Agartala is the capital of the North-Eastern state of Tripura. Agartala is situated on the banks of the Haora river in the western part of Tripura. It is the second-largest city in the northeastern region after Guwahati and a major tourist destination of Tripura. The city of Agartala is a perfect blend of history, culture and a scintillating landscape and thus attracts a large number of tourists. Agartala is a city of palaces, museums, heritage parks, temples and lakes. The city is also famous for its rich traditional art and craftwork. Agartala is very close to the Bangladesh border and the cross-cultural influence is very prominent here. Despite being a capital city, Agartala offers a serene, hustle-free and relaxed atmosphere to city dwellers.
The most awe-inspiring structure and the most popular tourist attraction in the city. The grandeur and architectural brilliance of Ujjayanta palace have increased its fame to a different level. The palace was built by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya of the famous Manikya dynasty of Tripura in the year 1901. This beautiful palace is constructed on the banks of a lovely lake. Set in the backdrop of sprawling lush green Mughal gardens this majestic building houses several beautifully decorated rooms, public halls, reception and darbar halls, temples dedicated to different Hindu deities and a special Chinese room full of Chinese artefacts. The gardens have a magnificent musical fountain which is a very new inclusion in the palace. Famous Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore gave the name ‘Ujjayanta’ to this grand palace. The palace used to serve as the meeting place for the Tripura Legislative Assembly till 2011. After that, it was transformed into a big museum which displays the enriched artefacts, craftworks, traditions and customs, rituals and culture of the different communities and tribes of northeastern India and also the royal artefacts which signify the glorious past and the opulence of the royal family of Tripura. The palace has three domes and each is 86 feet high. The palace has marvellous tiled floors and beautiful wooden ceilings. It is closed on Monday and opens on the rest of the days of the week from 10 am till 5 pm.
The Jagannath Bari Temple
This famous temple of Agartala is situated on the Ujjayanta palace ground. Jagannath Temple is dedicated to the Hindu deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. The religious importance of this place has turned it into a must-visit place in the city. It is said and believed that the famous Neelmadhav idol of the Jagannath Temple of puri was given to the puri temple from this Jagannath bari in Agartala. The structure of the temple is beautiful and displays the subtle architectural greatness of the construction. The confluence of Islamic and Hindu architectural styles in the construction of the temple is simply eye-catching. The evening arati here is a spectacular sight. The devotion and offerings of the worshippers during arati evoke a deep sense of spiritual feelings inside. The Ratha Yatra here is also very famous and a grand sight to watch. There is a festival that happens every year during the Ratha Yatra which is considered one of the most important festivals in the region. The spontaneous participation from the common public apart from the devotees marks the significance and popularity of the annual rath yatra here. The temple opens at 4 am every day and remains open till 2 pm. It opens again at 4 pm and remains open till 9 pm.
Situated at the heart of the city of Agartala, this 12-acre picturesque park is a must-visit place here. The park has a beautiful and well-maintained garden and a more than one-kilometre-long scenic pathway ideal for a walk. Apart from the eye-catching landscapes, greenery and beauty of the garden the park preserve the essence of the social and cultural aspects of the state. The park has nine miniature representation of the nine famous heritage site of Tripura which includes Ujjayanta Palace, Neermahal, the temple of Tripura Sundari, Unakoti hill sculptures, Mahamuni, Chaturdashi Devta temple, Debtamura Hill Sculptures, Chandrapur Mosque and the relics of Pilak. Apart from this, the park has an impressive collection of indigenous trees and blooming flowers. The park houses some outstanding wood and stone craftworks. The entry gate of the park which represents a systematic blend of tribal and urban culture itself is an excellent example of the rich heritage of the state.
Chaturdashi Temple or Temple of fourteen Gods
Located in the Old City this famous temple of fourteen deities was built by King Krishna Manikya in the year 1761. The temple is known as Chaudda devata mandir as fourteen deities are worshipped here. In the Kokborok which is the native language of the state, these deities have different names but they are originally the local forms of popular Hindu gods and goddesses. The 14 deities inside the temple are Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, Kartikeya, Saraswati, Ganesha, Samudra, Prithvi, Agni, Ganga, Himadri, and Kamadeva. All the idols are made of alloy except the idol of Lord Shiva which is made of silver. This temple is regarded as one of the holiest places in the city. Devotees from all over the state and the neighbouring state visit this temple.
Another important feature of the idols is that none of them has a full-body structure. The idols worshipped here contain only the head. The Chaturdashi Temple has a beautiful structure with typical Bengal-style flat roofs. Also, the village hut-shaped structure clearly shows the influence of Bengal. The dome of the temple though resembles with Buddhist stupa.
Another beautiful Palace is situated on the top of a hillock just a kilometre away from Ujjayanta Palace and is famous for its scenic landscape and lush green lawns and gardens. This was built in the year 1917, by King Birendra Kishore Manikya. Earlier it was known as Pushpabanta Palace. Presently it is the residence of the Governor of Tripura. This palace is also associated with famous Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as he stayed here. The southern part of the well-maintained garden is named after him. This is called Rabindra Kanan and is open to the public. The greenery and serenity of this park draw the tourists and common people here. Another attraction here is the puppet show which is very popular among the children.
The itinerary for Agartala is incomplete without a visit to the exquisite Neermahal. This extraordinary water palace was the brainchild of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya. It was constructed in the middle of the beautiful Rudradagar Lake as the summer residence for the king in 1930. Neermahal is the only water palace in entire eastern India and one of the finest water palaces in the country. The grand palace displays high-quality architectural design and also displays the perfect amalgamation of Hindu-Islamic style in the structure. The perfect use of marble and sandstone gives it a wonderful look. This water palace has 24 rooms inside. It has interconnected bridges and balconies which offer breathtaking views and towers. The palace houses decorated gardens and fountains. The entire Palace has been divided into two-part. The eastern part has an open-air theatre where cultural and other programmes take place. The western side of the palace is the residence of the royal family. After all its light gets switched on in the palace, the reflection in the water of Rudra Sagar lake in the evening and night is a sight to cherish. Overall a trip to Neermahal will be an unforgettable experience for a traveller. Neermahal is located in Melaghar town and it takes one hour and thirty minutes approximately to reach here from Agartala. It is quite easy to visit the main city. It is just 49 kilometres from the city.
The Tripura Sundari Temple
One of the most sacred places in the state and this is one of the most famous temples in the region of North East. It is also known as Tripureswari temple or Matabari temple. This temple is one of the Shaktipeethas and a place of immense religious importance. According to Hindu mythology, the right foot of Mata Sati fell here. The temple is also known as "Kurma Peetha". The word Kurma means tortoise and the temple premises exactly look like a tortoise. The temple was built in the year 1501 by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya. There are two images of Goddess Tripura Sundari are worshipped here. Goddess Tripura Sundari is a divine manifestation of goddess Parvati the consort of Lord Shiva. The big idol inside the temple is called Soroshi which is a five feet tall idol and a small idol is also worshipped here which is popularly known as 'Choto Maa. The temple structure resembles the common Bengali char Chala (4 triangular roofs meeting at a point) structure. On the Eastern side of the temple lies the beautiful Kalyan Sagar lake which is believed to be one of the oldest lakes in the region. The fishes and the big tortoises in the lake attract tourists. Tripura Sundari temple is the holiest shrine in Tripura and draws a large number of devotees. There is a festival that takes place Diwali which is also quite famous in the region. The temple is nearly 55 kilometres from Agartala and is located on a hillock in the town of Udaipur.
Venuban Buddha Vihar
This is an important Buddha temple in the region and is visited by local devotees and tourists. The temple houses a beautiful idol of Lord Buddha. This metal idol of Buddha is believed to be originally made in Burma ( present Myanmar). The festival during the time of Buddha Purnima in Venuban Vihar is a very popular festival among the locals.
Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary
A major attraction of Agartala, this wildlife sanctuary is located in Bishalgarh which is around 25 kilometres from the city of Agartala. Spread over an area of nearly 7.15 Square miles this beautiful zoological and botanical garden is home to different types of birds and animals. This sanctuary is famous for bespectacled monkeys. There is a special enclosure for the clouded leopard in the sanctuary which also draws the attention of wildlife lovers. Both these animals belong to a group of very rare species. This sanctuary is also home to nearly 150 species of birds both residential and migratory. The sanctuary has lakes inside and the Amrit Sagar lake has a boating facility. This place also has coffee and rubber plantation. Apart from the mentioned animals the sanctuary houses deer, wild boar, rhesus and pigtailed macaque, langur, jungle fowls and some others.
Connectivity to Agartala
Agartala is well connected by road with other major cities of North East. Regular bus services are available from places like Silchar, Guwahati or Shillong. National Highway 44 and 44A serve as the main way for road connections to the city. Agartala Airport which is known as Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport is the second busiest airport in North East after Guwahati airport. It is connected to other major cities in the North East as well as the rest of India such as Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore etc. Agartala railway station is also well connected to other parts of the country.
Agartala is a hot and humid place in the summer months of April and May. The average temperature hovers around 32 c and 23 c. Agartala receives a lot of rain in the monsoon which lasts from June to September. In winter average minimum temperature is around 10'c and the maximum average temperature is around 25'c. Agartala can be visited throughout the year although the monsoon months of July, august receives a lot of rain.