industries are cottage industries, which produce cotton and wool fabrics, carpets, pottery, and stone, ivory, bronze, and lacquered goods. Since independence was achieved, a number of industries having nationwide significance have emerged. The USSR has helped to set up a plant that manufactures medical instruments. The Rana Pratap Sagar atomic power plant, built near Kota, has a capacity of 400 MW.


Rajasthan, which literally means “land of rajas,” became established as a distinct historical region in the 13th and 14th centuries. Between the 13th and 19th centuries there were about 20 principalities in Rajasthan, mainly led by Rajput dynasties. At first these principalities were mostly vassals of the Sultanate of Delhi, later becoming vassals of the Mogul Empire and the Maratha Confederation. The name “Rajasthan” was first used in the early 18th century. During the British colonial rule (1818–1947), Rajasthan was called Rajputana. After independence was achieved, the Indian constitution (1950) united the principalities of Rajputana into the state of Rajasthan. In 1956 the state of Ajmer was added to Rajasthan.


a state of NW India, bordering on Pakistan: formed in 1958; contains the Thar Desert in the west; now the largest state in India. Capital: Jaipur. Pop.: 56 473 122 (2001). Area: 342 239 sq. km (132 111 sq. miles)