Rajasthan is India’s largest state by area (342,239 square kilometres (132,139 sq mi) or 10.4% of India’s total area). It is located on the western side of the country, where it comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert (also known as the “Rajasthan Desert” and “Great Indian Desert”) and shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley. Elsewhere it is bordered by the other Indian states: Punjab to the north; Haryanaand Uttar Pradesh to the northeast; Madhya Pradesh to the southeast; and Gujarat to the southwest. Its features include the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization at Kalibanga; the Dilwara Temples, a Jain pilgrimage site at Rajasthan’s only hill station, Mount Abu, in the ancient Aravalli mountain range; and, in eastern Rajasthan, the Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur, a World Heritage Site known for its bird life. Rajasthan is also home to two national tiger reserves, the Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur and Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar.
The state was formed on 30 March 1949 when Rajputana – the name adopted by the British Raj for its dependencies in the region– was merged into the Dominion of India. It’s capital and largest city is Jaipur also known as Pink City, located on the state’s eastern side. Other most important cities are Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Kota, and Ajmer.