As you have already read that we went for a road trip to Dooars North Bengal last December, if you haven’t read it yet, HERE is the link for you. On way back from Dooars we decided to visit the royal city Cooch Behar as it comes on way. These are sudden decisions we take on road, most of our road trips are unplanned we just go out and then we decide the maximum number of places and beautiful locations we can cover in that journey. Visit to Cooch Behar came to us just like that. The main attraction for us in Cooch Behar was the royal palace but after our visit we realised it had so much to offer. Cooch Behar looks royal in every way, the buildings, temples and even I found the town has its own royal charm.
A day well spent at The Royal City Cooch Behar
How to reach Cooch Behar
Almost every important train going out of Assam has a stoppage at Cooch Behar, rail connectivity s very good. There are also bus services from Guwahati. You can also book a cab or take your own vehicle. The route is very simple and our good friend GPS is always there to help. The nearest airport are the ones in Guwahati, Bagdogra and Kolkata.
Top attractions in Cooch Behar
The top attractions in Cooch Behar are the Royal Palace, the Madan Mohan Bari, which is a Temple, Baneswar Shiva Temple, The Sagar Dighi which is a lake. On a single day visit we could easily cover all these important places. Besides there are many more temples, in case you have a day or two in hand you can visit all that. Before starting let’s go back to the past and recollect some historical facts behind the royal city Cooch Behar.
History of Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar was a part of the Kamrupa Kingdom of Assam, earlier it was known as Pragjyotisha which also has got mentions in epics like The Ramayana and The Mahabharata. Kamrupa was ruled by the Guptas and Pala for sometime but later it was conquered by the Muslims. the Muslims got defeated and after their expulsion the Koch dynasty became very powerful and ruled quite a long time till India gained Independence. Of the koch kings the most powerful were King Viswa Singha, King Naranarayana. The king of Bhutan also attacked Cooch Behar but after its expulsion under the proctection of British East India Company, Cooch Behar regained its kingdom. The present day Cooch Behar took shape under Maharaja Nripendra Narayana who built the magnificient Cooch Behar Palace or Rajbari. Maharaja Jagaddipendranarayan was the last king of Cooch Behar.
The Cooch Behar Palace or Rajbari
Built by Maharaja Nripendra Narayana in 1887, the palace is one of the most beautiful and exquisite monuments of our country. You can understand its grandeur once you see it with your own eyes. The palace is designed in western style and looks influenced by the famous Buckingham Palace. The palace is now turned into a museum. The museum opens at 10 am, we reached too early and had to wait till the museum door opened. Unfortunately photography was not allowed so I could not click the interiors of the palace. There are libraries, the pool table, dressing tables, various other furniture which were used by the Koch kings and their family. There are also many excavated statues and artifacts. There is a well maintained lawn and beautiful garden that adds to the charm of the palace. While I was going through the verandas I wondered how grand and majestic must have been the lives of the royal inmates of this palace. I saw my reflection in the mirror which was used by the queens and yes I really felt like one.
The Sagar Dighi
Its a huge tank in the heart of the city, you can enjoy sitting by its banks, but since as the day advanced it got heated and so we refrained from talking a stroll around the lake. It looks really beautiful and serene.
The Madan Mohan Bari
Next we visited the Madan Mohan Bari which is a temple which looks regal in its white color. It was also built by Maharaja Nripendra Narayana. The main deity of the temple is Lord Krishna, there is also a Maa Bhavanai temple beside the main mandir or temple. When we were there we saw lots of people gathered and they were offering prayers to the lord and the pandit was performing the morning puja. Yes we visited quite early, there was not much rush and we could spent some quality time in the temple premises. Raas festival is also celebrated in this temple and people from far flung comes to witness it. It is celebrated on the full moon day of Kartik Month (Bengali calendar).
The Baneswar Shiva Temple
So next from there we visited the famous Baneswar Shiva Temple. We heard about the turtles on the pond of the temple which were hundreds of years old. That was our main attraction. It was Monday so when we reached the temple there was a long queue outside the main temple where devotees were eagerly waiting to offer their prayers and perform the puja inside the temple. We didn’t had much time to stand in the queue so we offered prayers from outside. The temple is on the outskirts of the main town, you need to follow the main highway. The turtles were lazying around some were floating and trying to eat the puffed rice which the people were trying to feed them. But it was not allowed. There were quite a good number of turtles. From the temple we started towards Guwahati.
There are lots of colonial era red colored buildings which are now turned into buildings which are used as various government offices. Being a shopping lover I wanted to buy some saris from Cooch Behar but since there was not much time left in hand I could do that. But my husband knew I was little upset as I could not shop from there he took for saris shopping in a store in Alipurduar. There are lots of good shops in Alipurduar and you can get nice cotton saris from them.
Total time we spent in going around all these is from 9 am to 2 pm. At around 2.30 pm we were heading towards Guwahati, we had some food in Cooch Behar and later had our lunch on way at a highway Dhaba in Chirang after we entered Assam. We reached Guwahati at 8 pm. That was all, hope you liked reading about my visit to Cooch Behar. Do share your reviews and experiences if you have visited. Thanks.