Kothari's research resulted in his development of the study of a number of areas of folklore. In particular, he made contributions to the study of musical instruments, oral traditions and puppetry.
He was also a patron of Langa and Manganiyar folk music, the latter of which translates to 'beggars' and is currently used as a debasing term for Merasi.  He was the first to record them and helped shem out of their traditional regions. To this end, he also founded the magazine 'Prerna'.
Kothari founded the Rupayan Sansthan with Vijaydan Detha at Borunda village in Rajasthan, an institute that documents Rajasthani folk-lore, arts and music, and spent most of his career at the Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Academy. He died from cancer in April 2004.
Awards and honours
- Monograph on Langas: a folk musician caste of Rajasthan. 1960.
- Folk musical instruments of Rajasthan: a folio. Rajasthan Institute of Folklore, 1977.
- Gods of the Byways. Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. 1982. ISBN 0-905836-28-6.
- Rajasthan: The Living Traditions,Prakash Book Depot. 2000. ISBN 81-7234-031-1.
- Life and works of Padma Bhushan Shri Komal Kothari (1929-2004), by Komal Kothari, National Folklore Support Centre, NFSC. 2004.
- Bards, ballads and boundaries: an ethnographic atlas of music traditions in West Rajasthan, by Daniel Neuman, Shubha Chaudhuri, Komal Kothari. Seagull, 2007. ISBN 1-905422-07-5.
- Rajasthan: An Oral History — Conversations with Komal Kothari, by Rustom Bharucha. Penguin India. 2003. ISBN 0-14-302959-2.
- 2000 Prince Claus Award Accessed 1 June 2006
- "Komal Kothari – The Folk Musician". Press Information Bureau Government of India. 22 April 2004.
- Remembering Komal Korthari Columbia University, Accessed 1 June 2006
- Stephen Huyler, 25 September 2016
- The magical music of Manganiyars goes global Good news India, Accessed 1 June 2006