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In the City of 14 Gods, Agartala

In between the journey of life, one has to squeeze moments for life.
I was travelling to Tripura, which is a hilly state in northeast India and Agartala, the capital of Tripura and is the second largest city in North-east India after Guwahati. That’s all I knew about Agartala, when I landed one late evening in Agartala. At the back of mind was the feeling that Tripura is a beautiful state so was expecting some free time to go around the city as well.
As the lady luck got benevolent on this poor fellow, I got half a day for myself and an extra 30 minutes as lunch went for a vacation. Got guided by my new friends to visit Temple of 14 Gods, known as Chaturdasha Temple, around 8 km. from Agartala. 
I hired an Auto quickly and reached the sacred “Temple of 14 Gods”, the deity temple of royal family of Tripura and was built by King Krishna Manikya Debbarma around the year 1760. All 14 presiding deities of this temple have been continually worshipped by the royal family of Tripura since times immemorial. Tradition of worshipping all of the Gods together has been a practice and has been delegated to coming generations.

This temple captures the soul of influence of nature on lifestyle of people of Tripura and no surprise, Tripura is also known as the Country of Fourteen Gods and Goddesses. Only Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Goddess Durga are worshipped all throughout the year, while other 11 Gods are worshipped during weeklong Kharchi Puja festival, around July. No worries, you can pray to the beautifully statues:

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The deities worshipped here are Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, Kartikeya, Saraswati, Ganesha, Samudra, Prithvi, Agni, Ganga, Himadri and Kamadeva. In Tripura they are known as Burasa, Lampra, Bikhatra, Akhatra, Thumnairok, Sangroma, Bonirok, Twima, Songram, Mwtaikotor, Mailuma, Noksumwtai, Swkalmwtai and Khuluma in Kokborok. The idols are made of alloy except idol of Lord Shiva, which is made of silver.

Nice ambience, lovely architecture, huge pond in the front, green lawns and slow trickling rains, perhaps that is the reason why 14 Gods have blessed this temple to be their abode.

During the Kharchi Puja festival, people from the neighbouring states come in large numbers to pray for peace, happiness and prosperity. During the festival, no ploughing, furrowing or tending to the soil is done, in order to give soil, the time to cleanse. Festival is reflection of life of Tripura people.
After spending round 30 minutes, I started for Ujjayanta Palace. This huge white structure was built in 1901 by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya. At first glance it looked like a sibling of Victoria memorial.

Ujjayanta Palace greets you with fountain styled gardens, not just gardens, huge gardens. The Ujjayanta Palace used to be ressidence of the Kingdom of Tripura, and is now a museum. Entire Agrtala city is located around this landmark. It houses the Tripura Government Museum, where displays include 9th-century sculptures. There is no aspect of Tripura which has not been touched in this museum. Likewise this tribal's life caricatures:


Time was limited but have to say that this museum is an encycloepaedia on Tripua and nearby states culture, heritage, believes and way of life. Initially anticipated around 30 minutes in the museum, I ended up here for more than 90 minutes. Walking around At this museum I was able to see the statues of 14 Gods together.
A section on Rabindranath Tagore:

Check out some panoramic views of the Palace:

At the main entrance of Ujjaynta Palace is a small, but very beautiful Laxmi Narayan Temple.

Suddenly realized, watch was about to strike 5:00 PM and I was supposed to be at Agartala - Akhaura check post, about 6 km. from Agartala to be a part of flag lowering ceremony. Bangladesh is on the other side of the check post. This border check post is the 2nd largest trade channel between India and Bangladesh.

The check post is also a sought after destination for tourists who come here to see the flag lowering ceremony which is held daily @ 5:30 PM. The ceremony involves security personnel of both countries.
Valour of our soldiers is captured in this one liner,
"उस देश की सरहद को कोई छू नहीं सकता, जिस देश की सरहद की निगहबान है आंखे"
And as soon as our soldiers move for flog lowering only one voice is heard, वन्देमातरम।

There is a small stall at the check post serving delicious Jalebis and Samosas. Almost did my dinner as well in exchange of 30 more minutes of roaming around the Agartala streets.
Agartala is famous for its temples, palaces, rich flora and fauna, waterfalls, rich history of the Manikya kings and is also noted for its bamboo handicrafts, and local hand-woven shawls and textiles.
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