History of Kota

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  The city of Kota (previously spelt as Kotah) is situated at the center of the southeastern region of Rajasthan, a very region widely known as Hadaoli the land of the Hadas. The also Hadas are a major branch of the great Chauhan clan of the Agnikula (fire dynasty) Rajputs. They had settled in the hilly terrain of Mewar near Bijolianat Bambaoda in the 12th century A.D.and soon extended their rule, conquering Bundi in 1241 and Kota in 1264 (some writers date both these events exactly 100 years later). Originally, all this formed the Hada state of Bundi dire with Kota as the Jaghir (land grant) of Bundi. Kota later became a separate state in 1624.

The kingdom of Kota was carved out of Bundi in 1579 by a ruler of Bundi as a gift for a favourite younger prince, Rao Madho Singh , who is said to have proven himself as a successful and courageous general at the tender age of fourteen. The great maritial tradition continued down the family : fighting on behalf of the ageing Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, against the usurper prince , Aurangzeb , five of Rao Madho Singh's sons died on the battlefield. The sixth, who narrowly survived, lived on to count no less than fifty wounds on his body , acquired during the course of a long and eventful military carreer. Kota has a complex history with great swings of fortune, unlike its sister kingdom of Bundi, hidden away behind its rampart of hills. Menaced over the centuries by various Mughal rulers, the maharajas of Jaipur and Mewar , the Maratha warlords, and sometimes their own cousins in Bundi, the rulers of Kota developed a keenly honed instinct for diplomacy. One result was a treaty with the Marathas in the 18th century to keep the Kachhawas rulers of Jaipur at bay.

ZALIM SINGH'S LEADERSHIP

It was around this time that Kota produced one of the most fascinating characters of modern Rajput history :Zalim Singh, a statesman and diplomat who has been refered to as the "Talleyrand of North India" and the "Machiavelli of Rajwarra". Starting out as a general of the Kota armies, he became the Regent of the kingdom when the ruler died, leaving an infant son on the throne. He then set about manipulating the kingdoms belligerant neighbours, parleying with them and shrewdly setting one against the other . Meanwhile he also reorganised the kingdom completely, setting up a modern administration, adopting European weapons and tactics for its armies and creating a comprehensive revenue systemt that taxed everything from widows to brooms. In doing all this , he certainly was not without personal ambition - the result of which was that there were numerous attempts on his life, including a memorable one when he was set up by a rani and attacked by a band of armed ladies in the purdah palace.

KOTA AND THE BRITISH

In 1817, under Zalim Singh's leadership , Kota became one of the first of the Rajput states to sign a treaty with the British, in return for which Zalim Singh extracted an aggrement that the kingdom would be divided, and a seperrate kingdom carved out of it for his own descendants. The result was the new kingdom of Jalawar , formed in 1838. The rulers of Kota had their little revenge on theBritish; during the great Uprising of 1857, Kota was one of few states of Rajputana where the Indian troops rebelled, discreetly aided, it is said, by the ruler.

Present Ruler In 1947, Kota was a town of people, the capital city bearing the same name, with palaces and public buildings, modern administration, civic amenities and utilities. The population swelled soon after, first with the influx from the Punjab and later by the growth of industry.

City Palace and Fort:

Standing beside the Kota barage and over looking the Chambal River, the city palace and fort is one of the Largest such complexes in Rajasthan. The Palace itself was the former residence of the Kota rulers and used to be the centre of Power. Some of the buildings are now occupied by schools but most of the complex is open to the public. Entry is from the south side new Gate.

 

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