Rajputs of Rajasthan

The word “Rajputs” translates literally as “sons of kings”.

Among the warrior castes of north western India, Rajputs are famous for their chivalry, gallantry, their zest for life and the pride they take in being associated with their culture, their values and traditions.

Rajputs were once the pride of this vast, limitless desert in the heart of India which stretched as far as the eye could see. There are some elaborate customs associated with Rajputs.

Rituals and customs for every occasion right from the womb to the tomb.

While the birth of a son in the family was celebrated with fanfare and rejoicing, the birth of a girl was frowned upon. So deep ran the bias against the girl child that it was customary among many Rajput plans to kill the newborn girl to death by strangling her, burying her alive or by choking her by stuffing wet mud down her throat.

A Rajput of Rajgarh

A Rajput of Rajgarh

Though most progressive Rajputs and the educated ones have done away with abominable customs like these, female infanticide is still rampant among backward communities which are by and large uneducated.

If a girl was lucky and was continued to live on inspite of being born in a Rajput family, she was relegated to a much lower status in the household than her brothers. She was deprived of education. Married women were expected to observe ‘purdah’ (or use ‘the veil’ to cover their face) to escape furtive glances. Purdah was observed even among the more affluent sections of the society. The women from royal families had separate residential quarters called the zenana section where they could move about freely without observing the purdah. The staff of these queens and princesses was drawn completely from females or eunuchs, so that no males (except family members) could see the royal females.

Marriages were ‘arranged’ or fixed by elders in the family. Most of the times, kids as young as 5-6 years of age were married off. The bride would then be sent back to her father’s place where she would stay till she came of age. One of the most important persons at the time of fixing up a marriage would be the astrologer, who would see if the horoscopes of the prospective bride and groom complimented each other perfectly. Only after he gave his final nod could the marriage be solemnized. The date and time of the wedding was also decided by this astrologer.

Marriages among Rajputs were elaborate and often lasted many days. The family of the bride was expected to give gifts and cash to the groom’s family and his kin. The more well to do Rajputs and the royals would even send a train of servants along with their daughter. Sadly enough, dowry continues to be a cause of concern even today and is one of the reasons why parents still do not welcome a girl into the family.

Rajputs had elaborate customs for occasions as somber as death as well. A mourning period was observed and a ‘rasam pagri’ was held at the end of 10-12 day mourning period at which the eldest son of the deceased would tie a turban on his head in the presence of all family and members of the community. This was taken to mean that the person tying the turban had taken up all the duties and responsibilities of the deceased.

Then there were abominable custom like sati, jauhar and saka which were common among the Rajputs of the yore.

As per the sati system, a widow was supposed to end her life by sitting on the funeral pyre of her husband. Women who willingly gave up their lives to this system were later idolized. Those who refrained from doing so were ostracized from the community.

Jauhar was common among Rajput women. They would commit mass suicide when they felt their honor was at stake. Most Rajput men, particularly those belonging to higher echelons of the society had more than one wives. Some even had elaborate harems where they would house all their wives collectively. After a Rajput king lost to another in war, the females of the family would end their lives willingly since they preferred death to dishonor.

Rani Padmini

Rani Padmini the epitome of Indian woman

‘Saka’ was another Rajput custom as per which the male members of the family would go down fighting inspite of all odds at times of war, because surrendering to the enemy was looked down upon.

Sagas of Rajput pride and valor, tales of their heroism and chivalry are a part of the folklore of Rajasthan.

Indian Rajput wedding in Rajasthan

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24 Responses to “Rajputs of Rajasthan”

  1. Ahsan says:

    I know about Rajputs little bit. But here huge description about their culture, marriage system. It feels sad when I read about the bad behavior with girl child. i think now the situation has changed. Girl & boy are regarded as equal now

  2. Shalu Sharma says:

    There are Rajputs in Pakistan and in India as well. Its a caste. The description here is of ancient times which is not practiced today. But sometimes there would be some rare cases.

  3. Michael Belk says:

    This is a very sad practice, it is an example of people believing a common culture which does not make i8t right. It is really sad women are subjected to such cruelty.

  4. Felicia says:

    Hi Ambika,
    I like visiting Shalu’s website as it not only showcases the wonder and beauty of India, but also I get to know about its history, people and culture. I don’t like the idea of Rajputs disapproval on newborn girls. I feel very sad and sickened to know that they are killed just because they were born a girl. Good to know other stories about India’s past and their culture and tradition as well. (although this does not really make me feel good knowing this information on Rajputs) Anyway, thanks for sharing!

  5. Bhushan says:

    Ambika has done great work here.
    Here is all about Rajput.I can simply say that RAJPUT was very Magnificent man and they are and they will be.

  6. Arun Naik says:

    Hi, Shalu
    I have been long looking for the meaning of the word “Rajputs”. I got the meaning now. Shalu’s website is great to read especially for travellers and people who love to read about India.

  7. Richa says:

    Rajputs are royal people in true sense. Its great to read so much of info about them. When I was staying in PG while studying in Jaipur, my land lady was a Rajput and I attended their sons wedding. They have their own ways and styles.

  8. Rajasthan has a great part in Indian history. Really nice place. I often visit Pink City (Jaipur) and I wish to see Desert of Rajasthan.

  9. Kuldeep says:

    Rajasthan is one of the heritage city of India. I have visited to Rajasthan once and loved it. I am planning to write few about Rajasthan in my next article here.

  10. Aayna says:

    Hi Shalu,
    A very royal post!! I wasn’t aware about the history of the Rajputs. This post helped me gain quite a chunk of information. The wedding video is truly awesome and is worth watching. Indeed, the Rajputs have their own flair, taste and style. Thanks for the share.

  11. Abhishek says:

    Rajputs have been a royal class throughout history and enjoyed a rich status. Everything about Rajasthan has a royal touch to it, the culture and heritage of the state has always attracted me. Thanks for providing us with such informational post.

  12. Rajputs are an integrals part of Rajasthan’s Royal history. I must say the information you have submitted about the rituals and customs is really very informative.

    The Royal Rajasthan has history in every thing!

  13. Kristine says:

    Hi Shalu, it’s always interesting to be here. Your country’s rich culture and history truly amazes me. Thanks for the share!

  14. Joy says:

    Your customs and traditions are definitely rich, diverse and a very interesting facet of your history as a country. Thanks Shalu :)

  15. travelerreport.wordpress.com says:

    Belonging to the second highest class in the hindu hierarchy, Rajput ( or Rajasthani Kshatriya) are very respected in Rajasthan. But also in Pakistan where many influential families are Rajput ( Ex: the Bhutto family). Yet,in Rajasthan, many are poor and feel neglected by the indian policies.

  16. Chris says:

    Having never visited India this whole subject has been one of learning. I had no idea about Rajputs and the important role they have played. Big thanks to the author and commenters for such informative content.

  17. I would like to thanks to sharing the information about rajputana family Rajputs are part of the rajasthan history. Thanks to the author for provide such information.

  18. Shirley says:

    Icame across your post in the process of researching what to get my husband’s dear friend for his new baby. maybe someone can help me pleas. Ok so this is his first child but I don’t know what gender it will be. He is Pakistani, but is pretty American. However his family is traditional Islamic. We are very close friends with him and I’m not worried about coming off disrespectful to him because he would love anything Igive him and truely appreciate it and then secretly not give it to his wife. Iwant to give him something he can share with his family and it be athoughtful special gift. I just have no clue what that maybe. Also I know that his family is Rajaput which is considered royalty I think. anyone have knowledge inthis area. thanks

  19. localstreet says:

    Rajput are brave warriors community they serve their nation to their best…

  20. localstreet says:

    IN simple words rajput’s are great warriors.i read so many thing about rajput community but the best thing was they have given their life just for sake of country…

  21. Really like your post, i am very proud to be a RAJPUT.

    Very nice post with uniqu information.

  22. Ambika says:

    Shalu, I did this article as a Guest post. Either link it back to my name or take off the article.

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