Historically a city of strategic importance, Kota still boasts a huge army base but its contemporary guise is that of a modern industrial centre. It also has a spectacular palace with an excellent museum and lovely murals, and Rajasthan’s only permanent river, the Chambal, runs through the town, offering opportunities for scenic boat trips. Kota is famous, too, for its exquisite kota doria saris, prized wedding apparel which attract shoppers from all over India. They are woven of cotton or silk in an assortment of colours, many with delicate golden-thread designs, in the nearby village of Kaithoon.
You can easily visit Kota as a day trip from Bundi or see its sights in a few hours when making a transport connection. Kota is strung out along the east bank of the Chambal River, with the train station near the north end of town and Kishore Sagar lake roughly in the middle, 5km from the station. South of Kishore Sagar is an area of narrow, winding streets and crowded commercial areas within the old city walls. The fort and its palace sit near the river here, with the Kota Barrage dam just to their west.