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Kota is located at . It has an average elevation of . The city lies on the southern edge of the Malwa Plateau. Kota and its surrounding region are part of a geographical region known as "Bundelkhand", which was once ruled by a Rajput dynasty from Kota, whose capital was at Garh-Katanga (modern Kalinjar). The name "Kotah" or "Kotasa" appears to be derived from Sanskrit word 'कोट' meaning fort. The city is divided into two distinct regions: Upper Kotah and Lower Kotah with respect to their altitude above sea level. Upper kotahs have rich fertile soil suitable for growing crops such as wheat, maize, pulses etc., while lower kotahs have sandy loam soil that grows mainly deciduous trees like teakwood ("Tectona grandis"), sal ("Shorea robusta") etc..