Travel to Kota, India and discover the ecstasy of Rajput heroism as it vibrates in the heartland of Rajasthan. Kota Travel offers the most enthralling sightseeing to ancient and revered Kota forts and palaces in India. Take a vacation tour to Kota India and get a taste of the lives and times of the erstwhile royalty of largest industrial town of Rajasthan India.

India - Rajasthan - Kota City

Kota City

Population : 600,000
Distance : 14km from Bundi

¤ Cities Existence

Till the middle of the 13th century, Kota did not exist. In a sense it did, but what was to be seen of it were barren lands with not a soul in sight for miles. Lying in southern Rajasthan close to Madhya Pradesh, Kota was eclipsed by the already functioning court of Bundi, those stalwarts of Rajputana called the Hara Chauhanas who were forced to flee Ajmer in the face of Muhammad Ghori’s feared invasion in 1192AD.

Kota  Rajasthan, India
¤ The Foundation of the City

The foundations for the town of Kota were laid in 1264AD after the local Bhil tribal chief was defeated and beheaded by a faction of the Chauhanas. However, nothing much occurred for another four hundred years. The actual building of Kota began only in 1624 when it broke away from the imposing Bundi. Madho Singh, the new ruler, realised that he couldn’t really live in a village surrounded by forests, so he got down to building a township which would suit his royal needs.

¤ Kota's Coat of Arms

Kota’s royal coat of arms is based on the winged Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu. Set within a shield and flanked by winged griffins, Garuda and the shield are crowned by a warrior rising forth from flames, signifying the ruling family’s ascendency from fire. Like most of the Rajput states, Kota’s coat of arms borrows from European designs, probably because they were fashioned by Britishers. Although the titles of princes and kings was abolished in 1970, Kota is currently `ruled’ by Maharao Brijraj Singh who enjoys a 17 gun salute on royal occasions.

¤ City In Clutches of Bloody Battle Games

Kota has a fiercely rich history steeped in war. Bloody battles were fought here by Rajput clans and the Mughal empire for control of Bundi and Ajmer. Rao Madho Singh, Kota’s ruler, was engaged by the ageing Shah Jahan to fight his son Aurangzeb, who eventually did take the Delhi throne anyway. Unlike the fortified Bundi, the rulers of Kota had to face intrusions from Mughals from the east, the rulers of Jaipur and Mewar from the north, the Marathas from the south as well as from their own clans. These many and frequent battles paved the way for another kind of war – that of diplomacy, at which Kota rulers excelled. One of them was Zalim Singh, a ruler by default who rose to power through his vision, diplomacy and cunningness when he was made regent for Kota while an infant king `ruled’. Zalim is said to have defied the laws of nature and planted trees of exotic fruits and flowers where not even grass would grow. He imported coconuts and palmyras from Malabar, apples from Afghanistan and oranges from north Bengal and laid out beautiful gardens. Besides that, Kota’s most famous ruler also solicited the services of weavers from Kashmir to migrate to Kota and weave the fabulous Pashmina shawls, rivaling those that Kashmir produced. Zalim Singh claimed that when he ascended the throne three-fourths of Kota was barren and one-fourth was cultivable. Within a few years he had reversed the balance.

Zalim Singh was no ordinary ruler, and his adaptability to circumstances and situations saw him grow into one of the most belligerent rulers Rajasthan has ever produced. He had tremendous foresight, and military tactics and diplomacy were his forté. He incorporated the use of European armour and weaponry, set a modern administrative system which introduced the taxation system and eventually formed an alliance with the British to see his ambitions come through.

Kota¤ Arts &Crafts

With more of a military history than one of peace, Kota’s warriors devised a dangerous weapon to maim their enemies. The bhujtrans was quite similar to a knuckle duster except that the studs were replaced with three lethal daggers. Imagine what that could do at close quarters with a punch into an unwilling face! Also famous during this time were shields manufactured in Kota, made of animal skin. Kota shields were usually made of crocodile or buffalo hide and were works of art. Decorated with gold and silver intricately merged into a painting, the shield came to be regarded as a status symbol for nobles and kings both in Rajput as well as Mughal courts.

¤ Kota's Animated Miniature Paintings

A few hundred years ago Kota was a dense forest, and its rulers hunted with gay abandon. After each successful expedition into the forests the kings of Kota would naturally expect a documentation of their gallantry. What better means than to get someone to paint them a picture of their exploits in the jungles? From this evolved colourfully animated miniature paintings of royal hunts which exist even today.

¤ Places of Attractions

Within Kota itself are a number of monuments and places to see such as the city palace built in the middle of the 17th century, the tiny island of the Jagmandir temples and the rather European Umed Bhawan. Then there’s the solar clock, perhaps the only one of its kind in the world which fired a cannon at a particular time of the day all on its own! Towards the southeast is the spectacular fort in Gagron, a fine example of jala durg which literally means `protected by water’.

¤ Famous Doria Saris

Doria saris can be found only in Kota, but the people who originally weaved them were not from here. In fact, a certain Kota ruler discovered them during one of his military campaigns in the south. Sometime in the 17th century the Rao was in Mysore with his army fighting wars and trying to increase his kingdom when he bumped into weavers of the doria cloth. This cotton and silk fabric intricately woven with colourful floral motifs caught his fancy, and he brought its makers to Kota. Interestingly, doria weaving has now died in Mysore and flourishes only in Kota. The finished fabric is also known as Kota Masuria (from the word Mysore) as a tribute to its original ancestry. Kota is also celebrated for its painted ceramics and black painted pottery, filigree work (thin strands of silver or gold wound around ornaments), calico (heavy cotton cloth) printing and lacer work on toys and inexpensive ornaments.

¤ A Touch of Modernity

Modern Kota has shrugged off its medieval aura and is one of the foremost industrial towns in Rajasthan. Famous for its industries, hydro electric plant (fuelled by the only permanent river in Rajasthan, the

Chambal) and an atomic power station, Kota is equally popular for its buildings in the Victorian style brought to India by the British. Kota is also the place where Asia’s largest fertiliser plant exists, no mean feat for such a small town.

¤ Kota Festivites

and if you’re in Kota during the festival of Dussehra don’t miss out on the grand Dussehra festival, a 12 day affair in which everyone from and around Kota gathers. More than 75 feet tall effigies of the demons Ravana, Kumbhkarna (who incidentally slept for six months at a stretch) and Meghnad (Ravana’s son) are consignd to a fiery end in a glorious celebration of Good over Evil (see Festivals of India).

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