Kota’s broad avenues, leafy roads and its status as a divisional headquarter of the Indian Army hide its ancient beginnings. But Kota is as much a child of fractious history as its fellow Rajput kingdoms, born of blood, gore and diplomacy.
It was in 1241 that a classic Rajput, Deva Hara of the fierce Hara clan, came to these parts, wanted what he saw and attempted to conquer. He won and the kingdom of Bundi was established. Around that time, nearby Kota was under the Bhil tribals lead by their chief Koteya. He was defeated by Bundi’s Jait Singh in 1264 and a fort’s construction was started there. Koteya’s severed head was buried, as tradition decreed, in its foundation. And so Kota became a jagir, or land grant, of Bundi, at the dispensation of the heir apparent.
Sightseeing Places in Kota
The imposing façade of Kota’s fortified City Palace, which dates back to 1625, stretches along the banks of the Chambal River, recalling the princely past of this now heavily industrialized city. Kota’s artistic heritage is well-represented in the palace apartments – every available surface is covered with miniature paintings, mirror work, murals and mosaics. Particularly resplendent is the Durbar Hall, with its ebony-and-ivory doors, and paintings depicting Kota’s history.
How to reach Kota
This is a true story of a princess who married a prince of a tiny kingdom that stood on the edge of a desert, not far from home, but nothing like home either which was Udaipur, lauded even then as a city of lakes. Though Kota had a lake too, our princess couldn’t take the heat that would rise from the ground in the hot summer. So circa 1740, a palace called Jagmandir was built specially for her in the middle of the Kishore Sagar Lake.But she found the heat stifling even then. And so, the princess decided that she needed clothes were friendlier to thebreeze that sometimes blew her way. A royal order was passed and the weavers got to work. Perhaps they took inspiration from the thin ribbon-like clouds that streak the summer skies here for the new sari was just as light and ephemeral.The number of threads in the warp and weft was reduced but to make up for this lost weight, they wove the Kota-doria saris in solid geometric patterns of alternating checks. And these saris were woven only in five different shades of white – the color that would best keep out the horrible heat. These five whites were lyrically named ‘conch shell’, ‘sea-foam’, ‘jasmine’, ‘August moon’ and ‘clouds after they have spent their rain’. The saris were a big hit and variations were spun quickly. In Kota-mungia or Kota-masuria, the checks are supposed to be the size of a single grain of moong or masoor dal. Now these saris are available in other colors.
Nearest airport, Sanganer, Jaipur, is connected by daily flights to all metros.
Kota Junction is well-connected to Delhi by the new Nizamuddin-Udaipur Express, Mumbai August Kranti and Trivandrum Rajdhani superfast trains and to Jaipur by the Jaipur-Kota Fast Passenger and Jaipur-Bombay Central superfast trains.
Kota is a comfortable 5-hr drive along NH-12 from Jaipur via Tonk, Devli and Bundi.