Kota is the third largest city in the state of Rajasthan and is one of the popular tourist destinations. Situated on the banks of the Chambal River, the city of Kota is famous for its distinctive style of paintings, palaces, museums, and places of worship. The city is known for gold jewellery, Doria sarees, silk sarees and the famous Kota stone.
The history of Kota dates back to the 12th century when Rao Deva conquered the territory and founded Hadoti. The independent Rajput state of Kota was carved out of Bundi in 1631. The kingdom of Kota had a turbulent history as it was raided by various Mughal rulers, Maharajas of Jaipur and even the Maratha warlords. The city of Kota is well known all over the world for its architectural splendour comprising beautiful palaces, temples and museums which exhibit the grandeur of the foregone era.
Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Kota
The foremost tourist attraction in Kota is the ‘Garh’. This large complex, also known as the City Palace, is built in a predominantly Rajput style of architecture. The palace is a sprawling complex of suites and apartments built by different rulers of the Rajput dynasty at different times in history.
Maharao Madho Singh Museum
Situated within the walls of the Garh palace, Maharao Madho Singh Museum houses a splendid collection of Rajput miniature paintings of the Kota school. Visitors can spend hours taking in the fascinating sculptures, arms and other valuable antiques.
Abheda Mahal and Karani Mata Temple
Located 8 kilometres away from Kota, on the banks of a tank, this medieval palace was the recreation spot of the rulers of Kota. It is where they went to enjoy the wildlife and natural beauty of the region. Close to Abheda Mahal is the temple of Karni Mata, the reigning deity of Kota.
Dad Devi Temple
Situated about 18 kilometres from Kota, the temple of the deity of the royal household of Kota is surrounded by thick forests and is an ideal place to spend some time in quiet contemplation. This temple is dedicated to Shri Dad Devi Mata Ji, an incarnation of Goddess Durga.
On the way to Dad Devi, 15 kilometres from Kota City, is Charan Chauki. It marks the legendary spot where Lord Krishna is said to have rested for a brief moment while travelling to Dwarka from Mathura. His footprints are said to have been preserved here.
The Jagmandir Palace was built by one of the queens of Kota between 1743 and 1745, and is situated in the middle of the Kishore Sagar Lake. Built in red sandstone, it is a monument of exquisite beauty. The palace is open to tourists who can enjoy boat rides in the Kishore Sagar Lake and the panoramic view of the palace from the lake. The Keshar Bagh, situated near the Jagmandir Palace is well known for its royal cenotaphs.
Kota Barrage is one of the most important water reservoirs in the Rajasthan state constructed over Chambal River. The Kota Barrage spreads over an area of 27,332 square kilometres, which makes it as large as Haiti! The mesmerizing view of water flowing through the gates with a great force makes it a popular tourist attraction. The Kansua temple of Lord Shiva, housing a rare four-faced Shiva lingam is a place of interest near the barrage.
Located on the bank of river Chambal, this place is one of the most beautiful picnic spots in the city of Kota. At Chambal Garden, visitors can enjoy peace in the lap of exquisite greenery. The major attraction here is the wonderful boat ride that you can take on the Chambal river. Considered to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the river itself is a part of the National Chambal Ghariyal (Gavial) Sanctuary. The sanctuary was established in 1983 with the express purpose of conserving the fast depleting population of marsh crocodiles and ghariyals, which are a type of thin-snouted crocodile. It is also famous for its diverse bird population and scenic natural beauty.
Seven Wonder Park
The Seven Wonder Park is a Rs. 20 crores worth project developed along the Kishore Sagar Lake at Vallabh Bari in Kota. A single visit to this park allows visitors to get a glimpse of the replicas of all the Seven Wonders of the World.
Khade Ganesh Ji Temple
The Ganesh temple is situated in the southern part of the city. What makes this temple unique is that this is the only temple in India that has a standing idol of Ganesh. One can also visit Rangbadi Balaji temple on the way there.
Karneshwar temple is a Shiva Temple located on the Jhalawar Road (NH 12). Besides the temple, the place itself is beautiful, especially during the monsoon. The temple is thronged by devotees and picnickers.
Godawari Dham is a Hanuman temple situated at walking distance from Chambal Garden. This temple is located beside the Chambal River. It is a beautiful shrine, made entirely of white marble. The towers of the temple are quite high and impressive. It has a huge marble swan built at the top of the entrance gate.
The Alnia Dam is one of the must-see attractions of Kota. It is renowned for the beautiful rock paintings that date back to the Upper Paleolithic age. Still in good condition, they adorn the bank of the river, making this place definitely worth a visit.
Mukundara Tiger Reserve
The Mukundara Tiger Reserve is 50 kilometres from Kota. Tigers are often relocated here from Ranthambore Reserve. It has a core area of 417 square kilometres and a buffer zone covering 342.82 square kilometres. Other wildlife includes panther, deer, wild boar and bear. This thickly wooded area is home to a large variety of birds as well.
Garadia Mahadev Temple
One can get a grand view of River Chambal from the Garadia Mahadev Temple. Situated on Dabi Road (NH 76), this temple provides an incredible view of the surrounding wilderness. It is a must visit, especially during monsoon.
This is one of the oldest and most beautiful temples in Kota and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple has a small pond within its premises. There is a stone inscription here dating back to 738 AD that says that it was built by Raja Shivgana Maurya but local legend has it that the temple was built by the Pandavas during their exile.
The Mathuradheesh Temple in Kota belongs to Pushti Marg, a Vaishnava sect founded by Shri Vallabhacharyaji. The idol of Krishna housed here was brought from the Karnaval village (near Mathura) and placed in the haveli of Dewan Dwarka Das. It now forms a major attraction for devotees of Lord Krishna. The festivals of Janmashtami, Nand Mahotsav, Annakoota and Holi are celebrated with great enthusiasm here.
Gaipar Nath is a lovely big chasm with an old Shiva temple set in a deep gorge with a spectacular view of the ruggedly beautiful forests and cliffs of the Chambal valley. The pleasant sound of gushing water from the Gaiparnath waterfall near the temple, set against a picturesque canvas of a green landscape make it an idyllic and beautiful spot to visit.
How to Reach Here
By air: The nearest airports are Sanganer airport in Jaipur which is 244 kms away
By road: Regular buses are available to Kota from all cities and towns in Rajasthan.
By rail: Kota is a major junction in the Western Railway sector, on the Delhi-Mumbai line. Most trains pass through Kota.
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