Did you know that before being a desert, there was an ocean in Rajasthan? Learn about the history of Rajasthan and the place to visit there in this article!
Rajasthan is a state in northwestern India, near the Indian subcontinent’s northwest corner. It has Punjab and Haryana border to the north and northeast, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to the east and southeast, and Gujarat to the southwest and the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan to the west and northwest. Jaipur, the state’s capital, is located in the state’s east-central region.
Rajasthan is known for its vivid folk dance and music, massive forts and palaces, spicy cuisine, colorful turbans, vast golden sand desert, camels, and rich craftsmanship. As a result, it is an excellent destination to visit in India for unforgettable vacations. Rajasthan is ideal for history fans, cultural connoisseurs, adventurers, wildlife enthusiasts, family holidays, honeymoons, and more, with a total size of 342239 sq km.
Land of Rajasthan
The Aravalli (Aravali) Range runs roughly from Guru Peak on Mount Abu (5,650 feet [1,722 meters]), near Abu in the southwest, to Khetri in the northeast, forming a line through the state. Three-fifths of the state is located northwest of that line, with the remaining two-fifths being in the southeast. Rajasthan is divided into two natural divisions. The northwestern track is dry and unproductive in general. However, it progressively changes from desert in the extreme west and northwest to fairly rich and livable terrain in the east. The Thar (Great Indian) Desert is part of this area.
The southeastern region is higher in height (330 to 1,150 feet [100 to 350 meters]) than the northwestern region and more productive and diversified in geography. In the south, you can find the hilly area of Mewar, whereas, in the southeast, you can find a vast plateau. A steep badlands region parallels the Chambal River’s path toward the northeast. Further north, the terrain flattens down into the Yamuna River’s alluvial basin, including flat plains.
Soils are primarily saline or alkaline in the wide, sandy, and dry northwestern area. Although water is rare, you may find it at depths of 100 to 200 feet (30 to 60 meters). The sand and soil are both calcareous (chalky). Nitrates in the soil improve its fertility, and when appropriate water sources are made available, cultivation is frequently viable.
Central Rajasthan’s soils are likewise sandy, with clay concentrations ranging from 3 to 9%. The grounds in the east range from sandy loam to loamy sand. They are often dark and deep in the southeast, and they are well-drained. A mixture of red and black soils in the east and a variety of red to yellow soils in the west are common in the south-central area.
Rajasthan has a diverse climate that ranges from severely dry to extremely humid. The humid zone stretches from the southeast to the east. Except in the hills, the summer heat is strong everywhere, with daily temperatures ranging from the mid-80s F (approximately 30 °C) to almost 110 °F (low 40s C) in June, the hottest month. Summer brings hot winds and dust storms, particularly in the desert. Daily maximum temperatures in January, the coldest of the winter months, vary from the upper 60s to the mid-70s F (low to mid-20s C), with lowest temperatures in the mid-40s F (about seven °C). The western desert receives very little rain, with an annual average of around 4 inches (100 mm).
However, some places may see almost 20 inches of rain (500 mm). The Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal branches of the southwest (summer) monsoon winds provide most of the yearly rainfall to southeastern Rajasthan.
How Rajasthan Became a Desert
Much earlier, before the formation of the desert, the area was irrigated by enormous rivers equivalent in magnitude to the Indus and the Ganga. The rainfall was plentiful, and the vegetation was luxuriant. However, massive tectonic processes disrupted the river system a half-million years ago, and the huge streams began to slow down and meander.
Then came the arrival of man, as shown by the numerous campsites that have been discovered. Homo erectus roamed in nomadic groups, using stone weapons for hunting big animals and collecting wild fruit. However, approximately 100,000 years ago, disaster struck as rainfall fell precipitously and the already slow river system began to move westward.
The real desert began to emerge when strong winds removed sand and silt particles from alluvial deposits and deposited them in the area. On the other hand, aridity gave way to humidity on several occasions, allowing the dunes to stabilize, soil to develop, and flora to resurface. During these pleasant times, man flourished.
Around 7,000 years ago, the worst era of aridity ended, and the region got tremendous rainfall. As the vegetation returned to its pre-desert lushness, the inhabitants resorted to nomadic pastoralism, tending sheep and cattle – a way of life that has persisted to the present day.
The rainy period lasted 3,000 years, but after that came semiarid conditions, which man was able to adapt to. “The Thar Desert was formed by climatic and hydrological changes, with man’s influence being minor. In reality, man has adapted to semiarid environments admirably.”
Ocean in Rajasthan, Fossils Indicate The Truth!
Rajasthan is well-known for its stunning desert scenery. It is mostly a dry state, with summer temperatures reaching dangerously high levels and temperatures hovering around freezing for most of the year. Recent discoveries, however, show an unexpected fact that there was once an ocean in Rajasthan!
Paleontologists discovered approximately 47-million-year-old fossils of the primitive whale, shark teeth, crocodilian teeth, and turtle bones in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer region, indicating the presence of ocean in Rajasthan.
For over a year, the western section of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has been undertaking fossil research in various regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Many vertebrate fossils, including whale teeth, shark teeth, crocodile teeth, and turtle bones, have been discovered in Jaisalmer’s Bandha hamlet.
Senior geologists conducted the study. The most significant element of this discovery is a shattered jaw and vertebrae that have been recognized as those of a prehistoric whale. This shocking revelation points to the fact that the once ocean in Rajasthan is not a fact.
The presence of Middle Eocene marine fossils indicates that there was a sea in this area about 47 million years ago, he said, adding that the faunal record is similar to that of the Middle Eocene Harudi formation, Kachhch Basin, and Gujarat, implying similar shallow marine deposition under tropical-temperate conditions.
Places to Visit in Rajasthan
1. Mount Abu
Mount Abu is a hill station with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. A peak with a rocky plateau means there’s a lot of room to explore, not to mention a lot of things to do. Nakki Lake is a must-see attraction near Mount Abu, and you can rent a paddleboat for a reasonable price to get out on the water and view the surrounding slopes. The Dilwara Temples near Mount Abu will also be of interest. These Jain temples, which originate from around the 12th century, have beautiful white marble sculptures.
Even though Bikaner has a palace, a historic fort, and even a camel research center, many Indians know it as a sweet tooth’s paradise. Kesar Kulfi, a sweet and iced delicacy that is delightful and refreshing on a hot afternoon, is one of the local delicacies you must taste. Bikaner is also known for its desert safaris, where visitors may ride a camel into the desert to learn about the local culture and scenery. The Junagarh Fort in Bikaner, erected in the 16th century and today houses an enormous museum about the region, is difficult to miss.
3. Ranthambhore National Park
This national park is also a wildlife sanctuary, and it is widely regarded as one of the best places in the world to observe wild tigers. You may arrange a wildlife safari to tour the park and get up and personal with the creatures. The bolder tourists should take a gypsy, a smaller open-top vehicle, while the bigger open-top cars, known as canters, give a bit more protection. Ranthambhore National Park is home to various species, including tigers, leopards, hyenas, sloth bears, and much more. A safari would also allow you to see Ranthambhore Fort, which dates from the 10th century.
The Chittorgarh Fort, located on the banks of the Berach River, is a particularly magnificent sight in the city of Chittorgarh. The fort, built in the seventh century and guarded by seven gates, is one of India’s biggest. Because the defense is so vast, viewing it all in one day might be difficult. Begin with the 15th-century Victory Tower, which is brilliantly lit each night. Make time to see Rana Kumbha’s Palace, the fort’s oldest structure, as well as the Meera Temple, which celebrates Vishnu and houses a vast collection of statues.
Jodhpur, often known as the Blue City, is a city on the outskirts of the Thar Desert. Its colorful moniker originates from the city’s many blue houses, which give it a blue appearance when viewed from above. Jodhpur, with its forts and temples, is an ancient city with a lot to offer. A visit to the Mehrangarh Fort, Rajasthan’s greatest fort, in the 15th century would be incomplete. A beautiful mirrored hall, elaborate sandstone screens in the Zenana Deodi, the Chamunda Mataji Temple, and even several costumed individuals bring the fort to life can all be found within the fort complex.
Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur, is a bustling city full of interesting attractions and things to do. Jaipur is one of the Golden Triangle’s three corners, and it serves as a great entry point to Rajasthan’s lesser-known destinations. Amber Fort, Nahargarh Fort, and Jaigarh Fort are the three principal forts of Jaipur. The City Palace, a beautiful combination of Mughal and Rajput style that is so large that most visitors can’t see it all in a single day, is well worth seeing. There are several temples in Jaipur and a large bazaar that comes alive each night when the sunsets.
Jaisalmer, often known as the Golden City, is a magnificent city on the outskirts of the Thar Desert. The Jaisalmer Fort, or Sonar Qila, is the city’s most prominent landmark, and it is still inhabited. Unlike almost every other fort in India, Jaisalmer is fully operational, with private houses, businesses, and even restaurants within its walls. Souvenir shopping within the fort is a pleasant experience, with bronze statues and silver jewelry being popular choices. There are also a few temples within the fort’s walls. Most of these Jain temples are available to the public in the morning and date back to the 12th century.
Because Udaipur is popular as the “City of Lakes,” it’s no wonder that the lakes are a major draw. Fateh Sagar and Pichola, two of the largest lakes, are artificial, yet it doesn’t make them any less gorgeous. The major reason to go to Udaipur is to see Udaipur City Palace, which consists of palaces, museums, and gardens in various architectural styles. Within the City Palace, you may see shrines, temples, royal apartments, and art collections. Jagdish Shrine, Udaipur’s most famous temple, is located just north of the palace. The temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and features magnificent sculptures, has become a municipal landmark.
Bundi is a one-of-a-kind location that is well-known for its step wells. While this method of collecting water is no longer popular in the city, Bundi still has over 50 step wells visible. The Queen’s Step Well, which originates from the 15th century and has over 200 steps, is the most renowned. The Taragarh Fort, built in the 16th century and currently housing a vast art collection, is well worth visiting Bundi. You may easily get away from the city by visiting one of Bundi’s lakes or going on a wildlife safari in Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary.
Pushkar is a sacred city infamous for its Brahma temple and yearly camel festival. Brahma is one-third of the Hindu religion’s holy trinity, and Pushkar is Brahma’s abode. The Brahma temple at Pushkar is difficult to miss, especially with the numerous chanting events throughout the day. There are other temples dedicated to Vishnu, Savitri, and Shiva in Pushkar. Pushkar comes alive every November with a camel festival and Hindu pilgrimage.
Now that you know about the history of the ocean in Rajasthan and the many places to visit there, pay a visit to this heritage place and enjoy the exquisite experience!