Tripura: Hues of Nature
The Indian state of Tripura borders with Bangladesh and the Indian states of Assam & Mizoram. Sikkim is the third-smallest state in the country after Goa & Sikkim. The state has been divided into 8 districts – Dhalai, Sipahijala, Khowai, Gomati, Unakoti, North Tripura, South Tripura & West Tripura.
The beauty of the erstwhile princely state of Tripura streams from the splendor of its natural setting and its dazzling heritage; its verdant expanses and rich forestland have been a great attraction to people down the centuries. For the tourists down the decades it offers a plethora of delightful attractions in its cavalcade of historic palaces, rock cut carvings, stone sculptures, Buddhist and Hindu holy places, wildlife sanctuaries and tribal people. For the visitor, Tripura is a bundle full of surprises. Its cross – culture ethnic diversity, its vast tracts of natural beauty and its rich tradition of handicrafts are tempting enough to draw the discerning holidaymaker.
Tripura is adorned with a large number of attractive tourist sites. The northeastern state of Tripura is famous all over the world for its rich cultural heritage, beautiful palaces, wildlife sanctuaries, temples, museums. The city has a number of interesting tourist attractions to visit and enjoy.
Art & Handicraft
Shopping in Tripura is a pleasant experience for the avid shopper. The region has a rich tradition of handicrafts. The ace craftsmen of Tripura and around make exquisite artifacts from cane, bamboo, clay, palm leaves and an admixture of all these. Watch out for Tablemats, floor mats, room dividers while shopping in Tripura. Made of bamboo or cane, these utilities are durable and have aesthetic value. Decorated lampshades, wall panels and furniture are popular items for shopping in Tripura.
Fairs & Festivals
Hindus believe that Tripureshwari is the patron goddess of Tripura and an aspect of Shakti. Several fertility gods are also worshiped by the tribes, such as Lam-Pra (the twin deities of sky and sea), Mailu-ma (goddess of corn, identified with Lakshmi), Khulu-ma (goddess of the cotton plant), and Burha-cha (god of healing). Several festivals represent confluence of several tribal traditions, such as Ganga puja, Garia puja, Kherchi puja, Ker puja.
Dance & Culture
Tripura is justly proud of its rich cultural heritage. Like the Bengali community each Tripura tribal community has its own dance forms. The tribal communities have cultural activities throughout the year, which play a significant role in instilling a feeling of brotherhood among the members of the community. Some of the Poupular dance form of Tripura are - Lebang Boomani Dance, Garia Dance, Hai Hak Dance, Sangrai(Mog Dance), Galamuchamo Dance, The Cheraw Dance or Bamboo Dance, Wya Dance, Gajan etc.
Tripura hosts three different types of ecosystems: mountain, forest and freshwater. According to a survey in 1989–90, Tripura hosts 90 land mammal species including such species as Elephant, Bear, Binturong, Wild dog, Porcupine, Barking deer, Sambar, Wild boar, Gaur, Leopard, Clouded Leopard etc.
Wildlife sanctuaries of the state are Sipahijola, Gumti, Rowa and Trishna wildlife sanctuaries. National parks of the state are Clouded Leopard National Park and Rajbari National Park. These protected areas cover a total of 566.93 km2 (218.89 sq mi). Gumti is also an Important Bird Area. In winter, thousands of migratory waterfowl throng Gumti and Rudrasagar lakes.
Tripuri cuisines are very delicious dishes and healthy preparation. The traditional cuisine is known as Mui Borok. If your choice is non-vegetarian food, you will adore Tripura. Some of the delicious and palate soothing cuisine are – Awandru, Bwtwi, Chakhwi, Chakhwtwi, Chakhwtwi Kwthwng, Thokni Chakhwi, Berma bwtwi, Chatang, Mosodeng, Deng, Gudok, Hang, Ik, Muitru, Hontali, Muhr, Mwkhwi, Napek, Peng, Rabra, Ruk, Ser, Sok, Yohk, Yaksapi.
POPULAR ATTRACTIONS & TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN TRIPURA
(1) AGARTALA - Agartala, the Capital of the State of Tripura, is an enchanting destination. History has left its mark on the city and nature has endowed it with spectacular beauty.
Ujjayanta Palace: It is a modern building of the royal house of Tripura and is located in the heart of Agartala, sprawling over a half sq. km. This two-storyed mansion has a mixed architecture with three high domes (the centre one being 86' high).
Kunjaban Palace: It is situated 1 km. ahead on a hillock, was constructed in 1917 and named as Pushbanta Palace by the then ruler, Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya. It is said that the Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore stayed in the eastern apartment of this palace.
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.
Neermahal: Neermahal, a resort, was built in 1930 by the late Maharaj Birbikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur. It is built in the middle of a lake called Rudrasagar. A perfect blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture, it is the only Lake Palace in Eastern India. Half of the palace is an open garden used as an open-air theatre and the other half on the western side is called the Andar Mahal, used by royalty.
Debtamura: Debtamura is situated on the banks of the river Gomati. The rocks on the banks of the river called Chabimura are carved with images of Shiva, Vishnu, Kartik, Mahisasur, Mardini Durga and other deities.
Pilak and Venuban Vihara: The sites speak for the spread of Buddhist religion in this part of India in the long past. Pilak houses colossal stone images of Hindu and Buddhist faith like: Avolokiteshwar and Narasimha. Venuban Vihara preserves some beautiful metal idols of Lord Buddha and Bodhisatva, which are actually of Burmese origin.
Bhuveneshwari Temple: Bhuveneshwari Temple, on the right banks of the Gomati River, was built by Maharaja Govinda Manikya during 1660-75. It finds reference in Rabindra Nath Tagore's poetry and drama namely Bisharjan and Rajarshi.
(2) UNAKOTI - The site lies 162 km away from Agartala. This is a famous tourist place where you would find numerous rock carvings, murals with their primitive rustic beauty. All the carvings trace their origin in the Hindu mythology. Green vegetation and serene surroundings around add to the great charm of the place.
(3) JAMPUI HILLS - Situated at 170 kms away from Agartala, bordering Mizoram, are Jampui Hills – an important tourist attraction. The hill range comprises 10 villages inhabited by tribes of Lushai and Reang. The highest peak of the range is about 3,000 ft above sea level and is lush green.
(4) RUDRASAGAR LAKE - This lake about 55 kms from Agartala near Melaghar is about 5.3 sq. kms in area and has the privilege of having the only Lake Palace of the North-East in it, the Neermahal. A boat race is organised every year around July or August, but boating otherwise is available to tourists throughout the year.
(5) LAKE KAMALASAGAR- This lake about 27 kms from Agartala, was excavated by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya in the 15th Century. A temple of Goddess Kali stands on the banks of the lake and is said to have been built during the 16th Century.
(6) PILAK - It is about 100 km away from Agartala famous for its great 8th – 9th century archaeological remains. The site is one of an old civilization, representing both Hindu and Buddhist linkages. The main attractions here are the massive stone sculptures of Avolokiteswara and Narasimhan and numerous carvings in stone and terracotta plaques.
(7) DUMBOOR LAKE - Dumboor Lake is surrounded by verdant hills, holds great appeal for tourist. There are forty-eight islands dotting the lake. During the migratory period, the lake becomes a picture of hectic activity amongst its avian denizens. It is 120 kms from Agartala.
HOW TO REACH
By Air: Agartala is well connected by regular flights to Kolkata, Guwahati, and Delhi.
By Rail: The two closest railway stations are Kumarghat (160 km) and Dharama Nagar (200 km), both the stations being on the North-East Frontier Railway, connected with Lumding and Guwahati, whereas Lumding and Guwahati are well-connected with Kolkata and other major stations in India.
By Road: Good motorable roads connect Agartala with Silchar-288 km, Guwahati-599 km, Shillong-499 km, Dharmanagar- 200 km. Tripura Road Transport Corporation buses connect Silchar, Shillong and Dharma Nagar to Agartala.