Located in the southeast of Rajasthan, Kota has a population of over 1 million people, making it the third most populated city in Rajasthan after Jaipur and Jodhpur. The city of Kota was founded in 1264 as a part of the former Rajput kingdom of Bundi, until 1631 when it became the separate princely state of Kota. The kingdom of Kota has had a turbulent history, invaded by various Mughal rulers, Maharajas of Jaipur and Maratha warlords. Kota used to be Rajasthan's principle industrial centre, though its focus in recent years has switched to education and coaching institutes for engineering, medical and scientific research.
With an open and spacious feel, it is built around Jag Madir Lake and along the banks of the Chambal River – the only permanent river in the state. The major sightseeing attraction in Kota is the City Palace (known as the ‘Garh’) – built in a predominantly Rajput style of architecture, it houses the Maharao Madho Singh Museum with its impressive sculptures, weaponry and valuable antique furniture, and home to the Durbar Hall, which is adorned with beautiful mirror work and ebony and ivory inlaid doors, and has a splendid collection of Rajput miniature paintings of the Kota school.
The city is also known for its Doria sarees, silk sarees, gold jewellery and the famous Kota stone. Explore the royal cenotaphs and take bird-watching boat rides on Chambal where, if you are lucky, you will see crocodile and gariel. Visit during the Dussehra Mela festival, typically in September or October, which commemorates Rama’s victory over Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, with a procession of flaming effigies, fireworks, bonfires and theatrical re-enactments. The city is a good base from which to visit numerous surrounding sites of interest such as the forts at Bundi, Bhainsrorgarh, Jhalwar and Gagron or the temples at Jhalarapatan, Menal and Baroli.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
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