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Tripura, India

  • (worth a detour)
  • 5-10 km
  • Easy
  • Average
  • 2-3 days
  • 2 2

One of the only princely states of India and a hidden treasure

Tripura India
Abhishek restaurant located on the LN Bari Man Road offers tastry North Indian and local delicacies. You can select to either sit inside the restaurant within its marine-themed air-conditioned dining or opt to sit outdoors with your dinner tables set amidst greenery and sculptures. Restaurant Kurry Klub, the in-house restaurant of Hotel Welcome Palace, serves mouth-watering Indian dishes and some really tasty fish preparations. The hotel is particularly busy during dinner.
Foreign tourists must register with the police on arrival at the airport. From central Agartala, the Bangladesh border is just 3 km along Akhaura Road. It costs about INr 50 by rickhaw. The nearest town on Bangladesh side is Akhuara which can be reached by auto-rickshaws. The border at Agartala remains open from 08:00 A.M to 06:00 P.M. There is no foreign exchange booth near the border though you can ask the locals traders or border officials.

Aloof from India’s popular tourist vibes, Tripura, the sixth state among the seven sisters of North East India, is a culturally beautiful state which lives on the hope of being discovered by the world someday soon. It is one of the oldest princely states in the country. The state houses a handful of royal palaces, ancient and elegant temples, and several royal mausoleums. For now, the influx of foreign tourists is rare, however, the state has hope.

 

Agartala is the state capital and the only ‘city’ in this hidden north eastern state. With its semirural vibe and architecture, it often gives you a glimpse of India in the yesteryears. The city is a bit welcoming towards tourists. In fact, its lack of commercial tourism often makes you feel more like a guest in the city than a random tourist.

 

The city of Agartala has quite a few attractions that can lure tourists to the state including some of the royal mausoleums located on the riverbank behind the Battala market. The lack of attention and maintenance is leading to a somewhat slow decaying of these mausoleums. To reach the mausoleums, walk west down the HGB Road and then turn left at Ronaldsay Road followed by a right turn along the river bank. Try and keep a low profile while in the area as the Burning Ghats (cremation grounds) are located nearby.

 

Now, let’s explore some of the main attractions of Tripura:

  • Ujjayanta Palace: This is undoubtedly the city’s centrepiece and a striking one at that. The edifice is that of dome-capped palace, flanked by two giant reflecting ponds. This grand palace was built by the state’s 182nd Maharaja, Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya, between 1899 and 1901. The two-storeyed palace has three domes, the highest of which roughly measures 86 feet in height. The interiors are adorned with beautifully tiled floors and carved wooden ceilings and doors. The entire palace complex covers an area of one square kilometres with many temples within the complex including those devoted to Lakshmi Narayan, Uma-Maheshwari, Kali and Jagannath. The palace served as the meeting place of the Tripura Legislative Assembly until 2011 and is now a museum. In fact, it is the largest museum in Northeast India. The palace is believed to have been named by the famous Indian Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The Chinese Room, which was added later to the palace, is particularly notable for its architecture specifically the ceiling which was crafted by architects brought specially from China. Entry to the museum costs INR 5 per person. Timings for the museum are 10:00 A.M to 01:00 P.M and 02:00 P.M to 05:00 P.M, Monday to Saturday.
  • Jagannath Temple: It is one of the four Hindu temples located within the Ujjayanta Palace Complex, and the most beautiful one. Famous not only from the pilgrims’ point of view, this temple is also a remarkable architectural feat with its octagonal base and its impressing pradikshana patha (a round walking track around the temple for parikrama, a ritual in the Hindu culture) round the sanctum. The pillars are crowned by square and pyramidal cones. The temple is open from 04:00 A.M. to 02:00 P.M. and 04:00 P.M to 09:00 P.M)
  • Heritage Park: The Heritage Park, spread over 12 acres of land, is located at the centre of the city, on the northern side of Raj Bhawan on the Agartala-GBP Hospital road. This park was inaugurated on the 30th November 2012 by the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Tripura. Entrance to the park has an imposing gate constructed with depicting the rich tribal, nontribal mixed cultural heritage of Tripura, both tribal and non-tribal. The park has three parts, viz. (i) mini-Tripura located in about three acres of land at the entrance, (ii) central area being elevated as natural forest, and (iii) a plain flatland with cultivation of medicinal plants, herbs and shrubs. There is a walking track of 1.1 kilometers running along the periphery of the park.
  • Benuvan Vihar (Buddha Temple): It is one of the most attractive Buddhist destinations of Tripura, and is located at Kunjaban area in northern part of Agartala town. This Buddhist shrine, though small in size, houses some beautiful metal statues of Lord Buddha. Buddha Jayanti or the day of Buddha’s advent is cheerfully celebrated on Buddha Purnima every year with great enthusiasm. A visit to this monastery will definitely be a peaceful and soulful experience.
  • Mahamuni Pagoda: Mahamuni Pagoda is a Buddhist Temple situated at the Manubankul village, north Eastern part of Sabroom Sub-Division of south Tripura. The striking monastery displays the Buddhist idioms of expressions in religious architecture, and was constructed under the leadership of Mathu Mog and others a long time ago. A famous week long fair is held every year in the month of March-April. The Temple attracts thousands of Buddhist and non-Buddhist pilgrims from every corner of the country as well as from neighbouring countries like, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Traditional Mahamuni festival & ‘Owha’ festivals, originally a Buddhist festival, are held every year. During the festival Lord Buddha is worshipped in the monastery by both Buddhist and Hindu Communities. The temple is approximately 134 km from the capital city of Agartala.
  • Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary: This beautiful wildlife sanctuary spread across 390 km roughly is located at the south east edge of south Tripura district. One of the major attractions of the sanctuary is its gigantic water reservoir which covers an approximate area of 300 square kilometers and attracts many resident and migratory birds. Animals in the sanctuary include elephants, bison, leopards, wild dogs, Sambar, barking deer, wild goats, and any other mammals and reptiles. The semi-evergreen and evergreen pockets of forests comprises several different varieties of trees including climbers and shrubs, and many herbs. The forest land also plays a significant role in the agriculture of the neighbouring areas as it prevents soil erosion in the area. The sanctuary can be approached via Ambassa and Gandacherra or via Amarpur-Jatanbari. A high concentration of primate species is noticeable in this sanctuary .Of them the Hoolook gibbon, slow Loris, the capped langur, and phayre’s leaf monkey are endangered.

 

To know more about the sights and attractions in the state, visit Tripura Tourism’s official website.

How to get there

The nearest airport is the Agartala domestic airport which is located roughly 12 km to the northwest of the city. It is considered as the second busiest airport in the North east after Guwahati. The airport is well connected by direct and connecting domestic flights from the cities of New Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Bangalore, Imphal, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Mumbai. A recent train service has been started which connects Agartala to the nearby cities of Silchar, Lumding, and Dharmanagar. However, the major railhead is Kumarghat, located roughly at a distance of 140 km from Agartala. Kumarghat is linked by railways to Guwahati, which is in turn connected to the rest of the country. One can approach Guwahati from most major railway stations in India. But, Kumarghat is prone to insurgencies so check the current situation before going there. From Kumarghat you can take a bus to Agartala which is a lot safer though it is possible to hire a 4WD with a chauffeur.

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