Rajasthan is the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert (Thar Desert), which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with Pakistan. The region borders Pakistan to the west, Gujarat to the southwest, Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to the northeast and Punjab to the north. Rajasthan covers a vast area of 342,239 km² (about the size of Germany).
The state capital is Jaipur. Geographical features include the Thar Desert along north-western Rajasthan and the termination of the Ghaggar River near the archaeological ruins at Kalibanga, which are the oldest in the subcontinent discovered so far.
The main geographic features of Rajasthan are the Thar Desert and the Aravalli Range, which runs through the state from southwest to northeast, almost from one end to the other, for more than 850 km. Mount Abu is at the southwestern end of the range, separated from the main ranges by the West Banas River, although a series of broken ridges continues into Haryana in the direction of Delhi where it can be seen as outcrops in the form of the Raisina Hill and the ridges farther north. About three-fifths of Rajasthan lies northwest of the Aravallis, leaving two-fifths on the east and south.
The northwestern portion of Rajasthan is generally sandy and dry. Most of the region is covered by the Thar Desert, which extends into adjoining portions of Pakistan. The Aravalli Range intercepts the moisture-giving southwest monsoon winds off the Arabian Sea, leaving the northwestern region in a rain shadow. The Thar Desert is thinly populated; the town of Bikaner is the largest city in the desert. The Northwestern thorn scrub forests lie in a band around the Thar Desert, between the desert and the Aravallis. This region receives less than 400 mm of rain in an average year. Summer temperatures can exceed 45°C in the summer months and drop below freezing in the winter. The Godwar, Marwar, and Shekhawati regions lie in the thorn scrub forest zone, along with the city of Jodhpur. The Luni River and its tributaries are the major river system of Godwar and Marwar regions, draining the western slopes of the Aravallis and emptying southwest into the great Rann of Kutch wetland in neighboring Gujarat. This river is saline in the lower reaches and remains potable only up to Balotara in Barmer district. The Ghaggar River, which originates in Haryana, is an intermittent stream that disappears into the sands of the Thar Desert in the northern corner of the state and is seen as a remnant of the primitive Saraswati river.
The Aravalli Range and the lands to the east and southeast of the range are generally more fertile and better watered. This region is home to the Kathiarbar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion, with tropical dry broadleaf forests that include teak, Acacia, and other trees. The hilly Vagad region lies in southernmost Rajasthan, on the border with Gujarat. With the exception of Mount Abu, Vagad is the wettest region in Rajasthan, and the most heavily forested. North of Vagad lies the Mewar region, home to the cities of Udaipur and Chittaurgarh. The Hadoti region lies to the southeast, on the border with Madhya Pradesh. North of Hadoti and Mewar is the Dhundhar region, home to the state capital of Jaipur. Mewat, the easternmost region of Rajasthan, borders Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Eastern and southeastern Rajasthan is drained by the Banas and Chambal rivers, tributaries of the Ganges.
The Aravali Range runs across the state from the southwest peak Guru Shikhar ( Mount Abu), which is 1,722 m in height, to Khetri in the northeast. This divides the state into 60% in the northwest of the range and 40% in the southeast. The northwest tract is sandy and unproductive with little water but improves gradually from desert land in the far west and northwest to comparatively fertile and habitable land towards the east. The area includes the Thar Desert. The south-eastern area, higher in elevation (100 to 350 m above sea level) and more fertile, has a very diversified topography. in the south lies the hilly tract of Mewar. In the southeast, a large area within the districts of Kota and Bundi forms a tableland. To the northeast of these districts is a rugged region (badlands) following the line of the Chambal River. Farther north the country levels out; the flat plains of the northeastern Bharatpur district are part of an alluvial basin.
Rajasthan is divided into 33 districts and seven divisions:
* Ajmer Division: Ajmer, Bhilwara, Nagaur, Tonk.
* Bharatpur Division: Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur.
* Bikaner Division: Bikaner, Churu, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh.
* Jaipur Division: Jaipur, Alwar, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Dausa.
* Jodhpur Division: Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jodhpur District, Pali, Sirohi.
* Kota Division: Baran, Bundi, Jhalawar, Kota.
* Udaipur Division: Banswara District, Chittorgarh District, Pratapgarh District, Dungarpur District, Udaipur, Rajsamand
Rajasthan is the sole producer of jasper, lead & zinc conc. and wollastonite. Almost entire production of calcite and natural gypsum in the country comes from Rajasthan. State is a major producer of asbestos, copper conc., ochre, phosphorite/rock phosphate, silver, steatite, ball clay, fluorite and feldspar. The state is also an important producer of marble having various shades. Makrana area is world famous centre for marble mining. Country’s more than 90% resources of wollastonite, lead and zinc ore and potash are located in Rajasthan.
Important minerals occurring in the state are asbestos(amphibole) in Ajmer, Bhilwara, Dungarpur, Pali, Rajsamand and Udaipur districts; ball clay in Bikaner, Nagaur and Pali districts; barytes in Alwar, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Jalore, Pali, Rajsamand, Sikar and Udaipur districts; calcite in Ajmer, Alwar, Bhilwara, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Pali, Sikar, Sirohi and Udaipur districts; China clay in Ajmer, Barmer,Bharatpur, Bhilwara,Bikaner, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Dausa, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu, Kota, Nagaur, Pali, Sawai Madhopur and Udaipur districts; and Copper in Khetri belt in Jhunjhunu district and Dariba in Alwar district. Deposits of copper are also reported to occur in Ajmer, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, Jaipur, Pali, Rajsamand, Sikar, Sirohi and Udaipur districts. Dolomite occur in Ajmer, Alwar, Banswara, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, Sikar and Udaipur districts; feldspar in Ajmer, Alwar, Bhilwara, Jaipur, Pali, Rajsamand, Sikar and Tonk districts; fireclay in Alwar, Barmer, Bharatpur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu and Sawai Madhopur districts; fluorspar in Ajmer, Dungarpur, Jalore, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Sirohi and Udaipur districts; garnet in Ajmer, Bhilwara, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Tonk districts; gypsum in Barmer, Bikaner, Churu, Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Nagaur and Pali districts, iron ore ( hematite) in Dausa, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Udaipur districts; iron ore (magnetite) in Bhilwara, Jhunjhunu and Sikar districts; lead-zinc in Zawar in Udaipur district, Bamnia Kalan, Rajpura-Dariba in Rajsamand and Rampura/Agucha in Bhilwara district. Lead-zinc occurrences are also reported from Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Pali and Sirohi districts. Lignite deposits occur in Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Nagaur districts. Flux grade limestone occur in Jodhpur and Nagaur districts and chemical grade limestone in Jodhpur, Nagaur and Alwar districts. Cement grade deposits of limestone are widespread and occur in Ajmer, Alwar, Banswara, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Churu, Dungarpur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu, Kota, Nagaur, Pali, Sawai Madhopur, Sikar, Sirohi and Udaipur districts. Magnesite occurs in Ajmer, Dungarpur, Pali and Udaipur districts; marble in Ajmer, Banswara, Bhilwara, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, Jaipur, Nagaur, Sikar,Sirohi and Udaipur districts; mica in Bhilwara districts; ochre in Bikaner, chittorgarh, Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur and Udaipur districts; pyrite in Sikar district; pyrophyllite in Alwar, Jhunjhunu, Rajsamand and Udaipur districts; quartz/silica sand in Ajmer, Alwar, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Bundi, Dausa, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, Kota, Pali, Rajsamand, Sawai-Madhopur, Sikar, Sirohi, Tonk and Udaipur districts; quartzite in Ajmer, Alwar, Jhunjhunu and Sawai Madhopur districts; rock phosphate in Alwar, Banswara, Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur districts; talc/steatite/soapstone in Ajmer, Alwar, Banswara, Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Dausa, Dungarpur, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Karoli, Pali, Rajsamand, Sawai Madhopur, Sirohi, Tonk and Udaipur districts; vermiculite in Ajmer and Barmer districts; and wollastonite in Ajmer, Dungarpur, Pali, Sirohi and Udaipur districts.
Other important minerals that occur the state are apatite in Udaipur and Sikar districts; bauxite in Kota district; bentonite in Barmer, Jaisalmer and Jhalawar districts; corundum in Tonk district; diatomite in Barmer and Jaisalmer districts; emerald in Ajmer and Rajsamand districts; feller’s earth in Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur districts; gold in Banswara and Sirohi districts; granite in Ajmer, Alwar, Banswara, Barmer, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur, Pali, Rajsamand, Sawai Madhopur, Sikar, Sirohi, Tonk and Udaipur districts; graphite in Ajmer, Alwar and Banswara districts, Kyanite and Sillimanite in Udaipur district; manganese ore in Banswara, Bhilwara, Jaipur and Pali districts; potash in Jaisalmer and Nagaur districts; Silver in Ajmer, Bhilwara, Jhunjhunu, Rajsamand and Udaipur districts; Tungsten at Degana in Nagaur district. Tungsten deposits are also reported to occur in Jaipur, Pali, Sirohi and Udaipur districts.