Rajmahal a historic town, is situated on the west bank of the Ganges and located in the hills known as daman-i-khoh during the Muslim rule. The hill runs north south for 193 km from Sahibganj of Santal Pargana to Rampurhat Railway Station of Dumka. The earlier name of the place was Agmahl. mansingh, on his return from the conquest of Orissa in 1592, named it Rajmahal and on 7 November 1595 laid the foundations of a new capital of Bengal subah there and named it Akbarnagar, after akbar, the emperor.
It appears to have been chosen as the site of the capital on account of its central position with reference to Bengal and Bihar and for its commanding both the rive Ganges and the Pass of teliagarhi. Mansingh built there a palace, a fort and also a Jama-i-Masjid (known as Hadafe Mosque). Soon, being a healthier site than gaur, a choice city sprang up there. The city, however, lost its strategic value soon. The river Ganges having receded nearly a kros, the city was no longer accessible to war-boats and could not be defended on land and water. In 1608-09 Islam Khan transferred the capital to Jahangirnagar (Dhaka) in order to suppress the bara-bhuiyans and resist more effectively the growing power of the portuguese and the Maghs. But Rajmahal regained its administrative position in 1639 when shah shuja (1639-1660) fixed his capital there. The prince built there the famous palace called Sang-i-dalan (Stone Palace) for his own residence with an attached diwan khana (audience hall).
On 20 January 1640, a fire caused immense destruction to the palace complex and claimed seventy-five lives of Shuja's harem. Shuja crowned himself in November 1657 in this city. It appears that it had extensive construction works done. At a considerable distance from the Sang-i-dalan is a ruin called the Phulbari (flower garden). Near this is the tomb of Bakht-Homa, widow of shaista khan. In the second half of the eighteenth century the city was 2.41 kilometre in length and 0.80 kilometre in breadth with numerous mosques and monuments.
The city's decline began when mir jumla (1660-1663) transferred the capital again to Dhaka to cheek the Arakanese and the Portuguese pirates. The ruins of the old city are now covered with luxuriant jungle extended for about four miles to the west of the present sub-divisional town. [Md Akhtaruzzaman]