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India >> Rajasthan >> Kota >> Kota
Kota Kota, Rajasthan
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Kota is a city in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. Situated on the banks of Chambal River, this bustling, sprawling city is also called the industrial capital of the state. The tentacles of the modernization have taken the city in its grip with the Chambal Valley Project giving it a major position on the state's industrial map. Industries like agriculture, textile, chemicals, fertilizers, synthetic fibers, engineering equipments and sophisticated instruments have helped in pushing this ancient city into the forefront of modernization. It is also known as the powerhouse of Rajasthan. It has very fertile land and greenery with good irrigation facilities through canal system. Also now the city has the distinction of being one of the top education centres in the country.


The name Kota is derived from Kotya, the chief of Bhil tribe, who ruled over the kingdom. The history of the city dates back to the 12th century A.D. when the Hada chieftain, Rao Deva, conquered the territory and founded Bundi and Hadoti. Later, in the early 17th century AD during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, the ruler of Bundi - Rao Ratan Singh, gave the smaller principality of Kota to his son, Madho Singh. Since then Kota became a hallmark of the Rajput chivalry and culture.


The independent state of Kota became a reality in 1631 when Rao Madho Singh, the second son of Rao Ratan of Bundi was made the ruler, by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Soon Kota outgrew its parent state to become bigger in area, richer in revenue and more powerful. Maharao Bhim Singh played a pivotal role in Kota's history, having held a 'Mansab' of five thousand and being the first in his dynasty to have the title of Maharao.


This south eastern region of Rajasthan known as Hadoti comprises of Bundi, Baran, Jhalawar and Kota is a treasure of history dating back to several centuries. Prehistoric caves, paintings, formidable forts and the mighty Chambal River hurtling from the Vindhyans lend a magnificent view to the region.


Surprisingly unexplored, Kota and the area around have some splendid treasures for its visitors to take home memories of. Its impregnable fortresses, sprawling palaces, exquisitely wrought palaces and lovely waterways act as a magnificent contour to its rich wildlife and gripping paintings.


Kota has managed to retain a certain old world charm, despite a contemporary atmosphere; Kota is inextricably linked with its historic and architectural past.


As you approach this city from Chambal Bridge, at first glimpse, Kota will appear to be an untidy cluster of houses crammed on one bank. These are actually the remnants of Kota fort, encircling the splendid City Palace with its wealth of treasure. Along the fort’s inner battlements, public and private buildings, schools and homes have sprung up. But soon all these are left behind as Naya Darwaza emerges ahead. Among the parts open to the public are Hawa Mahal, Jaleb Chowk, Nakkarkhana Darwaza and Hathia Pol. The regal residences that can be visited include Kunwarbade ka Mahal, Bada Mahal and Raj Mahal. Private audience was given at Bhim Mahal and parties at Baradari. Intricate work characterizes Sooraj Gokh and Chattra Mahal, Zenana Mahal and Alsi Mahal. The richness of details in the delicate fluted pillars, mirror inlays and murals that wash the walls in colors is what makes Kota’s City Palace exceptional. Among the murals are court scenes and portraits, but it is the famous hunting scenes that made the Kota school of painting so well known.


Close to the city palace, an artificial lake called Kishore Sagar also known as the Bada Talao, awaits visitors to a striking palace, Jagmandir, which was built in the centre of the lake for a Mewar princess who couldn’t bear Kota’s heat. Unfortunately visitors are not allowed to go inside.


Kota stayed under seize of two Pathan brothers Keasr Khan and Dokhar Khan, for a brief between 1531 and 1551. After savage battle, Bundi’s Rao Surjan won it back but the tombs of the Pathan usurpers still stand in the old city. And just to round off Kota’s history, which like all its neighboring kingdoms owed allegiance to the British, there is a cemetery where there are memorials to Raj officers killed during the 1857 War of Independence.



The Chambal River leaves its calm appearance and for a while becomes playful to hide in deep ravines and finally veering away into another valley in the form of a water fall, rushing down to land near an ancient Shiva shrine, the Gepernath Mahadeo. The place has been an important pilgrimage for Shaivites since the 5th-6th century, and a temple was built here in 1569. You find an old inscription in the temple to this effect.


Udpuria, one of the common enough villages, with 100-odd households, set around a pond has come into prominence, at least for nature lovers as a group of painted storks,  some 200-300 birds come here sometimes every August, flying around, feeding themselves, breeding their young ones next to the pond and departing when new generation is ready to fly.


Keshoraipatan is the residence of Shri Keshav Rai Ji, it is the presiding deity of Hadoti and its Hada rulers. A medieval temple with fort-like walls on the riverside stands on an outcrop and overlooks a curve of a sweeping river running through a vast spread of green cultivated landscape. Another temple, Gardia Mahadev on the river heights, a short drive from Kota, has little significance in itself, but it hold the most amazing view of Chambal gorge.


Badoli, on the road to Rawatbhata is an ASI-enclosure containing an enchanting copse of trees – kadam, mango, jamun, peepla – and underneath them a complex of temples, indicating a past Hindu religious site in a forest. The temple complex is dated between 9th and 12th century.  The complex has some ruins strewn around and many images show sign of defacement. A further 10 km from Badoli, on the road to Chittaur across a bridge, is the amazingly located fort called Bhainsroadgarh, audaciously perched on a cliff right above the mighty river Chambal. Its 200 years old and contains a small village inside it.


The region harbors a verdant wildlife century too, to the delight of wildlife and nature lovers, called Darrah. This sanctuary is densely wooded and is spread over a hilly terrain. Darrah was formerly the favourite hunting terrain of the maharajas of Kota. In those days the region was a massive dense forest heavily populated with big and small game like tigers, deer and rhinos. Today very little of the wildlife remains, and even the forest has decreased to about 100 square miles. However, the sanctuary is worth a visit if you’re in this region of Rajasthan, and chances of spotting a leopard or a sloth bear are pretty high. Antelopes and wolves can be seen at almost any given time, and the best places to see them from are the old hunting lodges of the rulers. These hunting lodges themselves are a sight to see, built specifically by kings for their hunts.


Kota in Rajasthan is famous for the fine translucent muslins called Masuria Malmal. Drive to Khaithoon, a village of weavers 22 km from Kota, and you will see Kota-doria saris stretched out on the looms. The weavers were brought to Kota in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and the saris came to be known as 'Kota-Masuria'. Kota saris are popularly known as 'Masuria' in Kota and Kotadoria outside the state. 'Doria' means thread. Bheru-gali in Rampura can still be found lined up with saree shops over half a century old.

Originally Kota-doria saris were woven in solid geometric patterns of alternating checks and were woven only in five different shades of whites – the color that would best keep out the horrible heat of the region. Now these saris are available in other colors and are a big hit as variations are spun to fancy the desire.

 Getting there


Southeastern Rajasthan. On the east bank of the river Chambal.


35 km southwest of Bundi, 251 south of Jaipur and 500 km southwest of Delhi.

 Fast Facts
Name Kota Best Time To Visit October to March
Location Kota   Rajasthan   West   India  
Open From 0000-00-00  To 0000-00-00 Type Historical City
Temperature Summar   38-44º      Winter   5-10º      Rainy   30-35º
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