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Continued after 4th Maharaja :~

CHAPTER - 2 of 6

Previous King(s)

Maharaja Bir Narayan [Rajshak 112-117 || 1621-1626 A.D.] : 5th Maharaja

(p1) In his short spell of five years, Maharaja Bir Narayan failed to demonstrate skills of a strong administrator. He was not attentive to royal duties and used to live amongst fun & amusement. Taking this opportunity the king of Bhutan stopped giving taxes levied on him but sent gifts for the Maharaja every year. There were no foreign invasion during his rule and people lived peacefully.

On the other hand Maharaja Bir Narayan took  keen interest in education.                   
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(p2) He was first to open schools in his kingdom. He arranged for imparting education not only to the princes, but also to the children of royal courtiers. He used to inspect the schools personally and examine proper impartation of education.

Wise and intellectuals were greeted with cordiality. Under the patronage of Maharaja Bir Narayan scholar Kabisekhar composed "Kirat Parba". This book can still be found at the royal library.        
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Maharaja Pran Narayan [Rajshak 117-156 || 1626-1665 A.D.] : 6th Maharaja

(p3) Maharaja Pran Narayan was crowned in as next king and Mahi Narayan  adorned as Najir (summoner). Maharaja Pran Narayan issued currency in his own name.

At that time friction was going on between Aurangzeb and his brothers in the Mughal tent. Taking this opportunity Maharaja Pran Narayan invaded Ghoraghat, the center of Mughal power in Banga (Bengal). In 1661 he captured Dhaka, capital of Banga. But after enthroning as next Mughal sultan, Aurangzeb sent his army commander Mirzumla to Dhaka. Maharaja at that juncture took cover in mountain regions. Mirzumla captured capital of     
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(p4) Behar and marched forward to invade Assam. To defend his kingdom, Maharaja Pran Narayan waged guerilla war against the Mughal army from the mountain covers. He turned out to harass the Mughals so much that they were forced to retreat at last. Again in 1664 A.D. Aurangzeb sent Shayesta Khan till Rajmahal to invade Behar. Then Maharaja Pran Narayan made a pact with Shayesta Khan.

During his time Behar kingdom expanded up to Tajhat Baharband Pargana in the south, Basakpur near Khutaghat of Goalapara district in the east and Bhatgaon within Morang in the west.     
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(p5) Maharaja Pran Narayan rebuilt the temples of Baneswar and Shandeswar. He dug the pool adjacent to Baneswar temple.His rebuiding of the Kamteswari temple of Gosanimari can be seen inscribed at the temple's entrance. Architects were sent for from Delhi to construct the Jalpesh temple. But he could not complete the construction within his lifetime. For his temple building endeavor Behar came to be known as the religious state.
   Maharaja Pran Narayan's architechtural mastermind could also be traced elsewhere. To facilitate communication network he constructed several broad rajpaths (highways) and bridges. According to historian Sihabuddin, accompanying Mughal army commander Mirzumla, Behar capital had many beautiful edifices. The roads were straight and beautified by trees alongside. In comparison to other places of east Bharat, Kochbihar/Behar had fine climate and housings. Oranges, mangoes, pepper and others were grown in abundance. People of this state expertised in tantra-mantra (magic- enchantment) and used spiritual water to heal wounds. Apart fro this use of medicine was also familiar.

Literature : Maharaja Pran Narayan was knowledgeable in Sanskrit grammar and literature. He was also a good poet and master in musical instruments. He created Pancharatna Sabha consisting of five jewels or   
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(p6) intellectuals. He used to discuss shastras (Hindu philosophy/ideology) and religion with them at the royal court. Everyone in his court including the sentinel used to address in Sanskrit. On the Maharaja's order his court scholar Jaykrishna Bhattacharya composed "Prabha Prakashika" - notes on "Proyog Ratnamala" grammar. Another scholar Kabiratna composed "Rajkhandam" - history of the royal dynasty in Sanskrit. Scholar Srinath Brahman composed the poetic masterpieces of "Mahabharater Pada" & "Draupadi Swayambar". He also composed "Viswa Singha Charitam" in Sanskrit. These literal creativities has been restored at the royal library. At that time Krishna Mitra composed "Prahllad Charitra" and poetic translation of "Birat Parba" & "Karna Parba" took place.

Maharaja pran Narayan had three sons. Eldest son Vishnu Narayan passed away during his lifetime. Next two were Madan Narayan and Basudev Narayan. They were experts in different areas. In 1665 Maharaja Pran Narayan feel sick badly. In spite of treatments his ailing condition deteriorated gradually. One day it was heard that the Maharaja had breathed his last. On hearing this Nazir Mahi Narayan appeared at the palace with some faithful soldiers to seize the throne. But seeing the king alive over there he returned with shame. In fact Mahi Narayan was the fittest    
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(p7) & most powerful and everyone believed that he would seize the throne after the death of Pran Narayan.

In the meantime Maharaja Pran Narayan passed away in 1665. Then the four sons of Mahi Narayan engaged in unhealthy competition to capture the throne.

(p7 contd ..)   Mahi Narayan felt that his sons might kill him yearning to grab the throne. After much thought Mahi Narayan crowned Madan Narayan, second son of Pran Narayan, as the next king and supported him in his ruling the kingdom.



Maharaja Madan Narayan or Mod Narayan [Rajshak 156-171 || 1665-1680 A.D.] : 7th Maharaja

Though Madan Narayan was crowned in as the king, practically Nazir Mahi Narayan used to direct him and indirectly managed state affairs. Mahi Narayan went on murdering faithful courtiers of Madan Narayan. He along with his sons ignored the royalty. In this way Maharaja Madan Narayan was rendered helpless and power-lost. Madan Narayan waited with patience. At last he gradually succeeded in bringing some courtiers and soldiers faithful & loyal to his side. With their help Maharaja Madan Narayan sentenced many loyal to the Nazir and started expelling the rebels. Being aware of the changed scenario, Mahi Narayan attacked the capital with his army. Fierce battle was fought between the two sides. Mahi Narayan was defeated and he fled in disguise of sanyashi (Hindu monk). His sons took shelter under the king of Bhutan. In that battle Mahi Narayan lost his fourth son and many soldiers. Mahi Narayan was ultimately arrested     next (p8)

(p8) and put to death. With the help of the Bhutan king his sons attacked several times but lost at the hands of Madan Narayan. After this Maharaja Madan Narayan ruled peacefully for some time and after fifteen years of rule he breathed his last leaving behind no successor.

Maharaja Madan Narayan started scaling/evaluation of lands and register of land record of his people. He completed the construction of Jalpesh temple. After completing the Shiva temple building he offered 44 jotes (lease of lands) for the service of the deity. Revenue collected from those Jotes was utilised for Sadabrata (temple service).

In 1666 A.D. he helped Ram Singha, army commander of Delhi sultanate & king of Ambar, with 5 thousand shields & soldiers in the war against king of Assam.   
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(p9) Those troops fought fiercely taking the side of the Mughals.

Maharaja Madan Narayan used to respect intellectuals in his kingdom. His royal court was adorned by many scholars. Among them Dwija Kabiraj composed "Drona Khanda". 



Maharaja Basudev Narayan [Rajshak 171-173 || 1680-1682 A.D.] : 8th Maharaja

Hearing about the death of Maharaja Madan Narayan sons of Mahi Narayan attacked Behar with the help of army from Bhutan king. The Raikats of Baikunthapur (descendants of Sisya Singha) came to the rescue. Yogyadev and Bhujdev Raikats proceeded with huge army and saved the kingdom from getting shattered and falling in the hands of the enemy. The Bhutia army was forced to retreat. The Raikats then crowned Basudev Narayan, youngest brother of Madan Narayan, as the king of Behar and supported the monarchy to settle down. Peace and order was restored in the kingdom once more. The Raikats returned to their homeland and Maharaja Basudev Narayan was able to rule for next two years. After that reuniting Bhutia army, Yajna

Narayan & Jagat Narayan (both sons of Mahi Narayan) again attacked Behar. This time they were able to capture and on entering the royal palace Yajna Narayan started brutal murder of everyone of the royal family. Maharaja Basudev Narayan was killed while attempting to flee. Mahendra Narayan, five year grandson of Pran Narayan and son of Vishnu Narayan, got spared from this spell of mass murder. On hearing this tragic turn up, Raikats Yogyadev & Bhujdev appeared with their army. On the banks of Mansai river fierce battle was fought between Yajna Narayan and the Raikats. After facing heavy defeat Yajna Narayan was forced to flee. Then the Raikats crowned Mahendra Narayan as the next king.    next (p10)



Maharaja Mahendra Narayan [Rajshak 173-184 || 1682-1693 A.D.] : 9th Maharaja

(p10) In 1682, when Yajna Narayan & Jagat Narayan captured Behar and was massacring within the royal palace having also killed Maharaja Basudev Narayan, the Raikats rushed to the rescue. Fierce battle took place with the Bhutia soldiers of Yajna Narayan and the rebels were driven back. The Raikat brothers, well wisher of the Behar royalty, found the palace devastated and presence of 5 year old Mahendra Narayan luckily surviving the brutal annihilation at the enemy's hand. Since Basudev Narayan had no son, Mahendra Narayan (son of Basudev's elder brother Vishnu Narayan) was crowned in as the next king of Behar. After everything was settled down the Raikats returned back to their homeland at Baikunthapur.

But Maharaja Mahendra Narayan could not peacefully rule his kingdom. On one hand minor age of the Maharaja and on the other hand Yogyadev & Bhujdev, the only supporters/friends of the kingdom, falling sick left the royalty helpless to fight back the enemy. There were no one next to the Raikats to help Mahendra Narayan. Yajna Narayan & his brother Jagat Narayan kept on harassing the royalty and created chaos in ruling the state. Taking advantage of this opportunity the rulers of surrounding regions declared independence from Behar kingdom. Defying the responsibilities conferred upon them,  
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(p11) kings men of Tepa, Manthana Kakina, Karjirhat and other places agreed to pay revenue to the Mughal Subedar and turned out to be zamindars (landlords) of those regions. In that way kings men of the southern part of the kingdom started paying revenues to Ibrahim Khan (ruler of Dhaka) and to the Fauzdar of Ghoraghat and accepted their subjugation. Even the later Raikat princes of Baikunthapur and Pangar surrendered to these powers. Under the command of Ebadat Khan the Mughals attacked Behar. Having no other option, after discussions with his ministers Maharaja Mahendra Narayan settled down with Yajna Narayan and appointed as Najir (summoner). Commanding the Bahar army Yajna Narayan fought gallantly with the Muslim Mughals at Patgram. King of Bhutan also came forward to help the Maharaja. But the Mughals turned out victorious and captured Boda, Patgram and eastern Pargana.

After the passing away of Yajna Narayan, Shanta Narayan was sworn in as the new Najir.  Rup Narayan, nephew of Yajna Narayan (son of brother Jagat Narayan), was made the army commander. Maharaja Mahendra Narayan tragically breathed his last at the age of 16. This marked the end of the main stream of direct descendants of Maharaja Viswa Singha.        
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(p12) Maharaja Mahendra Narayan was a pious Baisnava. He was vegetarian and used to chant Harinam (praising Lord Hari) all the time. During his time scholar Ram Swaraswati translated "Bhiswa Parba".



Maharaja Rup Narayan [Rajshak 184-205 || Bangabda 1100-1121 || 1693-1714 A.D.] : 10th Maharaja

After Maharaja Mahendra Narayan in the absence of any descendants of Pran Narayan, Rup Narayan (grandson of Mahi Narayan) was crowned in as next king. He kept back Shanta Narayan, his uncle's (Yajna Narayan) son, in the Najir (summoner) post and appointed Satya Narayan, other son of Yajna Narayan, as the Dewan (financial minister). Maharaja Rup Narayan was knowledgeable, religious, strong, brave, generous and handsome. He used to be the army commander before enthroning and thus he easily won over his people and soldiers and achieved mass loyalty. He kept back the previous ministers and efficiently carried out the administration. He issued currency in his own name.

With the aim of reestablishing the lands lost at the time of Mahendra Narayan, he waged war against the Mughal Fauzdar of Rangpur. But Maharaja could not withstand the mighty Mughals. After a long-drawn battle Maharaja Rup Narayan made truce with the Mughal. Following this Rup Narayan was able to sustain Boda, Patgram and   
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(p13) eastern Chakla and lost Karjihat, Kakina and Fatehpur Chakla. But after some days the Mughals disregarded that treaty and thus initiating war once again. In that war Maharaja Rup Narayan faced defeat and lost hold of Boda, Patgram and eastern Chakla. Maharaja Rup Narayan took Ijara (lease) of the three Chaklas in the name of his Najir under the Mughal supremacy.

Maharaja Rup Narayan shifted his capital from Atharokotha to Guriahati Gram (village) on the eastern bank of river Torsha. The capital was named as "Behar" where Rup Narayan ruled peacefully. He offered Balaram pur to Najiedeo (Shanta Narayan) and Baramkhana to Dewandeo (Satya Narayan) for residing. Of his four sons he lost two, Narendra Narayan & Vidya Narayan, during his lifetime. Among his rest two sons, Upendra Narayan and Kharga Narayan, the former was crowned in next to Maharaja Rup Narayan.
     Establishment of Madan Mohan Temple ... 
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(p14) Maharaja Rup Narayan constructed a beautiful temple of Sri Sri Madan Mohan Thakur in his capital. Inside the temple he established a fine-looking idol of "Madan Mohan". Maharaja Rup Narayan was religious and well conversant person. After ruling for 21 years he breathed his last in 1714 A.D.



Maharaja Upendra Narayan [Rajshak 205-254 || 1714-1763 A.D.] : 11th Maharaja

On being sworn in as new king all commanders and royal courtiers paid loyalty to Maharaja Upendra Narayan. Maharaja issued currency in his name.

During that time king of Bhutan started extending his realm towards the plains. Bhutan King used to rule the mountain areas and no plain was under his jurisdiction. When he tried to invade the plains, he had to fight Maharaja Upendra Narayan on many occasions. But Maharaja Upendra Narayan could do little to resist him.


Maharaja Upendra Narayan had two queens. Elder eyedebati (queen) was the Patrani (Queen of the land). Maharaja having attraction for a baiji (dancer) named Lalbai, was not allowed to enter the bed room of elder eyedebati. For that reason Maharaja constructed a small palace in Dhaluabari Gram far from capital Behar and used to reside over there with his younger queen.   next (p15)

(p15) Maharaja Upendra Narayan was sonless. For that reason he adopted Deena Narayan, child son of dewan Satya Narayan. Maharaja loved him very much. In fact he conferred upon him all authority to run the state administration. But Deena Narayan was not satisfied with that and he prayed for written will of the Maharaja regarding succession to the throne next to him. On the other hand, Maharaja Upendra Narayan still hoped of possessing a son of his own and for that reason he denied to give such written will. Furious at such denial, Deena Narayan met the Mughal Fauzdar Md. Ali Khan at Rangpur and tempted him to invade Behar with the condition that he himself would enthrone accepting the Mughal supremacy. According to such an agreement Md. ali Khan attacked Behar with a huge army. On the other hand Gouriprasanna Mustafi, Bakshi (a minister) of Maharaja Upendra Narayan, sternly chalked out war strategy to knock out the enemy. Accordingly Bhutan army commander proceeded  next (p16)

(p16) from the north side; Najir Deo proceeded with his army from the east and the Maharaja along with Mustafi planned to attack from the west side. Before that united force Md. Ali Khan had to face defeat and flee from Rangpur. Meanwhile in such turnouts Bhutan king occupied some northern regions of Behar.

Maharaja Upendra Narayan appointed Shatananda Goswami of Murshidabad as Rajguru (royal teacher/ spirited one or path finder). After the death of Shatananda his son Ramananda Goswami became the next Rajguru.

During his time land measure of Behar kingdom was carried out. Some of his notable royal courtiers were Haradeb Khasnabis, Jaydeb Darbar Khan, Raghupati Rai, Chakrapani Jamdaria, Hareswar Karjee, Jagadish Karjee, Bireswar Karjee and Baleswar Karjee. The royal posts were Sardar, Aswayar, Kayastha, Nayeb, Ukil, Bakshi, Shikdar, Khannabish, Khas Dewaniya, Hisabnabis, Oyakkanabis, Patowari, Basunia, Tahasildar, Daptaria, Pujari, Kirtania, Patra, Bhandar Thakur, Chowdhury, Majumdar, Amin, Muhuri, Gomasta, Dalai, etc.

During the time of Upendra Narayan, Srinath composed "Birat parba" of Mahabharat. Narayan Dwija composed the poetical translation of "Naradiya Puran". These literatures have been preserved at the royal library.     
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(p16) contd..
     During his time there was an widespread earthquake (11th October, 1737 A.D.).

In the meantime his second queen gave birth to a male child. He was named Debendra Narayan. The Prince was only 4 years old when Maharaja Upendra Narayan breathed his last in 1763 A.D. Receiving the message of the passing away of the Maharaja, Rajmata (elder eyedebati) left for the Dhaluabari palace from her own palace in Behar. With the support of the royal courtiers she crowned in prince Debendra Narayan as the succeeding king and sacrificed her life on the crematory of her husband-king (an old practice of Sati - self immolation along with husband's corpse). People remembers such sacrifice of Satirani Rajmata even today .    
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Maharaja Debendra Narayan [Rajshak 254-256 || 1763-1765 A.D.] : 12th Maharaja

(p17) After the demise of Maharaja Upendra Narayan, his son Debendra Narayan ascended throne of Behar at a minor age of four. During his time administration of the state totally broke down. The Bhutias started to spread out their kingdom encroaching the Behar regions. As per previous treaty representative of Bhutan king along with his associate used to stay in the Behar capital almost all the time. Apparently no necessary state affairs/decisions could be decided without the consent of that foreign representative. Every year the Bhutia ruler of Buxa Duar and other important Bhutia heads used to visit Behar till Chekakhata. Their hospitality was looked after by the Dewan of Behar. The Bhutia used to offer presents to the Behar Maharaja in kinds and in return the Maharaja used to pay double the price of those gifts. Amidst such lawlessness Maharaja Debendra Narayan with the help of his Dewan and other courtiers ruled for one year.

At that time a Brahmin (Hindu priest) named Rati Sharma resided in Balarampur. Maharaja Debendra Narayan was then 6 years old and one day he was playing with other children on the side of Padma Pukur (pond) on the southern side of the palace. There was a temple at that spot. That day Rati Sharma appeared over there suddenly and beheaded Maharaja Debendra Narayan with 
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(p18) a sharp sword. While Maharaja's lifeless body lay on the ground, king's bodyguards came running and taking Rati Sharma in the temple cut him to pieces. Grief struck the kingdom and the palace wailed in sheer anguish. In such gloomy circumstances when the mournful royal courtiers were helpless to console the woebegone Rajmata (mother-queen of Maharaja), prime minister Gourinandan Mustafi restrained and made time-demanding necessary arrangements. He informed Dewan, Najir and other important personnel of the royal establishment about that sad incident. Thereafter all necessary duties were carried out. Rajguru Ramananda Goswami was found to mastermind the conspiracy. Thus Maharaja Debendra Narayan was murdered in 1765 A.D.

During this time on 12th August 1765 Bangadesh (then consolidated Bengal) came under the jurisdiction of British East India Company. Khajna (rent) of Boda, Patgram, Panga and other chaklas (regions) under the Maharaja of Behar had to be paid to East India Company from then onwards.

Next Behar King (13th Maharaja) ......  
(next CHAPTER-3)

.


 Source  :- Translated from "Kochbiharer Itihas", 2nd edition (1988), by Shri. Hemanta Kumar Rai Barma
- ex-Nayeb Ahilkar of Kochbihar estate (SDO), M.A.,B.L.)
|| "Kochbihar Parikrama" edited by Krishnendu Dey, Niraj Biswas & Digbijoy De Sarkar

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