जाणो, आपणे राजस्थान रा संगीत ने!

Update Yourself with the Music of Rajasthan

Dancing to the beats of international artists, we enjoy a lot. And why not! The beats are electric and so energetic that it compels us to dance and we get carried away. I am sure everyone reading this would agree with my opinion. But sometimes, we need a more subtle music which is away from the hustle and takes us back to our roots, takes us back to the very foundation- that ties us to our birthplace. In the same way, a lot of people prefer listening to folk music, whether they belong to any place; they crave for raw voices, ‘desi’ instruments, and vernacular dances and music.

Everyone has a different taste in music, but when it comes to folk music- we enjoy it hands down.

The music of Langa and Manganiyar of Rajasthan

Know the music of Rajasthan: Langa and Manganiyar  
Mangniyar Musicians

Who are Langa and Manganiyar?

Langa and Manganiyar are folk musicians who follow a rich oral tradition which they have inherited from their forefathers. These balladeers from Rajasthan sing of everyday chores and emotions. They become highly relatable and probably that is the reason why they are able to mesmerize their listeners.

Manganiyars have expertise over percussion instruments like Dholak and Khadtal, whereas Langas are known for Sarangi, Murali, Surnai, etc. Their musical compositions are masterpieces and are quite complex. The word Manganiyar means those who ask for charity. On different occasions, they would go to patron’s house and sing songs and in turn, would be awarded.

Know the music of Rajasthan: Langa and Manganiyar  
Langa community musicians

If you go through the roots of these musical groups then we come to know that these Langas and Manganiars were groups of professional musicians, whose music was supported by wealthy landlords and aristocrats. This tradition and hierarchy are maintained till now.  Both the groups sing in the same language but their styles differ. This difference of style came into existence as per the tastes of their patrons. Both the communities belong to the Islamic origins but many of their songs are in praise of Hindu deities. Similarly, they are known to celebrate Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Holi. The Manganiar performers evoke the Hindu God Krishna and seek his blessings before the commencement of their music recital.

Know the music of Rajasthan: Langa and Manganiyar  
Khartal- a music instrument majorly used by both the communities of musicians

It is also believed that the Manganiars were musicians of the Rajput courts. They used to accompany their chiefs to war and providing them with entertainment before and after the battles. In addition to this, these singers and musicians also performed at the event of the chiefs’ death and would perform at the ruler’s vigil day and night until the mourning was over.

Coming to the second music community of Rajasthan, the Langas which literally means a song giver is a group of poets, singers, and musicians from the Barmer district of Rajasthan. The Langas are versatile players of the Sindhi Sarangi and the Algoza (double flute), which accompany their magical voices. They used to perform at events like births, and weddings, exclusively for their patrons, who were cattle breeders, farmers, and landowners.

Know the music of Rajasthan: Langa and Manganiyar  
Langa community musicians

Today, these musical groups perform in various realms and acquire major acclamations not just in the country but also internationally. Rajasthan hosts one of the most energetic and redolent music cultures of the world. The land of sand dunes and camels imparts the fragrance of vernacular music and folklores that touches the hearts of many. These musicians have such an impact on the listeners that they are bound to listen to them again and again.

Know the music of Rajasthan: Langa and Manganiyar  
Mangniyars performing in Shilpgram Udaipur

In Udaipur, you can find these musicians in Shilpgram during the annual Shilpgram Festival quite commonly.

It’s said that music transcends time and space, and indeed it holds true in the case of these folk musicians.

Such is the music of Rajasthan!

If you have ever listened to any Langa or Manganiyar, do let us know your experience in the comment section below.

Ahar cenotaph complex: A 4000-year-old Mausoleum at Udaipur

Did You Know a 4000-year-old Cremation Ground Exists in Udaipur?

Udaipur is known as the City of Lakes, undoubtedly there are beautiful lakes in the city. However, not just lakes, the city is also famous for its culture, heritage and its majestic palaces and architecture in and around the city. While the city houses some well-known structures, some places of significance are still not much known to the people as well as to the tourists turning up to the city.

 

Ahar cenotaph complex

 

One such place is Mahasatya (महासत्य) which is a huge royal cemetery. The cemetery is a matchless structure built for the royal family of Mewar dynasty in memory of their ancestors. The complex is located on eastern side of the city at a distance of 3 km from the central city; it is a well-known archeological site. Mahasatya is also one of the largest among other medieval Rajput cenotaph complexes covering an area of 3.2 hectares with peculiar royal heritage constituents. There are 372 cenotaphs in total out of which 21 are said to hold great significance. These domes were built over 400 years ago.

What Are These Structures And Why Were These Constructed?

Ahar cenotaph complex
cenotaphs

Mahasatya, principally, is a burial and a cremation ground. These structures are tombs of the royal family. It is believed that some of them are tombstones of the kings, while some are established as a memorial structure of the kings and their wives. Some of these structures constructed are small while some are quite enormous and majestic.

Architecture of the Cenotaphs Complex

 

Ahar cenotaph complex
Carvings at the pillars of cenotaphs

 

The complex has striking columns elevated on large platforms shielded by dome-shaped roofs. These platforms have several steps or stairs that make their way to the central domes of the Cenotaph.  Several pillars erected with intricate carvings on them sustain the domes. The inner walls of the structure have beautiful carvings of flowers and human figurines on them. The cenotaphs have structures known as ‘Chattri’ which is a common architectural sight in Rajasthan.

The moldings of the roofs are embroidered with embellishments that resemble the 15th-century temples. You can find an image of Lord Shiva and a figure representing Maharanas with their ‘Sati’ wives (wives, who sacrificed their lives in Maharana’s cremation flames). The top of the cenotaphs has ‘Shiv-Ling’ on them, with a statue of ‘Nandi Ji (cow).’

 

Ahar cenotaph complex

 

There are 21 Cenotaphs which hold the maximum importance, these are of Maharanas and have an inscription on them. There are some smaller cenotaphs which are of the royal family members and of the several wives of the Maharajas. All these massive structures are made from white marble stone.

Important Structures of the Complex

  • Cenotaph of Maharana Amar Singh

    Ahar cenotaph complex
    Maharana Amar Singh

The cenotaph which is devoted to Maharana Amar Singh is the most fascinating. It has a 4-faced figurine in the center, and the wall paintings on the subterranean vault illustrate the slaughter of the emperor’s wives who decided to commit “Sati.”

 

  • Cenotaph of Maharana Sangram Singh

    Ahar cenotaph complex
    Maharana Sangram Singh

The Cenotaph of Maharana Sangram Singh (Cenotaph completed in 1985) is another attraction that has fifty-six pillars in its porch. He was cremated here with his twenty-one wives. It has a beautiful construction. It possesses an octagonal dome in its center with the support of eight small pillars. The light falling on the dome gets directed by the octagonal dome and creates a mesmerizing shadow.

 

  • The Gangodbhava

Nearby to these cenotaphs is the “Gangodbhava” or the holy pool (‘kund’). The kund and the temple of Shiva have a four-faced ‘Linga,’ and are encompassed by small ‘Chattris; carry holy value and historical importance. The ‘kund’ is a step well, which is again a classic architectural style of the semi-arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. These have small steps on four sides of the well, which lead to the inside of the well for collecting water.

 

Ahar cenotaph complex
Small Kund

 

The other cenotaphs include cenotaph dedicated to Shambhu Singh, Fateh Singh, Bhupal Singh, Bhagwat Singh Mewar and Sajjan Singh and have their names and other information inscribed on them. The newest, erected in 2004, is that of Udaipur’s last Maharana Bhagwat Singh (1955–84).

 

Ahar cenotaph complex
Maharana Bhagwat Singh

Ahar Archeological Museum

Ahar was also a site of an ancient settlement that preexisted in Udaipur by three-and-a-half millennia. Just 150 meters along the road from the royal cremation ground is the Ahar Archeological Museum. The museum contains copper and terracotta pottery objects that are more than 3300 years old. It also houses sculptures of Hindu gods and ‘tirthankars’ (Great Jain teachers) from the 8th to 16th centuries AD.

The Ahar culture is also known as the Banas culture. It was a Chalcolithic archaeological culture of southeastern Rajasthan state in India, lasting from 3000 to 1500 BCE.

 

Ahar cenotaph complex
Ahar Museum

The collections of antiques in the museum date back to the 10th century. Here you can see earthen pots, iron objects and other artifacts that used to be part of the lifestyle of prehistoric people. You can see a depiction of trenches that were used to be a part of the lives of the Ahar people. Some things are acknowledged to belong to 1700 B.C.

Even though this museum doesn’t have a lot of things, but the relics here were excavated and collected by the continuous attempts of the “Archeological department of Rajasthan.” A few things are proved to have been used in 1700 B.C. A metal statue of Lord Buddha that belongs to the 10th century is indeed a great thing to watch. In the midst of the collection of statuettes, a statue of “Vishnu-Nag-Nathan” is also a great wonder to watch.

 

Ahar cenotaph complex
Metal statue of lord buddha

 

Apart from these, there are various other remains excavated from the ruins of the civilization. These are terra cotta spindles, wheels, seals, cones, terra cotta skin scrubber, animal figurines, tiny pots, human figurines, bangles, ear ornaments, beads and balls that date back to the first century B.C. The terracotta toys and huge clay pots and few other utensils are revealed in the beautiful museum. The ornaments were also made of ivory that depicted an era of body decoration. Soak pits, about 2000-year-old, have also been discovered in one of the drains which portray the sense of hygiene among early historic people of this region.

 

Ahar cenotaph complex
Ahar Museum

Present Day at Mahasatya

This important heritage site is one of a kind. It reflects the regal grandeur of the Royal Rajasthan. The place is covered with unwanted shrubs and wild grass.

 

Ahar cenotaph complex
Ruins at Ahar cenotaph complex

 

Not many people are aware of the place’s significance. Some of the cenotaphs are in their ruins and are getting degraded. The area is not open to the public and is a private lodging of the Royal Family. Though some heritage walks were conducted at the place, people are still not aware of the reason behind these structures.

 

Ahar cenotaph complex
Ahar cenotaph complex

 

Photos By: Siddharth Nagar

Lake Rajsamand : A Meadow of Azure Depicting Rusticity

rajsamand lake pal

Rajsamand Lake is an epitome of didactic work done by the princely states for the well concern and revampment of society and economy, which could be easily traced by its sun gold essence of gleaming ethics and serenity. This is a massive lake with well built Ghats. It is one of the largest artificial lakes of medieval period. It is a place of small gust of pleasure, where sun shades the waters the lake, precisely pedestrianized and stuffed with beautiful arrays of silver linings is bestowed to the town Rajsamand. The lake contours about 1.75miles wide, 4 miles long and 60 feet deep, having coordinates 25°4’14″N 73°53’15″E.

The fabulous site of this tarn was the result of a dam constructed across the river Gomati, Kelwa and Tali was debuted by Maharana Raj Singh I in the years 1662-1676 with elaborated structures of Jharokas and jettings. The catchment area of the lake is approximately 508 square kilometers.

 

Why was it Constructed?

The major reason for construction of Lake Rajsamand was to overcome the problem of drought and to render employment for victims of a widespread drought and famine in the year 1661, and to provide canal irrigation to local farmers. It is among the oldest relief works done in Rajasthan. The digging of this foundation began on January 1, 1662. Construction of the actual dam began on January 14, 1676. Mukund Jaggatnath was one of the main architects. It was built in Indo –Persian style and materials used for the construction were stone, rubble and masonry. River Gomti is the main supplier of water to Rajsamand Lake.

rajsamand lake

 

Architecture & Design:

On the bank of the Dam three mandaps were constructed out of white marble, each mandap has three chokies. The first mandap has very interesting scenes where a newly wed girl is departing from her husband’s house. The villagers are seen in sad postures. It is shown that the husband is dragging the wife; the camel of the camel cart is also seen in a sad posture. The second mandap has a scene of animal fighting. The fight of Elephant with Horse is depicted.

On the southern end of this lake their lies a large embankment 183 m. long and 12 m. high, known as Nauchowki or the nine pavilions. It is believed that the dam measures nine hundred ninety nine feet in length and ninety-nine feet in breadth. Every step measures nine inches and there are nine white marble cenotaphs build on the dam. Each of these cenotaphs is nine feet in height and is at nine degree angle from each other. This embankment has marble terraces and stone steps touching the lake and is dotted with five toranas or weighing arches and chhatris (cenotaphs). The colonnaded pavilions are decorated with depictions of the sun, chariots, gods, birds and dancing girls, exquisite carvings that are claimed to be unique in India. It is overviewed by the Dwarikadhish temple and from the Kumbhalgarh Fort the vista it glitters with gushing water is as captivative as scarlet is. This place is also considered to be the one where Maharana Raj Singh and his descendents organized the event of Tuladan: they were weighed in jewels and gold, the cash value of which was distributed among Brahmans for the construction of temples and tanks for the welfare of the people. The history of Mewar is also inscribed here in 107 stanzas, on its 21 marble stones known as ‘Raj Prasasti‘ an epic by Ranchhor Bhatt. It has also been acclaimed as one of the longest etchings in India. The epigraph has given lot of historical, commercial, civil, educational, weighing system etc. to carve out the history and to bring the different shores of historical facts together. The Rajsamand was also the scene of a desperate battle in the late 17th century between Mewar and the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The Mugals destroyed the torans and ruined all the carvings on the mandap. During World War II, Rajsamand Lake was used as a seaplane base by Imperial Airways for about six years.

lake rajsamand

There was no provision for sluice gates, at the time of construction of the lake. Irrigation water was supplied by means of a lift irrigation system. The first sluice gate canal was built by the British people, it is 8 km long, and after independence in the 1960s, an ambitious second one was added, which was 35 km long.

Preposterously, in the year 2000, the lake came into the verge of its existence it was just a barren land of rocks and weeds and residents used the Nand Sagar Lake located about 15 km upstream as a substitute then fortunately on the passage of time the monsoon refilled it. Now the Lake Rajsamand has been used for irrigation and its canal network services are used to provide water to 42 villages covering an area of 7,284 hectares. The villages viz.: Peepli, Mohi, Kuwariya, Bhava, Rupakheda etc. are the regular connectors of this water.

The charm exuded by the unparalleled beauty of the Rajsamand Lake is infectious and the tourists are attracted to this place. It has genuine beauty of its own, especially when women clad in hues of yellow, green, purple accommodate the lake on the festive of Gangaur and Teej. The provocative thing of this place is its purity of water, the shimmering and dancing rays of sunbeams of the settling god and the colour changing water beckons the tourists to its charm by over whelming their hearts.

Photos By : Hemant Paliwal