Location: Kota (240 km from Jaipur)
Population: .64 millions
STD code: 0744
Famous for: Kota Barrage, Jag Mandir, Haveli of Devtaji, Chambal Garden, Maharaja Madho Singh Museum etc.
Temp: 24.5C - 11.6C
Getting There: Bus, Rail
Shopping: Textile, Painting, Semi Precious Stones, Jewellery etc.
Near By Bundi, Sawai Madhopur
One of the biggest festivals celebrated in most parts of India is Dussehra. The festival is celebrated with zest and festivities as it also marks the beginning of the winter season after the long, unbearable, hot summer. Dussehra marks the victory of Ram over the demon king Ravana, and the rescue of his wife Sita. In north India, gigantic effigies of the ten-headed Ravana and his brothers are set aflame amidst bursting of crackers. Fairs are usually held on this occasion with lots to eat, buy and enjoy.
Dussehra means the Tenth Day, being the 10th day of the bright half of Ashvin. This day is also known as Vijayadashmi, or the Victory Tenth, because of the victory of Ram over Ravana.
As Dussehra is preceded by the Navratri or the nine days of the worship of Goddess Durga, some rituals related to the Goddess are also carried out that day. The rituals of Durga Puja involve the usual puja of goddess Durga along with Lord Ram. On this day in Satyug, Ram (the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), killed the great demon and king of Lanka, Ravan, who had abducted Ram's wife Sita. Ram, along, with his brother Lakshman, follower Hanuman, and an army of monkeys fought a great battle for ten days to rescue his wife Sita.
According to another story, Kautsa, the young son of Devdatt, a Brahmin, was living in the city of Paithan. After studying under the guidance of Rishi Varatantu, he insisted on his guru accepting a present, or gurudakshina. Initially the guru refused but later asked for 140 million gold coins, one hundred million for each of the subjects taught. The obedient student went to the King Raghu to ask for the money, as the king was renowned for his generosity. Within three days the king made the God of Wealth Kuber make a rain of gold coins near the shanu and apati trees. After giving the promised amount to the guru, Kautsa distributed the rest of the coins among the needy on the day of Dussehra. Even today, in Ayodhya, the capital of King Raghu, people loot the leaves of the apati trees and present to each other as sone or gold.
Dussehra is one of the significant Hindu festivals, celebrated with much joy and happiness in the entire country. The occasion marks the triumph of Lord Ram over Ravana, the victory of good over evil. Brilliantly decorated tableaux and processions depicting various episodes from Ram's life are taken out. On the tenth day, or the Vijayadasami, colossal effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnad are placed in vast open spaces. Actors dressed as Ram, his consort Sita, and brother Lakshman arrive and shoot arrows of fire at these effigies, which are stuffed with firecrackers. The result is a deafening blast, and an explosion of sound and light enhanced by the shouts of merriment and triumph of the spectators.
Also part of the celebration is the Ram Lila or the dramatic depiction of episodes from the lives of Ram, Sita, and Lakshman. All the regions across the country have evolved their own distinctive style, and performances at different places are done in the local language.
This was also the day to worship the weapons. According to legend, Arjuna, one of the Pandav princes, hid his weapons in a shami tree when the Pandavs were banished into the forests. After one year he returned from the forest and on the day of Dussehra, he retrieved his weapons and worshipped them along with the shami tree. Hence the custom of worshipping weapons on this day started.
The town of Kota was once the part of the erstwhile Rajput kingdom of Bundi. It became a separate princely state in the 17th century. Apart from the several monuments that reflect the erstwhile glory of the town, Kota is also known for its palaces and gardens. Kota is located in the southern part of the state of Rajasthan, in the northwestern part of India. It is located on the eastern bank of Chambal River and is drained by its tributaries. Kota is on a high sloping tableland forming a part of the Malwa Plateau. The Mokandarra hills run from southeast to northwest axis of the town. It is 36 km from Bundi. Summers are quite hot (April–June) while winters are cool (October–February). It experiences scant rainfall between June and August.
The history of Kota is linked with the history of Bundi. Both Bundi and Kota came under the rule of the Chauhans in the 12th century. The descendents of the Chauhans set up their capital at Bundi and ruled from here. While Bundi was the capital, Kota formed the land granted to the eldest son of the ruler. This arrangement continued until 1624. In 1624, Emperor Jahangir, the great Mughal ruler, partitioned Bundi and made Kota an independent state. Rao Madho Singh, son of the ruler of Bundi, ascended the throne of Kota. It became a part of the British Empire in 1818 and later became a part of the Indian state of Rajasthan, when it gained independence in 1947.
Places to see
In Kota, there are some impressive buildings, some from early days and some built in the beginning of the 20th century. Prominent among them are Jag Mandir, Brij Vilas Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace and Brij Raj Bhawan. Tha to the presence of the Chambal river, Kota abounds in Lakes and Gardens.
By Air : Jaipur is the nearest airport for Kota. Indian airlines, Jet airways and Sahara airlines have regular service to Jaipur. All the major cities are connected to Jaipur.
By Road :The main bus station in Kota is located on Bundi Road near the eastern bank of the Chambal River. There is a good bus service from Kota to Ajmer (6 hours), Chittorgarh (6 hours), Jaipur (6 hours), Udaipur (6 hours), Jodhpur (11 hours) and Bikaner (12 hours). Buses leave for Bundi every half an hour and the travel time is 50 minutes.
By Rail : Kota railway station is located at the extreme northern end of the town. As Kota is on the main Delhi–Mumbai railway line via Sawai Madhopur, a number of trains pass through and stop here. Trains to Madhopur take about 2½ hours. There is a daily train for Chittorgarh via Bundi, from Kota. The journey to Bundi takes about 1½ hour, while it takes 5 hours to reach Chittorgarh from Kota. There are also trains from Jaipur.