According to the Hindu Mythology, the Rajputs of Rajasthan were the descendants of the Kshatriyas or warriors of Vedic India. The emergence of the Rajput warrior clans was in the 6th and 7th centuries. Rajputs ancestry can be divided into two: the "solar" or suryavanshi-those descended from Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, and the "lunar" or chandravanshi, who claimed descent from Krishana, the hero of the epic Mahabharata. Later a third clan was added, the agnikula or fire-born, said to have emerged from the flames of a sacrificial fire on Mt Abu.
It has been accepted that the Rajputs were divided into thirty-six
races and twenty-one kingdoms. The Rajput clans gave rise to dynasties
of Mewar (Udaipur), the Kachwahas
of Amber (Jaipur), the Rathors
of Marwar (Jodhpur & Bikaner), the Hadas
of Jhalwawar, Kota & Bundi, the Bhattis
of Jaisalmer, the Shekhawats
of Shekhawati and the Chauhans
Rajasthan is the north-western region of India, and has remain
independent from the great empires. Buddhism failed to make substantial
inroad here; the Mauryan empire (321-184 BC), whose most renowned
emperor, Ashoka, Converted to Buddhism in 261 BC, had minimal impact in
Rajasthan, However, there are Buddhist caves and stupas (Buddhist
Shrines) at Jhalawar, in Southern Rajasthan.
Ancient Hindu scriptural epics make reference to sites in present-day
Rajasthan. The Holy Pilgrimage site of Pushkar is mentioned in both the
Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Emergence of the Rajputs
The fall of the Gupta Empire, which held dominance in northern India
for nearly 300 years until the early 5th Century, was followed by a
period of instability as various local chieftains sought to gain
supremacy. Power rose and fell in northern India. Stability was only
restored with the emergence of the Gurjara Partiharas, the earliest of
the Rajput (from 'Rajputra', or Sons of Princes) dynasties which were
later to hold the balance of power throughout Rajasthan.
Whatever their actual origins, the Rajputs have evolved a complex
mythological genealogy. This ancestry can be divided into two main
branches: the Suryavansa, or Race of the Sun (Solar Race), which claims
direct descent from Rama; and the Induvansa, or Race of the Moon (Lunar
race), which claims descent from Krishna, Later a third branch was
added, the Agnikula, or 'Fire Born'. These people claim they were
manifested from the flames of a sacrificial fire on Mt.Abu From these
three Principal races emerged the 36 Rajput clans.
The Rajput clans gave rise to dynasties such as the Chauhans, Sisodias,
Kachhwahas and Rathores. Chauhans of the Agnikula Race emerged in the
12th century and were renowned for their valour. Their territories
included the Sapadalksha kingdom, which encompassed a vast area
including present- day Jaipur, Ranthambore, part of Mewar, the western
portion of Bundi district, Ajmer Kishangarh and even, at one time,
Delhi. Branches of the Chauhans also ruled territories know as Ananta
(in present-day Shekhawati) and Saptasatabhumi.
The Sisodias of the Suryavansa Race, Originally from Gujarat, migrated
to Rajasthan in the mid-7th Century and reigned over Mewar, which
encompassed Udaipur and Chittorgarh.
The Kachhwahas, originally from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, travelled
west in the 12th century. They built the massive fort at Amber, and
later shifted the capital to Jaipur. Like the Sisodias, they belonged to
the Suryavansa Race.
Also belonging to the Suryavansa Race, the Rathore (earlier known as
Rastrakutas) traveled from Kanauj, in Uttar Pradesh. Initially they
settled in Pali, south of present-day Jodhpur, but later moved to
Mandore in 1381 and ruled over Marwar (Jodhpur). Later they started
building the stunning Meherangarh (fort) at Jodhpur.
The Bhattis, who belong to the Induvansa Race, driven from their
homeland in the Punjab by the Turks, installed themselves at Jaisalmer
in 1156. They remained more of less entrenched in their desert Kingdom
untill they were integrated into the state of Rajasthan following