Agartala is the capital city of Tripura, a state that is situated in the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent and which shares its western border with Bangladesh.
The city lies on the bank of a river called Howrah, and most of its culture, language and cuisine in influenced by Bangladesh and other neighboring regions.
Agartala has many temples, historical palaces and monuments, and is known for its bamboo handicrafts and local hand-woven shawls and clothes. The city also has its own football league.
Agartala is a stunning the blend of natural beauty and rich heritage. Being a part of the seven-sister states (a popular collective name for the 7 states of North-East India), Agartala shares its culture and traditional outlook with the regions surrounding it, but also has its own distinctive charm and experiences to offer. Here are some amazing things to see and do in the city of Agartala:
- Unakoti – An ancient place of worship dating back to 7th – 9th centuries with huge rock reliefs dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
- Ujjayanta Palace – A palace built in built in 1901, having magnificent tile floors, beautiful halls and a library too – now turned into a museum and is a popular tourist attraction in the city. The name “Ujjjayanta” was given to it by the well-known Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore who was the regular visitor of this palace and given by him.
- Akhaura Integrated Check Post – A check-post that divides the countries of India and Bangladesh (Tripura state shared its border with Bangladesh, to which Agartala is very close), and also the second-largest Indian trading centre with Bangladesh.
- Neermahal palace – A beautiful royal palace built by a former royal palace built in the middle of a lake, Twijilikma (now known as Rudrasagar), by Maharaja (king) of Tripura Kingdom Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Debbarma. Its construction began in 1930 and was completed in 1938. Now a popular tourist site in the city.
- Kunjaban Palace – Earlier known as Pushbanta Palace, the Kunjaban Palace was built in early 20th century by King Birendra Kishore Manikya, who ruled Tripura during the time. It now serves as the Governor of Tripura’s official residence.
More than 94% of Agartala’s population are Hindus, followed by Muslims (4.3%) and Christians (1%). The city has various temples, churches and mosques, of which the most popular ones are listed below:
- Tripura Sundari Temple
- Jagannath Temple (built in early 19th century)
- Ramkrishna Mission
- Kamala Sagar
- Venuvan Vihar Buddha Shrine
- Chaturdasha Temple
- Mariyam Nagar Church
- Temple of Fourteen Gods
- Lakshmi Narayan Temple
- Gedu Miar Masjid
Agartala’s population is dominated by Hindus. Many age-old Hindu festivals are celebrated majestically in the city every year. These are a delight to witness, and most tourists who visit the city during these festival times get to experience the city’s culture in a deeper perspective. These are indeed an interesting sight to behold:
- Garia Puja – During this festival, people worship a bamboo pole that symbolizes Lord Garia, also known as the deity of livestock and wealth; and offer flowers and rice, rice beer, wine, earthen pots, eggs, fowl chicks and cotton thread garlands.
- Kharchi Mela – An old traditional festival started by the King of Tripura and is celebrated to this day by the locals, where 14 Gods and Goddesses are worshipped in the Chaturdash Devata temple near Agartala. People of Tripura gather here in masses each year during this festival/mela.
- Neer Mahal Water Festival – A festival celebrated in honour of the Neer Mahal palace here, each year in the month of August, when the locals and the state government jointly organise the ‘Neermahal Water Festival’ for three days with programmes like boat race in the Rudrasagar lake where the palace is situated.
- Diwali Mela – A large festive gathering during the festival of Diwali, at Tripura Sundari temple in the city, where goddess Kaali is worshipped by the people.
PARKS AND WILDLIFE
Tripura state has a high coverage of forest area (Total area of the state is 10,491.69 sq. km in which forest area is 6294.29 sq. km) and a large share of it is in Agartala too. Owing to this, the state and city house a wide range of floral and faunal diversity. The forests, flora and fauna have been preserved through the years by the Government of Tripura and Tripura Forest Department. Some such popular parks, gardens and wildlife sanctuaries in Agartala are:
- Heritage Park
- Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary
- Nehru Park
- Rose Valley Park
- Gandacherra Wildlife Sanctuary
Agartala has 2 museums, namely:
- Tripura Government Museum
- Tripura State Tribal Museum
Tripura is a great place for street shopping, with pretty and buzzy markets where people can buy bamboo and cane products, hand-woven fabrics and beautiful and unique tribal jewelry pieces. The city doesn’t have many high-end malls or shopping complexes.
Some of the best market streets and shopping spots to check out and buy these souvenirs and some food items too in Agartala are:
- Gol Bazaar
- Purbasha Tripura Government Handicrafts Emporium
- Metro Baazar
- Jagat Bazaar – has many shops that sell cosmetics and toiletries, and some jewelry items
- Amulya Market
- Battala market – A popular fish market
- Hawkers’ market in Kaman Chowmuhani
Though not a big urban center, Agartala also has a few good malls that people can visit and shop, or just spend some time at, such as:
- ML plaza
- City center shopping mall
- Vishal mall
People in Agartala follow Tripura cuisine, which is mostly non-vegetarian with occasional vegetarian additions, and primarily consists of dishes made with fish, chicken, mutton, and pork, along with some vegetables and bamboo. Rice is the staple grain eaten in the main course.
Some notable dishes from the cuisine of Agartala (Tripura) include:
- Mui Borok – A dish made with fermented and dried fish, with lots of spices and no oil.
- Gudok – A dish made with bamboo pipes.
- Kosoi Bwtwi – A vegetarian dish made with steamed green beans, garlic and spices.
- Muya Bai Wahan Chak – The pork is cooked with multiple healthy ingredients such as jackfruit, bamboo shoots, and papaya.
- Chikhvi – A dish made of stir-fried bamboo shoots and pork pieces cooked with ginger, turmeric, rice flour slurry, some raw papayas and green chilies.
- Wahan Mosdeng – A curry/dish made with pork, onions, coriander leaves and green chilies.
Agartala has many good restaurants that serve vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian foods. Though its cuisine is predominated by non-vegetarian food, the city also has restaurants that exclusively serve vegetarian cuisine, which many tourists from other parts of the country love to visit. As India has a large number of vegetarians who do not eat non-vegetarian food, these restaurants have been proved beneficial to the city’s tourism.
Some of the best restaurants to try in the city of Agartala are:
- Hotel Sonar Tori (a multi-cuisine restaurant serving both veg and non-veg foods)
- Invitation (a pure vegetarian restaurant serving Indian and Indo Chinese food)
- Khunti Kadai (a restaurant serving traditional Indian cuisine)
- Abhishek Hotel & restaurant (Indian and Pan-Asian cuisine, veg and non-veg dishes)
- Pork Hut (Tripura is famous for Pork – and this restaurant specializes in Pork delicacies – exclusively a non-vegetarian restaurant)
- Royal Veg (another pure vegetarian restaurant – serving only vegetarian dishes)
- Restaurant Kurry Klub (Asian cuisine - both vegetarian and non-vegetarian)
Agartala has many beautiful and good hotels for a comfortable stay – both in the luxurious range as well as budget friendly ones.
Budget hotels in Agartala:
- Swasti Deep-Home stay
- Hotel City Centre
- Executive Inn
- Hotel Palace Inn
Luxury/High-End hotels in Agartala:
- Hotel Polo Towers Agartala
- Charulata: The boutique guest house
- Hotel Sonar Gaon
- Ginger Agartala
- Comilla View Tourist Lodge
- Polo Lake Resort
- Khan resort
- Shyamali Tourist Resort
Here are some helpline numbers for emergencies in Agartala:
- STD Code – 0381 (A unique code that is assigned to each city/town/village, to be used by non-local people if calling from a phone without operator assistance)
- Police - 100
- Fire – 101
- Railway enquiry - 139
- Ambulance – 102
- Women’s helpline – 1091
- Child helpline – 1098
- Disaster helpline – 1070
- AIDS helpline – 1097
- Agartala Airport – 2342224
- TRTC Bus Service - 2325685
People in Agartala mostly speak Bengali and Kokborok language, and many understand Hindi too. Here are some sentences from these languages with meaning, that an be used for basic communication in the city:
- Welcome - Shwagotom
- How are you? - Tumi kemon achho
- What's your name? - Tomar nam ki?
- Where are you from? - Tumi kotha theke eshechho?
- Good morning - Shuprobhat
- Good night - Shubho ratri
- Welcome - svagat
- How are you? - Aap kaise hai?
- What's your name? - Aapka naam kya hai?
- I don't know - Mujhe nahi pata
- I don't understand - Mein samjha nahi
- Thank you - Dhanyavad
- Hello – Khulumkha
- How are you? - Nwng bahai tong? (or) Bahai tong?
- Thank you – Hambai
- Thank you very much - Belaikheno Hambai
- Good Bye - Thangkha
- Fine/Okay - Kahamno
- I love Tripura - Ang Tripurano hamjakgo