The Land and TopographyThe State has an area of 343,000 sq km. The capital city is Jaipur.
The Aravali Range runs across the state from southwest Guru Peak (Mount Abu), which is 1,722 m in height to Khetri in the northeast. This divides the state into 60% in the north west of the lines 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 Great Indian (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 of the districts of Kota and Bundi forms a tableland, and to the northeast of these districts is a rugged region (badlands) following the line of the Chambal River. Further north the country levels out; the flat plains of the northeastern Bharatpur district are part of the alluvial basin of the Yamuna River.
The Aravali outlines Rajasthan's most important division. The Chambal River, which is the only large and perennial river in the State, originates from its drainage to the east of this range and flows northeast. Its principal tributary, the Banas, rises in the Aravali near Kumbhalgarh and collects all the drainage of the Mewar plateau. Further north, the Banganga, after rising near Jaipur, flows east-wards before disappearing. The Luni is the only significant river west of the Aravali. It rises in the Pushkar valley of Ajmer and flows 320 km west-southwest into the Rann of Kachchh. Northeast of the Luni basin, in the Shekhawati tract, is an area of internal drainage characterized by salt lakes, the largest of which is Sambhar Salt Lake.
In the vast sandy north-western plain extending over the districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jalor, Sirohi, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Pali, and Nagaur, soils are predominantly saline or alkaline. Water is scarce but is found at a depth of 30 to 61 m. The soil and sand are calcareous (chalky). Nitrates in the soil increase its fertility, and, as has been shown in the area of the Indira Gandhi (formerly Rajasthan) Canal, cultivation is often possible where adequate water supplies are made available.
The soils in the Ajmer district in central Rajasthan are sandy; clay content varies between 3 and 9 per cent. In the Jaipur and Alwar districts in the east, soils vary from sandy loam to loamy sand. In the Kota, Bundi, and Jhalawar tract, they are in general black and deep and are well drained. In Udaipur, Chittaurgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, and Bhilwara districts, eastern areas have mixed red and black and western areas red to yellow soils.
Rajasthan is a northwesterly state of India. It is bound on the west and northwest by Pakistan, on the north and northeast by the States of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, on the east and southeast by the States of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and on the southwest by the State of Gujarat. The Tropic of Cancer passes through its southern tip in the Banswara district.