The history of Darbhanga dates back to the Ramayana and Mahabharata periods; it is among the oldest cities of Bihar. According to the Vedic sources, the Videhas first migrated to the area from the banks of Saraswati in Punjab. They were guided to the east of Sadanira (Gandak River) by Agni, the God of Fire. Settlements were established and, thus, flourished the kingdom of the Videhas, the Selfless.
In the course of time Videhas came to be ruled by a line of kings called Janaks. In this line of kings there was a very famous king named Mithi. To commemorate his greatness the territory was named as MITHILA. Another famous king was Janak Sirdhwaja, father of Sita. The legends speak of various learned men patronized by Janak Sirdhwaja, who himself was an erudite scholar. Prominent among them were Yagyavalkya, who codified the Hindu law in his Yagyavalkya Smriti and Gautam, who had various valuable philosophical treatises to his credit. King Janak was himself a great philosopher and his ideas have been eternally enshrined in the Upanishads, especially in the Brihad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣada.
Traditions also speak of Kapila's relationship with this area that propounded the Sankhya philosophy. The association of this area with the Pandavas is also evident by the popular belief that they stayed here during their period of exile. The learned men like Vidyāpati, Kumāril Bhatt, Mandan Mishra, and Nāgārjun belonged to this region.
Darbhanga is a town with a population of nearly 3 lakhs. Darbhanga was named after Dar (Dwar) + Bhangaa which means gates+broken ; it is guessed that gates of the Qila (at Qilaghat probably) were broken (by cannons or elephants) in 1326 AD when Tughlak forces attacked the last independent North Indian Hindu king Harisinghdeva (of the Karnaata Chalukya dynasty from Karnataka) who ruled over North Bihar and most of Nepal. Historians guess that the capital of Harisinghdeva was situated near foothills of Himalayas, Haraahi pond in Darbhanga is named after Harisinghdeva and the pond Gangaasagar is named after his ancestor Gangadeva who was son of Naanyadeva, the founder of this dynasty; Naanyadeva was a chieftain of Chalukya king Vikramaditya-VI of Karnatak who had successfully invaded North India in the end of 11th century. Hindus began to flock to this town since the beginning of 19th century when the Maharaja of Darbhanga shifted his residence to this town and was granted the title Maharaja by East India Company, and gradually Hindus surpassed Muslims in population, but Muslims still constitute over 36% of population of this town. It was the biggest town of North Bihar for centuries, but after Muzaffarpur was connected to broad gauge railway in mid-1970s, the latter overtook Darbhanga due to shift of trade, commerce, business and transport to some extent. Once part of the Brahman kingdom of Mithila, Darbhanga passed to the Tughlaks in the 14th century. The British assumed control in 1765.
Darbhanga was an ancient city of Mithila, which is an ancient cultural region of North India lying between the lower ranges of the Himalayas and the Ganges River. The Nepal border cuts across the top fringe of this region. The Gandak and Kosi Rivers are rough western and eastern boundaries of Mithila. In the year 1326 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.
Maharaja of Darbhanga.It is a noteworthy seat of the Maharaja of Darbhanga. During Akbar's reign in the sixteenth century, a second Maithil Brahman family came to rule as the Khandavala Dynasty. During this period, Akbar also planted 100,000 mango trees in Darbhanga, at a place now known as Lakhi Bagh  By British times, their estate, Darbhanga Raj, was the largest and richest of the great zamindari estates. Their capital was in Bhaur village in Madhubani, later shifted to the town of Darbhanga. They controlled most of Mithila until after Independence when the Republic of India abolished zamindari (Maharaja of Darbhanga was actually a zamindar entitled to add the title Maharaja in his name, besides the British title KCIE).
Maharajah Sir Lakhmishwar Singh, K.C.I.E., of Darbhanga, who was only in his forty-third year at the time of his death in 1898, was in every sense the best type of the Indian nobleman and landlord. He was the leading zemindar in India, where he owned no less than 2,152 square miles (5,570 km2) with a net yearly rental of 30 lakhs, and was the recognised head of the orthodox Hindu community. His philanthropy and his munificent contributions to all public movement won him the esteem of all classes and creeds. He took an active part in public life and enjoyed a high reputation as a progressive and liberal minded statesman. With but slight interruptions he was a member of the Supreme Legislative Council from the year 1883 until his death, and latterly he sat in that body as the elected representative of the non-official members of the Bengal Council.History