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West Bengal: Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar (also spelt as Cooch Bihar), situated about 733 kms from Kolkata, is merged with India in 1949 and became a part of West Bengal. Even though the city still looks like a picture on a canvas but no doubt it couldn’t maintain its beauty as it is getting more and more congested day by day. The name of Koch Bihar is linked with many kings of different times. Name of Cooch Behar is associated with Khen, Koch and Mughal kings.
It is believed that the name CoochBehar has emerged when Koch kings were the rulers of Koch Bihar. Long back the name of Koch Bihar was Somarpith or Kamtapur. Bhupbahadur Nripendra Narayan was the main architect of the city Koch Bihar.
Sagardighi, situated in the Cooch Bihar town, is the huge pond of Koch Bihar which was excavated by the king Hitendra Narayan. Surrounded by the heritage buildings around, Sagardighi is a sought after destination for bird watchers. During winter months one can spot migratory birds on the water surface and the nearby trees. Musical fountain is an additional charm of Sagardighi.
Cooch Behar Palace (Rajbari-120*90 meters), Built in the Italian Renaissance on the lines of Buckingham Palace in 1887, has got its collection of furniture from allover the world. The two storied palace has a pillar on top of it. “Darbar Hall” (Function Hall) is the prime attraction of the palace. In the year 1986 archaeological department had taken an initiative to take the palace to its old glory days by renovating it spending as much as 57, 00000 rupees. If you want to know the history of the palace and the kings then you have to see the museum in the rooms of the Palace which has added glory to the Royal structure. The vast lawn and beautiful landscape along with the weapon room of the palace have made it more beautiful. It is a must visit.
Debibari or the durga pandap of the kings of Koch Bihar, lies at the western side of Sagardighi along with the nearby Ranibagan, Madanmohanbari, Bairagidighi, park at the bank of Bairagidighi are the other attractive places of Cooch Behar. Although the idol of the Madanmahan temple was stolen from the temple but Devi Kali, Kattayani, Jaitara idols are still there. New dispension church, Purani (old) mosque, Jeng king’s school, Brajendra Nath Sil college and Narayani Mudra kept inside the library are places worthy of mention. State authority also has a plan of building Bakshapahar safari along with an eco tourism center in Koch Bihar.
If you are high on energy then you can try out Dinhata to see Gosani temple and the kingdom of Gosanimari crossing the River Torsa. A lot of preparations are still underway to excavate and get to know the ancient history of the places around. Dinhata can be accessed directly by bus as well from Kolkata.
Baneshwar Shiva temple built by Banasur, at a distance of 10 km from Dinhata towards Alipurduar and adjoining pond full of turtles is another destination for you. It is believed that these turtles come to protect the temple at night. Madhupur, situated at a distance of 8 km from Koch Bihar is famous to Vaishnavites for the mausoleum of Sri Shankar Dev.
Tufanganj is another nearby place to Koch Bihar which is very popularly known for the newly built Nature observation centre. You can also enjoy boating in Tufanganj, while watching beautiful birds around the Lake.
The Rasikabil bird sanctuary, about 45 km from Koch Bihar city, spreading over an area of 175 acres of land, is a very prominent place with the greenery of Shaal and Sishu trees.
Koch Bihar Rampur minibus is going to Rasikbil.
How to reach: Koch Bihar is connected to Kolkata both by railways and by road transport. SBSTC buses which start from Esplanade, Kolkata take 14 hours to reach you Koch Bihar. A lot of express trains also start from Howrah and Sealdah railway station. You will have to get down at New Cooch Behar railway station. Try the tlinks at the bottom of the page for more information.
Where to stay: Municipal pathanivas, Zilla parishad Atithi Niwas, Circuit house and many more private hotels.
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