Ben: কোচবিহার kōcabihāra

‘Land of the Koch’ [Cooch-Bihar, Coss-Beyhar, Kuch Behar, Kutch-Behar, Cooch-Behaar, Cooch-Behar, Kooch-Behar, Koch-Bihar, Koch Vihar, Koosh-Beyhar]  City/District, West Bengal 

From Ben: kōca, ‘(a member of) aboriginal tribe’; and Skt/Pali: vihāra, ‘abode’, ‘land of’.

The various spellings refer to the Koch or Rajbongshi tribes indigenous to Assam, Meghalaya and the northeastern region of West Bengal. The Koch dynasty, who ruled a kingdom in Assam and Bengal, was named after the Koch community. It emerged from the Kamata kingdom in the early 16thC.

The kingdom was split into two in the 17thC: Koch Bihar and Koch Hajo (named after king Hajo the Koch). In the 18thC the Bhutanese captured Cooch Behar forcing the Koch into a defence treaty with the British after which Cooch Behar became a princely kingdom under the protection of East India Company. 

Cooch Behar Palace, built in 1887 by Maharaja Nripendra Narayan, was inspired by Buckingham Palace in London and amalgamates features of both Western and Indian architecture. The building is over 100m across and nearly 100m deep.

For related place names see Indian Place names and West Bengal place names.


Cooch Behar Palace

Cooch Behar Palace           Tourism of India