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The Kamata kingdom (pron: ˈkʌmətɑ) appeared in the western part of the older Kamarupa on the Indian subcontinent in the 13th century, after the fall of the Pala dynasty. The rise of the Kamata kingdom marked the end of the ancient period in the History of Assam and the beginning of the medieval period. The last rulers were the Khens, who were later displaced by Alauddin Hussain Shah, the Turko-Afghan ruler of Gauda. Though Hussain Shah developed extensive administrative structures, he could not maintain political control and the control went to the Koch dynasty.
The Koches called themselves Kamateshwars (the rulers of Kamata), but their influence and expansions were so extensive and far-reaching that their kingdom is sometimes called the Koch Kingdom. In the same century the kingdom split in two: Koch Bihar and Koch Hajo. The eastern kingdom, Koch Hajo, was soon absorbed into the Ahom kingdom in the 17th century. The western portion of the Kamata kingdom, Koch Bihar, continued to be ruled by a branch of the Koch dynasty and later merged with the Indian territory after the independence of India from the British domain.
Rulers of Kamata kingdom
See: Khen dynasty
The Khen dynasty ruled from their capital in Kamatapur (Gosanimari) now in Cooch Behar District. The last king, Nilambar (1480-1498), expanded the kingdom to include the present Koch Bihar districts of West Bengal and the undivided Kamrup and Darrang districts of Assam and northern Mymensing in Bangladesh as well as eastern parts of Dinajpur district.
- Sandhya (1228–1260)
- Sindhu Rai (1260–1285)
- Rup Narayan (1285–1300)
- Singhadhwaj (1300–1305)
- Pratapdhwaj (1305–1325)
- Dharma Narayan (1325–1330)
- Durlabh Narayan (1330–1350)
- Indra Narayan (1350–1365)
- Sasanka (Arimatta) (1365–1385)
- Gajanka (1385–1400)
- Sukranka (1400–1415)
- Mriganka (1415–1440)
- Niladhwaj (1440–1460)
- Chakradhwaj (1460–1480)
- Nilambar (1480–1498)
Invasion by Hussein Shah
Alauddin Hussain Shah (c1494-1519), an Afghan ruler of Gauda, removed the last Khen ruler in 1498. According to tradition, this involved an instigation by the minister of Kamatapur whose son had a liaison with the Kamatapur queen, and Hussein Shah invaded the Kamata kingdom with 24,000 infantry, cavalry and a war flotilla. After a long seize of the Kamatapur fort and a treacherous win, Hussein Shah finally destroyed the city and annexed the region up to Hajo, thereby regaining much of the land Bengal had lost earlier to Kamatapur, and some more. Hussein Shah's son was made the viceroy.
Hussein Shah removed the local chieftains and established military control over the region. He issued coins in his name "conqueror of Kamru, Kamata". His conquest expanded the kingdom to the western border of the Ahom kingdom. Hussein Shah finally lost military and political control to revolts by local chieftains including the Bara Bhuyans as well as the Ahom king, Suhungmung, and the region lapsed into local control and rise of the Koch dynasty.
Nevertheless, the Afghan rule had lasting effects. Hussein Shah's coins continued to be used till 1518, when the Koch dynasty began consolidating their rule. Ghiasuddin Aulia, a Muslim divine from Mecca, established a colony at Hajo. His tomb, which is said to contain a little soil from Mecca, now called "Poa Mecca" ("a quarter Mecca"), is frequented by Hindus and Muslims alike.
See: Koch dynasty
The Kamata kingdom then passed into the hands of Koch tribe, Maharaja Bishwa Singha is pioneer in the formation of the Kamatapur Kingdom, the Koch Rajbongshi, giving rise to the Koch dynasty. In the 16th century, one of the princes ruling the eastern portion of the kingdom (Koch Hajo) declared independence. The two parts remained separated, the boundary between them forming roughly the boundary between the present Assam and West Bengal.
Koch Hajo, the eastern kingdom, soon came under attack from the Mughal, and the region went back and forth for between the Mughal and the Ahoms, finally settling with the Ahoms. Koch Bihar, the western kingdom, first befriended the Mughals and then the British, and the rulers maintained the princely state till the end of the British rule.
- "Kamarupa was reorganized as a new state. 'Kamata' by name with Kamatapur as capital. The exact time when the change was made is uncertain. But possibly it had been made by Sandhya (c1250-1270) as a safeguard against mounting dangers from the east and the west. Its control on the eastern regions beyond the Manah (Manas river) was lax." (Sarkar 1992, pp. 40–41)
- (Sarkar 1992:44)
- The dates and duration of this invasion are not well established. See (Sarkar 1992:46–47).
- (Sarkar 1992:46)
- (Sarkar 1992:48)
- Sarkar, J. N. (1992), "Chapter II The Turko-Afghan Invasions", in Barpujari, H. K., The Comprehensive History of Assam, 2, Guwahati: Assam Publication Board, pp. 35–48