Currently the State Legislative Assembly, the Ujjayanta Palace is one of the most awe-inspiring architectural brilliance in Agartala. Built in Indo-Greek style, it was built by Maharaja Radhakishore Manikya.
It was built during 1899-1901 and Sir Alexander Martin of Messrs Martin & Co., was the chief designer of this palace. The name, Ujjayanta Palace was given by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
The palace consists of a throne room, durbar hall, reception hall and a library, while there are several gardens surrounding the building. Spread over an area of about 800 acres, two temples have also been built within the area, that of Lord Jagannath and Lord Umamaheswar.
The building in itself has three dome like structures, the largest of which lies at a towering height of 26 metres. The interiors are exquisitely adorned by wooden carvings, huge doors and minute work done everywhere.
It is believed that the Maharaja during that time spent over Rs. 10 Lakhs on the construction of the building.
After Agartala became the choice for the capital by the Manikyas, they made sure that they adequately decorated the city. One such attempt was the construction of the Jagannath Temple located at the banks of the Dighi Lake.
It is believed that the Jagannath idol or the Neelmadhav idol was donated by the famous Puri’s Jagannath Temple. The temple, which is a national heritage today, has been built beautifully though having an Islamic influence in its design.
There is a dome at the top of the temple along with an arched roof. The orange-coloured four-storeyed tower also known as the ‘Shikhara’ rises from an octagonal plinth and is one of the striking features of the temple.
The temple also sees a confluence of Hemadpanthi and Arabic style. However, the interiors have a Hindu flair with the pillars and walls depicting stories of Lord Krishna.
Housed inside the large Ujjayanta Palace complex, the Umamaheswar Temple is one of the many temples to be found in the palace’s premises. It is a Hindu temple following the Shiva and Shakti tradition. Umamaheswar is another name of Goddess Durga.
Similar to most of the temples in Tripura, the Umamaheswar Temple also resembles the architecture of Bengal. The temple is predictably coloured orange (similar to many such temples found in Bengal). Looking at the architecture of the Umamaheswar Temple it can be said that Tripura is probably the only North Eastern state to have so much in common with Hinduism.
In the backdrop of the temple, the Ujjayanta Palace, one of the most prominent tourist destinations in Agartala, can be seen. It magnifies the beauty of the temple and the temple seems to perfectly blend with the background. The green lawns at the front also adds up to the beauty.
Venuban Buddha Vihar is the Buddha temple located 2 km away from the Agartala city centre. It is a famous Buddha temple in the area and is famed to house a Buddha idol completely made of metal. It is believed that the legendary idol was made in Myanmar and later transported to its present location.
In Venuban Budhha Vihar, Buddha Purnima, the day which encompasses the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha, is celebrated with much gusto. The temple is decorated in colourful hoardings and it wears a general air of festivity.
Many people from across the city and other places visit the Venuban Budhha Vihar to mark this occasion. The Venuban Budhha Vihar is considered to be one of the important Buddha temples in India and is highly revered by Buddhists and followers of Lord Buddha.
Apart from having a strong religious significance, the temple is also a popular tourist destination.
The Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary is located 35 km from Agartala and is famous for its greenery and abundant landscape. It is spread over 18.5 sq km and is home to migratory birds and animals. The wildlife sanctuary was built in the year 1972 and over the years has gained the popularity of being a famous tourist destination.
It is believed that as many as 150 species of birds have been spotted here, many of which are migratory birds. Apart from the wilderness, the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary also has a deer park and lakes.
The wildlife sanctuary is divided into five sections, basically to segregate the different types of animals living here. They are the carnivores section, primate section, ungulate section, reptile section and aviary section.
The Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary also has two natural lakes, namely Abasarika and Amrit Sagar both of which have boating facilities. There is also a rest house within the sanctuary.
College Tilla is the hub of Agartala. The Maharaja Bir Bikram College is one of the most important destinations in College Tilla. It was established in the year 1947 and is named after one of the kings of Tripura Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Bahadur. The college is known for upholding the academic fervour of the people, educating youth from all round with open arms.
Spread across a huge area of 254 acres, the college was one of the main educational institutions for the students migrating from the erstwhile East Pakistan, present day Bangladesh. Apart from the college, some Tripura University buildings, the international cricket stadium, football stadium are located in College Tilla.
In spite of so many buildings all around, College Tilla has abundant greenery all around. Lush green gardens and parks, natural lakes and lots of area for taking a stroll can be found here.
Tripura is a border state and Agartala lies in the fringes of the country. The Akhaura Border, as the name suggests, divides India and Bangladesh. It is the gateway to all activities between the two places. It handles the largest tourist thoroughfare from the neighbouring country.
Before Indian independence and the division of India and Bangladesh, there was a regular train service between Agartala and East Bengal. The railway service served as a lifeline to the people of this part of the country. While before independence Tripura could be easily reached via present-day Bangladesh, after 1947 a longer National Highway via Assam had to be constructed for the purpose.
Today Akhaura Border is the place where international trade takes place boosting the economy of the state largely.The border also serves as a legal entry to and from Bangladesh. Tourists can visit the Akhaura Border to witness the routine border parade.
Tripura is famous for its handicrafts and handloom products. In fact, the state is believed to produce some of the best bamboo work in the country and is in high demand. The Tripura Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation (THHDC) are the central repository of all the art-work related to handloom and handicrafts in the state. Also known as Purbasa, the THHDC is the state repository of all art-work.
Having a distinctive blend of Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic cultures, the bamboo and cane work of Tripura is different. The THHDC brings out more than 200 different varieties of handicraft products with over 10,000 skilled artisans engaged in the work.
The artisans specialise in interior decoration bringing out a wide range of false ceilings, pot containers, plaques, panels and partitions. Each item has an intricate design and brilliant use of cane or bamboo. A visit to Purbasa gives tourists a glimpse of the magnificent artwork of Tripura.
Puratan Agartala, which can be translated into Bengali as Old Agartala, is often termed as the second capital of the state of Tripura. Located 7 km away from present day Agartala, Puratan Agartala is particularly famous for the Chaturdasha Devata Mandir.
The Chaturdasha Devata Mandir is dedicated to fourteen deities, whose heads alone are present for worship here. The fourteen gods and goddesses are together known as the Chaturdasha Devata. The mandir is structured similar to a stupa resembling houses found in rural Bengal.
The temple’s architecture has a mix of Bankura style and Buddhist style. The mandir was constructed by King Krishna Manikya Debbarma. All the fourteen gods and goddess have a local Kokborok name. People from all over Tripura and the country visit the Chaturdasha Devata Mandir during July when the Kharchi Puja is held. It is a week-long puja dedicated to the fourteen gods and goddesses.
Sukanta Academy is located in the heart of Agartala and is a popular tourist attraction. Built in 1997, the academy is the science centre of the capital city. It is filled with games and interesting galleries all of which help to boost a person’s scientific bend of mind.
One of the star attractions of Sukanta Academy is the planetarium. It is a small planetarium that regularly shows scientific films for students. The dome-shaped planetarium brings alive many scientific discoveries and enlightens school, college and other students about the importance and relevance of science in the world.
Some of the interesting things to be found in the Sukanta Academy are – pet corner, energy park, fun science gallery, book sales counter, popular science gallery, railway gallery, aquarium, ISRO gallery and much more. Apart from these, Sukanta Academy also boasts of a science park that attracts many tourists every day.
Blessed with abundance, the Jampui Hill is a must visit place for tourists visiting Agartala. Tourists will need to take a day out to reach Jampui Hill as it is located about 240 km from the city, but the trip will definitely be a fruitful one.
The name literally translates to the ‘eternal hills of spring’ and truly everything in Jampui Hill is eternal and blessed. The hill never faces the wrath of nature and is also fresh and sunny. Jampui Hill, which is about 1000 m above sea level, is also famous as the Kashmir of Tripura for producing the largest quantities of oranges.
Every year, during the month of November, the Orange and Tourism festival is held which is fervently participated by locals and foreigners alike. Apart from oranges, one can also see orchids and tea plantation in the Jampui Hill. Tourists should not miss out on the sunrise and sunset from the hill top.
Located in the heart of the town is the Krishna Mandir or the Laxmi Narayan Temple. It is situated near the main entrance of Ujjayanta Palace in Agartala and was built by Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya and is one of the most visited divine tourist spots in Agartala. The king who was a devotee of Lord Krishna built this temple along with many others around the palace.
You can get a glimpse of beautiful Tamal trees near the temple as the tree has been closely associated with Lord Krishna in Bhagwat Gita. Every day thousands of tourists from all over come here to get the blessings of the deity.
The architecture of the temple is something which you should closely take note of as it is a perfect synergy between ancient and modern art. The temple signifies the glorious rein of the Tripura kings.
Malancha Niwas is the house where Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore had stayed during his visit to Agartala in 1919. The king of Tripura was known to have very good ties with Tagore, and on the former’s invitation Tagore is known to have visited Agartala quite a few times.
During one such visit in 1919, he stayed at a ‘kaccha’ house adjacent to the Kunjaban Palace, which was the private retreat of Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya Bahadur. The kaccha house subsequently became famous (for serving as the official guesthouse of the Kabiguru), and today it is a major tourist attraction.
The kaccha Malancha Niwas has today been demolished and in its place stands a concrete two-storeyed structure. However, when Rabindranath Tagore visited Agartala in 1919, Malancha Niwas wasn’t known so. Only after the concrete construction was it rechristened as Malancha Niwas.
The former residence of the royal family of Tripura, Neermahal is counted among the most beautiful places in Tripura. It is a palace built right in the middle of the Rudrasagar Lake, a 6 sq km water body. It is not only beautiful but is highly regarded for its engineering excellence.
The Neermahal Palace, which literally means the Water Palace, was built in 1930 by King Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman. The palace’s architecture shows resemblance to both Hindu and Islamic designs and is constructed purely of sandstone and marble. The palace has several towers, balconies, bridges and pavilions, adding to the beauty of the design.
Though built in the midst of water, the palace has abundant greenery all around with gardens blooming with colourful flowers all throughout the year. Today the Neermahal palace, which is located close to the city of Agartala is one of the most visited and popular tourist attractions of the state.
Pilak is a small town located about 100 km away from Agartala. It is notably famous for its archaeological remains that date back to the 7th and 8th century AD. Pilak is also considered a pilgrimage site by the Hindus as well as the Buddhists.
Pilak falls under the South Tripura’s Belonia subdivision. The archaeological remains hints of a rich, bustling culture that must have existed here several hundred years ago. Among the remains are Hindu and Buddhist sculptures made of terracotta.
These terracotta plaques also have a sealing made in a stupa-style and are probable stone images of Hindu gods Avolokiteswara and Narasimha. These evidences signify that the heterodox creeds and sects that represented both the Hindus and the Buddhists.
Since Agartala is 100 km away, buses and taxis can be boarded to reach Pilak. The nearest railhead is at Kumarghat, whereas Agartala has the nearest airport.