Kota is a city in the north western Indian state Rajasthan. It lies on the Chambal River in Rajasthan, and was voted the second most liveable city in the state after the capital city Jaipur.
The city is also known to be a hub for IIT coaching (coaching given to students for entrance exams for India’s most prestigious universities – the IIT/Indian Institute of Technology – in different parts of India) and every year students flock here to join coaching classes, live here and prepare for the entrance tests.
Kota has many historical, religious as well as other kinds of attractions. Here are some of the popular spots to visit or check out in Kota:
- Kota Barrage – A large water reservoir in the Rajasthan state constructed over Chambal River; having a stunning view of water flowing through the gates with great force.
- Chambal River Valley – A beautiful valley that is part of the Vindhyan system in India and consists of ancient and massive sandstone, slate and limestone; and its major landforms comprise of Hillocks and plateaus.
- Chambal Garden – A beautiful garden with lots of greenery and flora; popular picnic spot and loved by people for serene walks and spending time close to nature.
- Kishore Sagar Lake – a popular and beautiful lake in the city.
- Seven wonder Park – A stunning and newly developed park in the city, with beautiful little replicas of all the seven wonders of the world.
- Alnia Dam – A beautiful dam in Kota – one of the must-see attractions.
- Mukundara Hills National Park (also known as Mukundara Tiger Reserve) – This is a large national park that consists of 3 parts – 1. Darrah Wildlife Sanctuary, 2. National Chambal Sanctuary, and 3. Jawahar Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary. It has a preserved tiger population and also dense tracts of forests which used to be hunting spots for the royal members of Kota years ago.
Some of the popular historical spots to visit or check out in Kota
- Garh Palace – A sprawling city palace, built in Rajput (a royal clan of Rajasthan) style architecture; One of the most popular tourist attractions ion all of Kota.
- Abheda Mahal – A fort located on the banks of a tank; it is a medieval building/palace which also houses a temple of Kota’s deity (Karni Mata).
- Jagmandir Palace – A beautiful palace built in the middle of Kishore Sagar lake by one of the queens of Kota, in mid-18th century.
- Kansua Temple - One of the oldest (dating back to 738 A.D!) and most beautiful temples in Kota and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Garadia Mahadev Temple – Another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva; this temple provides a mesmerizing view of River Chambal and the surrounding valleys and wilderness (many say it is a must-visit even if just for the views – especially in monsoons).
- Khade Ganesh Ji Temple – A Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha; the specialty here is the idol of this Lord in full standing position (which is rare).
- Dad Devi Temple – A temple of the deity of the royal household in Kota; it is surrounded by thick forests, and is situated around 18 km from the central part of Kota.
- Charan Chauki – A pious spot where Lord Krishna is believed to have rested for a brief moment once while travelling to Dwarka from Mathura. His footprints are also said to have been marked and preserved here.
- Godawari Dham – A religious center dedicated to Lord Hanuman, and situated beside Chambal River. It is entirely made of pure white marble.
Following are the fairs and festivals of Kota that reflect the lifestyle and vigour of its people:
- Gangaur festival – the most important local festival in Rajasthan; dedicated to goddess Gauri (the consort of Lord Shiva). People pray for marital happiness and bliss during this festival.
- Dussehra fair - A popular fair conducted in the city during the 10-day festival of Navratri and Dussehra (mostly in the month of October).
- Sitabhari fair – A festival dedicated to goddess Sita; Sitabari marks the place where Sita was left by Laxman, after which she was abducted. At this time, people take holy dips in a tank called Sita Kund.
Following are the Museums of Kota:
- Maharao Madho Singh Museum – This is a museum that is situated inside the Garh Palace, and has a splendid collection of Rajput paintings, sculptures, arms and other valuable items that belonged to the royal families of the Rajasthani kingdoms.
- Government Museum, Kota – A beautiful museum that is established and maintained by the state government of Rajasthan – this is a great place to get to know more about the city’s history and heritage.
Kota has some lovely shopping spots, and is loved by many tourists for its shopping options and variety of craft items and Rajasthani handlooms, home decor and other local items including food items, spices, clothes (mainly Kota silk sarees and Rajasthani attire) and accessories. Here are some of the popular spots (markets and malls) that shopaholics must check out in Kota:
- Main bazaar
- Government Emporia
- Vigyan Nagar (Flea market)
- Narendra handloom emporium
- Hamid Bihari
- Adarsh Sarees
- Kota Saree Niketan
- City Square Mall
- Akash Mall
- Ahluwalia’s Great mall of Kota
- City Mall
Rajasthani cuisine is predominant in Kota, and most delicacies here come from popular local cuisines that have been popular for centuries. Some must-try dishes in Kota include:
- Dal Baati Churma – A Rajasthani delicacy that consists of Dal (lentil soup), Baati (wheat rolls) and Churma which is powdered wheat ball mixed with sugar and ghee, enjoyed together.
- Ghevar – A Rajasthani sweet, spirals made with flour ghee and flavoured with saffron.
- Mawa Kachori – Deep fried sweet stuffed dough balls.
- Rajasthani Kadhi – A rich flavorful yogurt gravy with fried pakoras (fritters) dipped in it.
- Dal Parathas - Lentil and vegetable stuffed flatbreads made with unleavened wheat flour dough.
Here are some of the best eateries in Kota that serve the best of Rajasthani and many other cuisines:
- Amar Dhaba
- Hariyali Garden Restaurant
- Royal Firdous Restaurant
- Mr. Tea Cafe
- TRP (The Right Place) Cafe
- Maheshwari Restaurant
- Pathak Sweets & vegetables
- Amar Punjabi
- Bobs Delicious Burgers
Kota has many good hotels and resorts for a comfortable stay. Here are some of the best places to stay at in Kota:
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Kota
- Hotel Surya Plaza
- Hotel Kishan Kunj
- Hotel Midtown Grand
- Hotel Surpin Palace
- Hotel Park Horizon
- Hotel Narayanam
- Hotel Settle Inn
- Samarpit Residency
Kota also has some good nightclubs and bars for people who look for some lively activity or entertainment during the late hours.
- City Centre Bar
- Umed Club
- Sheesha Restaurant bar
- 9 PM Bar & Restaurant
- Four Seasons Bar & Restaurant
- Splash Rooftop Bar
Kota STD Code – 07753 (to be used before dialling numbers from a number that is not locally registered).
Common emergency numbers:
- Police – 100
- Fire – 101
- Women Helpline – 1090, 1091
- Child Helpline – 1098
- Gas Leakage – 1906
- Railway Enquiry - 139
Hindi is the official language of Kota but languages like English, Marwadi are spoken as well.
- Welcome - Svagat
- How are you? - Aap kaise hai?
- What's your name? - Aapka naam kya hai?
- I don't know - Mujhe nahi pata
- I don't understand - Mein samjha nahi
- Thank you - Dhanyavad
- What is your name? - Tharo Naam ki/kai hai?
- Nice to meet you - Thare ho mil'an anand ayyo
- Forgive me - Khamma ghani
- I'm sorry - Mahane Maaf Karo
- Good morning - Su Prabhat
- what are you doing? - App/theh kai karoh ho/cho?