Coochbehar is one of the Easternmost towns of Dooars and a town with great historical significance. The place got its name from the Cooch dynasty which made this town its capital for more than 400 years. It became part of India at the time of India's Independence. Coochbehar is now a district of West Bengal.
Things to See
Coochbehar Palce - The centre of tourist attraction in the town is the Raj Palace. It was established by King Nripendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur in 1887. The huge palace is built in Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture combining British architectural style with Mughal style. The place is made of red bricks and is said to be inspired by Buckinghum palace. King Nripendra Narayan got his education at London. The palace is inspired by Italian renaissance. The original palace was 3 storied high but the third floor was destroyed during the great earthquake of 1897 measuring 8.7 in Richter scale. The building covers an area of 4,700 square meters. The Length of the palace is 120 meters North to South and the width East to West is 90 meters.
After the death of the king Nripti Jagadeependra Narayan (Grandson of King Nripendra Narayan) in 1973 the palace lost its glory and was in partial ruins. In 1982 Archeological Survey of India (ASI) took over the maintenance of the Coochbehar palace. Today the Palace is back in its full glory. In 2002 a museum was set up inside the palace depicting the culture of the local people as well as the royals of Coochbehar. The palace was home for the famous Maharani Gayatri Devi as grew up in this palace as the granddaughter of King Nripendra Nayarayn.
Madan Mohan Temple - At a short distance from the palace is the temple of Madan Mohan of Coochbehar. Madan Mohan is the “Kul Devta” of the Cooch kings. Madan Mohan is a form of the Hindu God Krishna who memarises everyone. The temple was built by the Cooch king Nripendra Narayan in 1889. The temple God is highly revered. Every year tens of thousands of pilgrims visit the temple.
Rash Mela - Rash Mela of Coochbehar is a month long festival organised during November-December. The Rash festival is organised to celebrate the eternal love of Lord Krishna and Radha. Lord Krishna is referred to as Madanmohan here. Originally the Rash was a festival for the Cooch kings but now thousands of people from near and far gather at Coochbehar to witness the festivities of the fair. The Rash mela is probably the largest such fairs in North Bengal and is an ideal ground to observe the culture and traditions of the local people.
Gosanimari - This is the archaeological site where ASI excavated ruins of a palace. The excavated site is known as Rajpat Mound and is situated 40 kms from Coochbehar town and 14 kms from Dinhata. The site is the central citadel of the Kamtapur kingdom which occupied parts of present Assam, West Bengal and Bangladesh. The first account of the Gosanimari ruins was left by Dr. Buchanan Hamilton who visited the site during 1808. Stone and Terracotta sculptures have been excavated from the site some of which are from the 9th and 10th Century AD.
Baneswar Temple - The Shiv temple at Baneswar is located about 10 kms from Coochbehar. The temple is more than 400 years old. There is also a temple of “Ardhanariswar” next to the main temple. There is a pond at the temple which is home for a number of large tortoises locally called “Mohan”. Some of the tortoises are more than a century old.
You can also visit other important tourist attractions of CoochBehar including Sagar Dighi, Ananda Ashram, Old circuit house, Moti Mahal, Victor Palace etc.
Sitalpati – Coochbehar is also famous for production of Sital Pati, a mat produced from natural fibre. The Mats are made from Murta plant. In the Ghughumari area of Coochbehar, the entire village produces Sital pati. Buyers from different parts of Bengal, Bihar and Assam come here to purchase these mats. The natural mats are known for their excellent cooling quality. During summer months the mats are put on bed to keep the temperature down in rural area. There is a museum run by the local Sital pati artisans at Ghughumari where you can see different designs of the mat and also buy some of them.
Tourists visiting the forests of Dooars can also take a day trip to Coochbehar. The Buxa forest is just 40 kms from here via Alipurduar, Chilapata is about 30 kms and Jaldapara about 60 kms. Alipurduar town is 24 kms away.
The major airport of the region is Bagdogra and the major rail station is NJP both of which are about 150 Kms and 3.5 Hours drive. Coochbehar has its own airstrip but it is not used regularly. The New Coochbehar rail station (NCB) connects Coochbehar to the rest of the country. Alipurduar Junction station is also just 25 kms away. All trains traveling to North East India from rest of the country has to pass through one of these two important stations.
There are several hotels in Coochbehar town. Most tourists however prefer to stay in the natural surroundings of Buxa or Chilapata and visit Coochbehar for a day trip. naturebeyond has its own lodge named Humro Home at both Chilapata and Buxa where guests can stay. We also organise accommodation in Coochbehar town for tourists who want to stay there.
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