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Things To Do In Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar is situated in North Bengal, close to some of the gems of the states like Darjeeling, Kalimpong and the Dooars forests and lies on the fringes of the state near Assam and Bangladesh. For those travelling to these tourist destinations often include Cooch Behar in their itinerary. Strewn with temples, a magnificent palace and few other attractions, Cooch Behar is an interesting destination. There are few activities tourists can engage in. Let us take a quick look at some of the things travellers can indulge in during their stay here.
Tour of Rajbari
Modelled after the world famous Buckinghan Palace of London, the Cooch Behar Rajbari is a stunner. It was built under the patronage of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan in 1887. Following the classical western style of architecture the palace is a sprawling structure covering an area of 51, 309 sq. ft. There are series of arcaded verandas, a porch at the front leading to the Durbar hall, an ornamental dome with stepped patterns and Corinthian columns and many more interesting and mesmerizing features. The interiors are equally enthralling. The original structure was a 3 storied building which was however destroyed in 1897 earthquake in Assam. Cooch Behar Rajbari is certainly the biggest attraction for tourists and a tour of the palace is among the first things to do while in the town.
Tour of Temples
Cooch Behar has a large number of temples that are venerated by locals and visitors alike. The presence of a royal family accounts for the large number of temples that were constructed at different times and under the patronage of different rulers. The Siddeshwari Kali Temple was constructed by Maharaja Harendra Narayan in 1860 and the temple is located 11 km from the town. Kamteshwar temple which was destroyed was rebuilt in 1665 and is among the oldest temples in the region. The Siddhanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located in Dhaluabari. Baneshwar Shiva Temple is very popular for the temple as well as the large number of tortoises that are found here. There is a Shivalinga and idol of Ardhanishwar that resides inside the temple.
Take a Stroll along Sagardighi
This is a large pond located at the centre of the town. The name Sagardighi means ocean like pond, which of course is an exaggeration but also goes to show the significant it was to the people is held in high regard. It was dug out during the reign of Maharaja Hitendra Narayan. For bird lovers this is a coveted spot. The water body and surrounding trees attract large number of migratory birds who make Sagardighi their home for few months. In closes vicinity, a heritage hotel, Victor House and a War Memorial is found. A stroll along the banks of Sagardighi can be relaxing and interesting.
Trip to the Dooars
Cooch Behar enjoys a prime position. It is close to Bangladesh border and lies en route to the north east. It also lies in close vicinity to the Dooars in West Bengal. Dooars are alluvial flood plains lying at the outer foothills of the Himalayas. It has sprawling tea gardens and dense forests that make up the countryside. It is stunningly beautiful. Interestingly, the Dooars was under the Koch dynasty who ruled from Cooch Behar. Later there was a change of hands. Chalsa and Murti are two unexplored gems of Dooars that are located close to Cooch Behar, about a 100 km away. The unadulterated natural beauty is mesmerizing and a drive to these spot could be one of the things tourists can do during their stay in Cooch Behar.
Trip to Madan Mohan Temple
The Madan Mohan Temple in Cooch Behar is the most visited and one of the most important temples in the district. This temple too, like the Cooch Behar Rajbari was built during the rule of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. Started in 1885, the construction was completed in 1889. It was inaugurated by Rajmata Nishinoyee Devi in1890. The deities were established in the temple following grand processions and celebrations. The deity of Madan Mohan is found in the central room and there are other idols of Ma Bhavani, Ma Anadamoyee which are housed in different rooms. A trip to Madan Mohan temple is a must during your stay in the town.
Cuisine in Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar was ruled by different dynasties at different times and there is a confluence of different cultures here and this influence can be food in their cuisine. The dominating influence is of Bengali cuisine. Tourists can treat themselves to some lip smacking Bengali dishes like rice and fish, bhuna khichuri, labra (mixed vegetable preparation), Hilsa, paratha etc. they are not lagging behind in sweet dishes either as you have delectable sweets like Roshogolla, chomchom, mishit doi and sandesh. The Tibetan influence which is strong in North Bengal is found here too and you get to eat some of the best momos. As an important district, there is no dearth of restaurants or eateries in Cooch Behar.
Shopping in Cooch Behar
As a flourishing district in West Bengal, there is no dearth of shopping malls or big shopping centres in Cooch Behar. Here however you find nothing that you will not find elsewhere in the state. If tourists are interested in purchasing products that are specialities of Cooch Behar , then they should visit handicraft centres. Sitalpati is a kind of mat that is very famous here and unlike other mats found elsewhere in the state, they are more expensive. There are areas in the district where Sitalpati is woven. They come in different textures and degree of smoothness. They are beautiful. They are perfect for the hot and humid climate of West Bengal as they have a cooling effect. Bamboo and cane baskets and other decorative items are also found here. Jute bags and kantha work items are equally popular.