Kota Journals

Kota: More than Saris and Stone

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An August 2011 trip to Kota by phileasfogg

Abheda Mahal Photo, Kota, India More Photos
Quote: Mention the name of Kota, and most Indians will immediately think of stone or wispy saris. This well-known yet not terribly touristy city is famous for the fine building stone quarried from its hills, and for the gorgeous cotton saris woven by its all-women weavers. But there’s more to Kota.

Umed Bhawan Palace

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Hotel | "Living like a Maharaja – Somewhat"

Umed Bhawan Palace Photo, Kota, India
Quote:
In 1902, the renowned colonial architect Swinton Jacob was called in to design a palace for the Maharaja of Kotah, Umed Singh II. What he created is what is today known as the Umed Bhawan Palace Hotel. This is today a part of the WelcomHeritage chain of hotels, heritage hotels that have been made by restoring and rejuvenating historical buildings such as mansions, palaces and forts. Umed Bhawan is an extensive (and expensive) property. Part of the huge palace is reserved as a private section – the Dowager Maharani of Kota lives here. Her son, Maharaja Brijraj Singh, lives at Raj Bhawan in the city.We arrived at Umed Bhawan after an eventful 14-hour drive from Delhi, reaching just after 11 PM. The d...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 11, 2011

Umed Bhawan Palace
Palace Road
Kota, Rajasthan 324001
744-232-5262

Aarogan

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Restaurant | "Not Our Cup of Tea"

Aarogan Photo, Kota, India
Quote:
One glimpse of our room at Umed Bhawan, and my husband and I were pretty sure we’d enjoy staying at the hotel. That conviction, unfortunately, was shaken by our meals at Aarogan, the restaurant at Umed Bhawan. Our first meal here – ordered through room service, and consisting of lentils, a chicken curry and naan – was one of those fairly standard North Indian meals which most Indian chefs manage to pull off. We were looking forward to actually getting into the restaurant and seeing what other delicacies the menu had to offer.Aarogan is in the form of a mid-sized dining room, overlooking one of the enclosed courtyards of the palace. The ceiling and sections of the walls are painted in pretty ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 11, 2011

Aarogan
Umed Bhawan Palace, Palace Road
Kota, India
91-744-2325262

City Palace Museum

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Attraction | "A Museum – and a Maharaja’s Apartments"

City Palace Museum Photo, Kota, India
Quote:
Kota’s biggest attraction is its City Palace Museum. Almost all major Rajasthan towns have a city palace, the main citadel where the Maharaja would live and where the state would have its epicentre. Kota is no different. The City Palace – a walled fortress consisting of a number of scattered palaces and similar structures – dominates Kota’s skyline. Nearly all of the City Palace has now been given over to other uses – there’s a school in part of the area, a hostel in another, and so on – but there’s also a small museum that showcases the past grandeur of the Maharajas of Kota.The foundation stone of the fortress at Kota was laid in 1264 AD by Maharaja Jait Singh of Bundi (Bundi, by the way, lies ac...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 11, 2011

City Palace Museum
City Palace
Kota, India

Abheda Mahal

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Attraction | "Lotuses, Dragon Flies and a Quiet Garden"

Abheda Mahal Photo, Kota, India
Quote:
We hadn’t heard of Abheda Mahal – even our (otherwise dependable) guidebook didn’t have a mention of it. But the driver of the car we’d hired said it was a nice place to visit, and since we had time to kill, we decided we’d go and check out Abheda Mahal. The mahal (palace) stands about 8 km from Kota city, past the Chambal river, with the road meandering between fields and brush.Abheda Mahal, according to the (only in Hindi) sign outside, is named "after abheda, a corruption of the word abhyaaranya" (park). Prior to the founding of the Kota dynasty, this area was jungle; in 1346 AD, however, the Maharaja Dheer Deh had it cleared and got an artificial watertank created. Several ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 11, 2011

Abheda Mahal
8 Km From Kota
Kota, India

Kaithoon: A Village of Weavers

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Story/Tip

A lane in Kaithoon Photo, Kota, India
Quote:
I have a friend who is a collector of saris. Though her wardrobe has its fair share of trousers and fashionable blouses, T-shirts and jeans and salwar-kurtas, it’s her sari collection she’s proudest of. Because, as any self-respecting Indian woman knows, this country has an amazing range of traditional saris – special patterns and weaves, distinctive designs and fabrics, that have been made for centuries, and still continue to be made, in tiny handlooms by weavers, embroiderers and gold-and-silver thread workers all across India. Most women will know that a light-as-air, part-silk, part-cotton chanderi from Madhya Pradesh is completely different from a heavily embroi...Read More

Chambal River Safari

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Attraction | "History and Wildlife along the Chambal"

Chambal River Safari Photo, Kota, India
Quote:
Kota’s pride and joy is – no, not the City Palace, not the Abheda Mahal, not the kotadoria saris of Kaithoon. It is, instead, the Chambal River. This is the only perennial river in the largely desert state of Rajasthan, and the fact that Kota stands on the bank of the Chambal makes this one of Rajasthan’s greener cities. No wonder, then, that for a lot of local tourists – especially people from other parts of Rajasthan – the Kota Barrage is a major attraction. (Just watch those sluice gates open and release oh-so-much water!) Or, the Chambal Gardens. Several people – the hotel receptionist, the travel agent from whom we hired a car, and the driver of the car – recommended the Chambal Gardens....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 11, 2011

Chambal River Safari
Opposite 2nd Battalion Rac, Amar Niwas, Rawatbhata Road
Kota, India
0091-0744-2503769