Kota, formerly known as Kotah, is situated on the banks of Chambal River in the south-eastern region of Rajasthan. Massive forts, magnificent palaces, charming waterways, along with the exotic wildlife and delicate fresco paintings surely capture the heart of the tourists.
Kota has a versatile history, but what is constant are the battles fought for its possession. The history of Kota is intertwined with the Rajput and Mughal rule in India. 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 gallantry and culture.
The history of Kota is linked with the history of Bundi. Both Bundi and Kota came under the rule of the Chauhans in the 12th century. The descendents of the Chauhans set up their capital at Bundi and ruled from here. While Bundi was the capital, Kota formed the land granted to the eldest son of the ruler. This arrangement continued until 1624. In 1624, Emperor Jahangir, the great Mughal ruler, partitioned Bundi and made Kota an independent state. Rao Madho Singh, son of the ruler of Bundi, ascended the throne of Kota. It became a part of the British Empire in 1818 and later became a part of the Indian state of Rajasthan, when it gained independence in 1947.
Air: Sanganer Airport located at Jaipur is nearly 245 km from the heart of the city Kota, and taxi charges about Rs 5000 from Airport to the city. Jaipur airport is connected to metro cities Mumbai and Delhi. Foreign travelers can take connection flights from Delhi international airport, which is nearly 500 km away from Kota. Taxi charges about Rs 9000 from Delhi to Kota. A/C bus services costs about Rs 1600, from Delhi to Kota.
Rail: Kota railhead lying in the main line of Delhi- Mumbai route is well connected to all major cities in India. Passenger, express and super fast train services are available from Kota to other cities.
Road: State buses of Rajasthan Road Transport Corporation connect Kota (Bundi road bus station) to all other cities in Rajasthan. Kota is connected by bus to Udaipur (240 km), Ajmer (230 km), Bikaner (450 km) and Jaipur (250 km).
Although Kota is a small place, shopping in Kota can be a pleasant experience for the discerning shopper. The area has a quite rich tradition of art and craft.
Pick up a few Kota Doria saris while shopping in Kota. These are made out of cotton and silk threads. Hand-woven chequered and printed Kota saris are quite a rage with the women in various region of India. The weave is very fine and the weaving method used is primitive with the same method being used even in today's power-loom era.
The ace craftsmen of the region also make exquisite potteries and stone crafts. Beautiful artifacts and utilities made of stone serve as excellent souvenirs and gift items. The colored potteries also make for great shopping in Kota.
Miniature paintings are popular handicraft in Kota. You may choose to pick up a few pieces to decorate your home interior.
Although the hotels in Kota are not many in number, they are sufficient to accommodate the tourists even in peak seasons. Apart from some budget class ones, most of the hotels in Kota are heritage hotels. A few hotels have also been built upon architectural style of the old forts and palaces.
Here are some selected hotels in Kota:
Brijraj Bhawan Palace Hotel
Umed Bhawan Palace
Hotel Maharaja Palace