TOURISM IN KOTA DIVISION

 

 

HADOTI

 

            Gods have been very kind to the land of Hadoti. They have blessed it with life giving water of Chambal river and lots of bright sunshine. Many of the tributaries of Chambal run through deep gorges and high rise mud walls gurgling falls and pebbled ruffles. Their turquoise blue water provides sustenance to jade green forests and bountiful crops. The region of Hadoti derives its name from Hada rulers, who trace their ancestry to Chahuman Rajput clan. The great civilizations were born in the lap of river valleys and likewise the Chambal river valley and its many tributaries were cradle of an early civilization, which has left its indelible marks in the form of cave shelters and cave paintings, which are supposedly as old as 25000 years. We find a rare continuity in the history of the region, as a number of excavated mounds have yielded copper, iron and terracotta artifacts, stone jewellery, terracotta beads, red earthenware, seal and coins, belonging to very early history of the mankind. The roar of Tigers once reverberated through the thick dry deciduous Dhok forest. The forest was abound with a diverse fauna, including some of the rare animals like, Caracal, Ratel, Wolf, Tiger, Sambhar and four horned antelope. The avian diversity was phenomenal and included rare birds like Great Indian bustard. Lesser florican Painted sand grouse, Painted spur fowl, Gagroni parakeet, Green pigeon and a variety of migratory flycatchers, bunting ducks and geese. The rivers teemed with Mahseer and other game fishes as well as turtles, crocodiles, gharials and otters. The spirit of adventure took the rulers of Hadoti to the jungles, which they loved and protected with zeal. The modern wildlife sanctuaries were actually protected forests of erstwhile rulers of Kota and Bundi states. A number of forest recluses and hunting lodges still provide shelter to a wildlife lover, who is on a nightly vigil to watch some rare activities of the forest. The valiance and spirit of adventure of yester years gave rise to Adventure Sports of today. An urbanite finds peace of mind and rare physical activity in the forest. The thrill of being in the forest and in the river valley has attracted many tourists to Hadoti. The modern amenities of boating, jeep and horse back safari, water sports, air sports, joy air rides and trekking on the lonely forest paths have made Hadoti an ideal destination for someone who wants his fingers in every pie.

 

I-          WILD LIFE PROTECTED AREAS

 

            The districts of Kota. Bundi, Baran and Jhalawar have five wildlife sanctuaries and one Great Indian bustard hunting closed area. A number of excellent Bird watching sites are suggested for those who wish to see resident and migratory birds in their natural habitat.

 

1- Darrah Sanctuary-

 

            Darrah was known as an excellent Tiger country and it became one of the first few wildlife sanctuaries of independent India. It is situated between two parallel running hills of Mukandara range. The flora of the sanctuary is dry deciduous with predominance of Dhok. Flame of the forest, Laburnum, Arjun, Bel, Mahua and Balanites. The Panther is the top predator surviving in Darrah. The Sloth bear, Hyena, Scaly ant eater, Jungle cat, Four horned  antelope, Sambhar Spotted deer, Bluebull and Civets anre frequently sighted. The Paradise flycatcher, Green pigeon, Tree pie, Alexandrine parakeet, Blossom headed parakeet, Woodpecker, Golden oriole, Nightjar, Tits and buntings and frequently sighted in the sanctuary. The ponds of the sanctuary teem with migratory water birds during the winter months. It is situated at a convenient distance from Kota. The permission to stay in the forest guesthouse and to enter the sanctuary may be obtained from D.C.F. at Kota or from R.F.O. at Darrah.

 

2- The Jawahar Sagar sanctuary-

           

            Shares its boundary with Darrah and Chambal Gharial sanctuary and also their flora and fauna.

 

3- National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary-

 

            It is a rare riverine sanctuary of India. The length and the bank of the Chambal river between Jawahar sagar dam in Rajasthan and pachnada in Uttar Pradesh were accorded with sanctuary status with express purpose of protecting two of the rarest crocodilian species. The highly endangered Marsh crocodile and endemic Indian Indian Gharial have ever since flourished in the river. They may be esily sighted between Jawahar sagar dam and Kota barrage by taking a boat ride, which is run by Cygnus Adventure Tours. The luxuriant evergreen river valley flora is impenetrable due to Bamboo thickets and Cypress. The wild plantain has been found in the valley. The panther, Sloth bear, Hyena, Blue bull, Chinkara, Porcupine are usually seen on the river banks. The bank Great horned owl, Dusky horned owl, vulture species, Storks, Cormorants, Darter, Osprey and many other bird species inhabit the sanctuary.

 

4- Sorsan Great Indian Bustard Hunting Closed Area-

 

            It is situated in Baran district and can be easily approached from Kota. It has undulating grassland which is ideal for Great Indian bustard, Chinkara and blue buck. Abullock cart takes you in the Closed area, where one gets to see the herds of Chinkara and Black bucks. It is a Bird watchers paradise as over 100 species of bird have been recorded from this area besides rare Great Indian bustard and Houbara bustard. The temple of Brahmani mata also attracts large number of devotees and a fair is held during auspicious days.

 

5- Shergarh Sanctuary-

 

            A visit to Shergarh is enough to transport you back in time. Stuck in some ancient time, the town of Shergarh is an interesting collection of ruins, temples, havelis and a fort. The age old stone inscriptions confirm the antiquity of the place. Situated on the banks of Parban river, the Sanctuary is famous for its Panthers, Crocodiles and mighty Mahseer fishes. It may be conveniently reached by a car or a jeep from Kota or Jhalawar.

 

6- Bird watching in Hadoti-

 

            The Dams, Reservoirs, Tanks land Rivers of Hadoti offer some excellent Bird watching opportunities. The reservoir of Kota barrage, Rana Pratap sagar dam are huge wetlands and support a healthy population of resident and migratory birds. The medium sized dams of Bardha, Alniya, Sawan Bhado and Abheda, Ranpur, Hindoli, Girdharpura, Sorsan, Kanaksagar, tanks can be easily reached from Kota and Bundi. The environment of these places is peaceful and well over 110 species of water birds have been reported from here. Darrah, Ramgarh, Vishdhari, Shergarh sanctuaries are known to have rich avian diversity of forest loving birds. The Painted stork breeding colony of Udpuria village is worth a visit during winter months when the whole area is abuzz with the calls of hundreds of chicks and juveniles competing with each other for food and parental attention.

 

II-         ADVENTURE SPORTS

 

            The Hadoti region abounds with all those natural features which are essential for development of adventure sports. The forests, hills, gorges, rivers and white water ruffles offer ideal opportunities to all those who have adrenaline rushing through their body. The Department of Tourism has begun an Adventure-Sports Festival at Kota and it will become an annual feature. The Festival attracted crowds which gazed  in awe at the feats of professional sportsmen and army personnel. The events of power parasailing, rafting, wind surfing, water skiing kept the audience spellbound. The lilting tunes of the folk artists kept pace with the murmuring waves of Chambal and their colorful attire matched with shades of orange of the setting sun reflected in the water. The boating facility in Chambal river between Kota and Jawahar sagar is available from Chambal Garden at Kota. The tourists may also enjoy boat rides in Jaitsagar in Bundi and Keshoraipatan. The boat ride from Rangpur to Keshoraipatan in the back drop of setting sun and the profile of the Keshav rai temple in foreground, is an enthralling experience.

 

            A ride through cobbled by lanes of Bundi in a royal Buggy or a city tour of Bundi on horse back can be an attractive proposition. this facility can be availed by the tourists at Bundi. A bullock cart safari in the Sorson Great Indian Bustard Hunting Closed Area is available from Amalsara village and the jeep safaris in the sanctuaries are facilitated from Kota by the Tourist Reception Centre. The trekking on the bank of Chambal river or thick forest of Darrah sanctuary is not only a healthy pastime but also an ideal way to watch birds and other wildlife. Some of the walking trails developed by the sanctuary managers are highly recommendable for the tourists.

 

            Rajputana Aviation offers Joy-rides in a four seater  aeroplane over the city of Kota and Chambal river. It is worthwhile to engage them for an aerial view of Chambal river valley and Darrah. The Charter air taxi facility is also available with them.

 

III-        PRE-HISTORIC SITES

 

            The cave shelters and cave paintings of prehistoric man through stone, copper and iron ages to early history have been discovered in Hadoti. A glimpse of these ochre, green, red and white colored drawings provide an insight of the social life and the intellect of early man.

 

1- Alniya-

            The rock shelters on the banks of Alniya river, 20 Km from Kota have some of the most primitive paintings depicting animal figures, geometrical designs and hunting scenes. The experts consider them to be as old as 25000 to 30000 years.

 

2- Nalhah, Golpur and Garadada-

 

            Large painted shelters have been found at these places, which offer a peep in to the past through the expressive artwork of early man. The overhanging ledges of the stream bank have been profusely painted and some of the biggest canvass have been found. The older paintings depict wild animals, human figures and abstract designs, whereas at some places village life and agro pastoral way of life has been shown. the painting are well protected but remote, so a knowledgeable guide will be a great help for the tourists.

 

3- Tiptiya-

           

            A recent discovery, which may be viewed while visiting Darrah sanctuary. A little uphill climb takes you to an awe inspiring façade of animal figurines, human forms and patterns dating back to early history and beyond. A well preserved collection of cave art of early man is also available for viewing at kanya dah in Baran district.

 

IV-        FORT AND PALACES

 

            The early medieval and medieval fortifications of Gagron, Taragarh Bundi, Navlakha Jhalawar and Shergarh are reminiscent of the valiant past of Hadoti. Their mighty bastions must have looked insurmountable to the enemies who might be interested in a misadventure of self destructive king. The magnificent palaces of Bundi and Kota with their intricate sculpturing, frescoed walls and comfortable living quarters provide enough proof of glory and opulence of their occupants.

 

1- Gagron fort-

           

            Made of the principles of an Aqua-fort or Jal Durg, sitting atop a hillock, on the confuence of Kali sindh and Ahu rivers, it is a formidable fort. The Dod and Khinchi clan of Rajputs ruled over their land from this fort. In the passage of its history, it has seen many rulers, who vied with each other to hold this strategically important fort. The Dargah of mitthe Mahabali and saint Pipaji attract a large number of devotees each year.

 

2- Taragarh Fort-

 

            This is the first fort commissioned by Hada ruler Ber Singh in 14th century at Bundi. the fort stands on a 430 M high hill from where a panoramic view of the surrounding area is available. Its mighty bastion called Bheem Burj, rain water harvesting and distribution system are worth seeing. The fort of Taragarh is marvel of Rajput architecture and the available technology of those times.

 

3- Shergarh Fort-

 

            Sitting atop a hillock on the bank of Parban river the fort of Shergarh looks impregnable. The fort stands a little detached from the walled township, which boasts of its ancient Brahmanical and Jain temples. A stone edict of 790 AD proves the antiquity of the place, Which was once known as Koshvardhan and many Buddhist monasteries were set up with support.

 

4- Garh Palace Bundi-

           

            Col. Todd considered it as one of the most magnificent palaces of Rajputana. Built in the early half of 17th century and added on by many rulers from time to time, it is a complex of living quarters, meeting halls named Ratan Daulat, Ratan Mahal, Chhatra Mahal, Badal Mahal, Phool Mahal and Moti Mahal. The entrance to the palace is through a massive gate called Hathi Pol. The weall paintings of the palace have acquired global fame due to their aesthetic nature, subject matter and subtlety of strokes. The female figures have a certain impact of Mogul school.

 

5- Garh Palace, Kota-

           

            The palace complex of Kota holds the place of pride for the Hada rulers, who had put the foundation of their expanding empire at the same place where the chief of Bhil tribals was slain. The Chambal river provided natural protection to the palace from three sides. The Gulab Mahal, Which faces the river was built by Maha Rao Ummed Singh II  and adjoining Purana Mahal belongs to the time of Jet Singh. the Arjun Mahal, Hava Mahal, Divan-E-Aam, Akhada Mahal, Kanvarpadi Mahal are worth a visit for their wall paintings depicting floral and faunal diversity, hunting scenes, processions and scenes from the legend of Lord Krishna, who is the ruling deity of Kota.

 

V-         PLACES OF PILGRIMAGE

 

            The rulers and their subjects welcomed and assimilated the migrants of all faiths and beliefs. Some of the most sacred places of Jainism, like Chandkheri, Keshorai patan, Unhel and the rock cut Buddhist monasteries are found in Hadoti. Many sufi Saints came from as far as Persia and made this their home to spread the message of love for all humanity

 

1-      Mathuradhish Temple Kota:-

 

This is the most important seat of Vallabhacharya sect of the devotees of Lord Krishna. In 18th century, the then ruler of Kota, Durjanshal brought the image of Lord Krishna from Bundi. Seated in heart of the city, the Lord bestows his blessings on the masses.

 

2-      Keshav Rai Temple, Keshoraipatan:-

 

            The Pattan of yore is called Keshorai patan because of the resident deity of Bundi state Shri Keshavrai ji. The Hada rulers are staunch Krishna devotees and therefore they had named their capitals as Brij Nagar, Brij Dham or Nand Gaon. A Majestic medieval temple stands on the bank of Chambal river, which adds to it an aura of unparallel beauty. A fair is held in the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov) when the devotees take holy dip in Chambal river and seek the Lord's blessings.

 

3-      Padmanabh Sun Temple, Jhalrapatan:-

 

            Amidst the hubbub of a crowded marketplace, the temple of Padmanabh Vishnu bears testimony to the rich past of the place. The temples were the most important centers for cultural and religious activities and bore the stamp of aesthetic fervour of the time. The temple has been renovated and added-on anumber of times. the sanctum and the pillared Sabhmandap are old but the Chhatries and the statues of the roof belong to the time of Jhala Jalim Singh. The assembly hall has three gates which are adorned with Toran and latticed motifs in relief.

 

4- Sheetaleshwar Mahadeo Temple Chandrabhaga-

 

            An ancient temple stands on the bank of Chandrabhaga river, about 6 Km from the town of Jhalra Patan. the temple architecture is of Gupta period, which have beautifully carved pillars, Torans in stone relief. the temple of the main deity Lord Chandramaulishwar is in a well protected state and the temples of Mother Goddess and Lord Ganesh are also worth seeing. A large fair is held during Oct-Nov each year in which cultural and folk programs are organized by the department of Tourism.

 

5- Adinath Jain Temple Chandkheri-

 

            The temple of the first Tirthankar Adinath ji is situated at Chandkheri near Khanpur. A place of great reverence for the devotees of Digambar Jain sect is under renovation and has very good facilities for the piligrims. The polished red stone image of Adinath ji dates back to 5th century AD and was placed in its present residence in 17th century. The subterranean sanctum (Bhaunra) also has images of Swami Parashwanath ji, Chandra Prabhuji  and Sambhavnath ji. the devotees have witnessed a number of miracles at this place.

 

6- Swami Suvratnath Temple Keshoraipatan-

 

            This is the second Atishay Tirth (most revered) of Jainism in Hadoti. Situated on the bank ofChambal river, adjacent of Keshavrai Ji Temple, it has an image of Swami Suvratnath ji. The polished image and the subterranean sanctum (Bhuin Deora) are ancient as they find a mention in the writings of sage Kundkund, dating back to 1st century AD. The sanctum is supported by 10 pillars and the main deity is shown sitting in Padmasana (lotus posture) with aura and parasol.

 

7- Nageshwar Parshwanath Ji Taempe Unhel-

 

            This is the most important center of piligrimage for the devotees of Shwetambar jain sect in Hadoti. The pilgrims from Maharashtra, Gujrat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh throng in large numbers to pay their obeisance to Swami Nageshwar ParshwanathJi. The black stone 4-2 M image has been shown standing on a lotus flower with snakes providing shade to the Lord. The image was consecrated at this place by Acharya Abhay Giri Ji in 10th century. The nearest railhead Chaumahala is well connected from Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Indore, Jaipur and Delhi by train. The facilities for the devotees are excellent.

 

8- Buddhist Monasteries of Kolvi and Vinayaka-

Located on the red mud bank of Kyasari river, a hillock holds a rock- cut Buddhistmonastery of immense significance. The monasteries of Kolavi and Vinayaka stand close to the state border with Madhya Pradesh in south east Rajasthan. They are situated 95 Km from Jhalawar and the nearest railhead in Bhawanimandi. This group of monasteries belong to 7th century AD and have whole blocks of prayer halls, sutpas, temples and double-storeyed living quarters.

 

VI-        OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST

                       

1-      Badoli-

 

About 45 Km from Kota on Chittorgarh road stands an unique 10th-11th century temple comples of celestial beauty. the temples of Lord Shiva, Mother Goddess and trinity signifying the process of creation, sustenance and destruction, have fine carvings and depict various mythological characters and stories.

 

2- Bhand Deora,Ramgarh-

A short diversion on Kota-Shivpuri highwar takes you to a forested grove, which holds an early medieval temple made in the style of famous Khajuraho temples. The beautifully carved pillars are famous for their erotic depictions.

 

3- Vilas, Kanyadah-

A deep natural reservoir on Vilas rivergave the place its name, Kanyadah. A temple comples once existed on the river bank. The remnants of which may be viewed at the museum of Archaeological Survey of India. The cave shelters and cave paintings make this visit a worthwhile experience.

4- Kakoni-

            Situated in a remote hamlet, the place may be reached from Jhalawar or Baran. A huge collection of 9th-11th century statues of Gods and Goddesses, carved pillars, torans are on view.

 

5- Shahbad-

            The small township of Shahbad on Kota-Shivpuri highway has immense historical signficance. The fort and the Jama Mosque are worth a visit.

 

6- Charchauma-

            At a distance of about 35 Km from Kotastands a lone temple credited to be of Gupta period. The four faced Shiva LIng is typical of that period. The temple is in a good state of repair and a visit is recommended.

 

7- Bheem Chauri-

            The famous statue of a stringed instrument player which has been on display in many exhibitions world over belongs to this temple. The folklore has it that the temple was built by Pandav brothers while leading the life of a hermit. Bheem Chauri and a palace of Abla Meeni are situated in Darrah village and can be seen while visiting Darrah sanctuary.

 

            The government museums of Kota and Jhalawar have a good collection of antiquities. The visit to these museums will surely be an enriching experience. The Rao Madho Singh museum is a private collection of items belonging to the erstwhile rulers of Kota. The collection is kept at Garh Palace, Kota and the miniature paintings and the wall paintings are a must-see for the tourists therefore a visit to this museum is recommended.

 

VII-       FAIRS & FESTIVALS

 

1- National Dussehra Fair, Kota-

 

A large fair is held during Oct-Nov each year at Kota, beginning on the day of Dussehra, When demon King Ravana was slayed by Lord Rama. The cultural and folk programs are organized each evening, when thousands of people throng to the fair ground.

 

2- Kartik Fair, Keshoraipatan-

 

A colourful fair is held on the banks of Chambal river, on the full moon day of the Indian month of Kartik. The devotees take holy dip in the Chambal river and pay their obeisance to Lord Keshavrai ji. The cultural programs are additional attraction for the masses.

 

3- Chandrabhaga Kartik Fair, Jhalrapatan-

 

A fair is held in the fair-ground on the bank of Chandrabhaga river during Nov-Dec each year. The folk fair attracts thousands of people from all over the area. They take holy dip in the river and take out colourful procession to release oil lamps in the river. In the falling dusk the floating lamps look like thousands of stars in the sky.

 

4- Bundi Utsav Bundi-

 

The festival is organized every year to provide a cultural view of Bundi to the tourists. Colourful processions, fireworks and cultural evenings are organized on the bank of Jaitsagar, Navalsagar  and in the Garh Palace ground.

 

5- Teej Fair, Bundi-

 

   On the occasion of Teej festival in the month of Sept-Oct, a fair is organized at Rana Kumbha stadium in Bundi.

 

6- Dol fair Baran-

 

      To celebrate the Dol-festival, a fair is held at Baran. A large procession of "Dol" is carried out through the city, which are finally immersed in a tank with lot of fanfare. The villagers throng in large numbers to watch the cultural programs and the womenfolk indulge in shopping spree.

 

7- Tribal fair Sitabari-

 

      In the Saharia tribal rich area of Sitabari, in Baran district, a fair is held in the summer month of May/June. The place has number of "Kund" attributed to Sita, Laxman, Surya, Lav and Kush and taking a holy dip in them is considered auspicious. The tribals bedecked with jewellery and attired in colourful dresses flock in the fair ground. It provides an ideal opportunity to view the tribal life style at close quarter.

 

8- Nhan Festival, Sangod-

      It is Unique festival of colurs, celebrated in the month  of March at Sangod. A township about 60Km from Kota. Whole town and its neighbouring villages immerse themselves in water colours and coloured powder. The lilting folk tunes and bawdy songs may be heard until late in the night.

 

9- Handicraft Fair, Kota-

      A large handicraft fair is organized at Kota during December each year. The handmade articles, terracotta figurines, tribal artifacts, fabric and paintings may be purchased at most reasonable prices.

 

10- Industrial Fair, Kota-

      Normally held in February every year, the fair provides an opportunity to local industries, small scale and cottage industries to display their ware. It is very popular with the masses as well.

 

VIII-      HOW TO REACH

 

1-      Kota-

Air-       Kota is connected by Air Taxi Service.

Train-   Lying on the Delhi-Mumbai route, Kota is well

served by regular Super fast train Services.

Road-  Good network of National and State Highways

            link Kota with many important cities in and

outside the state. Some notable distances are:

Udaipur 270 Km, Bundi 35 Km, Delhi 504 Km,

Ahmedabad 522Km.

 

2-      Bundi-

 Air-      Kota 35 Km is the nearest airport.

Train-   Kota 35 Km is the convenient railhead for super fast train.

 Road- Good road connections link Bundi with important places.

 

3-      Baran-

Air-       Kota 80 Km is the nearest airport

Train-   Baran is connected by train from Kota.

Road-  Good network of road connections link Baran

with many important cities in and outside the

state.

4-      Jhalawar-

Air-       Kota 87 Km is the nearest airport

Train-   Kota or Jhalawar road Station are closest Railhead

 Road- Good network of road connections within and outside the State. Some notable distances are: Jaipur 335 Km, Ajmer 292 Km, Kota 87 Km, Bundi 122 Km, Delhi 590 Km, Bhopal 265 Km.

 

IX-       TOURIST RECEPTION CENTRE

           

            Tourist Reception Centre, Hotel Chambal campus, Kota

            Tele: 91-0744-2327695

 

X-        TOURIST INFORMATION BUREAU

           

            i-          Tourist Information Bureau, Collectorate campusBundi

                        Telephone No. 91-0747-2442473

ii-                   Tourist Information Bureau, Hotel Chandrawati campus , Jhalawar

Telephone No- 91-07432-230081

 

XI-       TOURIST BUNGALOWS AND GOVT. ACCOMMODATION

 

i-                    Hotel Chambal (R.T.D.C.) Nayapura Bagh Kota

Tele: 91-0744-2326527

ii-                   Hotel Vrindavati (R.T.D.C.) Bundi

Telephone No. 91-0747-2442473

 

iii-                 Hotel Chandrawati (R.T.D.C.) Jhalawar

Telephone No- 91-07432-234110