Along the eastern bank of the Shamble River lies Kota – an amazing juxtaposition of the majestic medieval age, and modern industrialization. While its untouched wealth of impressive forts, opulent palaces and splendid temples, dating back over several centuries, retain the past glory, the present day edifices and heavy industries, have made it the industrial heartland of Rajasthan.
The history of the city dates back to the 12th century AD, 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 Jehangir, 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 Rajput gallantry and culture.
The commanding fort stands overlooking the modern Shamble Valley Project, with its many dams – Kota Barrage, Gandhi Sagar, Rana Pratap Sagar and Jawahar Sagar. An old palace, dating back to the time when Kota, was under the control of the Handa Chieftaincy – Hadoti, faces the Kota Barrage.
The Durbar Hall is ornate with beautiful mirror work and has ebony and ivory doors. Exquisite miniatures, of the Kota school are housed within the Hall. Other noteworthy edifices of the bygone era are the Brij Raj Bhawan Palace, Jag Mandir – an island palace, a splendid haveli (mansion) with beautiful frescoes and the royal cenotaphs.
Kota is the home of the famous Kota ‘doria’ sarees made in small villages around the city.
City Palace, The Fort overlooking Chamba River, Jagmandir – artificial water reservoir, Brig Vilas Palace Museum, Rao Madho Singh Museum and Darrah Wild Life Sanctuary – 50 Kms away from Kota.
Almost in the centre of Rajasthan, Pushkar is 135 km from Jaipur and 10 km from Ajmer, with the Aravalli Range on one side and the Thar Desert on the other.
How to Reach
Jaipur at 245 km is the nearest airport.
Kota lying on the Delhi-Mumbai route, the main railhead and is well connected to Mumbai, Amritsar, New Delhi, Dehradun, Gorakhpur and other important cities.
Kota is located on Jaipur – Jabalpur Highway No 12. Good network of road connections, links Kota with many important cities inside and outside the state. Some notable distance are Udaipur 270 km, Bundi 40 km, Delhi 504 km, Ahmedabad 522 km, Indore 330 km, Ajmer 210 km and Jaipur 250 km.
Kota is very hot and dry in summer and extremely cold in winter.
Amid the picturesque artificial lake of Kishore Sagar, constructed in 1346 AD, by Prince Dher Deh of Bundi, stands the enchanting little palace of Jag Mandir, in the middle of the tank. The azure water around the red-sandstone monument enhances its beauty. Its best seen early in the morning, but it is exquisite at any time of the day. Boat-rides can be enjoyed in the lake. The Keshar Bagh, famous for its royal cenotaphs, lies in the vicinity.
Rao Madho Singh Museum
Situated in the old palace, the museum has a superb collection of Rajput miniature paintings of the Kota school, exquisite sculptures, frescoes and armory. The museum also houses, a rich repository of artistic items, used by the Kota rulers.
A beautifully landscaped garden at the Amar Niwas, it is a sight for sore eyes in this industrial town. On the banks of the Chamble River, south of the fort, are the Chamble gardens. The centerpiece is a murky pond stocked with crocodiles. There are also some rare gharials (thin snouted fish-eating crocodiles). Its lush surroundings make it a popular picnic spot offering enjoyable boat rides.
BHANDDEORA TEMPLE – Situated in the Baran district atop the Ramgarh hill, is the 11th-12th century temple now in ruins. It is easily approachable by jeep and car. DARRAH WILDLIFE SANCTUARY – An erstwhile royal hunting preserve, it is a thickly wooded sanctuary, lying along the southeastern border of Kota, adjacent to the mountain range. The wildlife variety includes panther, spotted deer, tiger, wild boar, and bears. FORT OF SHAHBAD AND MOSQUE – Chauhan ruler Muktaman was built this fort in 1577 AD
The mosque is the biggest in Rajasthan and was built during the reign of Aurangzeb. HAVELI OF DEVTAJI – The beautiful Haveli of Devta Shridharji, is located in the middle of the busy market. The haveli is noted, for its splendid frescoes and rooms ornate with lovely wall paintings. RANA PRATAP SAGAR DAM & BHAINSRODGARH – Bhainsrodgarh Fort, lies on the riverbank of the Shamble River and a village lies within the fort. The fort is set amidst scenic surroundings. An ancient temple of Gaipar Nath Mahadev, on the way is an idyllic picnic spot. ROCK PAINTINGS OF ALANIYA – Beautiful rock paintings adorn the bank of the River Alaniya. SITABARI – An ideal picnic spot, situated near the village of Kelwara in the Baran district on the way to Kota-Shiv Puri. The old temples of Sita, Laxman and seven water tanks are worth a visit. The place is the venue of a tribal fair held in May/June every year.