foundations for the town of Kota were laid in 1264AD after the local
Bhil tribal chief was defeated and beheaded by a faction of the
Chauhanas. However, nothing much occurred for another four hundred
years. The actual
of Kota began only in 1624 when it broke away from the imposing Bundi.
Madho Singh, the new ruler, realised that he couldnt really live
in a village surrounded by forests, so he got down to building a
township which would suit his royal needs.
Kota has a fiercely
rich history steeped in war. Bloody battles were fought here by Rajput
clans and the Mughal empire for control of Bundi and Ajmer. Rao Madho
Singh, Kotas ruler, was engaged by the ageing Shah Jahan to fight
his son Aurangzeb, who eventually did take the Delhi throne anyway.
Unlike the fortified Bundi, the rulers of Kota had to face intrusions
from Mughals from the east, the rulers of Jaipur and Mewar from the
north, the Marathas from the south as well as from their own clans.
many and frequent battles paved the way for another kind of war
that of diplomacy, at which Kota rulers excelled. One of them was Zalim
Singh, a ruler by default who rose to power through his vision,
diplomacy and cunningness when he was made regent for Kota while an
infant king `ruled. Zalim is said to have defied the laws of
nature and planted trees of exotic fruits and flowers where not even
grass would grow. He imported coconuts and palmyras from Malabar, apples
from Afghanistan and oranges from north Bengal and laid out beautiful
Besides that, Kotas most famous ruler also
solicited the services of weavers from Kashmir to migrate to Kota and
weave the fabulous Pashmina shawls, rivaling those that Kashmir
produced. Zalim Singh claimed that when he ascended the throne
three-fourths of Kota was barren and one-fourth was cultivable. Within a
few years he had reversed the balance. Zalim Singh was no ordinary
ruler, and his adaptability to circumstances and situations saw him grow
into one of the most belligerent rulers Rajasthan has ever produced. He
had tremendous foresight, and military tactics and diplomacy were his
forté. He incorporated the use of European armour and weaponry,
set a modern administrative system which introduced the taxation system
and eventually formed an alliance with the British to see his ambitions
come through.Places of Attractions
itself are a number of monuments and places to see such as the city
palace built in the middle of the 17th century, the tiny island of the
Jagmandir temples and the rather European Umed Bhawan. Then theres
the solar clock, perhaps the only one of its kind in the world which
fired a cannon at a particular time of the day all on its own! Towards
the southeast is the spectacular fort in Gagron, a fine example of jala
durg which literally means `protected by water.Doria
Doria saris can be found only in Kota, but the people who
originally weaved them were not from here. In fact, a certain Kota ruler
discovered them during one of his military campaigns in the south.
Sometime in the 17th century the Rao was in Mysore with his army
fighting wars and trying to increase his kingdom when he bumped into
weavers of the doria cloth. This cotton and silk fabric intricately
woven with colourful floral motifs caught his fancy, and he brought its
makers to Kota. Interestingly, doria weaving has now died in Mysore and
flourishes only in Kota. The finished fabric is also known as Kota
Masuria (from the word Mysore) as a tribute to its original ancestry.
Kota is also celebrated for its painted ceramics and black painted
pottery, filigree work (thin strands of silver or gold wound around
ornaments), calico (heavy cotton cloth) printing and lacer work on toys
and inexpensive ornaments.