Coochbehar is a district and a town in the northeast corner of West Bengal bordering Assam. The district, as well as the town, is famous for its historical significance as one of the last independent states of India. The area is also endowed with natural beauty which attracts a large number of tourists here.
The Coochbehar district is bounded in the North by Alipurduar district which has been formed only in 2014. In the south is Bangladesh. On the east of Coochbehar is Dhubri district of Assam and on its west is Jalpaiguri district of Bengal.
History of Coochbehar
Coochbehar has one of the richest histories of North Bengal dating back to the 11th century when the Pala kings used to rule the area. The area was a continuation of the Kamrup territory of Assam which also has a rich history. Several historical discoveries have been made of the era including at Gosanimari located south of Coochbehar town close to the Bangladesh border. Here one can find the huge mounds which are believed to be the original capital of Kamtapur state.
The area was also used by the Bhutanese people to travel to the plains. There were 18 Doors or Dwars in the area which is the origin of the name Dooars. Several wars were fought between the Cooch kings and the Bhutanese king, remnants of which can still be seen in many places.
In 1949 after India’s independence, Coochbehar was annexed into India as a district.
Things to See
During the 19th century, Coochbehar was ruled by Maharaja Nripendra Narayan who built the magnificent palace known as the Coochbehar palace. The palace remains the main attraction of tourists visiting Coochbehar till date and is today taken over by Archeological survey of India who has established a museum inside the palace.
There are a number of large water bodies in Coochbehar. In Coochbehar town, there is a large lake called Sagardighi. Another famous lake located in the area is Rasik Bil. The lake is known for migratory birds and there are Leopard and crocodile rehabilitation center on its side. Many tourists visit Rasikbil and stay at the forest department bungalow beside the lake.
Coochbehar is also known for its Madan Mohan Temple. Madan Mohan is a form of God Krishna. The temple was constructed by Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. Every year during the month of November a fair and festival is organized around the Temple known as the Rush Mela. This is one of the largest rural fairs in North Bengal and is full of color and vibrancy of local culture.