Mithila is an ancient cultural
region ofNorth Indialying between the lower ranges of theHimalayas and
TheNepal border cuts across the top fringe of this region.
The Gandak andKosiRivers are rough western and eastern boundaries of Mithila.
a dynastic marriage between Prince Rama of Ayodhya and Sita, the daughter of Raja Janak of Mithila. The town ofJanakpur, in the northern
Nepali section of Mithila, is believed to be Janak's old capital. And Sita is a Mithila girl.
In the thirteenth century
Mithila was invaded by Afghans, who deposed the Kshatriya ruler and placed a Maithil Brahman in control of land revenues over
much of this region. This family soon began calling themselves kings, distributing land to other members of their caste, so
that gradually land passed into the control of Maithil Brahmans. During Akbar’s reign in the sixteenth century, a second
Maithil Brahman family came to rule as the Khandavala Dynasty. By British times, their estate, Darbhanga Raj, was the largest
and richest of the great zamindari estates. Their capital was in the town ofDarbhanga. They controlled
most of Mithila until afterIndependencewhen theRepublic ofIndia brought an end to all the rajas and princely states.
a zamindar might own a village and all its lands or even many hundreds of villages. He was entitled to raise revenues for
the British, keeping a percentage for himself. Some of the great zamindars called themselves raja (king) and conducted themselves
like kings. The Maharaja of Darbhanga was one of these.