On the shores of Chambal,
Where knowledge flows and
Lives light up.
Like an Oasis in the desert,
Is the the city of a million hearts –
Howdy! Let’s kick-start our journey by enlightening ourselves with the whereabouts of this beautiful city of knowledge and ‘power’ followed by some facts about the city. So are you ready?
When you are in Kota and a nerdy friend wants to know your location in numbers, you will say you are at coordinates 25°0’0’’N 76°10’0’’ E. Being in the city of Coaching Industry, you are in the Southeastern part of Rajasthan, in the Hadoti region of the state, some 250km south of Jaipur which is the Capital city of Rajasthan.
If you are wondering how far this land stretches, let us answer it for you. The city of Kota covers an area of 527sq.Km of the Rajasthani soil. Reminder :You will have to set your clock as per the time zone UTC+5:30(IST).
So now when you know the whereabouts of the city, let’s talk some facts?
In 2013, the city of Kota was ranked as 2nd most livable city in Rajasthan and 41st in the country.
Kota is majorly known for its engineering and medical entrance exam coaching institutes. In 2019, The Viral Fever (TVF), made a web series Kota Factory, revolving around the city and its Coaching Industry. It’s still one of the most watched Indian Web Series. We’re sure you loved how they portrayed Kota, and we bet it’s even more fun when you’re actually living here.
Now if you are a little hungry, let us introduce you to Kota Kachori. A famous lip-smacking savoury delight, this is a must try for everyone. Trust us, you must have eaten a kachori in your life but nowhere in the country will you find a kachori as perfect and delightful as here.[Caution : it’s spicy and addictive].
Tourists often buy goods from the local market of a place to have a physical memory of it, if you are in Kota, don’t forget to buy yourself and your dear ones a piece of clothing made from the exquisite Kota Doria fabric. This light weight fabric, native to Kota, is a special work of craft which is both strong and comfortable. To know more about it, click here.
Famous for its Coaching Industry, the city is mistaken to be just a student-centric place. Little do people know that it is a home to budding artists, small businesses and start up ideas. It has evolved a lot as a city in the past decades and is growing at an enormous rate.
You’ll discover more of Kota as we proceed further.
Kota was previously known as ‘Kotah’. Even today, you can find many websites & texts using the name ‘Kotah’ instead of Kota. The city of Kota was once a part of Bundi kingdom and it is surprising to see how it has outgrown its parent state in almost every aspect.
Foundation of Bundi & Hadoti
The history of the city dates back to the 12th century AD when Rao Deva, a Chauhan Rajput chieftain belonging to the Hada clan conquered the territory and founded Bundi and Hadoti.
Hadoti region today consists of 4 major districts – Kota, Baran, Bundi & Jhalawar.
The Legend of Kotiya Bheel
It is believed that a powerful Bheel clan once ruled in this area during the 12th century. The ruined fort at Akelgarh along the bank of Chambal river is only a few kms from Kota. It speaks of a bygone era when the Bheel Chieftain Kotya ruled the nearby areas from this small fort. It is believed that Bheels ruled this area for many years. Some say that Kota owes its foundation to the Kotiya Bheel who more than 800 years ago laid down a small fortification at Akelgarh, it’s protective wall stretching till Retwali.
Battle Between Jait Singh and Kotiya Bheel
The 13th century had witnessed many battles between Hadas, who were ruling the Bundi Kingdom & Bheels. In one such battle, Jait Singh of Bundi defeated Kotiya Bheel and laid the foundation of Hada clan in Kota after capturing Akelgarh fort.
If historians are to be believed, Jait Singh was so impressed by the bravery of Kotiya Bheel that he named his newly conquered principality Kotah after him. The present day Garh palace is where the chieftain’s severed head was buried and it’s where he is still honoured & remembered daily.
Now, there have been disputes whether Kotah was named after Kotiya Bheel or not. Some sources say Kotah was not named after Kotiya Bhil, instead it came from the hindi word ‘Kot’ which means fort in english. The foundation of Kotah started with the building of a fort which presently is Kota Garh Palace and that’s how Kotah got its name, some suggest.
Princely State of Kota
It is only in the early 17th century when Kota as an independent state became a reality. The ruler of Bundi, Rao Ratan Singh gifted the smaller principality of Kotah to his favourite son, Madho Singh. Because of Madho Singh’s military service to the Mughal empire, Shah Jahan confirmed the jagir of Kotah to Madho Singh.
Maharao Bhim Singh & Zalim Singh
Maharao Bhim Singh and Zalim Singh are two remarkable names in Kota’s history. Maharao Bhim Singh held the ‘Mansab’ of five thousand and was the first one in his community to get the title of ‘Maharao.’
Zalim Singh was a diplomat and statesman who served as a regent to the kingdom after the king’s demise which left a minor on the throne. Under his administration, Kota prospered & grew in power & size. Because of his leadership skills, Kota was the first among the Rajput states to sign a treaty of friendship with Britishers in 1817!
Zalim Singh further strengthened the state’s army by bringing in new weapons, tactics and revenue system. With all of this, Kota became a cradle for Rajput power, folklore and culture.