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Travel and Tourism


Places of Interest


Within its small geographical area, Tripura offers plenty of attractions for the tourists in the form of magnificent palaces ( Ujjayanta Palace and Kunjaban Palace at Agartala and Neermahal - Lake Palace at Melaghar ), splendid rock-cut carvings and stone images ( Unakoti near Kailashahar, Debtamura near Amarpur and Pilak in Belonia Sub-divisions ), important temples of Hindus and Buddhists including the famous Mata Tripureswari temple ( one of the 51 Pithasthans as per Hindu mythology ) at Udaipur, vast natural as well as artificial lakes namely Dumboor lake in Gandacherra subdivision, Rudrasagar at Melaghar, Amarsagar,Jagannath Dighi, Kalyan Sagar, etc. at Udaipur, the beautiful hill station of Jampui hill bordering Mizoram, wild life sanctuaries at Sepahijala, Gumti, Rowa and Trishna.
The former Maharajas had constructed beautiful palaces in different locations of the state. These palaces provide a glimpse of the royal past of this erstwhile princely state.
Agartala
The main attractions in Agartala are Ujjayanta Palace State Museum, Tribal Museum, Sukanta Academy, M.B.B. College, Laxminarayan Temple, Uma Maheswar Temple, Jagannath Temple, Benuban Vihar, Gedu Mian Mosque, Malancha Niwas, Rabindra Kanan, Heritage Park, Purbasha, Handicrafts Designing Centre, Fourteen Goddess Temple, Portuguese Church etc.
Accommodation:
Gitanjali Guest House, Yatrika, Bhagat Singh Youth Hostel and Private Hotels.
How to reach Agartala?
By air from Kolkata or Guwahati to Agartala.
By train upto Agartala.
By road from Guwahati via Meghalaya or Kolkata via Bangladesh.
Tripura State Museum:
tripura_state_museum Tripura State Museum was established 1970. Now housed in the Ujjayanta Palace at the heart of the town, it preserves some rare images and epigraphs numismatic evidence which throw light on the glorious past of Tripura and some of the adjoining States.
This royal house, which stands in the Capital city Agartala covering one sq. Km. area, was built by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya during 1897-1901.
It is a two storied mansion, having a mixed type of architecture with three high domes, the central one being 86 feet high. The magnificent tile floor, curved wooden ceiling and beautifully crafted doors are particularly notable. The palace is set with huge Mughal style gardens, beautified by pools and gardens.
Most of the sculptures acquired and displayed so far are from Udaipur, Pilak, Jolaibari and other sites of Tripura. Out of them, the sculptures from Pilak are the exquisite collections, depicting mixed culture of both Hindu and Buddhist pantheon. Most of the sculptures are made of sand stone and for that the formation of sculpture is very crude in nature. Low relief Dasavatar panels collected from Radhanagar in the vicinity of Agartala dated back to 18th cent. A. D.
Kunjaban Palace :
kunjaban_palace Kunjaban Palace, also known as ‘Pushpabanta Palace’, was built over a green hillock at the northern part of Agartala city. Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya (1909-1923) selected this beautiful place for building a suburban palace as a retreat and constructed it in 1917 which was named as ‘Pushpabanta Palace’. The Maharaja himself being a gifted artist is said to have drawn the plan of the palace and its adjoining garden.
Poet Rabindranath Tagore stayed in the eastern apartment of this palace during his 7th and last visit to the state in 1926. This palace was the mute witness to many of the great poet's creations including a number of popular songs. This palace is the official residence of the Governor of Tripura now. The southern side of the garden has been made open for the public and has been named as ‘Rabindra Kanan’.
Malancha Niwas :
malancha_niwas The Bungalow adjacent to Kunjaban palace situated on a hillock was originally a ‘kaccha’ house where Tagore stayed during his visit in 1919. The ‘pucca’ construction was subsequently built and given the name of Malancha Niwas.
Tripura Heritage Park :
Heritage Park is an oasis of serenity over an area of about 4 hectares of land at Kunjaban in Agartala. It takes the visitor to a surreal world, providing a glimpse of the natural and cultural heritage of Tripura. The park abounds in a variety of indigenous plants and trees, including medicinal herbs which support a variety of avian fauna. An assortment of artifacts in various forms are scattered around the park, including heritage benches, pottery, woodcraft, stone. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on November 30, 2012 inaugurated Heritage Park, the first ever initiative of its kind in Tripura and the Northeast Region.
tripura_heritage_park The park spreads over 4 hectares of undulating landscape showcases miniature of nine major heritage sites of the state including Unakoti hill sculptures, Neer Mahal, Tripurasundari Temple, Debtamura hill sculptures, archaeological relics of Pilak, Chandrapur Mosque (Rajnagar, Belonia), Mahamuni, Ujjayanta Palace, Chaturdash Devta Mandir etc. The park is also embellished with walking trail, amphi-theatre, grass lawns, rock garden, fossil fountain etc.
Emphasis has been laid on the use of local material including bamboo and even waste articles in constructions. Each structure, including public conveniences, has been set up in consonance with the surroundings and provides a heritage touch. Ramp has been provided at the entrance for the elderly and differently-abled persons.
Tripura Sundari Temple:
matabari There is a common belief that the name of the State has originated from "Tripura Sundari" - the presiding deity of the land which is known as one of the “51 Pithas” of Hindus. This temple, situating in Udaipur in Gomati district, was built in 1501 A.D. by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya. People of different communities and different places visit this temple to perform worship and prayers. During Diwali Mela this place turns into a confluence of people. In the eastern side of the temple there is a famous Kalyan Sagar where fishes and tortoises of huge size are found and devotees feed them with "muri" and biscuits. No fishing is permitted in the Kalyan Sagar.
Pilak – in Jolaibari, South Tripura:
pilak Termed mainly as a Buddhist heitage site floursihing between 8-12th centuries of the Christian era this has also given signs of Hinduism. The significant spots discovered here are Shyam Sundar Tilla, Deb Bari, Thakurani Tilla, Balir Pathar, Basudev Bari and Sagar Deba. A number of rock-cut images and terracotta plaques, still speaking of a unique glorious cultural past of Tripura, are lying scattered in various places of the area. Some of the important images found there are Avolokiteswar, Mahisasur Mardini, bronze images of Buddha and Vishnu in addition to terracotta plaques, sealing Coins etc. The molded terracotta plaques bear resemblance with molded plaques recovered from Paharpur and Mainamati.
The Buddhist Complex here may be assigned a date between 9 and 10 century A.D. It may be presumed that these extensive plains of Tripura were under the control of several dynasties who ruled in Eastern Bengal and Samatat in ancient period. Some of them were Buddhists and the others were Hindu's. Most of these rulers had their capitals near this region.
Unakoti:
unakoti It is a Shaiva shrine dateing back to 7th – 9th centuries if not earlier. The marvelous rock carvings, murals with their primitive beauty, waterfalls are not to be missed. Unakoti means one less than a crore and it is said that these many rock cut carvings are available here.
As per Hindu mythology, when Lord Shiva was going to Kashi along with one crore gods and goddesses he made a night halt at this location. He asked all the gods and goddesses to wake up before sun rise and proceed for Kashi. It is said that in the morning, except Shiva himself, no one else could get up. Set out for Kashi himself cursing the others to become stone images. As a result we have one less than a crore stone images and carvings at Unakoti. These carvings are located at a beautifully landscaped forest area with green vegetation all around which add to the beauty of the carvings.

The images found at Unakoti are of two types namely rock-carved figures and stone images. Every year a big fair popularly known as ‘Ashokastami Mela’ is held in the month of April which is visited by thousands of pilgrims.
Fourteen Goddess Temple:
fourteen_goddess_temple It is located about 14 Km. away from Agartala at a place called Old Agartala. In the face of continued fight with Shamser Gazi, Maharaja Krishna Manikya had shifted the capital from Udaipur to Old Agartala. It continued to be the capital till it was shifted to Agartala. Near the sacred 14 goddess temple during the month of July every year a Kharchi festival is organised and thousands of pilgrims and devotees visit this festival.
Bhuvaneswari Temple:
bhubaneshwari_temple On the right bank of river Gomati at Udaipur is found the ruins of a big palace built by Maharaja Govinda Manikya (1660-75 A.D.). The Bhuveneswari temple is situated adjacent to this palace. It finds close literary reference in Great poet Rabindranath Tagore’s novels and drama namely ‘Bisharjan’ and ‘Rajarshi'. Other attractions in Udaipur are Gunabati group of temples and vast lakes.
Neermahal:
neermahal This magnificent lake palace was constructed as a summer resort in 1930 by late Maharaja Birbikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur. Neermahal is situated at a distance of 53 km. from Agartala in the middle of a natural lake called Rudrasagar having an area of 5.35 Sq.Km. The construction was undertaken by Martin & Burn Co. and it is the only lake palace in the entire eastern India.
A good combination of Hindu and Mughal architecture is noticed on the domes of the palace. There are mainly two parts of the palace - one on the western side known as Andar Mahal which was used by the royal family and another on the eastern side which was used for the security personnel and servants. There is a beautiful garden laid in the western side of the palace. In the garden there is an open stage where drama, theatre, etc. used to be organized. Flood lighting of the palace, Light and Sound show etc. have been later additions to this magnificent palace.
Jampui Hills:
jampui_hills Known as a permanent seat of eternal spring is situated at an altitude of 3000 feet above sea level. Jampui is famous for its charming landscape and bracing climate. The excellent climatic condition, green forests, beautiful orange garden, view of raising and setting sun are wonderful sight for tourists.

The hill range has 11 villages inhabited by Mizo (Lushai tribes) and also by Reang tribes. Population of the hill range is about 8,000 and the main occupation of the villagers is orange cultivation The temperature variation in the hill range is very nominal in all seasons and is ideal for the purpose of tourism. The sun rise and sun set in the hill range is a delight to watch.
Sepahijala:
sepahijala Situated at a distance of 25 km. from Agartala, Sepahijala covering an area of 18.532 km. is the natural habitat for more than150 species of residential birds, migratory birds, orchids. It attractions include boating facilities, wild life, botanical garden, zoo, elephant joy-rides, rubber and coffee plantation. The famous spectacled monkey is found here.
Trishna Wild Life Sanctuary:
trishna_wildlife_sanctuary Trishna Wild Life Sanctuary is located at about 100 Km. away from Agartala in Belonia Subdivision of South Tripura District. Bison is the main attraction in this sanctuary, in addition to the resident and migratory birds.
Kamalasagar:
kamalasagar Vast lake at the border of Bangladesh was excavated by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya in the 15th century. Overlooking Bangladesh, on the bank of Kamalasagar, there is a famous temple of Goddess Kali dating back to 16th century. It is one of the excellent picnic spots in the state with scenic beauty.
Deotamura:
deotamura Deotamura is famous for its panels of rock carvings on the steep mountain wall on the bank of Gomati. There are huge images carved of Shiva, Vishnu, Kartika, Mahisasur Mardini Durga and other gods and goddesses. This is also called Chabimura. These images date back to 15th-16th centuries.
Dumboor Lake:
A water area of 41 sq.km. with an un-ending spell of luxuriant green vegetation all around stands majestic for her exceedingly charming beauty and 48 islands in the midst of the lake Migratory birds, Water sports facilities are additional attractions.
dumboor_lake There is a Hydel Project near the lake from where River Gomati originates and this is called Tirthamukh where on 14th January every year famous 'Pous Sankranti Mela' takes place. The lake is the confluence of rivers Raima and Sarma. Various species of migratory birds are noticed in the winter and it has rich reservoir of natural and cultured fishes.
Fairs and Festivals


Tripura is known for its composite cultural tradition to which both tribals and non-tribals contribute. This spirit is reflected as much in the delicately rhythmic physical movement of the 'Hozagiri' dance of the Reang tribe as in the collective musical recitation of 'Manasa Mangal' or 'Kirtan' of the non-tribals. The royal family of Tripura had always been a great patron of art and culture. After the coming of democratic set-up the state government has continued the tradition by according enough attention to the preservation and promotion of art and culture. Different fairs and festivals are now being organized at the behest of the government. Vernacular languages are being promoted by getting various literary works and songs of Rabindranath Tagore translated into local languages.
A unique feature of the socio-cultural environment of the state is people of both tribal and non-tribal communities equally participate and enjoy various festivals. Whether it is Garia, Durga Puja, Buddha Purnima, Kharchi, Pous Sankranti, Bijhu or Christmas festivity floats in the social ambience throughout the state, thus cementing the social texture further.
Some of the major festivals and dances of the state are:
garia_festival Garia – It is one of the major festivals of Tripuris and some other Kakborok speaking communities. Celebrated in the month of April it symbolizes devotion and prosperity. Garia is said to be the deity of benevolent spirit of household. Garia dance is based on this festival. The priest known as Ochai performs puja while festivity engulfs all during the festival. Youngsters sing, dance and play drums during the puja.
durgapuja Durga Puja – Basically celebrated by the Bengali Hindus in the month of September- October, Durga Puja is the worship of Goddess Durga. The volume and dimension of Durga Puja has expanded so much that even non-Bengalis and non-Hindus equally enjoy the occasion. The festival marks the victory of good over evil.
buddha_purnima Buddha Purnima – Buddhist people celebrate this occasion to mark the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha. It falls in the month of April. Although the occasion is celebrated all over the state, the historical Buddhist temple Venuban Vihar at Agartala becomes the centre of attractions wherein it is celebrated in a grand manner.
kharchi_mela Kharchi – This festival has still linked the past with the present. It is said that this festival or puja was commenced by the royal family of Tripura when the capital of princely Tripura was at Old Agartala. Now it is a universal festival that sees the confluence of people of different walks of life. Only head images of fourteen deities are worshipped during Kharchi. The government has come up with helping hand by sponsoring this festival since last several years. Not only religious worship and prayer, but cultural programmes also become its attractions during festival days falling in July.
tirthamukh_mela Tirthamukh Mela – On the occasion of Poush Sankranti a grand fair is held at Tirthamukh. Both tribals and non-tribals assemble there for paying holy tribute to their ancestors. The pious people coming here also take holy bath in the confluence of water of Raima and Sarma river, as a part of this holy affair.
bijhu Bijhu – Bijhu is the biggest festival of the Chakma tribe. Beginning on the last day of Chaitra of Bengali calendar year this festival goes on for three days. Prayer to Lord Buddha, lot of festive eating, music, dance, games and sports – all these become main activities during this festival. Further, it reflects their Jhum-based livelihood and social practices which are depicted through Bijhu dance. Falling in mid-April every year now a state-level festival is organized with the assistance of the state government.
owa Owa – This festival is celebrated by the Mog community on the full moon day of Ashwin of Bengali calendar year. Men and women go to the Buddhist temple during the day and in the evening they release paper and toy boats in the river. They believe that Lord Buddha sets out his journey through the land of darkness and lighted candles are placed to illuminate this path.
christmas Christmas – With the spread of Christianity especially among some tribes of Tripura, Christmas is now a big festival. The interesting feature is that not only Christians but also other religion-followers now started enjoying the occasion equally. Shopping, cakes, decoration, lighting etc. mark the day.

 

Folk Dances


dances The main folk dances of Tripura are – Hozagiri dance of Reang community, Garia, Jhum, Maimita, Masak Sumani and Lebang boomani dances of Tripuri community, Bijhu dance of Chakma community, Cheraw and Welcome dances of Lusai community Hai-Hak dance of Malsum community, Wangala dance of Garo Community, Sangraiaka, Chimithang, Padisha and Abhangma dances of Mog community, Garia dances of Kalai and Jamatia communities, Gajan, Dhamail Sari and Rabindra dances of Bengali community and Basanta Rash and Pung chalam dances of Manipuri community. Each community has its own traditional musical instruments. To name a few are – ‘Khamb ( Drum)', Bamboo flute, 'Lebang,', 'Sarinda', 'Do- Tara', and 'Khengrong', etc.
Garia Dance
The life and culture of Tripuris revolve around Jhum (shifting) cultivation. When the sowing of seeds at a plot of land selected for Jhum is over by middle of April, they pray to the God 'Garia' for a happy harvest. The celebrations attached to the Garia Puja continue for seven days when they seek to entertain their beloved deity with song and dance.
Lebang Boomani Dance
After the Garia festival is over, the Tripuris have a time to rest awaiting the monsoon. During this period, folks of charming colorful insects called 'Lebang' use to visit hill slopes in search of seeds sewn on it. The annual visit of the insects renders the tribal youths to indulge in merry-making. While the men-folk make a peculiar rhythmic sound with the help of two bamboo chips in their hand, the women folk run tottering the hill slopes to catch hold of these insects called 'Lebang'. The rhythm of the sound made by the bamboo chips attracts the insects from their hiding places and the women in-groups catch them. With the change of time Jhuming on hill slopes are gradually diminishing. But the cultural life that developed centering round the Jhum delved deep into the society. It still exists in the state's hills and dales as a reminiscence of the life, which the tribal of today cherish in memory, and preserve as treasure. In both the dances Tripuris use the musical instruments like Khamb made of Bamboo, Flute, Sarinda, Lebang made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal. Tripuri women generally put on indigenous ornaments like chain made of silver with coin, Bangle made of silver, ear and nose rings made of bronze. They prefer flower as ornaments.
Hozagiri Dance
While the theme of the dance remains almost to be the same as of other tribes, the dance form of the Reang community is quite different from others. The movement of hands or even the upper part of the body is somewhat restricted, whereas the movement beginning from their waist down to their feet creates a wonderful wave. Standing on an earthen pitcher with a bottle on the head and a lighted lamp on it, when the Reang belle dance twisting rhythmically the lower part of the body, the dance bewilders the onlookers. The Reangs also use the musical Instruments like Khamb, Flute made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal. The Reang women prefer to put on black Pachra and Rea. Reang women put on coins ring, which generally covers their entire upper region. They also put on rings made of coin in their ears. They are fond of fragrant flowers as ornaments to metal things.
Bijhu Dance
This popular form of dance is characteristic of the Chakma community. Bijhu means 'Chaitra-Sankranti'. 'Chaitra-Sankranti' denotes end of Bengali calendar year. It is during this period when the Chakmas sing and dance to bid good-bye to the year just being ended and welcome the New Year. The dance is beautifully orchestrated with the rhythm playing of what is known as 'Kheng-garang', 'Dhukuk' and flute. Chakma women wear flowers on hair and metal ornaments.
Hai-Hak Dance
Like other tribal community of this State the social and economic life of the Halam community also revolve around Jhum cultivation. At the end of the harvesting season the Malsum traditionally adore Goddess Laxmi. They enjoy this festive occasion for their famous Hai-Hak dance. It is also a community dance with exquisite beauty. Rhythms of the dance reflect the tradition inherited from distant past.
Wangala Dance
After the happy harvest 'Wangala' (1-st rice eating ceremony) is performed in every houses. The Sangnakma, head of the communities visits every house and cuts a pumpkin as a part of worship. This pumpkin is sacrificed on this occasion. After that the women dance to the beat of 'Dama' and 'Aaduri' made of buffalo horn. The dance projects the rehearsal for war.
Welcome Dance
The Lusai girls are well dressed. They generally wear their colorful cloth. They performed welcome dance whenever any visitor pay visits to their house. This is very colorful dance where young girls of the entire community take part. Their dress is so colorful that the ornaments are not very much required except fragrant flowers.
Cheraw Dance
The Darlong reposes faith in after life. They believe that man is destined to go to Haven after death. Incidentally, they think that if a pregnant woman dies, she feels it very difficult, with all her physical strains, to track the long journey to Heaven. Hence at the last stage of her pregnancy - in fact just at the time or immediately prior to delivery all her relatives perform this 'Cheraw' dance in-group throughout day and night so as to instill confidence in the mind of that woman. They are firm in their belief that even if the woman dies at this juncture. It will be possible for her to go Heaven with the courage and confidence together with joy gained through the sound of bamboo as the rhythm of the dance produced till her death.
Sangrai Dance
Sangrai dance is performed by the Mog community people on the occasion of Sangrai festival falling in the month of Chaitra of Bengali calendar year. Young boys and girls in particular, celebrate the day through cultural programmes to invite the New Year.
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