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Kamata-Kamatapura a kingdom founded in the 13th century came to the limelight of history in the 16th century AD when one Niladhvaja of the Kehn dynasty is supposed to have ruled from the capital city Kamatanagara (Kamatapura) situated on the bank of the Dharla. Gosani Mangala, composed in 1823 AD mentions that Kantesvara (ie Lord of Kanta = Kamada or Kamakhya) after becoming king from a humble origin founded the city of Kamatapura after the goddess Kantesvari or Kamateswari (also known as Chandi, Bhavani or Gosani). Niladhvaja may be identified with the kantesvara of the Gosani Mangala. PN Vidyavinoda has confused Kamata with Kamaru (ie Kama >Kamada>Kamata>Kamarupa) but now it is accepted that these two names were used for different places at different times. Probably the Muslim historians dropped 'pa' from Kamarupa and used Kamaru.

Moreover, when Minhaj wrote his Tabaqat, Kamata or Kamatapura was absolutely unknown and he only wrote 'Kamrud' and not 'Kamata' for 'Kamarupa'. The Khen dynasty, however, came to an end when husain shah invaded the kingdom of Kamata in 1498 and assumed the title - 'conqueror of Kamarupa- Kamata- Jajnagar-Orissa'. It is said that after sacking Kamatapura, he reduced the country up to the Badanadi in the east and erected a pillar of victory at Malda.

But Husain Shah's conquest of Kamata was short lived, and a new phase of its history began with the establishment of the kingdom of Kochbehar under Visvasimha. According to the Darrang Rajvamsavali Visvasimha, son of one Haria Mandala of the Kocha tribe, became master of the territory extending from the Karatoya to the Badanadi. He also described himself as Kamatesvara (ie the lord of Kamata), very likely in imitation of the deity of the country known as Kamatesvari, and his capital was Kamatanagara.

Naranarayan, son and successor of Visvasimha, made extensive conquests and consolidated the Kamata Kingdom. But he dose not appear to have assumed the title of 'Kamatesvara'. It may be noted that Buchanan Hamilton visited Kamatapura and has left an interesting account of this place. According to his observations, Kamatapura was protected on three sides by an earthen rampart about 20 ft to 40 ft in height. It is noteworthy that an excavation team under SP Ota has been digging the rampart for about three years from 1997 and the relics so far discovered from the ruins are dated roughly to the 10th century AD. [Ichhamuddin Sarkar]