The Legendary Land
This is the land where the famous Indian epic, the Bhagwad Gita, was
spoken; where the Rig Veda, the oldest and foremost Aryan manuscript,
was composed; where the Mahabharata, the greatest of all wars, was
fought; where Babur routed Ibrahim Lodi to establish the mighty Mughal
dynasty; where Muslims were dethroned and Marathas lost the glory of
their honour. Haryana, the land with perhaps the most exciting and gory history in the
world, is a forgotten state -- nobody goes there except the people who
Vedic civilization is the earliest civilization in Indian history of
which we have written records that we understand. It is named after the
Vedas, the early literature of the Hindu people. The Vedic Civilization
flourished along the river Saraswati, in a region that now consists of
the modern Indian states of Haryana and Punjab. The Vedic texts have
astronomical dates, that some have claimed, go back to the 5th
millennium BC. The use of Vedic Sanskrit continued up to the 6th century
BC. Vedic is synonymous with Aryans and Hinduism, which is another name
for religious and spiritual thought that has evolved from the Vedas.
The early Aryans: Unfortunately, the origin of the Saraswati Valley
civilization (Vedic culture) and its relation to the Indus Valley
civilization remain hazy. The timeline of Vedic civilization is 4500
BC-1800 BC while that of Indus valley civilization is 3300 BC-1800 BC.
The texts describe a geography that some believe to be north India. The
greatest river of the Rigveda was Saraswati, now dry and identified with
Ghaggar, a seasonal river. It is believed that this river ceased to
reach the Arabian Sea by about 1900 BC. Now, a dry river bed, that seems
to fit the description of the Saraswati River, has been detected by
satellite imagery. It begins in the modern Indian state of Uttaranchal
and passing through Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan, reaches the Arabian
Sea in Gujarat. Our knowledge of the early Aryans comes from the Rigveda,
the earliest of the Vedas.
Political organization: The grama (village), vis and jana were political
units of the early Aryans. A vis was probably a subdivision of a jana
and a grama was probably a smaller unit than the other two. The leader
of a grama was called gramani and that of a vis was called vispati.
Another unit was the gana whose head was a jyeshta (elder). The rashtra
(state) was governed by a rajan (king). The king is often referred to as
gopa (protector) and samrat (supreme ruler). He governed the people with
their consent and approval. It is possible that he was sometimes
elected. The sabha and samiti were popular councils. The main duty of
the king was to protect the tribe. He was aided by two functionaries,
the purohita (chaplain) and the senani (army chief; sena: army). The
former not only gave advice to the ruler but also practiced spells and
charms for success in war. Soldiers on foot (patti) and on chariots (rathins),
armed with bow and arrow were common. The king employed spasa (spies)
and dutas (messengers). He often got a ceremonial gift, bali, from the
Society and economy: Rig Vedic society was characterized by a nomadic
lifestyle with cattle rearing being the chief occupation. The Aryans
kept hordes of cattle and cows were held in high esteem. Milk was an
important part of the diet. Agriculture was equally important and went
hand in hand with cattle rearing. It grew more prominent with time as
the community settled down. The cow was also the standard unit of
barter; coins were not used in this period. Families were patrilineal,
and people prayed for abundance of sons. Education of women was not
neglected, and some even composed Rig Vedic hymns. Marriage for love as
well as for money was known. The concept of caste and hereditary nature
of profession was unknown to the early Aryans. The food of the early
Aryans consisted of parched grain and cakes, milk and milk products, and
fruits and vegetables. Consumption of meat was common. A passage in the
Rig Veda describes how to apportion the meat of a sacrificed horse. It
must be borne in mind that vegetarianism took firm root in India only
after the rise of Buddhism in the sixth century BC.
Literature and Religion Vedic or Hindu literature consists primarily of the Vedas; but also
includes Shruti and various Smriti texts. The Vedic rites were meant to
help the participant transform; this was primarily accomplished via
sacrifices (such as the agnihotra).
Astronomical references in the Vedas help provide some broad
approximations that help date the beginning of the tradition. Due to the
precession of the equinoxes, the seasons shift with relation to the
fixed zodiac at a rate of about a month every two thousand years. Some
Vedic notices mark the beginning of the year at the vernal equinox in
Orion; this was the case around 4500 BC.
The rishis saw the universe as going through unceasing change in a cycle
of birth and death, free and yet, paradoxically, governed by order. This
order was reflected in the bandhu (connections) between the planets, the
elements of the body, and the mind. At the deepest level, the whole
universe was bound to, and reflected in, the individual consciousness.
The place of sacrifice represents the cosmos. The three fires used stand
for the three divisions of space. The course of the sacrifice represents
the year, and all such ritual forms part of continuing annual
performances. The rite culminates in the ritual rebirth of the yajamana
(sacrificer), which signifies the regeneration of his universe. It is
sacred theatre, built upon paradoxes of reality, where symbolic deaths
of animals and humans, including the yajamana himself, may be enacted.
The Vedic gods represent the cognitive centers of the self. Vedic
science is the science of consciousness. These have evolved into the
Hindu paths of Yoga and Vedanta, which is a religious path that is the
'essence' of the Vedas.
The Vedic pantheon is considered to consist of thirty-three different
gods, which are placed, in groups of eleven, into one of the three
different categories: atmospheric, terrestrial, or celestial, each of
which has its own area of responsibility. But just because a god is in
one category does not mean that it is completely different from a god
from another category; for sometimes a god from one category will have
some of the same qualities of a god from another category. This is
because the Vedic system is recursive. It has developed into a broader
group but it is also seen in Vedic philosophy that they are
manifestations of one divine ground known as Brahman. This thought of
unity is expressed severally in Vedic texts.
The categories of the gods are:
Indra, atmospheric; and
Surya or Vishnu, celestial that mirrors the body, prana, and atman
division of the individual. Since one aspires to reach the inner being
through the prana (atmosphere), many Vedic hymns extol Indra.
The Vedic or Hindu religion presents a unitary view of the universe with
God seen as immanent and transcendent in the forms of Ishvara and
Brahman, respectively. Brahman is projected into various deities in the
human mind. The main deities were Indra, Varuna, Surya (the Sun), Mitra,
Vayu, Agni and Soma. Goddesses included Prithvi, Aditi, Ushas and
Saraswati. Deities were not viewed as all-powerful. The relationship
between the devotee and the deity was one of transaction. Each deity had
a specific role; at any given point, a particular deity was considered
superior to the others.
The mode of worship was performance of sacrifices and chanting of
verses. The priests helped the common man in performing rituals. People
prayed for abundance of children, cattle and wealth.
Later Vedic period:
The transition from the early to the later Vedic
period was marked by the emergence of agriculture as the dominant
economic activity and a corresponding decline in the significance of
cattle rearing. Several changes went hand in hand with this. For
instance, several large kingdoms arose because of the increasing
importance of land and its protection.
Several small kingdoms merged to form a few large ones which
were often at war with each other. 16 mahajanapadas (great kingdoms) are
referred to in some of the literature. By this time the Aryan tribes had
spread from their original home in the west to much of the east and the
south. The power of the king greatly increased. Rulers gave themselves
titles like ekarat (the one ruler), sarvabhumi (ruler of all the earth)
and chakravartin (protector of land). Note that in early Vedic times he
was called gopa, protector of cows. The kings performed sacrifices like
rajasuya, (royal consecration) vajapeya (drink of strength) and
ashvamedha (horse sacrifice). The coronation ceremony was a major social
occasion. Several functionaries came into being in addition to the
purohita and the senani of earlier times. The participation of the
people in the activities of the government decreased.
Society: The concept of varna and the rules of marriage became rigid,
but not yet watertight. The status of the Brahmanas and Kshatriyas
increased greatly. To legitimize their position and the increase their
power, the Brahmanas proliferated a large number of sacrifices,
developed extreme specialization, and also restricted social mobility.
The proper enunciation of verses was considered essential for prosperity
and success in war. Kshatriyas amassed wealth, and commissioned the
performance of sacrifices. Many rituals emerged to strengthen the
alliance between these two groups. But the varna system in India has
Geography of Haryana
Area of Haryana: 44,212 sq km
Population: 2,10,83,000 (2001 Census)
Rivers of Haryana:
The river Yamuna flows along its eastern boundary. The ancient Saraswati
river was thought to have flowed throw Haryana but it has now
disappeared. The river Ghaggar is its main seasonal river. It rises up
in the outer Himalayas between the Yamuna and the Sutluj and enters
Haryana near Pinjore, district Panchkula. Passing through Ambala and
Hissar it reaches Bikaner in Rajasthan and runs a course of 290 miles
before disappearing in the deserts of Rajasthan. The Markanda river's
ancient name was Aruna. A seasonal stream like the Ghaggar, it
originates from the lower Shivalik hills and enters Haryana near Ambala.
During monsoons, this stream swells up into a raging torrent notorious
for its devastating power. The surplus water is carried on to the Sanisa
lake where the Markanda joins the Saraswati. An important tributary is
the Tangri. The Sahibi originates in the Mewat hills near Jitgarh and
Manoharpur in Rajasthan. Gathering volume from about a hundred
tributaries, it reaches voluminous proportions, forming a broad stream
around Alwar and Patan. On reaching Rohtak it branches off into two
smaller streams, finally reaching the outskirts of Delhi and flowing
into the Yamuna. There are three other rivulets in and around the Mewat
hills – Indori, Dohan and Kasavati and they all flow northwards from the
All the 6,759 villages of Haryana are now provided with safe drinking
water facilities. In addition there are 68 partial urban water supply
schemes. Water is available as Haryana is a land of canals. It has
tapped its ground water resources to maximum. Life irrigation schemes,
pump sets, and water channels supply adequate amount of water to the
fields and industries. The State has already launched an ambitious
program of brick lining the water courses. The Sutluj-Yamuna Link canal
(SYL) will further add to Haryana's prosperity.
There are 19 districts, 47 sub-divisions, 67 tehsils, 45 sub-tehsils
and 116 blocks. Haryana is situated in the north between 27 deg 37' to
30 deg 35' latitude and between 74 deg 28' to 77 deg 36' longitude.
Haryana has Uttar Pradesh (UP) on its eastern border, Punjab on its
western border, Uttranchal, Himachal Pradesh & Shivalik Hills on its
northern border and Delhi, Rajasthan and Aravali Hills on its southern
The altitude of Haryana varies between 700 ft to 900 ft above the sea
level. An area of 1,553 sq km is covered by forest.
Haryana has four main geographical features.
Shivalik Hills: altitude varying between 900 to 2300 meters. These
hills are the source of the rivers like Saraswati, Ghaggar, Tangri and
Markanda. Parts of Panchkula, Ambala and Yamunanagar districts.
Ghaggar Yamuna Plain: Divided in 2 parts - the higher one is called 'Bangar'
and the lower 'Khadar'. This alluvium plain is made up of sand, clay,
silt and hard calcareous balls like gravel known locally as kankar.
Semi-desert sandy plain: This area includes the districts of Sirsa
and parts of Hissar, Mahendergarh, Fatehbad, Bhiwani and shares border
Aravali hills: This is a dry irregular hilly area.
State : Haryana
Best Season : Spring Starting in February End
Highest temperature : 48°C
Lowest Temperature : 3°C
Climate of Haryana is similar to other states of India lying in the
northern plains. Haryana can be divided into two natural areas,
sub-Himalayan terrain and the Indo-Gangetic plain. The plain is fertile
and slopes from north to south with a height above the sea level
averaging between 700 and 900 ft.
The south-west of Haryana is dry, sandy and barren. There are no
perennial rivers in Haryana, Ghaggar being the only river, which flows
through the northern fringes of the state. Haryana is very hot in summer
and cold in winters. The temperature falls to the lowest in January and
reaches upto 50o C during the months of May and June.
Temperatures Max. Min.
Winter 9°C 3° C
Summer 48°C 35°C
About 80% of the rainfall occurs in the monsoon season during the months
of July and September and sometimes causes local flooding. Rainfall is
varied with Shivalik Hills region being the wettest and the Aravali
Hills region being the driest.
Main languages : Hindi & Haryanvi
Hindi is a language spoken in most states in northern and central India.
It is an Indo-European language, of the Indo-Iranian subfamily. It
evolved from the Middle Indo-Aryan prakrit languages of the middle ages,
and indirectly, from Sanskrit. Hindi derives a lot of its higher
vocabulary from Sanskrit. Due to Muslim influence in northern India,
there are also a number of Persian and Turkish loanwords.
Linguists think of Hindi and Urdu as the same language, the difference
being that Hindi is written in Devanagari and draws vocabulary from
Sanskrit, while Urdu is written in Arabic script and draws on Persian.
The separation is largely a political one; before the partition of India
into India and Pakistan, spoken Hindi and Urdu were considered the same
language, Hindustani. Since partition, Standard Hindi has developed by
replacing many words of Persian origin with Sanskrit words. Hindi and
Urdu presently have four standard literary forms: Standard Hindi, Urdu,
Dakkhini (Dakhini), and Rehkta. Dakhini is a dialect of Urdu from the
Deccan region of south-central India, chiefly from Hyderabad, that uses
fewer Persian words. Rehkta is a form of Urdu used chiefly for poetry.
After Chinese, Hindi is the second most spoken language in the world.
About 500 million people speak Hindi, in India and abroad, and the total
number of people who can understand the language may be 800 million. A
1997 survey found that 66% of all Indians can speak Hindi, and 77% of
the Indians regard Hindi as 'one language across the nation'. More than
180 million people in India regard Hindi as their mother tongue. Another
300 million use it as second language.
Outside of India, Hindi speakers are 100,000 in USA; 685,170 in
Mauritius; 890,292 in South Africa; 232,760 in Yemen; 147,000 in Uganda;
5,000 in Singapore; 20,000 in New Zealand; 30,000 in Germany. Urdu, the
official language of Pakistan, is spoken by about 41 million in Pakistan
and other countries. Hindi became one of the official languages of India
on January 26, 1965 and it is a minority language in a number of
countries, including Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and
Tobago, and United Arab Emirates.
Hindi is generally classified in the Central Zone of the Indo-Aryan
languages. Khadiboli, the dialect spoken in Western Uttar Pradesh, east
of Delhi is the basis for the language used by the government and taught
in schools. Hindi is the predominant language in the states and
territories of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar
Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, as well as the cities of
Mumbai and Hyderabad. Is not easy to delimit the borders of the Hindi
speaking region. A number of spoken languages are very closely related
to Hindi, and may be considered dialects, including Bambaiya Hindi,
Bhaya, Braj, Braj Bhasha, Bundeli, Chamari, Ghera, Gowli, Haryanvi,
Kanauji, and others. Some of the East-Central Zone languages, including
Awadhi (Avadhi), Bagheli, Chhattisgarhi and Dhanwar, and Rajasthani
languages, including Marwari, are also widely considered to be dialects
of Hindi. There has been considerable controversy on the status of
Punjabi and the Bihari languages, including Maithili, Bhojpuri, and
Hindi's popularity has been helped by Bollywood, the Hindi film
industry. These movies have an international appeal and now they have
broken into the Western markets as well. The beginnings of Hindi
literature go back to the Prakrits that are a part of the classical
Sanskrit plays. Tulasidas's Ramacharitamanas attained wide popularity.
Modern masters include Sumitra Nandan Pant, Maithili Sharan Gupta,
Mahadevi Varma, Ajneya
How to reach : Ambala, Bhiwani, Chandigarh, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Jind, Karnal,
Kurukshetra, Narnaul,Panipat, Rewari, Rohtak,Sohna,Sonipat, Yamunanagar
BY AIR - The Chandigarh airport is connected to other places in
the country like Delhi, Amritsar, and Leh. Proximity to the Indira
Gandhi International Airport at Delhi gives the state greater access to
places in India and abroad.
BY RAIL - All the major places in Haryana are connected to Delhi
and other important centers all over the country in India by a good
network of trains. Both the Central and Northern Railways have extensive
networks in the state.
BY ROAD - There is a good road network in the state that connects
all the places in Haryana to each other as well as from the places
outside the state boundary like Delhi, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh. The
Haryana State Road Transport Corporation and private operators have good
services to all the places in the state.