Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of 4,051 sq. mi. or 10,491.69 km².It is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main language spoken is Bengali. The second most important language is Kokborak (language of man). There is a significant number of Hindi, Manipuri, and Oriya speakers. Tripura’s population is mainly rural. Towns are concentrated on the Tripura Plains and near the International borders.
History : The origin of the word Tripura is attributed to the legendary tyrant king of Tripura, Tripur. According to another school of thought the name Tripura was probably given to the state in honour of the temple at Udaipur, Tripureshwari, the wife of lord Shiva. It was also known as Hill Tippera (anglicized version of Tripura) during the British Raj period and has a history of over 2500 years and 186 kings. Tripura finds mentions in the Mahabharata, the Puranas and pillar inscriptions of Emperor Ashoka. Tripura has a long historic past, its unique tribal culture and a fascinating folklore. It was formerly an independent Tripuri kingdom and was merged with independent India on 15 October 1949 by the Tripura Merger Agreement.
Climate: Tripura is a landlocked hilly state in northeast India with altitudes varying from 15 to 940 m above sea level, though the majority of the population lives in the plains. A number of rivers, of which the Gumti is the largest, drain the region. Climate is hot in the valleys and cooler in the mountains.Average rainfall of 248 cm are there during the southwest monsoon from June to September.
Tourist attractions : Tripura is a smallest hill state in North East India and the third smallest in the country.Foreigners require area permit to visit this state. Some of the tourist spots around Tripura are:
Ujjayant Palace : This palace was built by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya in 1901. It is a Mughal style building. The palace is now changed to State Legislative Assembly. This is the largest building in the country covering 1 sq km. The peculiarity of this palace is its Chinese room with carved wooden ceilings, tiled floors and sculpted front doors.
The Jagannath temple, built in 19th century is across on the artificial lake in front of the palace. Temple of Chaturdasa Devata This temple is dedicated to 14 gods and goddesses, represented by their heads. It is built in Bengali architectural style. But it has a Buddhist type stupa on top.
Neer Mahal This is a water-palace built in Rudrasagar Lake. It is like a fairytale castle with towers and pavilions. It also has moats and bridges.
Sipahijala This is a botanical garden with a small zoo. Elephant rides are available. There is a lake with boating facilities. Tripura Government Museum This museum contains some of the rare stone images, old coins, archaeological articles from Tripura and adjoining areas, Bengal Kantha embroidery, sculptures and the 8th-10th century Buddhist sculptures from Pilak. Visit : weekdays 1000- 1700
Cuisines : Tripura has preserved its culinary culture and has a diversified food as the state has many tribal groups. Bengali is the largest community in Tripura and their choice is non-vegetarian food having fish as an integral part of their cuisine list. Most of the household serve genuine Bengali dishes. If your choice is non-vegetarian food, you will adore Tripura. They take rice and fish mainly owing to the close proximity of West Bengal State. The people of Tripura have slowly given up their traditional attire but are maintaining the traditional cuisine. Traditional Cuisine The traditional cuisine is known as Mui Borok. Tripura cuisine comprises of a key ingredient called Berma. This is a dried and fermented fish. Though this has an obnoxious odor as well as flavor when it is raw, its flavour is lip smacking when cooked and enhances the taste of the dish. Berma is a spicy food as a typical spice is added to it. Moreover, this food is very healthy as it is prepared without oil. Their food includes all types of meats. This includes pork, mutton, chicken, turtle, beef, crabs, fish, prawns, frogs and even dogs. The vegetables that are eaten here is brinjals, chillies, pumpkin, bamboo shoots and corn. Chinese and local food is also available and a local drink called Apong is taken. This drink is made from millet or rice. Other Delicacies are: Panch Phoron Taarkari,Misa Mach Poora, Poora Mach, Tripura Laksa Stock , Dal and Eggs Koat Pitha, Bamboo Shoot Fry ,Poora Haah ,Fish Fried Rice ,Tripura Fish Stew.
Festivals : The main features of festivals in Tripura is that, whether a festival is basically tribal or not, all people – tribal and non-tribal will join it in a joyous mood and be part and parcel of it. Kharchi Puja : Of the many festivals current in Tripura, the one that occupies the pride of place is the worship of the fourteen deities popularly known as Kharchi Puja celebrated in July at Agartala (Puran Agartala). The week-long celebration is held in the temple premises and is joined by thousands of people. The word Kharchi is said to be a corrupt form of Khya which means earth. Kharchi Puja is, therefore, the worship of the earth – the earth that sustains mankind with all her resources. Sacrifice of goats and pigeons at the alter of gods is a usual feature of the festival. Ker and Garia Pujas : Both these pujas are traditional tribal festivals. The former is celebrated two weeks after Kharchi Puja. The guardian deity of Vastu Devata is Ker. A large piece of bamboo when bent in a particular fashion assumes the image of Ker. It is generally believed that the former rulers used to perform this Puja for the general welfare of the people of the state. The literal meaning of Ker is boundary or specified area. Two age old beliefs may lie behind the ritualistic incantation of a specified boundary for the Ker Puja. One is to safeguard the interest of the people from any calamitous misfortunes, diseases, and destitution. The other is to save people from any external aggression. Offering and sacrifices constitute an important aspect of Ker Puja.
On the seventh day of the month of Baisakh (April) is held the Garia Puja – another important festival for the tribals of the state. The celebration starts from the last day of Chaitra. Two deities- Kalia and Garia – are worshipped. The Puja is held to propitiate the deity for blessings. The Garia is a community festival. Sacrifice of cocks is an important feature of the Puja. Another equally important feature is dancing and rejoicing after the Puja. The Garia dance is very popular among the Tripuris and the Reangs. Symbolic of the worship of the deities as well as of the socio-economic activities of the households, these dances represent hunting, fishing, food-gathering and various other activities. Ganga Puja : After Navanna, the festival of new rice, Ganga Puja is celebrated in March-April every year. This is another remarkable tribal festival. Ganga, it may be recalled, is one of the fourteen deities of the land. Like Garia Puja, this too is a community festival. People gather by the streamside, pare three piece of bamboo into beautiful flowers, the villagers then build a temple with bamboos in the middle of the stream, and the ageless rituals take place amidst joy and splendour. God is propitiated by the sacrifice of goats, buffaloes and ganders to save the people from any epidemic.
Other two important festivals of Tripura are Durga Puja and Diwali. Both are community festivals, but the former has attained the status of being the greatest community festival in Bengal and Tripura. The four-day long Durga Puja is generally held in autumn (Sep-Oct) every year. The immersion of the deity takes place on the Vijaya-Dashami or the fourth day of the Puja.