Capital of Tripura, Agartala is situated on the banks of river Haora close to the border with Bangladesh. Tripura is among the seven states that form the north eastern region of India.
It was the capital of the former princely state of Tripura. It shot into prominence only after Maharaja Krishna Manikya shifted his capital to the city.
Agartala offers some outstandingly beautiful palaces, gardens, hills, temples and lakes. Perfection is the word for the architectural monuments of the city. The red government buildings are in contrast against the remarkably usually white old British buildings that are still in existence and in use. Some of the monuments have been selected as UNESCO world heritage sites.
Agartala has a good sporting tradition, with many sports and games being played. Especially favourite is football (soccer) with its own city football league.
Agartala is famous for its seasonal fruits. The Queen and Kew varieties of pineapple are popular. Tripura Orange is well known for its high juice content and special sweetness. Tripura oranges have secured highest honour several times in the all India “Citrus Show”. Do not forget to visit the pineapple gardens, litchi orchards, cashew orchards and orange gardens.
The festival of Durga Pooja is celebrated with great pomp and show. Another prominent festival is Saraswati Pooja.
The town is home to 19 indigenous tribal groups and Bengali speaking non-tribals.
It was Maharaja Krishna Chandra Manikya Bahadur, of Manikya Dynasty, who shifted the capital of Swadhin Tripura to Agartala in the 19th century. The earlier capital was Rangamati in south Tripura. It was shifted to old Agartala which was called ‘Haveli’. However, frequent invasions by Kuki’s and also to maintain communication with British Bengal, the Maharaja shifted his capital from Old Haveli to New Haveli (present Agartala) in 1849. During the British Raj, Agartala was the capital of the former ‘Hill Tippera’ state.
During the reign of Maharaja Bir Chandra Manikya (1862), Agartala Municipality was formed. In the 1940s the town was planned and re-constructed properly with new roads, markets and buildings.
The Indo-Bangladesh border is just 2 km away from Agartala city. Hence, the culture, attitude and behaviour of locals are influenced by the Bengali culture. Dialect of Bengali is spoken while Kokborok is the other official language.
Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja besides local festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm.
Agartala also houses many temples and Buddhist pilgrimage centres.
The Tripura Government Museum stores some rare stone images, historic old coins and archaeological artifacts. The most interesting section here displays the progress and history of the state. Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya constructed a lavish house for his friend Ravindranath Tagore. The house is known as Ravindra Kanan
The Raima Valley, known as the mother of the tribals of Tripura
The Gol Bazaar and Kaman Chowmuhani area are the main business and shopping areas of the city.
- Football is a favourite sport in Agartala and the city has its own football league.
WHERE TO STAY
Government-run guest houses offer the best budget accommodation in Agartala. Several private hotels also offer rooms for budget travellers. The tariffs range from Rs 200 to Rs 500. Luxury hotels, though few, are available and tariffs range from Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,000 per room. The hotels also provide pick up and drops from the airport and railway station.
WHERE TO EAT
Options to eat are limited in Agartala. Modest restaurants offer a variety of Indian food. Restaurants attached to hotels offer Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines.
The food is cheap when compared to other parts of India. It is heavily influenced from Bengali cuisine and Bengali sweets are quite popular here. You will also find good street food here. The main streets of the city are usually bustling in the evenings and you can get anything from tea to popcorn to fried snacks.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Agartala enjoys moderate and pleasant climate throughout the year. October to March is good time for visiting the city.
WHAT TO SEE
Ujjayanta Palace: Constructed by Maharaja Radhakishore Manikaya in 1901, it was built in Indo-Greek style. Musical fountains are similar to those in the Mughal gardens. At night, the building is lit up by colourful lights. The palace is now used as the Assembly House of Tripura.
Venuban Vihar: Buddhist shrine, located around 2 km from Agartala. The idol of Lord Buddha was made in Burma and then transferred to India. The occasion of Buddha Purnima is celebrated with fervour. A fair is also held on the occasion.
Kunjaban Palace: Built in 1927 as recreation place for King Birendra Kishore Manikya, it is currently the official residence of Governor of Tripura. A part of this palace is open for public.
Lake Domboor: Massive lake formed due to the convergence of rivers Raima and Saima, it is spread over 45 sq km and has 48 islands. Known for its biodiversity, it is preffered by migratory birds. On January 14 every year, large crowds gather to celebrate ‘Pous Sankranti Mela’.
NEAR TO AGARTALA
Jampui hills: Situated about 240 km from Agartala, it is also known as ‘the eternal hills of spring’. You will find a wide variety of orchids and oranges. The ropeway is popular with tourists and locals for the bird’s view of the valley it offers.
Unnakoti: Meaning one less than a crore, the stone idols are located at a distance of 175 km from Agartala. Archaeologists believe Unnakoti was a Shaivite holy place in the 8th to 9th centuries. According to local legend, Lord Shiva while on his way to Kashi along with 9999999 gods and goddesses had to halt for the night at the place currently known as Unnakoti. Shiva asked all gods and goddesses to wake up before sun rise. However, no one except Shiva woke up at the stipulated time. Short-tempered Shiva got angry and cursed the gods and goddesses to turn into stone and went away alone.
Neermahal: Built as a summer resort for Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya in 1930, Neermahal or water palace is located 50 km from Agartala. The magnificent palace is built right in the center of lake Rudrasagar. It is a beautiful fusion of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles. A lot of migratory birds fly to the Rudrasagar lake.
Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary: Located at a distance of 35 km from Agartala, the park has been developed both as a wildlife sanctuary and as an academic and research centre. It has five different sections and is spread over 18.5 sq km. It boasts of a large variety of wildlife, especially birds and primates. The sanctuary also houses a botanical garden, zoo and a lake.
BEST TIME TO VISIT TRIPURA
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Tripura is as given below. The best time to visit Tripura is also specified.