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Continued after 19th Maharaja :~

CHAPTER - 5 of 6

Previous King(s)

Maharaja Narendra Narayan [Rajshak 338-354 || Bangabda 1254-1270 || 1847-1863 A.D.] : 20th Maharaja

(p1) When Maharaja Shibendra Narayan passed away in 1847 A.D., child Narendra Narayan was staying with his father at Baranasi. Over there he was crowned in next to his father as the Maharaja of Behar before returning back to the capital. Maharaja Narendra Narayan was then only 6 years old.

Kalichandra Lahiri was then the Dewan of Behar. After discussing with Rajmata (mother-Queens) Kamteswari and Brindeswari Devi, Dewan took Maharaja Narendra Narayan to Krishnanagar for imparting education to the Maharaja. Narendra Narayan was intelligent. Within a few days he gathered knowledge in Sanskrit grammar, literature, smriti and other subjects. After returning back to Behar he continued his studies in European style. Rajmata Kamteswari and Brindeswari Devi looked after state administration till the Maharaja reached his adulthood. In 1860 A.D. Maharaja Narendra Narayan took up state's administration in his own hand. He was an intellectual, well-judged able administrator with fine character. Under his rule Behar kingdom flourished increasing state's income to much extent and his subjects lived peacefully.     
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(p2) Maharaja Narendra Narayan had interest for education. For the first time he arranged for modern education system in Behar. He established Jenkins School in 1859 A.D. within Behar city to impart English lessons and high studies. At that time there was no High School in that region. After setting up that school students of not only Behar but of entire Uttarbanga (North of Bengal) were prized with such opportunity of high studies.

Maharaja Narendra Narayan initiated the system of  stamp-paper in 1861 A.D. From then onwards use of stamp-paper came in vogue.

Maharaja Narendra Narayan constructed many broad roadways and built bridges to facilitate transportation system for people of Behar. He also took up medical arrangements for his subjects.

In 1862 A.D. Maharaja Narendra Narayan obtained a son  who was named as Nripendra Narayan. But soon the Maharaja fell sick. His illness aggravated gradually in spite of the heart and soul treatment by the doctors.   Maharaja

The old practice of Sutteedaha (sacrificing life or self immolation of wife along with husband's corpse) was banned during Maharaja Narendra Narayan. check

Narendra Narayan's health deteriorated day-by-day and at last he breathed his last in 1863 A.D. at a age of only 22 years. People of Behar were grief stricken at the demise of their dear King.   next (p3)

Maharaja Nripendra Narayan Bhupbahadur
[Rajshak 354-402 || 1863-1911 A.D.] : 21st Maharaja

(p3) When Maharaja Narendra Narayan passed away in 1863 A.D., as per will of the Maharaja his ten month child-son Nripendra Naryan was crowned in as the next king of Behar. At first the state administration was looked after by Queen Kamteswari, Brindeswari and Nistarini Eye Devi since Maharaja Nripendra Narayan was only a child. Later the power of administration was handed over to the Commissioner appointed by the British Governor General. Colonel Hawton was appointed as the Commissioner of Behar in 1864 A.D. He was conferred complete authority to run the state administration. Colonel Hawton seriously paid attention towards education and caring of child Maharaja. Maharaja Nripendra Narayan stayed in Cooch Behar for five years. In 1868 A.D. he was sent to Baranasi for learning. There he took lessons till 1872 A.D. After that he was schooled in Patna Collegiate School for six years while staying at Bankipur. He learned riding and hunting over there. On the occasion of the crowning-in of Queen Victoria in 1877 A.D., Maharaja Nripendra Narayan was invited at the Delhi Durbar. In his respect cannons were fired 13 times. In 1878 A.D. Maharaja Nripendra Narayan married Suniti Devi, daughter of famous Keshab Chandra Sen of Kalikata. Immediately after marriage he left for England for higher studies. There he strted learning under Sir Benjamin Simson and Mr. Kelar. Thereafter he toured to    next (p4)

(p4) Italy, Germany, Austria, France, Bulgaria and other countries. He was received with royal welcome in all those foreign countries. Maharaja Nripendra Narayan returned back to Behar on 3rd March 1879 and got admitted in Presidency College to study Law. He studied Law in that College till 1881.

In 1883 A.D. Maharaja Nripendra Narayan was old enough to assume the authority of administering the state and ceremoniously he ascended the throne. Many kings and high ranking officials visited capital Behar on that occasion. Thereafter he engaged himself in state affairs.

Maharaja Nripendra Narayan banned the practice of slave-keeping ('kritadas pratha') by law in 1884 A.D. For higher studies in his state he established the Victoria College (now A.B.N. Seal College) in 1888. There was opportunity of studying M.A. and Law in that college under Kalikata/Calcutta University. Famous educationist and intellectual Acharya Brajendra Nath Seal was the Principal of that college. Maharaja Nripendra Narayan constructed a Brahma Mandir (temple for the Brahmas) in 1888 A.D. and granted lease of land for 30 years. In 1883 he constructed Nripendra Narayan Hall in Jalpaiguri city and in 1887 granted land for the construction of the Lewis Jubilee Sanitarium in Darjeeling. In 1889 Anandamoyee    
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(p5) Dharmashala (religious rest-house) & adjacent Madan Mohan Temple were constructed in the city of Cooch Behar. The present Palace in Cooch Behar city was constructed in 1887 during Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. He engaged Mr. F. Barkli as the chief engineer to construct the palace.

Maharaja Nripendra Narayan was the architect of modern city of Cooch Behar. As per his instructions starting from the sadar-city, other towns of the estate and the roads were constructed. He built buildings for administrative purposes like High-court, Judge-court, Treasury Commissioner Office, School Inspector Office, Police Office, S.D.O. Office, Registration Office and others. All the old beautiful buildings surrounding Sagardighi portray Maharaja's immortal building-ability. During his time Dewani, Fauzdari and Registration Laws were introduced for Behar state. Narrow gauge line (railway) was laid down between Gitaldaha (Bangladesh border in the south) and Jayanti (Bhutan border in the north).  This rail-line was entirely the property of this state. After a few days that rail-line was tranformed into meter-gauge line. Present temple of Madan Mohan was constructed during his time and the deity of Lord Madan-Mohan was transferred to that temple from the temple adjacent to the royal palace.      
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(p6) British Government conferred the title of "Grand Commander of Most Eminent Order" to Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. Maharaja along with Suniti Devi visited England to attend the jubilee celebration of Queen Victoria. On that occasion Suniti Devi was conferred the title of "Imperial Order of Crown".

Maharaja Nripendra Narayan was a famous athlete. He had many best quality horses. He used to win in almost every horse race. He faight for the British in the Tarai war and Jalanabad war. In 1902 A.D. he visited London on the occasion of the crowing-in of His Majesty Seventh Edward. Maharaja Nripendra Narayan obtained his first son on 11th April 1882. His father-in-law named the child as Rajendra Narayan. On 20th December 1886 he obtained his second son Jitendra Narayan. His third son Victor Nityendra Narayan and his fourth son Hitendra Narayan were born on 21st May 1887 & 1st July 1890 respectively.

In 1886 Maharaja Nripendra Narayan constructed pilkhana (elephant shed) at Cooch Behar for 52 elephants. He constructed many roads, hospital and schools to cater to the service of his subjects. In the name of his queen he set up a girls school named as "Suniti College" in 1881 which was later named as "Suniti Academy".    
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(p7) Administrative Setup :~
A Deputy Commissioner under Maharaja Nripendra Narayan was in supreme charge of all state departments. Under the Maharaja the Dewan used to look after the Revenue Department. Under the Dewan the Sub-divisional Nayeb  Ahilkars used to collect revenues, carry judicial proceedings and maintain peace & security of sub-divisions. Chief employee of Faujdari department was the Faujdari Ahilkar. Under him the Nayeb Ahilkars used to look after Faujdari judicial matters of the subdivisions. District Judge was the Chief Officer of the Dewani department. Under him the Sub-divisional Nayeb Ahilkars used to try the Dewani cases. School Inspector was in charge of Education department. Under him the Sub-inspectors used to look after educational matters on the Sub-divisions. At that time there were total 329 educational institutes and a big library known as Raj Library. Civil Surgeon was in chief-charge of Health department. Under him the Assistant Surgeons maintained the Sub-divisional medical departments. There were four medical institutions. Police Superintendent was the chief of the Police department. Under him three Inspectors, ten Sub-inspectors, twenty nine Head Constables and 365 Constables used to operate. State had six thanas (police stations) and seven fandi at that time. An Engineer was in charge of the municipal department. Several Overseers used to look after municipal matters under that  
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(p8) Chief Engineer. Many beautiful mansions were built in the Cooch Behar town at that time. There were one Telegraph Office and five Sub-Post Offices.

Maharaja Nripendra Narayan encouraged education in the state. He was affectionate towards his subjects and was a kind-hearted, noble king. He took firm steps for overall development of Cooch Behar state. His wife Maharani Suniti Devi was a good writer. She wrote an autobiography. Maharaja Nripendra Narayan also wrote some hunting-related books in English.

While administering the state so smoothly, Maharaja Nripendra Narayan fell sick in 1911 A.D. He was taken to England for treatment. Over there Maharaja Nripendra Narayan passed away on the 18th September of 1911 A.D. Since the Maharaja was a Colonel, his corpse was procession ally paraded to the crematory under royal salutation and his last rites were carried out over there.

Next Maharaja ... (p9)

Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan
[Rajshak 402-404 || 1911-1913 A.D.] : 22nd Maharaja

(p9) Rajendra Narayan, eldest son of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan, was born at Woodsland Palace of Calcutta on 11th April 1882 A.D. During his childhood he took lessons under a British female home tutor. When he was a boy of 11 years, he was sent to "Lordmayo" college at Ratputna for studying. He was much attentive in his studies; turned out favorite to his class-mates; participated in sports. He had special inclination towords Engineering. It was of great pleasure/fun to him in playing games of fake war & capturing fort.

Maharaja Nripendra Narayan sent Rajendra Narayan to England for studying in 1894. There he got admitted to the "Preparetory" School of Mr. Castor and schooled for three years. In 1897 he got admitted to "Itan". Studying over there for three years he took admission in Oxford University in 1900 A.D. Completing his studies at Oxford, Rajendra Narayan returned back to India and helped his father in carrying out state proceedings. During that time he received military training at "Caded Core".

During the crowing-in of Emperor Edward, Rajendra Narayan accompanied his parents to England for the ceremony. There he received friendly felicitation. When Maharaja Nripendra Narayan passed away in England on 18th September 1911, Rajendra Narayan was    
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(p10present over there to carry out the last rites of his father.

After his father Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan ascended the throne of Cooch Behar in 1912 A.D. He carried out proceedings as per his father's will. He was very close to his mother and heeded with great respect. During his stay in England, Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan got chest-injury while playing game and from then on he felt acute pain in his chest. That turned out to be the cause of a type of depression for the Maharaja because of which he didn't get married.

After ascending the throne Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan looked after the developments of his state. He had belief towards Brahma religion. He used to pass verdict judiciously without being partial to any side. He used to keep calm and behaved in accordance to his status/prestige. He was less conversant. Everyone respected and loved him.

Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan visited London along with Suniti Devi for medical treatment when his illness aggravated to much extent.  There he received treatment under Dr. Rijin Russel. While his illness deteriorated further, Maharaja lost hope and expressed his   next (p11)

(p11desire to breathe his last at Cooch Behar itself. At that time on the other hand, his younger brother Jitendra Narayan married Indira Devi, daughter of Maharaja Gaikoard of Baroda, in London. Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan passed away on the midnight of 1st September 1913 A.D. His brother Victor Nityendra Narayan was with the Maharaja during his last moment. Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan’s last rites were carried out in London and his corpse-ashes were brought back to and buried at Cooch Behar.          next Maharaja - (p12)

Maharaja Jitendra Narayan Bhupbahadur
[Rajshak 404-413 || 1913-1922 A.D.] : 23rd Maharaja

(p12)  Maharaja Jitendra Narayan was the second son of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. He was born on 20th December 1886 A.D. at Cooch Behar palace. During his childhood he took lessons under British home tutor. In 1900 he left for England and got admitted to Itan School. After finishing his studies over there he took admission in Edinburrow University. He returned back to Cooch Behar after completion of his studies.

Jitendra Narayan paid visit to his ailing brother Maharaja Rajendra Narayan who was under treatment in London. At that time Maharaja of Baroda along with his daughter visited London and proposed marriage between his daughter Indira Devi and Jitendra Narayan to Rajmata Suniti Devi and Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan. With their consent Jitendra Narayan married Indira Devi at the Backingham Palace Hotel on 25th August 1913. On the sixth day after that wedding, Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan passed away on 1st September 1913 A.D.

Since Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan passed away leaving back no descendant of his own, Jitendra Narayan ascended the throne of Cooch Behar in 1913. After being crowned-in Maharaja Jitendra Narayan with utmost skill started administering his state. He took firm steps for the development of the state. He treated his subjects   
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(p13with great affection and likewise people of Cooch Behar also respected him very much. For the upliftment of his subjects Maharaja Jitendra Narayan worked hard. Though he received no separate lessons regarding state administration during his childhood, he used to tackle all administrative works smoothly. He established a medical institution or hospital in the name of Lord Carmichael at Cooch Behar capital.

At that time a fierce war broke out in England. Impact of that war was also felt at Cooch Behar. Rice nad other food items were exported from Cooch Behar and that led to food shortage at the home-state. Price rose high. Then Maharaja Jitendra Narayan increased the salary of government employees. He also provided enough aids and grants to his subjects. He sent more helps for the war.

Maharaja Jitendra Narayan was very clever and a subject-loving king. He was a skilled hunter. His younger brother Victor respected him and helped him in royal administration. Nirupama Devi, wife of Victor, was a good writer and also respected the Maharaja. In memory of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan, a statue was built and established at the capital by Maharaja Jitendra Narayan. That statue of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan was brought from London and a beautiful portrayal of art.  
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(p14Maharaja Jitendra Narayan thus administering the state peacefully fell sick. At last he breathed his last on 20th December 1922 A.D. at London. A son named Jagatdipendra Narayan was born to him in 1915.

Next Maharaja - the last recognized king of "Koch" Family

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 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

click for Next/Last Maharajas (24th Maharaja) > CHAPTER 6

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