Cooch Behar boasts of a rich history and origin, dating back to the 4th century. A part of the Kamarupa Kingdom, it was in the 12th century that the area became a part of the Kamata Kingdom, initially ruled by the Khen dynasty, from their capital at Kamatapur. The aboriginal tribe of the place, Khens ruled the state till 1498 CE, before it fell to Alauddin Hussein Shah, the independent Pathan Sultan of Gour. However, the invaders did not last long, as they lost to the Ahom king Suhungmung. During this time, the Koch clan was gaining power, proclaiming themselves as Kamateshwar (Lord of Kamata), which thereby led to the establishment of the Koch Dynasty.
Under Koch Dynasty
Biswa Singh was the first important Koch ruler, heading the kingdom for about two decades. However, it was under the rule of Nara Narayan, his son, that the Kamata Kingdom catapulted success. Shukladhwaj (Chilarai), Biswa's younger son, took charge as a military general and was primarily concerned with the expansion of the kingdom. He was made the governor of the eastern province. Upon Chilarai's death, his son, Raghudev, took charge and became the governor of its eastern portion.
Raghudev was seen as the successor to the king's throne, as Nara Narayan did not have a son. However, his dreams were shattered with the birth of Nara Narayan's son, Lakshmi Narayan, a late child. To pacify Raghudev, Nara declared him as the vassal chief of the portion of the kingdom east of the Subansiri River. With the death of Nara Narayan in 1584, Raghudev declared independence. While the area ruled by Raghudev was named Koch Hajo, the region that was ruled by Lakshmi Narayan came to be known as Cooch Behar.
Cooch Behar, though deemed as the capital of Koch Kingdom, was not static. It was only after being shifted to the present Cooch Behar town, by Maharaja Rup Narayan, on the advice of an unknown saint, that it became static. In 1661 CE, under the rule of Maharaja Pran Narayan, the region was attacked by Mughal Emperor, Aurangazeb. The latter conquered the territory and named it Alamgirnagar. However, his rule did not last long, as Maharaja Pran Narayan regained his kingdom within a few days.
Almost a decade later, in 1772, the king of Bhutan attacked and captured Cooch Behar. It was during this time that the kingdom of Cooch Behar signed a treaty with the British East India Company, to expel the Bhutanese, eventually becoming a feudal ruler under the British. In the following years, Cooch Behar became home to some of the most flamboyant architecture seen in India. Victor Jubilee Palace was one of the most eminent architectural designs, styled on the lines of Buckingham Palace of London.
During the reign of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan, cooch Behar experienced a face uplift, what with the glorious palaces and buildings being constructed. Due to this, Maharaja Nripendra Narayan is known as the architect of modern Cooch Behar town, even today. Post-independence, under an agreement, Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan transferred full authority, jurisdiction and power of the state to the Dominion Government of India, thus leading to the establishment of Cooch Behar District in West Bengal, with Cooch Behar town as its headquarters.