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 4th century 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 (1473-98/99 AD). It is stated by some that the ‘Koch’ dynasty followed the lineage of Nilambar. But the most widely accepted view holds that king Maharaja Viswa Singha was responsible for establishment of an independent ‘Koch’ kingdom in 1510 AD to before 20th August 1949AD
In the beginning, the capital of this kingdom was not static and became stable only when the same was shifted to Cooch Behar. The territory of Cooch Behar was known as ‘Kamta’ even during the period of Maharaja Viswa Singha and his son Maharaja Nara-Narayan. The Mughal forces grabbed certain portion of the ‘Kamta’ kingdom in the middle of the 17th century AD. Later on the accounts of Badshanama, Shah-Jaha-nama, Tarikh-I-Assam and the Alamgirnama ascribed this territory as Cooch Behar. It is, therefore, very much apparent that the ‘Koch’ kingdom was known as ‘Kamta’ even during the middle of the 17the century AD when the Koch kings like Maharaja Viswa Singh, Maharaja Nara Narayan and Maharaja Pran Narayan used the title ‘Kamteswar’ for themselves. The valor of the ‘Koch’ kings is known best by the prides of Maharaja Nara Narayan. He has issued his own coins. The kings who ruled Cooch Behar till its union with Indian territory and its declaration as a district headquarter of the Province of West Bengal in 1950 are known as Maharaja Viswa Singha , Maharaja Nara Narayan , Maharaja Lakshmi Narayan , Maharaja Bir Narayan , Maharaja Pran Narayan ,Maharaja Basudev Narayan , Maharaja Mahindra Narayan , Maharaja Roop Narayan , Maharaja Upendra Narayan , Maharaja Devendra Narayan , Maharaja Dhairjendra Narayan , Maharaja Rajendra Narayan , Maharaja Dharendra Narayan , Maharaja Harendra Narayan , Maharaja Shivendra Narayan , Maharaja Narendra Narayan , Maharaja Nripendra Narayan , Maharaja Rajrajendra Narayan , Maharaja Jitendra Narayan and Maharaja Jagadipendra Narayan.
The Cooch Behar Palace which is noted for its elegance and grandeur is also protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. This magnificent Palace was constructed by the ‘Koch’ king Maharaja Nripendra Narayan in 1887 AD. Built in bricks in the classical Western style this double-storied structure is rests on 4 feet 9 inches above the ground and covers an area of 51309 square feet. It is 395 feet in length and 296 feet in breadth. The Palace is fronted by a series of arcaded verandahs in the ground and first floors with their piers arranged in an alternate use of single and double rows. The Palace is slightly projected at the south and northern ends and in the centre there is a projected porch to provide an entrance to the Durbar Hall. The elegantly shaped metal dome of the Durbar Hall is topped by a cylindrical louvre type ventilator (being 124 feet high from the ground level) recalling the style of the Italian Renaissance. The intrados of the dome is carved in the stepped patterns while the Corinthian columns that support the base of the cupola found a new dimension in variegated colours and designs to an entire surface. The palace comprises various halls and rooms that include the Dressing Room, Bed Room, Drawing Room, Dining Hall, and Billiard hall, Library, Toshakhana, Ladies Gallery and Vestibules. Unfortunately, all the articles and the precious objects as contained by these rooms and halls are now lost and curbed slightly the crowning glory and superb manifestation of the Palace.
Excavation at Gosanimari:-
The history of Cooch Behar dates back to the period of the Pala-Senas (i.e., circa 11th – 12th century AD) these include sculptures, coins of the Sultanate and the Mughal Periods, temples, mosques of the mediaeval and late mediaeval period. Of the ancient remains, mention may be made of the Rajpat of Gossanimari, Siva Temple of Baneswar and the Palace of Cooch Behar. It is traditionally believed that the huge mound of Rajpat of the Gossanimari village at a distance of 13 kilometer to the west of Dinhata Police Station marks the site of the ancient capital of ‘Kamtapur’.
The word Rajpat has been derived probably from the Bengali ‘Rajbari’ or ‘Rajbati’ or ‘Rajprasad’. The ‘Khen’ king Nilambar of this Kamtapur Kingdom was defeated in a battle by sultan Hussain Shah of Bengal in 1498 AD. The pomp and glory of Rajpat are now all in ruins under the deposit of huge earth flanked by bare greenaries all around. It is believed that the anicent palatial complex of Kamtapur including the early Kamteswari temple are all lying buried in this mound. This mound is at present protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
~: District's Brief History :~
Before 20th August 1949, Cooch Behar was a Princely State ruled by the Kings of Cooch Behar, who had been a feudatory ruler under British Government. By an agreement dated 20th August, 1949 the king of Cooch Behar ceded full and extensive authority, jurisdiction and power of the state to the Dominion Government of India. The transfer of administration of the state to the Govt. of India came into force on 12th September, 1949. Eventually, Cooch Behar was transferred and merged with the province of West Bengal on 19th January, 1950 and from that date Cooch Behar emerged as a new District in the administrative map of West Bengal. However, the district of Cooch Behar had been created with the same area and boundaries as the old state of Cooch Behar. In course of time, Cooch Behar has been transformed from a kingdom to a State and from a State to the present status of a district.