Temples of Tripura
Tripura is a tiny State in India’s north-east. Although full of hills and jungles, this ancient princely State boasts of a rich heritage of rock-cut sculptures of deities dating back to the remote past as also numerous temples and holy shrines. Tripura temples form an important part of tourism at Tripura. Known for their architectural grandeur and sculptures, the temples of Tripura attract thousands of tourists from across the world. Richly endowed with nature’s bounties, Tripura, commonly known in popular parlance as the ‘Queen of Hills’, beckons tourists all through the year.
Sundari Temple is situated in the ancient Udaipur, about 55 km from Agartala, believed to be one of the holiest Hindu shrines in this part of the country. Popularly known as Matabari, crowns in a small hillock and is served by the red-robed priests who traditionally, minister to the mother Goddess Tripura Sundari. Considered to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, consists of a square type sanctum of the typical Bengali hut. It is believed that Sati’s right foot fell here during Lord Shiva’s Nataraj Dance. The temple consist a square type sanctum with a conical dome. It was constructed by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya Debbarma in 1501, there are two identical images of the same deity inside the temple. They are known as Tripura Sundari (5 feet high) and Chhotima (2 feet high) in Tripura. The idol of Maa Kali is worshipped at the temple of Tripura Sundari in the form of ‘Soroshi’. It is believed that the idol of Chhotima was carried by king in battlefield. This temple is also known as Kurma Pitha because the temple premises resembles kurma i.e. tortoise. Every year on Diwali, a famous mela takes place near the temple which is visited by more than two lakh pilgrims. Goddess Parvati is worshipped here as Tripurasundari, Tripureshwari and “Soroshi” (a local variation of the name).
Chaturdasha Temple also called as Fourteen Goddess Temple is situated near old Agartala,and features the Bengal dome patterned after the roofs of village huts in Bengal. The dome is surmounted by a stupa-like structure which reveals traces of Buddhist influence. This temple was built in honour of fourteen Gods and Goddessess, together called the Chaturdasha Devata, by King Krishna Manikya Debbarma of Tripura and these deities are ceremoniously worshipped during Kharchi Puja. The Kokborok names of the fourteen deities are Lampra, Akhatra, Bikhatra, Burasa, Thumnairok, Bonirok, Sangroma, Mwtaikotor, Twima, Songram, Noksumwtai, Mailuma, Khuluma and Swkalmwtai. Near the sacred 14 Goddess Temple during the month of July every year a Kharchi festival is organised and thousands of pilgrims and devotees visit this festival.
Bhubaneswari Temple Now in almost ruins, another famous temple of Goddess Bhubaneswari is still there on the northern bank of the river Gomati at Udaipur. This is the ancient temple which has been immortalised by Rabindranath Tagore in his Bisarjan and Rajarshi, the famous books glorifying the magnanimity of the then pious monarch of Tripura, Maharaj Gobinda Manikya.
Durgabari Temple Another famous temple of Mother Goddess built by the kings of Tripura is situated at Agartala. It is Durgabari Temple. Besides daily worship, Durgapuja and Basantipuja are also performed there with solemnity every year.
Jagannath Mandir Located within the Ujjayanta Palace grounds in Agartala, this temple is dedicated to the Hindu Gods Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. Built in the 19th century by then Maharaja of Tripura, Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya, this temple with an octogonal base has four stories. The temple is adorned with bright orange stepped up Shikharas. The Jagannath Temple, now entrusted to the Shri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, has become all the more popular and attractive now-a-days.
Lakshminarayan Temple The temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Lakshminarayan and is located in the Ujjayanta Palace Ground in the city of Agartala. The temple was constructed by the King of Tripura, Birendra Kishore Manikya.
Uma-Maheswar Mandir, adjacent to the famous Ujjayanta Palace of Agartala is also a serene and peaceful temple built by the Manikya Maharajas. Though the temple is small, it charms all visitors. The Mangal chandi Temple at Amarpur, the ancient capital of Manikya kings, is also worth mentioning. Besides these, numerous Kali temples are there in almost all sub-divisional towns and elsewhere in this State.
Kamalasagar Kali Temple Also known as Kasba Kali Bari, Kamalasagar Kali Temple is located about 27 kilometers from Agartala. Kamalasagar Kali Temple is located in the Bangladesh border and is one of the most popular picnic spots in Tripura. The image of the deity housed at the temple resembles Mahishasurmardini. Situated on the hillock overlooking the Kamala Sagar, Kamalasagar Kali Temple dates back to the 17th century.
A recent but magnificent temple of Mother Bhabatarini, situated at Kumarghat in North Tripura district has by now become one of the attractions of all devotees. About four decades ago a forest officer of the Tripura Government discovered a holy relic of ancient times in the remote interiors of a jungle. Since then this temple has been erected with that relic on a marvellous spot of scenic charm. It is indeed a must for all visitors to the State.
Mata Tripureshwari Temple in Udaipur, headquarter of south Tripura district, is abuzz with pious devotees throughout the year. Built by Tripura’s sixteenth century king Dhanya Manikya (1490-1520) in the year 1501, the temple of ‘Mata Tripureshwari’ is one of the holiest Hindu shrines and one of the fifty one ‘Shakti-peeths’ nestled across the sub-continent. It is no wonder that His Holiness, the Shankaracharya of Sringeri Muth of Tamil Nadu had visited the temple to perform rituals of worship .
Ashrams and maths of different religious sects, with their respective temples and shrines, are also revered by many. The Ramkrishna Ashram temples at Gangail Road and Dhaleswar at Agartala and also at Amtali, delight the hearts of thousands. The Satsanga Ashrams of Thakur Shri Anukul Chandra at Krishnanagar, Agartala, at Rajarbag,Udaipur, at Belonia and many other places give solace and bliss to devotees and visitors alike. The Gorokshanath Temple at Dhaleswar is also a place of devotion. The Bholagiri Ashram and temple, north of Kunjaban, Agartala, the Ram Thakur Ashrams at Banamalipur at Agartala, the Loknath Baba Ashram, the Ajachak Ashram at Amtali,Agartala, the ‘Deendayal Ananda Ashram and the temple of Saptalokeswar Shiva at Camper Bazar ,Agartala, are worth visiting. The smaller and secluded Ramkrishna Ashram temples at Ranir Khamar, Konaban, take the visitors in the realm of peace and inner happiness. The Hari Mandir and Kali Bari mandir of Dharmanagar, the northern -most and second biggest town of Tripura , are also renowned to devotees and pilgrims.
Buddhist and Bahai Temples
Locally called by its popular name, Buddha mandir, the serene, peaceful and beautiful Venuban Vihar, the only temple of Lord Buddha in Tripura, is a unique holy shrine within an easy reach.
Although totally unknown to most of us, it is a fact that more than one Bahai Temple exists in Tripura. Standing no comparison with the famous Lotus Temple of Bahai’s in New Delhi, the temples of this faith in Tripura, one at Dharmanagar and the other at Kunjaban, Agartala, are actually neat meditation halls with no deity or image therein.
(With inputs from Tripura Tourism )