Kota is the third biggest city in Rajasthan. It is better known for the coaching institutes and considered as coaching capital of India for IIT & medical entrance exam. Other then this identity of Kota, there are some interesting places to visit in Kota if you are in there for a day or two. It is worth spending a day or two visiting some places as a traveler. Though there are not many historical places in Kota like other cities in Rajasthan.
Where is Kota
It is situated on the banks of the Chambal river in the southeast part of Rajasthan. The border of Madhya Pradesh is very close to Kota.
How to travel to Kota Rajasthan
* It is on one of the busiest railway lines of Indian railways and there are several trains to Kota from all major cities of India. Kota is a major railway station on the western central railway. These are some useful tips for train travel and ticket booking in India.
* The closest airport of Jaipur is 250 Km from Kota.
* It is well connected with all cities of Rajasthan through RSRTC bus service.
Must-visit places and things to do in Kota Rajasthan
Chambal Garden and River Front
As I mentioned earlier Kota Rajasthan is situated on the banks of the Chambal river. The Chambal garden is a riverfront developed on the banks of the Chambal river for recreational purposes. It is approximately 3 km from the Kota city center but still not outside the city.
This beautiful garden has well-maintained grounds with different trees and plants.
A toy train runs in Chambal garden and it is popular among kids as well as adults.
Chambal garden is a perfect picnic spot for kids and families. When we visited we saw a big group of school kids there for the picnic.
The Chambal riverfront is well developed and there are some good spots for sitting.
In the middle of the park is a pond, which we crossed through a hanging bridge. Before visiting, I read on some travel websites that there are Crocodiles & Ghadiyals in this pond. During my trip, I have not seen any crocodiles. There was very little water in the pond. In spite of everything, it was fun crossing the bridge though it made noise and swayed when we walked on it.
Chambal garden ticket is only 5 INR and there is no camera ticket.
Inside the garden area is a food stall where water, soft drinks, and a few snacks items available.
Boating in Chambal River
The boating facility is also available in the Chambal river and its boarding point is in the Chambal garden. They offer different boating options in a speed boat and super speed boat.
i. Tour till hanging bridge – This is the shortest of all. They take the boat till hanging bridge and return. It costs 400 INR per person and 1000 INR for a full boat.
ii. Tour to the Ghadiyal sanctuary- The boat goes to the Ghadiyal sanctuary. It costs 800 INR per person and 2000 INR for a full boat.
iii. Tour to Garadia Mahadev – This is the longest tour and it goes to till the bend of Garadia Mahadev. It costs 1400 INR per person and 4000 INR for full boat
I personally feel the tour till Ghadiyal sanctuary is the best and value for money. The boat tour till Garadia Mahadev is not worth it because there is no facility to climb up to the viewpoint.
Seven Wonders Park Kota
We got the first glimpse of Seven wonders park when we entered the Kota city. It was around 8.30 PM and we were going to our hotel from the Kota railway station. The sight of illuminated monuments from the road was very captivating and we decided that we will spend our evening here next day.
Seven wonders park is built on the banks of Kishore Sagar. The seven wonders of the park are the Taj Mahal, Great Pyramid, Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Christ the Redeemer of Brazil, Colosseum, and Statue of Liberty. The miniatures of these famous monuments are made nicely and attract travelers as well as locals to the park.
The seven wonders park is very well maintained and clean. A row of cafes is at the end of the park, which is ok for refreshments. There are washrooms also behind the restaurant area but I can’t vouch for the cleanliness of those.
There are two entry/exit gates to the seven wonders park but only the main entry gate is kept open. The second gate at the end of the garden was locked when we visited.
The Seven wonders garden looks beautiful in daylight as well as at night when they illuminate it after sunset.
The Mughal and Rajputana styles of Arcs with Jalli work are made between Kishore Sagar & the garden. These add to the beauty of the place.
Entry ticket is 20 INR for Indian and 40 INR for foreigners. The camera ticket is 50 INR.
Seven wonders park remains open on all days of the week from 2.00 PM to 8.30 PM.
Kishore Sagar & Jag Mandir
The Kishor Sagar is also commonly known as Bada Talab (Big Lake) by locals in Kota. Kishore Sagar is a man-made lake built in 1346 by a Bundi prince when Kota was also part of the Bundi empire.
In 1740, a palace named Jagmandir was built in the center of the Kishore Sagar Lake. It is a mix of Rajputana and Mughal architecture style. The Jag Mandir can be reached by boats but when we visited the entry to it was closed due to some reasons. It can be seen up close to the boat.
Boating and jet ski rides are available in Kishore Sagar.
We saw some birds and a Ghadiyal sitting on the structures built inside the lake.
Kishore Sagar is open from all sides. On one side of Kishore Sagar is Seven wonders park and on its opposite side is the Chowpati area. The Chowpati area is popular among locals as there are many street food stalls.
Unfortunately, the water of Kishore Sagar is not clean and it needs better maintenance.
Kota Chambal bridge is popularly known as Hanging bridge and it is quite popular among locals as it was recommended to us by many people. This is a cable-stayed suspension bridge on Chambal river is approximately 10 Km from the main attractions of Kota. If you have already seen cable bridge of Bandra Kurla in Mumbai or Yamuna cable bridge in Delhi then skip it.
We crossed this bridge when we went to Garadia Mahadev from Kota.
It is mentioned as one of the top places to visit in Kota on different travel websites. But from my personal experience, I can say it is worth visiting only in monsoon months. I have come to know that during monsoon season the massive flow of water with the froth of water makes a spectacular sight when gates are opened. When water is released, it vibrates the bridge and along with water flow creates a dramatic scene.
Shopping in Kota
Kota is famous for its “Kota Doria sarees”, “Paintings” and “Stonework”. Most of the shops selling these products are in the Main Bazaar of Kota. Be prepared to bargain.
Food in Kota
There is nothing spectacular about the food in Kota. It was difficult to find traditional Rajasthani meals in Kota though I managed to get the thali in Food Capital (Maheshwari’s) restaurant in front of Seven wonders parks. On the ground floor, they have casual sitting arrangements and on top a little formal & funky sitting overlooking the Seven wonder park. I liked the service as well as the food.
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Another place I recommend is also named Maheshwari restaurant in Bharat hotel. Food and service were up to the mark.
In most of the restaurants in Kota, we found North Indian Vegetarian food and very few restaurants served non-veg food.
Before our visit, we read some good things on Trip Adviser about Right Place cafe in front of Seven wonders park. The opening time is at 2.00 PM and we went there at 1.50 PM as we planned to have lunch there. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow us inside because we were 10 minutes early which I found strange for a casual place.
If you want to try street food from stall then go to Chopati next to Kishore Sagar or to a street named Chopati in Gumanpura.
Where to stay in Kota
We stayed in the Premier Hotel, it was a basic hotel. Staff was friendly but there is nothing special about the hotel. It was just ok. It is in the main market close to all major attractions but it was peaceful.
My advice is to stay in the Gumanpura area in Kota because it is central and all the attractions are within 10 to 20 minutes drive.
There are a lot of temples in Kota, which we didn’t visit because they were like any regular temple anywhere in India.
My advice is that if you are traveling in a southern part of Rajasthan then it is worth spending a day in Kota because it is different from other cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.