The culturally rich and visually stunning state, of Rajasthan is a real gem of India. It is home to magnificent palaces, colourful festivals, vibrant markets, and sprightly outfits. Rajasthani culture reflects the colourful history of the state. One can even find the essence of the culture in the folk dances, traditional cuisines, people of Rajasthan, and their everyday lives.
As popularly known as the ‘Land of Kings’, Rajasthan is a land where royalty is the way of living; life in this desert land is all about the traditional way of living. Be it the architecture, costumes, cuisine, local dialects, arts, and crafts, or its fairs and festivals, one can always find a unique charm and plethora of celebrations while travelling around this state.
The art and craft of the largest state in India is truly breathtaking and deserves all the attention it receives. Today, Rajasthan has developed like any other Indian state. However, unlike them, this gorgeous state has endured all its cultural aspects and never hesitates to introduce the outer world to them. Below is a glimpse into the local cultures of Rajasthan and of how life thrives in this desert land of India.
Local Folk Music and Dance Culture of Rajasthan
Music and dance have always been an integral part of Rajasthani culture. Historical shreds of evidence found across the state clearly show its affinity and inclination towards folk music and dance. Since many rulers ruled Rajasthan, each region has its own folk culture. Rajasthani folk music is famous for its soulful melodies, rhythmic beats, and expressive lyrics that often depict tales of love, valour, and devotion. One of the most popular musical instruments used in Rajasthani folk music is the ‘Ravanahatha’, a string instrument believed to be one of the oldest in the world.
Rajasthan has many forms of folk dances which are attractive, skilful, and somewhat enjoyable for all age groups. These Rajasthani folk dances are a visual treat, capturing the essence of the region’s vibrant culture and traditions. The graceful movements, colorful attire, and lively footwork of dancers transport spectators into just another world, leaving them in awe with gaping mouths. Among all Rajasthani folk dances, Ghoomar, Kathputli (Puppet), and Kalbelia (Sapera or Snake charmer) dance attracts tourists quite much. Bhavai, Chakri, Chari, Ghoomar, Gawari, Fire dance, Drum dance, Kachhi Ghodi, Terah Taali, Walar, etc. are other dances of Rajasthan.
Manganiyars and Langas are two prominent groups that contribute to Rajasthan folk music. Other famous groups are Banajaras, Mirasis, Jogis and others. They use many traditional instruments, including sarangi, Kamayach, dhols, shanai, and been, which make Rajasthani music a truly euphoric experience for listeners and music enthusiasts
Rajasthani Foods Culture and Cuisines
Along with its other traditional features, the food of Rajasthan is equally amazing and delightful. Born out of the exigencies of arid land, a harsh climate, and a war-torn past, the cuisine of Rajasthan truly captures the spirit of resilience as well as the imagination of a people in the face of all odds.
There are spicy dishes, but also there is sweetness in a typical Rajasthani thali. The most famous dish of the state is dal baati, which is especially traditional and is every Rajasthani’s love. Spicy dal served hot with ghee-dipped Baatis and sweet besan or Aate ka churma- ugh who wouldn’t love this combination!? Laal Maas, a fiery meat curry, is another speciality of Rajasthani and a favourite of non-vegetarians. It is made with succulent pieces of mutton or lamb cooked with a medley of spices, including red chillies, garlic, and yoghurt.
Other Rajasthani traditional dishes include gatte ki sabzi, Pakodi ki kadhi, bajra/makka roti, kesar murgh, Bajre ki khichdi, Marwari gatta kadhi, and many others. Kachori can be said to be the favourite snack of the people of Rajasthan. It could be Pyaz ki Kachori, dal Kachori, or mawa Kachori, all taste delicious. All these types of kachoris and more could be found at any food stall in Rajasthan. The state is also known for its sweet delicacies like Ghewar and Moong Thal. The syrup-soaked Malpua to the rich creamy delicacies like rabri are some more sweet treats of Rajasthan which taste heaven.
From the rich and hearty flavours to the indulgent sweets, exploring the cuisine of Rajasthan is an epicurean adventure that genuinely satisfies the senses.
Traditional dresses of Rajasthan
From the dazzling mirror work on long skirts to the countless colours on men’s turban, everything that the people of Rajasthan wear holds a deep significance. Their outfits are not just fancy; they define the people and their connection with the land. Their attire reflects the vibrant colours, intricate embroidery, and rich heritage of the region.
Angrakha is the epitome of the traditional dress of Rajput-Rajasthani men. It is the luxury version of a simple cotton kurta that is worn by common men. Two types of Angrakhas that are worn by men in Rajasthan differ in the frock-like design and the straight, knee-length ones (also known as kurtas). Bandhgala is also a traditional attire that looks similar to a blazer and is worn for grand ceremonies and occasions over Angrakhas.
Women in Rajasthan have a strong bond with colourful clothing and classical jewellery. While the ‘sari’ is the most traditional women-wear, women in the desert capital love to wear colourful ghagras. The traditional dress for women in Rajasthan is the ghagra-choli or lehenga-choli. The ghagra is a long, flared floor-length skirt, often adorned with mirror work, sequins, and embroidery; while the choli is a fitted blouse. The outfit is completed with a colourful odhani (dupatta) draped elegantly over the shoulders. In some cases, you can also find ghagras laced with precious metals, stones, or even diamonds. The outfit seems incomplete without the matching set of jewellery. Rajasthan is also known for its stunning textiles and embroidery. The colourful Bandhani and Leheriya prints are popular in traditional attire, reflecting the vibrant Rajasthani culture. Intricate mirror work, known as Abhla Bharat, and colourful applique work are also prominent features.
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Rajasthan, India’s largest state is well known for its historically significant monuments. The architectural style in Rajasthan is as diverse as its people. An incredible number of exquisite forts, palaces, and temples are scattered throughout the state; majestically emerging from the desert terrain at the top of hills, facing lakes resembling fairy-tale-like castles. From grand forts and opulent palaces to intricately designed havelis (mansions) and awe-inspiring temples, Rajasthan’s architectural wonders are a sight to behold. The architecture of here reflect the local culture of Rajasthan in its every thing.
The Jain temple in Ranakpur was built in the 15th century with the M’ru-Gurjara architecture style. The Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur is an architecture of Beaux-Arts style along with a blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles despite being built by Maharaja Jai Singh II, a Hindu ruler. UNESCO included Jaisalmer Fort and Golden Fort, built in 1156 AD, as a World Heritage Site due to their containing several gates, Jain temples, and Havelis. The Lake Palace, situated on the picturesque Lake Pichola of Udaipur, is a masterpiece of white marble architecture. UNESCO named the Pink City of Jaipur a World Heritage Site in 2019.
Local Festivals of Rajasthan
The many fairs and festivals of Rajasthan are some of its major attractions. People celebrate all festivals with great pomp, happiness, and grandeur. There are many local festivals to celebrate in Rajasthan. From rich colours and vivacity to merriments, grand feasts, music, dance, art, and culture, the myriad of festivals celebrated in the state is something one must experience at least once in their lifetime. These undeniably, equally popular festivals are for sure a celebration of life, heritage, and culture in true Rajasthani style. It provides an opportunity for tourists to see the different colours of the state.
Diwali, Gangaur, Teej, and Makar Sankranti are some of the most revered festivals in the royal state of Rajasthan. Also, since the culture of Rajasthan has an eternal bond with camels, the state holds numerous events related to it.
- Kite Festival
- Desert Festival
- Nagaur Fair
- Pushkar Fair
- Kolayat Fair
- Winter Festival,
- Jaipur Literature Fest
- Mewar Festival
- Udaipur World Music Festival
Local Language Culture of Rajasthan
With Hindi the most commonly spoken language, one can always find a mix of local essence among the Rajasthan. Each of the regions has its dialect, and one may also find new words or linguistic scriptures as they move around the entity of the Desert capital. The Western Indo-Aryan language family derives Rajasthani. It is rich in vocabulary and expressions reflecting local culture and traditions. The language predominantly spoken in the state is Rajasthani, which has several dialects. Marwari, Mewari, Jaipur/Dhundhari, and Shekhawati are major regional dialects.