Tripura was the last state of visit in my 2014
North-East Yatra. I first spent eleven days at Imphal for the Sangai Festival,
four days in Kohima for the Hornbill Festival, three days in Meghalaya
sightseeing, a day in Mizoram and five days in Tripura.
I left Aizwal at about 1 pm to reach Silchar by
about 7 in the evening. Inquired with auto person where was the best place to
stay. He said go to Kamadhenu Hotel because the bus to Unakoti leaves from
outside the hotel. Hotel charges Rs 700/ odd for a single room. Had a quick
shower, followed by dinner at hotel (they give thali for Rs 100) and went to
In the morning there are three buses for
Dharmanagar (Unakoti is 20 minutes from there) the first is at 5.30 am and the
last at 9.30. Took the 5.30 one, reached Dharmanagar by 8.30ish. The minute the
bus entered Tripura the entire travelling experience changed. Good roads,
forests on either side and clean.
At the Dharmanagar bus stand are a number of private
taxis which would take you to Unakoti, cost Rs 400-600/ depending on how you
negotiate. I paid Rs 500/. Very scenic drive to Unakoti, tea gardens on either
side of the road.
1. Unakoti - the entire area is a forest.
'The marvellous 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
tradition, 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 so Lord Shiva 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. The images found at Unakoti are rock-carved
figures and stone images.
Central Shiva head and gigantic Ganesha figures
deserve special mention. The central Shiva head known as
‘Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava’ is about 30 feet high including
an embroidered head-dress which itself is 10 feet high. On each side of the
head-dress of the central Shiva, there are two full size female figures - one
of Durga standing on a lion and another female figure on the other side. In
addition three enormous images of Nandi Bull are found half buried in the
ground. There are various other stone as well as rock cut images at
Garden in Unakoti very well maintained and clean.
Loved the place. If you like to observe closely keep three hours or even one
hour is enough.
To see pics of Unakoti Click here
Some locals suggested that I drive to Jampui Hills
i.e. about three hours drive. Another local said that if you have seen the
hills of Meghalaya Jampui is similar so skipped. The highest peak of Tripura
‘Betlingchhip’ falls in this hill range which is 3,600 feet
high and from where tourist can see the panoramic view of Mizoram, Chittagong
hill tracts and various other hill ranges.
I finished by 12.30 ish. The taxi driver told me
there is a 1 pm bus to Agartala so rushed. Was told there is a train to
Agartala at about 11 am but is very slow.
2. Agartala - lovely drive from Dharmanagar to
Agartala, through villages and forests. All homes very clean and people busy in
day to day routine. Students in the bus I spoke to were keen to study and
progress. Reached Agartala at 8 pm. Usually takes 6 hours but this drive took
longer. It was freezing.
Took a auto to the Ramakrishna Mission School where
I was to stay. It is on the outskirts of the city and about a one hour drive.
School area very green so was even cooler. Mission was expecting me the next
day. Secretary Maharaj was surprised but welcomed me. I left luggage and had
dinner, was famished since not eaten meals since morning.
There is lots to see in Agartala and
I took a day tour to see -
1. Tripura Sundari Mandir pics
2. Old Temples of Tripura. This covers a monastery, ruins of
small temples but includes a huge Surya image and Bhubhneshari and Gunavati
temples in Udaipur. To see pics Click
Rubber Plantations pics
4. Mahamuni Pagoda about 130 kms from Agartala. To see pics
Also visit Neermahal Water Palace/Rudrasagar Lake
close to Udaipur. Was told palace was under repairs hence did not visit. All
the above places are on the same route, Tripura Sundari being the first and
Mahamuni the last. Pilak i.e. where old temples are situated in 100 kms from
Agartala. We left at 6.30 am and returned by 7 pm. If the Pagoda does not
interest you go to Pilak atleast, is worth a visit.
In Agartala town see -
1. Ujjayanta Palace (houses the State Government Museum
very good). The Museum covers culture of every state of north-east and
south-east Asian countries as well. If going on Saturday do check if it is
open. It is floodlit at night but not worth a look. To see pics Click
2. Benuvan Bihar Buddhist Temple – metal idols of
3. Laxmi Narayan Temple.
4. Visit Tribal Museum very good. To see pics Click
I spent four days in Agartala. One morning covered
all the main temples and Ujjayanta Palace, they are all very close by. You can
get names of temples when you see pics of Ujjayanta Palace. Very close to the
palace is the main shopping market. Get lots of cane products, very good and
local textiles too. People are very nice and shopping quite a
Next day went to Tribal Museum and thereafter
visited a All Women Handloom Co-operative ie about 30 kms from Agartala.
Government supports such handlooms and helps provide livelihood / additional
income to local women. There are 80 ladies who work there of whom 30 are
regular and get paid Rs 120-180/ per day depends on speed. Since it is a
co-operative society all women are shareholders. Make very good shawls, bought
for wifey who loved it. Traditional handloom is called Tantumita. To see
pictures of the unit and products sold Click
Also spent a day visiting the super Ramakrishna
Mission School. Wish I had studied in such a school. There is lots of demand
for RKM Schools in Tripura and Manipur. Wish RKM Belur Math opens more schools.
To see pics of school Click
Fourth day was excursion referred to
Did not visit Deotamura i.e. famous for its panels
of rock carvings on the steep mountain wall on the bank of Gomati. There are
huge carved images of Shiva, Vishnu, Kartika, Mahisasur Mardini Durga and other
gods and goddesses. This is also called Chabimura - 75 kms from Agartala.
Keep 5 days for Tripura. One and a half days for
Unakoti/Jampui Hills and 3 days for Agartala and around. If you want to do at a
relaxed pace keep a week.
Had a great time in Tripura. Lovely people, safe,
lots to see.
It is quite easy to reach. You can fly to Kolkata
and then to Agartala. There is also a bus from Kolkata to Agartala via
AFSPA: Why Tripura and J&K are different?
Tourism site is informative