Capital cities always fascinate us. Both Agni and I feel they speak a lot about the local people, culture and history of the place and we always find it enjoyable to walk along the busy streets and lanes of a city. If observed properly, a lot of things can be discovered in these lanes and bylanes of a city. So we experienced these little joys of travel when we visited Agartala, the capital of Tripura. When you look up in the internet about places to visit in Agartala, it invariably shows a host of places like Unakoti, Jampui Hills, Udaipur (the one in Tripura and not Rajasthan!) along with Ujjayanta Palace. These places are technically not in Agartala city other than the Ujjayanta Palace but are different destinations altogether. These sites have put Agartala and Tripura in the same bracket (I was sad to see Lonely Planet in the list as well.)
So what is there to see in Agartala? What are the tourist places in Agartala? Have patience, we will go there as well. Well, Agartala, the capital city of Tripura, despite being the second-largest city in northeast India after Guwahati is not quite a busy city. I would say it to be laidback, but the city feels of belonging to the days of yore. The buildings, most of them white in colour and have a grand architecture. After all, the Ujjayanta Palace has now been converted to Government Office and Museum.
There is a market just a few metres from the Ujjayanta Palace gate named Ujjayanta Market. That is also quite a grand structure white in colour. What we noticed that many buildings, especially the old ones are painted white. I guess the Tripuris have a fondness for the colour. To be honest, white buildings look regal as well. Tripura is one of the oldest princely states of India. I would not say much about the history of the state here as I have already mentioned it in our earlier post on Comprehensive Guide on Tripura. Here, let me just tell you about what we felt about Agartala and the places to visit in Agartala.
- Places to visit in Agartala
- Ujjayanta Palace
- Places that you can visit from Agartala
- Agartala Travel Guide (FAQs Answered)
Places to visit in Agartala
So Agartala does not boast of a lot of attractions. Also, it is crowded compared to other destinations. But as I mentioned before, we love exploring cities. So, Agartala is also for people like us who find delight in roaming around the streets, watching people and looking for history and heritage here and there.
There is another reason we liked Agartala. The city is extremely friendly and so are its people. Also, in Agartala, we saw the use of Bengali language in most of the government buildings and other structures; in a better way than it is used in Bengal. Well, Tripura and Bengal both use Bengali as its language.
Ujjayanta Palace is not only the pride of Agartala but also of Tripura as a whole. While Neermahal can boast of being a water palace located right in the heart of Rudrasagar Lake, Ujjayanta Palace too is no less grand. This huge white palace stands right in the middle of Agartala. It now serves as Government office as well as the State Museum.
Ujjayanta Palace was built by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya in 1901 AD. Incidentally, the name of the palace was given by none other than Rabindranath Tagore. Infact, Tripura and Tagore had a close relationship and Radha Kishore Manikya was a great friend of the poet.
Ujjayanta Palace was built in place of the old palace of Tripura that was destroyed in the devastating earthquake of July 1897. Much of Agartala was also destroyed in this earthquake. It was during this time that Tagore helped his friend and the royal family by helping them to secure a loan from the Bengal Bank. A loan of Rupees Ten Lakhs was arranged and the architectural firm of Martin & Co from Calcutta was hired to design the grand palace. Ujjayanta Palace served as a symbol of modern Tripura. Construction of the palace began in 1898 and work carried on till 1901.
The architecture of the Palace incorporated neo-classical and renaissance styles. The palace is only tow-storeyed and has three beautiful domes. The garden surrounding the palace along with the fountains, artificial lakes, flower beds are clearly inspired by the Mughal styled gardens. The interiors are decorated in Persian, Indian, oriental and European styles. The King seemed to have a taste in every style he came across!
The Palace has now been converted to Government Office and the State Museum. Earlier the Ujjayanta Palace served as the Tripura State Assembly till 1993.
Inside the Ujjayanta Palace or Tripura State Museum
A part of the Ujjayanta Palace has been converted to Tripura State Museum. The museum has a great repository of artefacts and collections. You can get an insight about the people, tribe and culture of Tripura from the museum. There is also a section where various writings of Tagore about Tripura and his correspondence with the Tripura Kings are displayed.
You enter the museum from the ground floor, explore the museum and then come out through the first floor. The flight of stairs looks simply grand.
Entrance to the Ujjayanta Palace
Though the entire palace complex is a huge one and has a number of gates, you can enter inside the complex as a tourist only through the main gate which is near the Ujjayanta Market Complex. There is a huge Indian flag in front of the main gate and also an “I Love Agartala” sign in front of the palace. It is a perfect place to take some instagrammable pictures!
Ujjayanta Palace Entry Time
The Ujjayanata Palace complex along with Tripura State Museum remains open from 11 AM to 1 Pm and 2 PM to 6.30 PM. The complex remains closed on every Mondays, 2nd and 4th Saturdays and on all Government holidays.
You can also enter the Ujjayanta Palace Gardens in the evening. The timings for the gardens is between 5.30 PM to 9.00 PM. The gardens also remain closed on every Mondays, 2nd and 4th Saturdays and on all Government holidays.
There is an entry fee for the Ujjayanta Palace Complex. The entry fee is quite nominal. As far as I remember, it was INR 20 per head for Indians and INR 150-200 for foreign tourists. DSLR Camera will require additional fees. Also, you will not be allowed to take any bags inside the palace complex. You have to keep them at the gate. If you have valuables, there are lockers available also. We were not allowed to take our camera bags inside the palace complex.
Tip: Visit the Ujjayanta Palace both during the day time and in the evening and take some awesome photographs of the architecture.
The Kings of Tripura built four temples at four corners of his palace. It is believed that the pious kings would start his day with a visit to these temples. As the name suggests, the red and yellow coloured temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Laxmi Narayan Temple
While the common saying goes that a King of Tripura built the four temples at four corners of Ujjayanta Palace, it is not quite clear whether a single king made all the four temples. Laxmi Narayan Temple is located just near the main entrance of Ujjayanta Palace and has a plaque that mentions it was built by Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya in 1910 AD in memory of his father King Radha Kishore Manikya. The small temple complex is visited by the locals and remains busy especially during the evening.
Uma Maheswar Temple
The Uma Maheswar Temple is conspicuous by its bright red colour. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and has beautiful idols of them. This temple was built by King Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya in 1938.
The fourth temple in the fourth corner is the Durga Bari or a temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. During Durga Puja, the temple is opened and Puja is celebrated with great pomp.
Gedu Miyan Mosque
Gedu Miyan Mosque is a beautiful mosque located in the Shibnagar area of Agartala. Though located in a nondescript part of the city, this mosque has an impressive architecture. The founder of the mosque, Gedu Miyan was a mahout (elephant rider) in his early days. Later, he went on to become a motor garage worker and driver. His fortune turned for better after he obtained a work worder from King Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya. With the profit made from the work, he built this mosque. The mosque has a number of towers, minarets and beautiful artwork done on it. There is also a large area where the devotees can read Namaz.
Tripura Heritage Park
Heritage Park is an interesting place that depicts the tribal and non-tribal heritage and cultural mix of Tripura. Located on the northern side of Raj Bhavan on Agartala-GBP Hospital Road, the park is spread across 12 acres of land. The park has a miniature Tripura inside it. Miniature models of all the famous attractions of Tripura like Neermahal, Unakoti etc are built inside the park. So you can take a visit to the park to get a glimpse of Tripura in a single place.
Heritage Park is located in Malancha Nibas.
- March – September: 10AM to 6PM
- October – February: 10AM to 5 PM
- The Park remains closed on Tuesday.
Chaturdash Devta Temple
The temple is dedicated to fourteen Gods and hence the name Chaturdash Devta Temple or Fourteen Gods Temple. The temple was built by King Gobinda Manikya in the year 1666-67 AD. Located about 6-7 km from Agartala town the temple has 14 idols of different Gods and goddesses like Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, God Kartikeya, Ganesha, Brahma, Prithvi, Samudra, Agni, Kamdev, Devi Ganga and Himadri. Interestingly, the temple is dedicated to the holy trinity of Hindusim (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswar), Goddess Durga and her children (Ganesha and Kartikeya), Devi Saraswati and Lakshmi and the Gods of natural elements like Prithvi (earth), Agni (fire), Samudra (sea), Himadri (the mountains) and Devi Ganga (the holy River Goddess of Hindus).
Every year, Kharchi Puja is celebrated at the Chaturdash Devta Temple when thousands of people from both tribal and non-tribal areas visit the temple. During this Puja, all the idols of the 14 gods are worshipped along with mother earth. During this Puja, the fourteen idols are carried to the river for a holy bath and again carried back to the temple. Animal sacrifice used to be a huge part of the festivities during the past. Thankfully, it has stopped now. Kharchi Puja is usually held in the month of July.
Akhaura Integrated Checkpost
The India-Bangladesh international border is just near the city and the place is known as Akhaura Integrated Checkpost. Here every day, the flag downing ceremony is held between the two countries in the lines of the Wagah border. The Akhaura Checkpost at India-Bangladesh Border was jointly inaugurated on November 17, 2013, by Union Home Minister of Indian and his Bangladeshi counterpart. The checkpost has been created to facilitate easier movement for goods and passengers across the Indo-Bangladesh border. It is the second-largest trading Indo-Bangladesh trading centre after Benapole-Petrapole in the Bongaon region of West Bengal.
The flag down ceremony is held every day from 4.45 PM. The flags of the two countries are lowered down in a co-ordinated ceremony by the military personnel of both the countries. There are seats arranged for visitors on both sides of the border who can sit down and watch the entire ceremony. In the end, the people from the two countries can meet and greet each other. It was quite an experience to see the entire ceremony at the border. In the end, people from both India and Bangladesh came together, shook hands, took selfies and greeted each other as if they were long lost friends! It was a happy camaraderie. We only wish that the actual political situations between 2 nations would be this happy! But I guess that is going to remain only a wish!
Take an ID card with you if you want to visit the Akhaura Checkpost ceremony. They usually keep your ID card with them as you cross the main gate and return it later. There is an army canteen that serves tea, coffee, snacks and icecream. You may buy something from there to support our army brothers.
Places that you can visit from Agartala
There are a number of places that you can visit from Agartala, either as a day trip or you can stay there for the night. I have written about all these places in details in our comprehensive Tripura Travel guide. Please head over there to have a look.
Here I would just mention the places and distance from Agartala and a few relevant details.
Kamalasagar Lake and Kasba Kali Temple
- Famous for: Kali temple, lake and Indo-Bangladesh Border Haat (market). The place is located just next to the international border.
- Recommended for Day trip
- Distance from Agartala: 25 km (1 hour)
- How to reach: Take a local bus or auto from Nagerjala Bus Stand. You might have to get off at the main road and change take another auto to the temple and Kamalasagar Lake.
- Famous for: Tripura Sundari Temple, Bhubaneshwari Temple and Lakes.
- Night stay recommended
- Distance from Agartala: 50 km (1.30 hours)
- How to reach: Take a local bus from Nagerjala Bus Stand to Udaipur.
Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary
- Famous for: Zoo. It has a large population of Phayre’s Langur or Spectacled monkey, also Tripura’s state animal
- Recommended for a day trip from Agartala
- Distance from Agartala: 26 km (1 hour)
- How to reach: Best would be to hire a car.
- Famous for: Neermahal Water Palace
- Can be done as a day trip from Udaipur
- Distance from Agartala: 50 km (1.5 hours)
- How to reach: Take a train from Agartala to Udaipur. From there, you have to take a bus to Melaghar and then ask for Neermahal. You can also get buses from Agartala to Melaghar.
Want to know more about Neermahal? Read about our trip to Neermahal, Tripura.
- Famous for: Archaeological site and Shaivite pilgrimage
- Recommended for night stay at either Dharmanagar or Kailasahar
- Distance from Agartala: 135 km (4.5 hours)
- How to reach: Take a train from Agartala to Dharmanagar or Kumarghat. From there, you have to take a shared jeep or hire a car to Unakoti. You can also take a bus from Agartala to Dharmanagar or Kailasahar.
Read more about our experience at Unakoti in Tripura.
- Famous for: Archaeological site
- Recommended for night stay at Pilak or Udaipur. You can do Pilak as a day trip from Udaipur also.
- Distance from Agartala: 135 km (4.5 hours)
- How to reach: from Agartala or Udaipur, take a train to Jolaibari. From Jolaibari, the historical place is only about 4 km.
- Famous for: Archaeological and historical site
- Recommended for night stay at Udaipur, Tripura
- Distance from Agartala: 93 km (3 hours). Chabimura is 34 km from Udaipur. So you can do a trip to Chabimura while staying at Udaipur. There are no accommodation options at Chabimura, but you can stay at the nearest town Amarpur, 10 km away.
- How to reach: From Agartala or Udaipur, take a local bus to Amarpur. From there, you have to hire a local vehicle like auto or car.
Chabimura is a hidden attraction of Tripura. Know more about Chabimura or Devtamura.
- Famous for: Hill station
- Recommended for night stay
- Distance from Agartala: 200 km (4-5 hours)
Agartala Travel Guide (FAQs Answered)
Q. How to reach Agartala?
Agartala can be reached by air. The city has a small airport named Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport and is connected with direct flights from Kolkata, Guwahati, New Delhi and a few other major cities of India.
You can also reach Agartala by train. There are a number of trains from Howrah (Kolkata), Guwahati, Silchar in Assam to Agartala.
You can also reach Agartala by road. Overnight buses are available from Guwahati and Siliguri to Agartala. It takes almost 24 hours to reach Agartala from Guwahati (587 km). Bangladesh is quite near though. Dhaka is only 150 km and there are regular buses from Dhaka to Agartala taking about 4-5 hours to reach.
Sumos are also available from Silchar to Agartala. It takes about 9-10 hours to reach by shared sumo.
Q. What is the best time to visit Agartala?
The best time to visit Agartala would definitely be the winter months between November to February. The shoulder season October and March is also good. Tripura usually has a warm climate, so summers will be quite hot in Tripura. Winters are pleasant here.
Q. How many days required visiting Agartala?
2 days are sufficient to visit Agartala. In one day, you can visit the attractions in the city and on the other, you can visit Kasba Kali Bari, Sepahijala WLS and Boxanagar.
Q. Are permits required to visit Agartala and Tripura?
No permits or ILP are required for Indians. Foreign visitors also do not require a protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit Tripura provided they have a valid Visa.
A Few more Pictures of Ujjayanta Palace and Agartala
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