Koch-Bihar

Cooch Behar district is a district of the state of West Bengal, India, as well as the district’s namesake town. During the British Raj, the town of Cooch Behar was the seat of a princely state of Koch Bihar, ruled by the Koch dynasty.

As of 2011 it is the third least populous district of West Bengal (out of 19), after Dakshin Dinajpur and Darjeeling.

Cooch Behar is a district under the Jalpaiguri Division of the state of West Bengal. Cooch Behar is located in the northeastern part of the state and bounded by the district of Jalpaiguri in the north, state of Assam in the east and by Bangladesh in the west as well as in the south. The district forms part of the Himalayan Terai of West Bengal.

A geopolitical curiosity is that there are 92 Bangladeshi exclaves, with a total area of 47.7 km² in Cooch-Behar. Similarly, there are 106 Indian exclaves inside Bangladesh, with a total area of 69.5 km². These were part of the high stake card or chess games centuries ago between two regional kings, the Raja of Cooch Behar and the Maharaja of Rangpur.

Cooch Behar is a flat country with a slight southeastern slope along which the main rivers of the district flow. Most of the highland areas are in the Sitalkuchi region and most of the low-lying lands lie in Dinhata region.

The rivers in the district of Cooch Behar generally flow from northwest to southeast. Six rivers that cut through the district are the Teesta, Jaldhaka, Torsha, Kaljani, Raidak, Gadadhar and Ghargharia.

The flora here includes among others palms, bamboos, creepers, ferns, orchids, aquatic plants, fungi, timber, grass, vegetable and fruit trees.

In absence of large forest area in the district, except at Patlakhawa, not many species of animal are found though there are many wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and animal reserves in the neighbouring Jalpaiguri district and Alipurduar subdivision of Jalpaiguri which are not very far from the district.

In 1976 Cooch Behar district became home to the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary (now Jaldapara National Park), which has an area of 217 km2 (83.8 sq mi). It shares the park with Jalpaiguri district.