"Koch Behar" or Cooch Behar derives its name from the traditional belief that the "Koch" kings of Bihar travelled or roamed through the land. Cooch Behar district is positioned towards the north-east corner of West Bengal in India. It is surrounded by Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal in the north and Assam in the east. Bangladesh occupies the southern binding of the district. Once enjoying momentous status, Cooch Behar is enriched with exceptional ambience, shine and splendour. Cooch Behar town is the largest one in Cooch Behar district, situated in the foothills of the magnificent Eastern Himalayan range. The place`s geographical co-ordinates are 26 degrees 22` North and 89 degrees 29` East. It is the only planned town in the North Bengal region, reminiscing of royal legacy. One of the most attractive tourists` draws in Bengal, Cooch Behar is well known for the Cooch Behar Palace and Madan Mohan Bari, declaring it as a heritage town.
History of Cooch Behar
The history of Cooch Behar is synonymous with the grandeur of the kings, palaces & temples and its influence can be noticed from the magnificent temples & palaces that are dotted over the entire region.
Economy of Cooch Behar
The district of Cooch Behar is essentially a town. In spite of having a huge resource of mineral, due to the lack of proper infrastructure the industrial sector is not well developed here. It is the home of many district-level and divisional level offices. Hence the economy is solely agriculture-dependent.
Tourism in Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar, in the Jalpaiguri division is one of the prominent tourist places in Bengal, which derives its heritage from the remnants of the deeds of those kings who dominated the land.
Rajbari Palace Among the tourist attraction what strikes first in the mind is the Rajbari or the palace of the king and the stories associated with the palaces. The Koch Kings, who were highly cultured, built their magnificent palace, following the classical European style, emerged during the Italian Renaissance. The Rajbari has more than fifty halls of different dimensions, which include bedrooms, dressing rooms, billiard rooms, dining halls, dancing halls, kitchen etc. The Rajbari of Cooch Behar is invested with immense historical interest because it is the lively embodiment of the dynasties reigned the district. The Durbar Hall in the Rajbari, designed after the St Peter`s Church at Rome is a principal attraction for the tourist, which is famous for the marble floor of rare kind and the architectural trappings. Nearly all the chambers of the Rajbari deserve special mention for the antique sculpture in the ceiling and the interior decoration throughout the walls. The band of tourist actually concentrated here to witness the exquisite splendor of the palace.
Culture of Cooch Behar
As Cooch Behar was dominated by different dynasties including the Muslims & the British; it is the land of mixed culture. Till date the people of different castes & creed (Islams, Christians and Sikhs) inhabit it along with the Hindus. However it is the culture of Hindu Bengali, which predominates here. Along with the popular festivals of the Hindus like Durga Puja, Rash Purnima, Poyla Boisakh, Rathajatra, Dolyatra or Basanta Utsab, Diwali, the festivals like Christmas, id-ul-fitr or id-ud-zohah are celebrated with equal importance.
The social set up utters the Bengali culture wholly. A characteristic feature of the society is the "Para" or neighborhood with a strong sense of community attachment. People here habitually indulge in "Adda" or leisurely chat, which often form of freestyle intellectual conversation. The local Bengali dialect is somewhat different to what spoken in Kolkata and has a close affinity with the East Bengal dialect, a mixture of Assamese and Rajbanshi language.
Along with the Bengali Rabindrasangeet, Hindi Pop music & Bangla bands, the local Bhawaiya songs are also quite popular. According to the conventional customs, Saari & Salwar Kameez are the principal costumes though the western outfits are popular among the youngsters. Synonymous to that of the neighboring country Bangladesh, rice and fish are the traditional favorites.