Rajasthan was inhabited long before 2500 BC and the Indus Valley Civilisation had its foundation here in north Rajasthan itself. The Bhil and the Mina tribes were the earliest dwellers of this area.
Around 1400 BC the Aryans paid a visit and settled forever in the area. The local population was pushed down south and towards the east. Afghans, Turks, Persians and Mughals followed in mixing their blood, first in war then in peace, with the existing original inhabitants. This blending gave the martial lineage to the Rajputs.
From the times of Harsha (7 AD) to the founding of the Delhi Sultanate, Rajasthan was fragmented in competing kingdoms. Perhaps it was during this era by their influence through wealth and power the Rajputs persuaded the Brahmins to link them with the sun, the moon and the fire god.
With the passage of time they were divided into 36 royal clans. Rajasthan finally settled for a long and lasting reign under the colourful and vibrant Rajputs. and it’s a surprise that they lasted as long as they did. Considering that they were at a constant state of aggression; if not with a foe, then with each other. After the 14th century their influence declined in the area.
In came the Mughals who gained control of the region through the clever strategy of Akbar, the Mughal Emperor. He performed matrimonial alliances with the Rajputs where faced military failure and thus turned them from fearsome foes to faithful friends. This proud but very divided race was thus brought to some order under the imperial Mughals, by the some deft mixing of marital and martial relations. Akbar gave high offices to many Rajput princes after seeking reconciliation through marriage to a Rajput princess, Jodha Bai, the daughter of the Maharaja of Amber. However, the spunk of the Rajput soul was never really captured, till the spread of the British colonial power. However, when the Mughals weakened they were quick to reassert their dominance. The Rajputs as a community thus has outlived the somewhat tribal Delhi Sultanate, the grand Mughals and the war-like Marathas. In fact to this day their descendants, though stripped of their titles and kingdoms, are revered as rulers by the common man.
The Origin of Rajputs:
The origin of the Rajputs remains some what in doubt. That they were of foreign origin is suggested by the elaborate genealogies that the Brahmins (the priest of the Indian Varna or caste system) created to accord them the Kshatriya (warrior) caste. Which status they always insisted upon with almost undue vehemence. The Rajputs traced their lineage from a mythical fire atop Mt Abu, a mountain in Rajasthan, (Agni Kula or the Fire Family), the sun (Suryavanshi or the Sun Family) and the moon (Chandravanshi or the Moon Family).
Whatever their lineage, the Rajputs certainly were the living image of the knightly noble; handsome, brave – almost foolhardily so – and living within an elaborate code of honour and chivalry. Even then the attitude towards the British rule were varied and after the quashing of the 1857 Mutiny and the establishment of the British Indian Empire, the Rajput Princely States gained importance with 21 gun salutes, royal polo matches and durbars, just as they lost its meaning. Yet today the spirit and the heroic exploits of famous Rajput warrior-kings, like Prithviraj Chauhan, Rana Kumbha, and Bhappa Rawal, continue to echo in the golden sands of Rajputana in the people’s folklore, music and dance.
When India became independent 23 princely states were combined to form the State of Rajasthan or the abode of rajas and now has become the foremost destination in India.