Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Is anything of the old charm still prevails in Kota?


The princely city, Kota, was once part of the erstwhile Rajput kingdom of Bundi, and it became a separate princely state in the 16th century. Famous for its laid back culture, including gardens, bridges, nuclear power plants, its people apart from Kota stone, Kachoris and Sarees, the city has entirely transformed in over two decades. Here is a brief journey of how Kota was a few decades ago and how it’s now.

Kota – the Kanpur of Rajasthan? 

Kota is situated on the banks of the Chambal river in the southern part of Rajasthan, the third-largest city of Rajasthan. Kota was famous for its well-established industries and was referred to as Kanpur of Rajasthan in its initial years. The significant industries four decades ago included chemical, cement, engineering, and power plants. Back in the day, DCM, Instrumentation Limited, JK Synthetics had made the city flourishing, which gave impetus to a civilised culture. There was a beeline of popular convent schools in the city, which possibly opened doors to the ‘Kota Factory’ that we see today.

 Times of recession

One of the finest ones was the JK Synthetics, with approximately 5000 people. Still, unfortunately, in 1996-97, due to internal conflicts and lack of financial aid, the factory had to shut down. After that, Oriental power cables, Rajasthan Metals, Samtel, and others increased the scale of unemployment. 

It was a distressing period for the dwellers of Kota to witness their city break down from being an industrial town; with every depression comes recession. Hundreds and thousands lost jobs. A single-member earning carried the family responsibility on his shoulders in a family set-up. With factories closing down, the city was in a setback until an education institute, Bansal Classes, changed the city’s economy, dependence, and face. Kota then became a ‘Factory’ chiselling student for IIT, JEE and NEET. In Kota, lakhs of students in the age group 11 to 18 years get groomed through systematic coaching for IIT JEE (Advanced), JEE (Main), NEET-UG, KVPY, NTSE and National and International Olympiads (Classes 6 to 12).

 The rise of coaching hub

Since the beginning of this millennium, there has been upscale in the establishment of various coaching institutes. Some of the major ones are Bansal Classes, Allen Career Institute, Nucleus, Resonance, Vibrant, Career Point and many smaller ones opening their shutters to aspiring students. With time, undoubtedly, Kota became the pivot for coaching students for the ‘big competitions.’But behind every accomplishment, there is a history that sets the basis of every foundation.

1985 – The Year of Benchmark

In 1985, a man with his passion for teaching decided to tutor students for JEE exam, and surprisingly among those eight students, most cracked IIT. Suddenly, VK Bansal, of popular Bansal Classes, became the hero; not just the local hero but also got Kota into the limelight. From being an industrial city, Kota has earned its name as an education hub for students from across the country.

Every year, approximately two lakh students get enrolled in various coaching colleges of Kota to prepare for the top teaching faculties. There are huge hostels and multi-storeyed coaching centres. To get admission for coaching, the student needs to clear a series of exams and be selected and put in grades. So it’s not a cakewalk.

Making of the coaching factories’

The city’s popularity peaked when viewers watched Kota Factory, a web series. With the coming of students in the town in lakhs, the city’s landscape has changed- every other household runs a food mess or has rental accommodation for students. The business of cycles has greatly boomed in Kota with students making their way here.

In Kota, one cannot miss the students cycling to their coaching classes on time. Shacks around the roadside open at 6 am to serve these students with the popular breakfast of Poha. With the aroma of chai, Kachori, Poha, Jalebi. Small cereals and milk tetra packets are common sites.

Who takes the blame?

Every year lakhs of students come to the city to fulfil their dreams, to get through engineering or medical exams. It’s a city that makes your dreams and breaks too, especially when children get forced by their parents to study for the entrance exams against their wishes and calibre.

Parents push their children to appear for competitive exams and send them to Kota for coaching. Not just that, some enthusiastic parents or, to say, mothers of the students who got enrolled in the coaching colleges shift base to Kota to keep a check on their wards. Students often find themselves breathing heavily under the weight of excessive stress of studies, competition, and fangs of family expectations. It begins the dark side, and unfortunately, in the crucial impressionable years, some children get in the dark hole of depression. Suicide deaths of students in Kota got the city in the news for the wrong reasons.

Who is to blame? The coaching centres and the study stress, fierce competition, parents, the dull, monotonous life or fear of failure and embarrassment all adds up in the student’s life here in the city.  

Post pandemic era

No doubt the two years of pandemic have crucially been hard on everyone. For students, virtual classes enabled learning and teaching. Since the students were taking coaching online, the city streets and vendors missed them; their absence impacted the household income of many in the city.

The students are hurling to the city again, holding dreams in their eyes. Coaching centres have revived. The professors of these institutes, not less than celebrities, are back on the posters decorating the malls and roads of the phlegmatic town; it stays indifferent to the new faces that come to the city every few months, a city that drags at its own pace.   

 Some well-known people hailing from the Hadoti region include the current Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, Bollywood singer Shreya Ghoshal, Vishal JoshiDirector and Co-founder of Nucleus Education and more.

The author of the article, Priyanka Gambhir hails from Kota and loves to explore nuances of everyday life and finds beauty in the ever-changing rhythm of existence.

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