The district of Cooch Behar in West Bengal draws tens of thousands of tourists every year. Most head straight to the magnificent palace museum that once housed the rulers of the former princely state of Cooch Behar. Few tourists ever venture as far as the village of Gosanimari, 33 km south-west of here. Yet Gosanimari is home to one of West Bengal’s few surviving forts, and has a fascinating history.
The earliest mention of this part of Bengal may be found in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, where it is stated that the area was inhabited by tribes such Kambojas, Kiratas, Savars and Mutivs. According to historians, the descendants of the Kiratas eventually came to be known as the ‘Koch’, of the Koch Empire, later Anglicised to ‘Cooch Behar’. Cooch Behar was established in 1586 and existed till 1949.
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