The name of the district is derived from the name of the Koch Rajbongshi tribe who are the natives of the district. The second part of the name of the district "Behar" is a Sanskrit word means "vihara" (to travel). It means Cooch Behar is the place through which the "Koch Rajbongshi" Kings used to travel or roam about. From the period of 4th to the 12th centuries, Cooch Behar remained as a part of the Kamarupa Kingdom of Assam.In the 12th century, the area was a significant part of the Kamata Kingdom, first ruled by the Khen dynasty from their capital located at Kamatapur.At that time the Khens were an indigenous tribe who ruled till about 1498 CE, when they defeated to Alauddin Hussain Shah, the independent Pathan Sultan of Gour. Then some new invaders came to this place and involved in a battle with the local Bhuyan chieftains and the Ahom king Suhungmung. But unfortunately the local rulers lost control of the region.Since the 16th century the Koch dynasty originated from Mahishya community has ruled the Cooch Behar. In 1772-1773, the king of Bhutan occupied Cooch Behar. In order to throw out the Bhutanese, the kingdom of Cooch Behar involved into a defence treaty and signed it with the British East India Company on 5th April, 1773. After complete expel the Bhutanese, the place of Cooch Behar again turned into a princely kingdom under the protection of British East India company. In the year 1878, the maharaja of this place married the daughter of Brahmo preacher called Keshab Chandra Sen. As a result this union led to a renaissance in the Cooch Behar state. It is believed that Maharaja Nripendra Narayan was the architect of the modern Cooch Behar town. On 19th January, 1950 Cooch Behar was merged with the province of West Bengal. The district came into existenceon15th July 1997.
Abbas Uddin Ahmed, a famous Bengali folk singer and composer, was born on October 27th1901 at Tufanganj in the Cooch Behar district. He was known for Bhawaiya folk song which is a style mostly found in Rangpur and Cooch Behar. He also collaborated with Kazi Nazrul Islam, Jasimuddinand Golam Mostafa.
Geographically, the district lies at 26°32'N latitude, 89°45'E longitude and 36 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 10.31% forest area of total geographical area. The district occupies a geographical area of 3,387 sq. km. and it is surrounded by the Jalpaiguri district in the north, Assam in the east and Bangladesh in the west as well as in the south. The main river of the district is Torsa River. The climate of the district is moderate. During the monsoon season there is heavy rainfall in the district. In the summer season also the district does not have high temperatures. January is the coldest month in the district when temperature ranges between 10.4 °C and 24.1 °C. The actual rainfall in the district was 3119.1 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administrative wise, the district is divided into 5 sub-divisions namely Cooch Behar Sadar, Dinhata, Mathabhanga, Tufanganj and Mekhliganj. The district is consists of 8 assembly constituencies and 12 development blocks or panchayat samities. Moreover, the district comprises18 towns and 1194 villages. The administrative language in the district is Bangali.
According to 2011 census the district has a population of28,19,086 out of which 14,51,542 are males and13,67,544 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 942 (females for every 1000 males). During the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate of the district was 13.71% including 14.11% were males and 13.30% were females. As per 2011 census the major religions of the district are Hindu and Muslim with 74.06% and 25.54% of the total population. The population density in the district is 832 (persons per sq. km.). According to 2011 census the principal language in the district is Bengali with 98.11%.In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 40,452 out of which 20,724 were males and 19,728 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 13,506 out of which 8,283 were males and 5,223 were females.
Agriculture is the principal source of livelihood for the poor section of the district because most of the natives of the district are employers of the state government or the central government. Since the revenue comes from tourism is low therefore the state government is trying to promote tourism in Cooch Behar. In the year 2013-14 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 16,88,492 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 7,89,518 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005. The Net Domestic Product in the district during the period 2013-14 was Rs. 15,84,015 lakh at Current Price and Rs. 7,31,624 lakh at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the district during 2013-14 was Rs. 54,069 at Current Price and Rs. 24,974 at Constant Prices in the year 2004-2005.
The schools of the district are either run by the state government or by private and religious organisations. Most of the colleges of the district are affiliated with the University of North Bengal, Siliguri. Cooch Behar Polytechnic, a Government Diploma level institute is the only polytechnic institute of the district. Uttar Banga Krishi Vishwavidyalaya is the agricultural university in the district. As per 2011 the literacy rate of the district is 74.78% out of which 80.71% are males and 68.49% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 18,50,504 out of which 10,28,733 are males and 8,21,771 are females.
Hiten Barman, a prominent name among the politicians of Cooch Behar, was born on 21st June, 1950 at Gopalpur in the district. He is a member of All India Trinamool Congress. In 2011, he was elected to the state assembly from the Sitalkuchi (Vidhan Sabha constituency) on a Trinamool Congress ticket. He won that election and made the Forest Minister.
Every year the tourists from different places come to the district to enjoy its magnificent historical monuments and temples. The beautiful Cooch Behar Palace was built by the great Koch king Maharaja Nripendra Narayan in 1887. The architecture of the palace is based on the classical European style of Italian Renaissance. Madan Mohan Temple, constructed by Maharaja Nripendra Narayan during 1885 to 1889 is situated in the heart of the Cooch Behar town. There a three divine structure, deities in the temple. Rajpat Mound, a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is situated about 35 km. from Cooch Behar Town. Baneshwar Shiv Temple is an extra ordinary for its 'Shivalinga' which is 10 feet below the plinth level. The temple is situated at a distance of about 10 km. to the North of Cooch Behar town. Madhupur Dham, a religious place of the district because in 1489 Shankaradeva (a religious leader) performed his last journey to Cooch Behar. It is situated about 10 km. west from Cooch Behar Town. Kamteswari Temple is situated at a distance of about 35 km. west of Cooch Behar Town. Since the original temple is destroyed, Maharaja Pran Narayan in 1665 built the present temple. Moreover, at the gate of the temple there is a 'Tarakeswar Sivalinga'. Sagardighi, a huge tank was excavated by Maharaja Hitendra Narayan, is situated in the Cooch Behar Town. During the winter season migratory birds are available on the water surface and the nearby trees. Rasikbil, a renowned bird sanctuary is situated about 42 km. from Cooch Behar Town.