Jaipur diocese is in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. Jaipur is the state capital.
The diocese's land area of 129,060 square kilometers covers 12 civil districts: Jaipur, Alwar, Bikaner, Churu, Dausa, Hanumangarh, Jhunjhunu, Karauli, Nagaur, Sawaimadhopur, Sikar and Sriganganagar.
Jaipur is known as the pink city, because many buildings are built with pink stones. It is a tourist centre. King Sawai Jai Singh II built the city 1727 in accordance with ancient Hindu architecture.
Rajasthan means place (sthan) of kings (raja). The land is known for its chivalry and magnificent palaces. The customs, costumes, culture, music and dialects have an unusual diversity.
Most of the people are tribals, Dalits (formerly untouchables) and other backward castes.
Hindi, Marwarhi and English are the main languages spoken.
Christian presence in Jaipur dates back to the 18th century when Father Emmanuel de Figuredo was sent here at the invitation of Maharaja (king) Sawai Jai Singh II. Pedro de Silva, the first lay Catholic to settle in Jaipur, accompanied the priest.
Maharaja Sawai Man Singh gifted land and generously contributed to the building of Sacred Heart Church at Ghat Gate in 1871. The first resident priest in Jaipur was Capuchin Father Conrad.
In 1890, the Rajaputana and Malwa missions were created from the territory of Agra diocese. In 1891, this new mission was made into an apostolic prefecture with Capuchin Father Bertram as its apostolic prefect. It then had five mission stations, including Jaipur, with five priests.
From 1913, the area came under the diocese of Ajmer, renamed the diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur in 1955. On July 20, 2005, the diocese of Jaipur was created and Bishop Oswald Joseph Lewis, then coadjutor bishop of Meerut, was installed as its first bishop on Aug. 28, 2005.
The Catholics in Jaipur diocese are only 4,265 amid a population of 25,828,271 (0.016 percent) in 25 parishes and mission stations. The diocese has 13 diocesan priests.
The diocese has many migrant, employed Catholics from southern India and a few local converts belonging to backward communities. Most of the Catholics live in the towns.
Currently, the area is experiencing all round development in education, industry and agriculture. Many universities have been established and Alwar is fast emerging as a major industrial town, while Bikaner is well known for its wool industry and Jaipur for gems and jewelry. In the agricultural sector, people cultivate wheat, bajra, jowar and maize.
The diocesan territory is blessed with natural beauty and abundant natural resources, as well as a rich cultural heritage.
Many foreign tourists frequent this area. It has an enormous wealth of minerals such as iron, copper and manganese.
The area supports a wide spectrum of wildlife and attracts many migratory birds. While Ranthambhor has a famous national park, Jamwa Ramgarh in Jaipur is known for its wildlife sanctuary.
The lofty hills of Aravali, one of the oldest mountain ranges of the world, and the golden sand dunes of the Great Indian Desert -- the only desert of the subcontinent -- are located in Rajasthan. The western part of the state touches the international boundary with Pakistan.
The region is also known for its folk music, folk musical instruments and folk musicians. The region is also famous for dancing, singing, drama, devotional music and puppet shows. Besides cattle fairs, Jaipur hosts the famous elephant festival and Bikaner a camel festival.