This is a detailed guide about Kota, Rajasthan.
On the shores of Chambal,
Where knowledge flows and
Lives light up.
Like an Oasis in the desert,
Is the city of a million hearts –
Formerly known as Kotah, Kota is the third most populous city of Rajasthan after Jaipur and Jodhpur.
Well known for its Coaching Industry, Kota, Rajasthan also has a name for its unique fabric Kota Doria and the lip smacking snack, Kota Kachori.
Let us take you on a spectacular journey where we explore different aspects of this amazing city. Whether you’ve never been to Kota or you’ve lived here for most part of your life, this guide is for everyone who wants to explore and unravel the fun and mysteries of this beautiful city.
So without further due, let’s get going…..
Topics included in this blog
- A quirky introduction to the city
- History of Kota
- The Education Capital of India
- Tourist Spots in & around Kota
- Famous Food Joints
- Things to do
- The Road Ahead
An Introduction to Kota Rajasthan
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.
But like every city, Kota has its flaws – In 2020, it was ranked as the 4th dirtiest city in India.
Surely, there are lot of areas where city needs improvement. We’ll talk about that too in later part of this article – Ongoing Projects & Development in Kota
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 hub. 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.
History of Kota
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.
Economy of Kota City
Kota, also known as ‘Kota Factory’ is famous for its coaching centers which prepare students for engineering and medical entrances.
A large part of the city’s economy is driven by its coaching institutes only. In 2016, the annual turnover of the coaching industry of kota was turned out to be as high as 1500 crore. The success rate of kota, according to a 2010 report, is 10% as compared against the national success rate of just about 3%.
Other than the coaching institutes, kota’s economy is also driven by several large and small scale industries like DCM, Thermal, CFCL etc.
The beloved kota doria fabric and kota stone also contribute in the total economy of the city. Here’s a brief about what all factors drive the city’s economy and in what ways.
And Kota’s agriculture produce is also a major contributor in its economy.
Tourism is not a major force in Kota’s economy, but various efforts are being made to change this and make Kota a tourist city like other cities in Rajasthan.
Before making its name as the Education Capital of India, Kota’s economy was primarily dependent on Large scale industries like IL, Thermal, etc. When IL shut down in late 80s, forcing employees to look for other ways to make money. The beginning of coaching started during this time.
Although Education is now a major economy driver of Kota, there are numerous other industries which contribute to the Economy of Kota.
Kota Stone is a major part of Mining Industry in Kota. It is fine-grained variety of limestone with rich greenish-blue and brown colors. Kota stones are tough, non water-absorbent, reduces possibility of slippage and non-porous. Kota stone is durable and it is much cheaper than marble and granite. The varieties include Kota Blue Natural, Kota Blue Honed, Kota Blue Polished, Kota Blue Cobbles, Kota brown Natural and Kota Brown Polished.
DCM Shriram manufactures fertilizers, chloro vinyl and cement in its kota unit. The company operates coal-based captive power, facilities – in Kota and Bharuch (Gujrat). The Urea plant in Kota has a Production capacity of 379,000 TPA & Chlor- Alkali capacity of 5,07,000 TPA in both Kota & Bharuch.
The Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd.(CFCL) is one of the largest private fertilizer producers of the world. Their three plants loacted in kota proudce 3 million MT of urea per annum.
Thermal Power Plant of Kota or Kota Thermal Power Station(KTPS) is the first coal based thermal power station in Rajasthan. It has the capacity of 1240 MW at present and has achieved 100% dry ash utilization distinction in the year 2010-11. The power plant made a standalone income of Rs.11816.08 crore in 2016-17.
Multimetals is a private company founded in 1962 in association with Revere Copper and Brass Inc., USA. Today they are premier manufacturers of seamless extruded copper and other copper alloys mainly.
Being the largest source of income in the city, the coaching industry of kota made an annual turnover of Rs.1500 crore by the end of 2016. The number is big enough to estimate the contribution of this industry in the overall development of the city’s economy.
But it’s not just the coaching centers who are earning a profit with every IIT and Medical selection every year, the associated businesses like hostels, mess centers and of course stationary are at a boon too.
We have a detailed guide on Kota: The Education City where we have discussed various aspects of Coaching Industry in Kota. Click here
Rajasthan has a strong agriculture sector which contributed to 26% of state’s GDP in 2015-16. Kota division is a major player in agriculture produce for the state.
Kota division ( Kota, Bundi, Baran, Jhalawar ) or Hadoti region is a rich agriculture region because of the presence of rich soil type, proper irrigation systems, high average annual rainfall, high yielding seeds and modern farming practices adopted by the farmers.
50% ( ~ 12 hectares ) of the total area of this division is under irrigation which is a remarkable accomplishment.
Various major Rabi and Kharif crops are grown in the region. Major Kharif crops of the region include Soyabean and Paddy while major Rabi crops include wheat, mustard and gram.
According to a report published by Government of Rajasthan (2015-2016), Kota was ranked in terms of production relative to other regions of the state.
1st in the state: Paddy, Pulses ( urad, masur), Soyabean
2nd in the state: Oilseeds (mustard, soyabean)
3rd in the state: Wheat
The Seth Bhamasha Mandi in Kota is one of the largest Mandis of India in terms of traded volume.
Agriculture & Animal Husbandry are two main drivers of Kota’s economy and both are expected to contribute more towards city’s growth in the coming years.
There is a need for more innovation happening in these sectors and more private players & startups can take this growth forward.
Tourism in Kota is not as prominent as in other parts of Rajasthan like Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur, Ajmer, etc. Various efforts are being made to position Kota as a tourist destination as well.
Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve which is the 3rd Tiger Reserve in the state is expected to attract huge tourist crowd once it is open for visitors as it has the rich diversity of flora & fauna present in the region.
There are also attractive spots in the outskirts of Kota City like Garadia Mahadev which gained fame in past few years and many tourists have been visiting this place.
Various ongoing projects in the city like Chambal Heritage Riverfront and Oxygen Park are also expected to increase the influx of tourists in the city and add to Kota’s dream to becoming a tourist destination.
CRAFT & FASHION
Kota Doria is the unique fabric of Kota which has gained international fame & acceptance.
Although the demand of Kota Doria sarees are soaring in the domestic & international market, there are still many hurdles which needs to be removed to help Kota Doria reach its potential for it to really contribute in Kota’s economic growth.
Have a look at our detailed guide on Kota Doria : Process, Characteristics, Challenges, Present & Future
The Education Capital of India
The advent of coaching centers in Kota began with the shutdown of large scale manufacturing industries, JK Sythetics being the biggest among them. The closure of JK Sythetics left more than 5000 of its employees jobless.
Some of these jobless people started taking tutions for earning, one among them was V.K. Bansal who is also sometimes referred to as ‘The Father of Kota Coaching’.
V.K Bansal founded Bansal Classes in 1991 after few of his students managed to clear IIT-JEE.
Know here the detailed story of V.K. Bansal
Presently, there are many big coaching institutes in Kota, Allen Career Institute being the biggest name among all. Few years back, Allen has created a whole colony for coaching students and named it ‘Landmark City’.
The lockdown due to Covid-19 & shift towards online learning has raised serious concerns over the coaching industry of Kota.
Want to know how Kota became the coaching capital? Here is our full feature story on How Kota became the Education City of India.
Tourist Spots & Places to see in Kota
Why do we travel ? We travel to a place for its beauty, its fascinating culture, rich heritage & to experience a new way of living.
When you consider these points, Kota doesn’t disappoint.
The breathtaking views of Chambal valley are mesmerizing enough to make you feel alive again! The history of temples & forts in & around Kota will captivate you to know more about them and the rich wildlife of Mukundra ( Tiger Reserve ) will leave you in awe.
Rajasthan is one of the most visited places on earth & tourists get fascinated by the gigantic forts of this land, its colorful culture, timeless traditions, beautiful sand dunes, lakes & valleys.
While Udaipur, Jaipur & Jodhpur remains some of the most visited cities of Rajasthan, Kota although not being so popular, offers an equally enriching experience for anyone visiting the city.
And when you consider the whole of Hadoti which includes Kota, Bundi, Jhalawar & Baran, it is surely going to exceed your expectations.
Here are some of our guides to explore the beautiful attractions in & around Kota20 Places to visit in Kota City on your next trip.
Places to see near Kota
A weekend guide to Bundi
Rawatbhata – Hidden gem near Kota
Waterfalls near Kota
Other interesting tourist spots – Garadia Mahadev, Baroli Temples, Keshavraipatan, Gagron Fort, Kota Garh Palace, Ranthambore, etc.
20 Must Visit Places in Kota City
7 Best Places to Visit Near Kota
A Weekend Guide to Bundi
Rawatbhata – Hidden Paradise in Rajasthan
Waterfalls Near Kota
How to spend a weekend in Kota
More Fascinating Places : Garadiya Mahadev, Gagron Fort, Baroli Temples, Keshavraipatan, Kotah Garh Palace.
Famous Food of Kota
After spending an entire day exploring the beautiful city of Kota, what else do you need to make a good day great?
While we will suggest some amazing restaurants in the city to satiate your food cravings but first.. let’s have some Kachori, kachori and Kachori!
Kachori is an emotion for the people of Kota. It’s a piece of our hearts, something our lives are incomplete without. We are like Sherlock and Dr. Watson, inseparable. *Cries cause overwhelmed*.
Okay, no more metaphors but trust us, Kota Kachori is something you must try on your visit to Kota. Chilly, deep fried puffs stuffed with moong daal and other spices, Kachori is the staple breakfast of Kota. You can find it at most food stalls of the city, but some of the famous ones are – Ratan Kachori Sweets and Nmakeen, Nayapura, Suwalal Kachori, Rampura, etc.
See our guide on Best Kachori Shops in Kota
Do try this special snack and tell us how many of them are you taking back home?
Apart from Kachori, there are many popular places which you must go to enjoy the delicious food offered by them.
Shambhu Mishthan Bhandar is one of the most loved shops of Kota serving delicious Dudh-Jalebi, Lassi and more desserts.
Amar Punjabi Foods is also one of the favourites among locals, students who come here for coaching & for tourists as well.
Here are some of our guides to explore the best of food in Kota City
Best Fine Dinning Restaurants
Best Pocket Friendly cafes in Kota
Things to do
Our Guide on Shopping
The Road Ahead…..
With dozens of infrastructure going on in the city, Kota is on its way to become a great city!
We are of course waiting for the Airport in the city which would boost the overall living standards & economy of the city.
And projects like Chambal Heritage RiverFront, Mukundra Hills, etc will surely add more charm & diversity to the city.
But it’s not just economic development which the city needs, it also needs awareness of various other aspects for it to truly become a great city.
Kota was ranked as the 4th dirtiest city in India in 2020, people and the authorities surely need to work together to make it a clean city.
Awareness of art & craft revival, environment & wildlife conservation, heritage preservation, innovation, education, skill development among youth, communities – all these things have to be taken in consideration with economic development.