This tiny state, hanging like a lush green emerald has a rich history and a plethora of cultural treasures that are often overlooked. North Tripura is home to the amazing rock-cut sanctuary of Unakoti. Located close to the town of Dharmanagar near Kailashahar, Unakoti is a memorial to a forgotten tribal king which had been the site of continuous artistic production from the 9th to the 12th centuries CE. These days considered a sacred site of Shiva worship, winding down a small hill beside a rushing stream, there are rows and rows of rock-cut galleries of gigantic faces identified with Shibrai, the ür-Shiva of ancient Tripura. You’ll also find spectacular carvings of hunters, dancing women, three gigantic Ganeshas and much more.

South of Agartala, the old capital of Udaipur carries the memory of the long reign of the Manikya kings of Tripura. Scores of beautiful medieval temples built in the Bengali char chala style speak of the glorious artistic heritage of the state. Punctuated by giant old lakes built by successive Manikya kings, the main temples here are the Gunabati Guchcha, the Tripurasundari Temple and the Bhuvaneshwari Temple. There’s also a medieval dargah of the celebrated Sufi Pir of Bengal, Shah Badar.

A 30km drive inland from Udaipur, near the village of Chabimura near the town of Amarpur, are the mysterious rock-cut murals of Devtamura. To see these spectacular murals, located on a cliff wall overlooking the Gomati, you’ll have to get a boat from the Jamatiya village of Chabimura for a quick visit.

South from Udaipur near the town of Jolaibari is a great excavation site called Shyamsundar Tila. An ancient Buddhist temple and a large monastery has been excavated here. Lovely terracotta plates, priceless bronze images of the Buddha and the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara can be seen here. IN some of the villages near Shyamsundar Tila, you will find statues of tantric Buddhist deities being worshipped as Hindu deities. Another large stupa and monastery has been excavated in the nearby town of Boxanagar near the Bangladesh border. These two sites were a part of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Samatata which had its capital in Mainamati, just across the border in Bangladesh.

Finally, there’s the pleasure palace of Neermahal built by the last kings of the Manikya family on Rudrasagar lake. Built in the early years of the 20th century, this beautiful marble palace is located 22km west of Udaipur, near the town of Melaghar.

Pilgrims come to pay their respects at the ancient rock-cut enclave of Unakoti in north Tripura
Pilgrims come to pay their respects at the ancient rock-cut enclave of Unakoti in north Tripura
Giant bas reliefs of tantric Ganeshas at Unakoti
Giant bas reliefs of tantric Ganeshas at Unakoti


A betel nut array in the town of Kailasahar
A betel nut array in the town of Kailasahar
Worshippers at the Matabari,or the Tripurasundari Temple, at Udaipur
Worshippers at the Matabari,or the Tripurasundari Temple, at Udaipur
The medieval temples of the Gunabati Guchcha in Udaipur, built by King Govinda Manikya in 1668
The medieval temples of the Gunabati Guchcha in Udaipur, built by King Govinda Manikya in 1668
The dargah of the famous medieval Bengali Sufi pir Shah Badar outside Udaipur
The dargah of the famous medieval Bengali Sufi pir Shah Badar outside Udaipur
Lush forests on the banks of the Gomati River outside Udaipur
Lush forests on the banks of the Gomati River outside Udaipur
A rock-cut mural of Durga, called Sakragma by the local Jamatiya tribe in the middle of a forest on the Gomati River at Chabimura
A rock-cut mural of Durga, called Sakragma by the local Jamatiya tribe in the middle of a forest on the Gomati River at Chabimura
A Tripuri tribal lady waits at bus stop on the road to Kailasahar
A Tripuri tribal lady waits at bus stop on the road to Kailasahar
A priest worships a newly-made Durga image inside the sanctorum of a medieval temple in Udaipur
A priest worships a newly-made Durga image inside the sanctorum of a medieval temple in Udaipur
Terracotta plaques depicting Buddhist deities at the ruins of a gigantic 1000-year-old Buddhist temple at Shyamsundar Tila
Terracotta plaques depicting Buddhist deities at the ruins of a gigantic 1000-year-old Buddhist temple at Shyamsundar Tila
An ancient bronze sculpture of the Buddha excavated at Pilak
An ancient, bronze sculpture of the Buddha excavated at Pilak
An ancient, bronze sculpture of Avalokiteshwara and Tara, excavated at Pilak
An ancient, bronze sculpture of Avalokiteshwara and Tara, excavated at Pilak
Ancient statues of Buddhist deities being worshipped as Hindu ones in a temple near Pilak
Ancient statues of Buddhist deities being worshipped as Hindu ones in a temple near Pilak
An ancient statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara being worshipped as Kali by a shaman in the village of Kalma
An ancient statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshwara being worshipped as Kali by a shaman in the village of Kalma
The recently-excavated remains of a giant Buddhist monastery and stupa in the the town of Boxanagar on the Indo-Bangladesh border
The recently-excavated remains of a giant Buddhist monastery and stupa in the the town of Boxanagar on the Indo-Bangladesh border
A view of the terrace of the Neermahal Palace of the erstwhile Manikya kings of Tripura
A view of the terrace of the Neermahal Palace of the erstwhile Manikya kings of Tripura
The spectacular terrace garden at Neermahal, overlooking the Rudrasagar lake
The spectacular terrace garden at Neermahal, overlooking the Rudrasagar lake


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