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Home>>North India>>Haryana

Haryana


HISTORY OF HARYANA

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 live there!

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 people.

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:

  • Agni, terrestrial

  • 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.

Kingdoms:
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 remained fluid.


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 south.


Water:
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 border.

  • 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 with Rajasthan.

    • Aravali hills: This is a dry irregular hilly area.

Climate
State : Haryana
Best Season : Spring Starting in February End
Highest temperature : 48C
Lowest Temperature : 3C

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 9C 3 C
Summer 48C 35C

Rainfall
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.

Language

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 Magadhi.

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.
 

More Attractions in Haryana

>> Morni Hills

>> Sohna Hills  

 

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