History of DarbhangaDarbhanga, also known as ‘Heart of Mithilanchal’ is well known for its rich past and the very famous Darbhanga Raj. Known for its cultural and literal traditions, this city is also popular as ‘Cultural Capital of Bihar’. Located in the very heart of Mithilanchal in North Bihar, Darbhanga is one of the oldest cities and districts of Bihar state. Darbhanga is Municipal Corporation and has been developing steadily.
History of Darbhanga almost dates back to period of Ramayana and Mahabharata and has also been depicted in these well known Indian mythological epics. Darbhanga has witnessed many historical events which transformed it and added many chapters to glorious history of this culturally diverse region.
Origin of the nameDarbhanga has been named after its main town and headquarter, Darbhanga which is assumed to be founded by Darbhangi Khan. There are many opinions about origin of name of Darbhanga. Some people believe that Darbhanga has been derived from “Dwarbanga” which is the combination of two words, “Dwar” (Gate) and “Banga” (Bengal) that literally means ‘Gateway of Bengal’. It has also been noticed that Bengali and Maithali both languages have some phonetic similarities. Whereas some scholars have another opinion that Darbhanga name of this region has been derived from Dar (Dwar or gate) and Bhanga which mean ‘Broken Gates’. And the reason behind this opinion is that event when Tughlaq forces attacked last independent North Indian Hindu King in 1326 AD by breaking gates of the fort with the help of elephants or cannons.
Ancient History of DarbhangaDarbhanga has a rich past which consists of almost 3000 years of history. Description of this region has also been placed in Vedic sources and as per these sources under leadership of Mithi, Videhas migrated to the east of Sadanira (Gandak River) from the banks of Saraswati River on guidance of ‘Agni’, God of fire. After their settlements in this region, the kindom of Videhas flourished here and ‘Mithi’ was throned as King. Mithila was the capital of Videha kingdom and was named after King Mithi. All the rulers of Videhas were called Janaks and most famous of them was Seeradhwaja Janak who was father of Sita, wife of Lord Ram.
Medieval History of DarbhangaDarbhanga continued to be ruled by Hindu rulers till 13th century when it was invaded by Tuglaq forces who attacked and took control over this region. Maithili Brahmin family ruled in Darbhanga during rule of Mughals in the country. During reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, 100000 mango trees were planted at a place in Darbhanga which is presently known as Lakhi Bagh. In 1765, British assumed control here during rule of East India Company in the country. It is said that the Britishers never accepted the family as rulers of the region but allowed them to use the prefix Maharaja, and later Maharajadhiraj. In medieval period also Darbhanga retained its importance as a seat of culture and learning in India.
Modern History of DarbhangaDarbhanga was declared a separate district on January 1, 1875 and before that it was a part of Sarkar Tirhut. Darbhanga district of that time consisted of three sub-divisions viz. Darbhanga Sadar, Madhubani and Samastipur which were created earlier in 1845, 1846 and 1847 respectively. In early times, Darbhanga was a part of Patna division till Tirhut division was separated by carving out in 1908. Later it became Divisional headquarters on October 30, 1973 when all its three sub-divisions viz. Darbhanga, Madhubani and Samastipur were constituted as separate districts. Thus present Darbhanga district was formed. At present, Darbhanga is one of the important districts and cities in North Bihar.
About Darbhanga RajDuring rule of East India Company in beginning of 19th century, title of Maharaja and British title KCIE (Knight Commander of Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire) was granted to Maharaja of Darbhanga. Then Maharaja of Darbhanga shifted his residence to Darbhanga town. Gradually, Hindus began to flock to this town. Maharaja of Darbhanga was leading zamindar and his estate, famous as Darbhanga Raj was the richest and largest zamindari estate of that time in the country. Maharaja Lakhmeshwar Singh, K.C.I.E. of Darbhanga was a liberal minded and progressive statesman and well recognized head of orthodox Hindu community.
He was honored by people of all castes and creeds for his philanthropy and munificent contributions to the public movements of his time. He was the member of Supreme Legislative Council from 1883 to 1898(till his death) and besides he had also been the elected representative of the non-official members of Bengal Council. Last Maharaja of Darbhanga, Sir Kameshwar Singh who ruled in Darbhanga from 1929 to 1947 (Independence of India), was member of the Council of State (1993-1946), member of Constituent Assembly (1947-1952) and Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha- Upper House) from 1952 to 1958 and again from 1960-1962. His contribution in progress of Bengal and Indian education and society is commendable.
Historical and Religious Sites in DarbhangaDarbhanga is famous for its rich past which talks about culture and traditions of this region. Thus, one can find many historical and religious sites in Darbhanga which are famous for their historical and religious significance. Darbhanga Fort is the most special historical spot for all the historians to explore more about Darbhanga Raj. Besides, there are two museums viz. Chandradhari Museum and Maharaja Lakhmeshwar Singh Museum which are must to visit places for all history lovers in this city. Raghopur is located 5 kms south of Sakri Railway Station. It is famous for its earthen mound which is said to cover ruin of building built by Raja Shiva Singh in ancient times. Newri is famous for its historical ruins which are believed to contain remains of an ancient fortress of this region.
Kusheshwar-asthan is famous for its ancient temple of Lord Shiva named as Baba Kusheshwarnath. Ahilya Asthan is another historical temple devoted to Devi Ahilya, wife of Gautam Rishi. Brahmpur village, located about 18 km from Darbhanga is said to be associated with Lord Brahma, who created a kund especially for Gautam Rishi here which is famous as Gautam Kund. Shyama temple is famous for its marvelous beauty and devotees believe that every wish is fulfilled if one prays with holy heart here. Apart from these historical and religious sites there are many other sites too in Darbhanga which attract visitors with their historical and devotional importance.