Darbhanga Raj, an ancient principality of long standing and was the premier Raj in Bihar. It is more or less identical with Mithila, if not with the whole of Tirhut, and the Maharajas of Darbhanga had been popularly known as the Mithilesh, the Rulers of Mithila. The Royal family belongs to the Shrotriya Brahmin Family of the highest class and the Maharajadhiraj of Darbhanga is the accredited secular head of this community over which he exercises extensive powers, especially in matters social and religious. The Darbhanga Raj was founded by Mahamahopadhyaya Mahesh Thakur who was one of the greatest Sanskrit scholars of Eastern India of his time. He and his brothers had close familiarty and influence with the then Hindu kings of the Central Provinces, being their spiritual Gurus(Preceptors). Mahamahopadhyaya wrote Akbarnamah in Sanskrit and received in return from Emperor Akbar thegrant of Darbhanga Raj which was then styled as Sarkar Tirhut. The Rajas of Mithila maintained an army of their own and had the occasion to fight in battles now and then. Maharaja Raghava Singh and Maharaja Narendra Singh were great heroes of the Royal House of Darbhanga Raj and showed great prowess in battles which they fought with Ali Vardhi Khan and with Bhup Singh, a chief of Nepal Territory. Emperor Mohmmad Shah sought the help of maharaja Narendra Singh to march against two Mohammadan Chiefs on the North-Western Frontier. The Rulers of Darbhanga Raj upto the time of Raja Madho Singh were always styled in official documents as ever- victorious in battle.
In the time of Madho Singh, there were five kinds of land administered by the Tirhut pricipality, viz.,
(1) tracts under the Zamindars, as dependants or vassals or Jagirdars of Raj paying Revenue to the Pricipality;
(2) tracts under Pargana Choudharis who used to collect revenues in the Parganas placed under their charge;
(3)tracts given as lakhraj or free grants to the Mahants,Fakirs,Brahmans and Deities for charitable and religious purposes and also to relations;
(4) private lands of the Ruler.
The permanent settlement made a great change, as the whole State was taken away because Raja Madho Singh refused to take the settlement on the terms purposed by the then Collector of Tirhut, with the result that the lands comprised in the first four categories were settled with different persons.An unhappy controversy nwent on which lasted practically the life-time of Raja Madho Singh. It was due to the Marquis Cornwallis that only a fraction of these possessions, some 1,500 villages, was retained in the hands of the Raja. The extent of the Darbhanga Raj in the time of Last Maharajadhiraj Kameshwar Singh was roughly speaking 2,500 square miles. On the occasion of Nepal War Maharaja Chhatrasingh Bhadur rendered valuable services to the British and in recognition there-of the old title Maharaja used by the Rulers of Mithila was restored to him by the Marquis of Hustings. The hereditary title of the Maharajadhiraj was conferred on late Maharajadhiraj Sir Rameshwara Singh on the 18th December,1920.
Of the most recent Maharajas of Darbhanga, Maharaja Sir Lakshmishwar Singh and Maharajadhiraj Sir Rameshwar Singh, uncle and father of the last maharaja SHORAN late Kameshwar Singh, need special mention. Maharaja Sir Lakhimeshwar Singh, K.C.I.E., had great influence with the Government of his time and was one of the Executive Councillors of the then Bengal Government. Maharajadhiraj Sir Rameshwar Singh, G.C.I.E., K.B.E.., D.Litt.,etc., succeded to the gadi of Darbhanga Raj in 1898, and expired on 3rd July, 1929, after an illustrious and benevolent reign. He spent over one crore of Rupees in various kinds of charities and philanthropic institutions. The establishment of the Hindu University was due to his untiring efforts.Maharajadhiraj Rameshwar Singh was also a very great Sadhak and builder. He built about 102 shrines in various parts of India and repaired many of the old shrines of importance. He was the member of the Executive Council of Bihar and Orissa and member of the Council of State.
Since being at the helm of affairs,he has given promise of being a wise and discretionary administrator. On succession to the gadi of the Raj he has given away Rajnagar Pargana.carring an income of 6 lakhs,to his younger brother Kumar Vishweswar Singh as Babuana grant.also donated one lakh for a college at Darbhanga. a lakh for Waterworks and Rs.10000 for founding the Lady Stephenson Girls School.