Rajasthan - Geography
More than 60% of the state's total land area is desert, characterized by extreme temperature, low rainfall, and sparse habitation. Rajasthan, with a total geographical area of 3,42,239 square kilometres, is India’s largest State. It was formed as a state of the Union of India in March 1949, by a merger of 19 Principalities and 2 Chiefships, with Ajmer-Merwara being added in 1956, as recommended by the States’ Reorganisation Commission.
Rajasthan is the largest state in India in terms area. The state is bounded on north by the States of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on its north, northeast and southeast, by Gujarat on its southwest and by Pakistan on its west.
The Great Indian desert, the Thar gives the state a distinguishing character. The state has many hilly areas. Apart from Aravalli hills there are also some other hills going down from Delhi in a south-westerly direction. Mount Abu in the Sirohi district is the highest mountain in Rajasthan and its tallest peak of Gurusikhar is 1717 meters high. The Aravalli range of hills and mountains, divides the state into two major parts, southeast and northwest. The northwest consists of a series of sand dunes covers nearly two-thirds of the area. Physiographically this state can be divided into six major units - Western arid region, Semi-arid region, Aravalli region, Eastern region, South-eastern region and Chambal ravines.
The main rivers of the state are Loni from Nag hills near Ajmer, the Ghagar flows from Haryana, Chambal on the eastern side of the state and the tributaries of Chambal like Kali Sindh, Banas and Parwati. Mahi and Banganga are the other rivers of the state.The Sambhar lake is the largest natural salt lake in Rajasthan. There are few other salt lakes in Jodhpur area (Deedwana Pachpadra) and Jaipur area.
Between 1975-76 and 1997-98 the total cropped area increased by nearly 15 percentage points, while area under forest increased by 1.7 percentage points. However, the system limits of the expansion of the margin of cultivation appear to have been reached, with barren land and culturable wasteland declining by only 1.5 and 4.8 percentage points respectively. Moreover, the degradation in forest cover (in terms of average crown density) as well as the considerable expanse of wasteland (nearly 20 percent of all wasteland in India) are causes of serious concern. Clearly, the focus now has to be on improving the agricultural productivity per unit of land, and participatory development of wastelands, forests and pastures.
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