I was on a trip to my home on April 14, 2018 and had to board my train from Cooch Behar. The train was late by an hour and I was feeling hungry. So, I decided to have my lunch at an authentic Bengali restaurant and hired a rickshaw to reach the Cooch Behar Hotel. It was while on the way that I saw this amazing palace. The Cooch Behar Rajbari stunned me beyond expectation. I have been hearing of the Cooch Behar Rajbari since I was a kid but the sight surpassed my imagination in all senses. From the rickshaw, I could see people throng in at that time of the day. For a split second I thought I should get down and explore the place but since I had so much luggage, I decided against my urge.
The Magnificent Structure of the Cooch Behar Rajbari
Since then, I was determined to visit this place on my next trip to Cooch Behar. So once while I was in Alipurduar exploring Dima and Rajabhatkhawa, I told Saurav that we should go on an afternoon trip to the Cooch Behar Rajbari. As his parents had also come to Alipurduar, I suggested he should take them along too. So at 3:00 in the afternoon, the four of us started for Cooch Behar in a hired car. The Cooch Behar Rajbari was less than 25 kilometres from Alipurduar and it took us about an hour to reach there. “Oh man! How amazing it is” was my first reaction after entering the gates. The elegant palace was overlooking the vast expanse of manicured lawns. Slowly, we approached the Classical Western style building as we wanted to soak it all in.
The Cooch Behar Rajbari now houses a museum, consisting of many collectibles; though a major portion of those, lost and stolen. Once you enter the palace, you can see the courtroom of the king and a large emblem of the kingdom painted on the floor. The ground floor contains rear photographs from the Royal family from the bygone era. We then headed to the backyard and stood on the long veranda. Every brick had a touch from back then. I imagined how ladies of the house would sit by the veranda after a sumptuous lunch on an afternoon and children would go on playing until it was dark.
Then we started ascending the staircases that led to the first floor. There were large photographs hung on the walls; but the most eye catching one was that of Maharani Gina Narayan and Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan looking at each other directly into the eyes. It was amazingly romantic. The upper floor contained furniture, billiards board, huge mirrors, paintings and rare housewares. There were a few rooms that were inaccessible, closed behind big locks. I wondered what they housed. Most probably, the rooms were vacant. They did not allow tourists to access the roof either. I wished I could climb up there and get a glimpse of the property.
After we had explored the interiors, we walked to the back of the palace and clicked a few photos. Saurav shot a couple of time-lapse videos and I tried to photograph a toy car in front of the palace. We were actually the last ones to exit the gates as we did not want to miss photographing the beautiful palace at dusk.