Cooch Behar – culture and heritage destination of Bengal

Cooch Behar – a town in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas with remnants of royal heritage is a popular tourist destination of West Bengal. The town of Cooch Behar known for its scenic surroundings boasts of a glorious past, filled with rich culture and heritage. Being surrounded by mountains, this scenic town of West Bengal is home to extravagantly beautiful palaces and divine temples that have attracted tourists since colonial era. Apart from the majestic and imperial buildings, there are numerous other tourist attractions in and around Cooch Behar that makes it an ideal holidaying destination.

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Magnificent view of Coochbehar palace

Where is Cooch Behar?

The scenic town of Cooch Behar is the districts headquarter of the district of Cooch Behar in state of West Bengal in India. Situated in the north-east corner of west Bengal, the town shares its borders with Assam in the east and neighboring country Bangladesh, in the south.

About Cooch Behar

The ancient town of Cooch Behar with its awe-striking monuments and palaces is an ideal place to explore the rich culture and heritage of this north-east corner of west Bengal. With Cooch Behar being declared as a heritage town, attention has been given to restore and revive the age-old historical structures and monuments that were facing gradual destruction. Cooch Behar is once again witnessing a steep rise in tourist influx which is evident from the fact that quite a number of good hotels and resorts have came up in recent years.
The princely state of Cooch Behar was under the rule of Koch dynasty during British era. After 20 August 1949, Cooch Behar District was transformed from a princely state to its present status, with the town of Cooch Behar as its headquarters. Finally, on 19th January 1950 Cooch Behar was merged with the province of West Bengal and from that date Cooch Behar emerged as a new District in the administrative map of West Bengal.

Cooch Behar Sightseeing 

Cooch Behar – a town with rich cultural heritage offers a variety of sightseeing options to tourists. Apart from the extravagantly built palaces and beautiful temples, there are a number of lakes and forests around Cooch Behar that are worth a visit. Some of the most popular sightseeing destinations in and around Cooch Behar are discussed below.

Cooch Behar Palace (Rajbari)

Undoubtedly the most popular and prime tourist attraction of Cooch Behar is the Cooch Behar Palace, also called Victor Jubilee Palace or Rajbari locally. Designed and built on the model of Buckingham Palace of London, during the reign of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan in 1887, this magnificent palace is an architectural marvel. The palace once used to be the dwelling of the ruling family of Cooch Behar, is now protected and looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The fact that tourists are allowed inside the palace makes it all the more popular.

This brick-built double storied palace with marked influence of the classical European style of architecture during Italian Renaissance have more than fifty massive halls, which include the bedrooms, dressing rooms, billiard room, kitchen, dining hall, dancing hall, library and the ladies gallery. The large and spacious rooms deserve special attention for their beautiful Royal paintings that adorns the ceiling and the interior wall along with the traditional royal wooden furniture that speaks highly of the rich royal legacy.

The light and sound show, organized every Friday and Saturday, by the cultural dept of West Bengal, just beside the palace in a well maintained garden is a fascinating experience. The show starting with the fall of evening and continuing till 8 o’clock at night is an immensely popular event among tourists.

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Magnificent view of Madan Mohan temple

Madan Mohan Temple

Another most popular sightseeing destination of Cooch Behar is the Madan Mohan Temple located in the heart of the city. Also known as Madan Mohan Bari, this exquisite temple is one of the most important and popular Hindu temple of North Bengal. The temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna was constructed during the years 1885 to 1889, by Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. Unlike other Hindu temples, the Madan Mohan Temple is pure white in colour. The large temple complex also houses the idols of Goddess Kali, Goddess Tara and Goddess Bhavani.

On the occasion of Rush Purnima, the temple celebrates the traditional Rash Yatra, along with Rash Mela. This particular festival is the biggest and most popular festival of the entire town of Cooch Behar as well as the whole of North Bengal.

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Sagardighi of Cooch Behar

Sagardighi

Situated in the heart of the Cooch Behar town is a huge tank known as Sagardighi. Surrounded by heritage buildings on all sides, this tank was excavated by Maharaja Hitendra Narayan. Apart from being a popular rendezvous in the evening, during winter months one can spot migratory birds on the water surface and the nearby trees. The scenic beauty of the place coupled with calm ambience makes the place extremely popular among tourists.

Rajapat Mound

About 35 km from Cooch Behar, Rajpat Mound is a place worth a visit for every tourists and especially if you are interested in history and archaeology. This protected site, managed by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is an ideal place to relive the past and browse through the glories of the bygone era. One can see the remains of a palace and some excavated artifacts and statues here. It is believed that the ancient palatial complex of Kamtapur including the early Kamteswari temple is all lying buried here.

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Portion of Rasikbill

Rasikbill

At a distance of about 42 Km from Cooch Behar town lies Rasikbill, which is the largest abode of migratory birds in North Bengal. Considered as a paradise for bird watchers, the place also has a deer park, an aquarium and a mini zoo. There is a 70 ft high watch tower and a WBFDC (West Bengal forest Development Corporation) bungalow in Rasikbill making it all the more attractive to tourists. The main migratory bird species found in this wet land are Lesser Whistling Teal, Common Teal, Cotton Teal, Dapchick, Bronze winged Jacana, Pheasent, Tailed Janacana, Shoveler, Barheaded goose, White Eyed Poacherd etc.

Other places of sightseeing in and around Cooch Behar includes Rasomati Ecotourism Complex, Kholta Ecotourism Spot, Baneswar Siva Temple and few others.

How to reach Cooch Behar?

By Air

Bagdogra airport of Siliguri at a distance of about 140 Km is the nearest airport of Cooch Behar. Regular flights of Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines connect Bagdogra with major Indian cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati.

By Rail

The best option of reaching Cooch Behar is by train. New Cooch Behar Railway Station, located 5 km away from the main town is the nearest railhead of Cooch Behar. All Mail and Express trains going to Guwahati stops at New Cooch Behar Railway Station.

By Road

Cooch Behar is very well connected with major neighboring cities and towns nearby, including Kolkata, Guwahati, Malda, Siliguri, Kishanganj, Barpeta, Dhubri and Bongaigaon by North Bengal State Transport Buses, Volvo Buses and private buses as well.

Where to stay at Cooch Behar?

Hotel Yuvraj

It is a star category hotel situated very near the railway station. This is one of the best hotels of Cooch Behar having Super Deluxe Non-A.C, Super Deluxe A.C. rooms and Suites as well. Apart from having other normal amenities, there is hot water in every rooms, well maintained restaurant cum bar and laundry facilities. For booking contact at : 03582-227885, 03582-231710.

Hotel Mayur

It is another notable hotel of Cooch Behar, situated near the Madan Mohan temple. Apart from having well furnished and well maintained Non A.C. Deluxe and A.C. Deluxe rooms, the hotel also has 24 hrs hot water in every rooms, Laundry service, safety locker and travel assistance as well. For booking contact at : 03582 – 222639, 225639.

Hotel Ellora

It is another well known hotel of Cooch Behar situated near the Madan Mohan Temple. Various category of A.C and Non A.C. rooms are available. The restaurant and bar of this hotel are separate constructions. The A.C. bar is known by the name of Night Angel while the A.C. restaurant is named Tara. For booking contact at : 03582 – 222125, 224318.

Hotel Royal Palace

At a distance of about 4 Km from the railway station lies this budget accommodation. 24 hrs. Hot & Cold water, multicusine air conditioned Restaurant, Deluxe Conference Room (A.C.) etc. are some of the key feature of this hotel. For booking contact at : 03582 – 222210, 230731.

Note : For tour of Coochbehar and adjoining areas one can contact Mr. Bidyut Biswas, a local man with lots of connections. This man does not have the usual greed for money and will definitely be of great help in any circumstances. His contact number is : 09832454875 / 08436322802

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About the Author: Hi! friends, travelling is my passion and my only hobby. High mountains to deep seas, lush green forests to barren deserts, holy places to sites of historical importance, - every beautiful place attracts me the same way. I want everyone to feel the same and so through my writing I intend to take you all to a virtual trip to all those lovely places that I have visited.

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  1. ritesh singh says:

    Cooch Behar is the districts of west bengal.Cooch Behar is a beautiful place.

  2. TEJPAL SINGH says:

    Sir,
    Please tell me how to book deluxe bus from new cooch behar to dhubri & fare of bus.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Tejpal Singh

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