During his long career, he researched and documented the performing arts of Rajasthan. He made notable contributions to the study of folklore and in particular to the study of musical instruments, regional oral traditions, and puppetry. A pioneer in folklore, Kothari founded the Rupayan Sansthan in the 1960s and served as a consultant to several institutions and research scholars from around the globe. He received several national and international awards including Padamshri and Padam Bhushan, the highest civil award bestowed by the President of India.
The conference drew a large group of students, scholars, and researchers who gathered to honor Kothari. Maxine Weisgrau, a visiting professor in the Department of Anthropology at Barnard College, welcomed the attendees to the conference. Speakers at the conference included: Frances Taft, President, Rajasthan Studies Group, Carol Henderson of Rutgers University, Christi Merrill, University of Michigan, Nandita Sahai, Hindu College, University of Delhi, and David Magier, Director of Area Studies at Columbia Libraries. Magier, who has a Ph.D. in South Asian linguistics, conducted his Fulbright dissertation fieldwork in Rajasthan in 1980 under the close guidance of Kothari.