Parts of Rajasthan belonged to the Indus Valley Civilization between about 3500 and 1750 BCE. Excavations at Kalibanga in Northern Rajasthan have revealed the existence of human settlements of the Harappan times on the banks of a river that dried up later, which is believed to be the River Saraswati by some scholars. The historical evidence found in Bairat reflects the presence of Pre-Aryan people. The first Aryan settlement was at the Dhundhar region around 1400 BCE. The foremost inhabitants of this area were the Bhils and the Meenas. They formed small kingdoms that battled with each other. Ancient Hindu scripttural epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata make reference to sites in present-day Rajasthan. According to a popular legend, Rama the seventh avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu, aimed an arrow towards the Sea God who inhabited the straits between India and Sri Lanka. However, when the Sea God apologised to Rama for opposing his desire to cross the straits, than Rama fired the arrow to the north-west, rendering the whole region as a desolated wasteland.
Before the reign of the Gurjar and Rajput rulers, Rajasthan was a part of the illustrious Mauryan Empire around 321-184 BCE. It had also been a part of Republics like Arjunyas, Hunas, Kushans, Malavas, Saka Satraps and the Yaudheyas. The Guptas reigned in the 4th century. Some Buddhist caves and Stupas have been found in Jhalawar, in the southern part of Rajasthan.
The decline of the 300 year old Gupta Empire in the 5th century led to the political unrest in the Northern India and was followed by an epoch of instability as numerous chieftains tried to gain power. The situation was stabilized when the Gurjara Pratiharas, the earliest of the Gurjarclan emerged around 700 CE. Gurjar pratihars were well known for their hostility towards Arab invaders.The Arab chronicler Sulaiman describes the army of the Gurjar Pratihars as it stood in 851 CE, The king of Gurjars maintains numerous forces and no other Indian prince has so fine a cavalry. He is unfriendly to the Arabs, still he acknowledges that the king of the Arabs is the greatest of kings. Among the princes of India there is no greater foe of the Islamic faith than he. He has got riches, and his camels and horses are numerous.
Around 1000-1200, the Rajputs had internal strife among themselves and were engaged in armed conflicts with each other. A struggle for supremacy took place among the Parmars, Chalukyas, and Chauhans. During the eighth - twelfth centuries, the Rajput clan gained supremacy and altogether the Rajputs were divided into 36 royal clans and 21 dynasties like the Hadas of Jhalwawar, Kota & Bundi, Sisodiasof Mewar, the Bhatis of Jaisalmer, the Shekhawats of Shekhawati, the Kachhwahas of Jaipur and the Chauhans of Ajmer, the Rathores ofMarwar and Jodhpur.
Rajasthan includes most of Rajputana, comprising a number of Rajput kingdoms as well as Jat kingdoms and a Muslim kingdom. The Jats were rulers in Bharatpur and Dholpur. Tonk was ruled by a Muslim Nawab. Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur, and Jaipur were some of the mainRajput states. Rajput families rose to prominence in the 6th century, establishing kingdoms in Rajputana and across northern India.