Cooch Behar

Cooch Behar was a princely state in North Bengal bounded by the district of Jalpaiguri, Goalpara and Rangpur. This region once formed a part of the ancient and famous kingdom of Kamarupa. In the 15th century it was ruled by a dynasty of Khen kings, the last of who called Nilambar, was overthrown by the Afghans under Alauddin Hussain, the king of Gaur in 1498. Alauddin appointed his son governor over Nilambar’s territories with the object of pushing his conquest farther east, but the latter was eventually defeated and his troops driven out of the country. A period of anarchy ensued during which a number of petty principalities were formed by independent local rulers called Bhuiyas and a fresh kingdom was then established by the Kochs.

A divine parentage was ascribed to the Koch kings: the tradition is that the god Shiva fell in love with Hira, the wife of a Koch chief named Hajo, and the result of their intimacy was a boy named Visu or Viswa Singh. According to historical records the kingdom was founded in 1510 by a chief called Chandan and that he was succeeded by his cousin Viswa Singh.

Cooch Behar acceded to and merged with India in 1949 and became a part of West Bengal.

History reveals that the ancient territory of Kamrup played a role in the development of the present region of Cooch Behar district in West Bengal. The Allahabad Pillar Inscription of the famous Gupta Emperor Samudragupta mentions about the existence of the Kamrup territory in the 4thcentury AD. During the 15th century AD, the western part of Kamrup came under the sway of the ‘Khen’ dynasty to usher a new kingdom there known as ‘Kamta’. The present Cooch Behar owes its origin from this ‘Kamta’ land. The ‘Khen’ dynasty is noted for the kings of Niladhvaja, the founder of the dynasty, his son Chakradhvaja and grandson Nilambar. It is stated by some that the ‘Koch’ dynasty followed the lineage of Nilambar. But the most widely accepted view holds that king Maharaja Viswasinmha was responsible for establishment of an independent ‘Koch’ kingdom in 1510 AD.

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