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Old 4th May 2010, 21:35   #46
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Did you have any experience or the campus was just a hole for you to perch ?
Actually we were too constrained by lack of time to actually soak in comprehensive information about the places that we had visited. The campus seemed rather too empty. Must have been a semester break sort of thing. I would surely have sought an audience with the Vice Chancellor but for the rather tragic circumstances under which his wife (herself a Professor in the University) had ended her life only a few days ago.

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Tripura Royalty was Burman lineage. Music in the blood.
The Royal family belongs to the one of the local tribes, we were told. All these years I had the impression that SD/RD Burman were Bongs.

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Old 4th May 2010, 21:37   #47
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Very nice travelogue about a not so known state in India. Thank you.
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Old 4th May 2010, 22:25   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
All these years I had the impression that SD/RD Burman were Bongs.
Had they been bongs, their names would have been Sachin Deb Burman and Rahul Deb Burman.

Actually he's the grandson of some tripura king, born in Bangladesh. Hence was proficient in both Bengali and Tripuric. He settled in Kolkata in the pre-independant era. Relinquished his royalty to marry the women he loved. He can be inspiration to many bollywood stories himself!
Sachin Tendulkar is named after SD Burman!
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Old 4th May 2010, 22:39   #49
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SD is supposed to be the greatest musical genious of his times.
A man well ahead of his times.

It was shocker to me also, when I first heard he was from Tripura.

Sad to hear about the fate of the professor.
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Old 4th May 2010, 23:04   #50
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Our second day in Agartala had to be the last day in the city in this trip as it was 16th April and according to the unwritten contract with SIL we had to be on our way back on 17th. There was no point in being over-ambitious with the tourist places to cover and therefore we decided to leave many of those for our next time in Tripura. The Tripura Sundari Temple at Udaypur and the Neer Mahal at Melaghar were in our list outside of Agartala. The Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary would be on the way too.

We were off the Guest House at 8.30. The route was again along NH44. Some 30 odd kms down south we reached Bishramganj where a signboard pointed toward Neer Mahal 25 km to the right. We took the turn to Neer Mahal. The road to Melaghar/Sonamura that we took was somewhat broken as widening work was in progress. Some 2 kilometres before Melaghar there is a T-junction from where a right took us to Melaghar/Neermahal. On the way back we would go straight at the T to reach Udaypur without going back to Bishramganj.

The Neer Mahal (water palace) was built as a summer resting place of the Tripura King and a British construction company had done the construction in 1930-38. The palace on the Rudrasagar lake is accessible by boat. The motorboat we had hired had charges us Rs.150 for a 1 hour trip. The boat ride presented nice views of the palace as well as migratory (?) birds.

Here are some pics.

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Old 4th May 2010, 23:19   #51
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The kingfisher is a prized catch. Man. this place rocks. I have to extend my north east trip plan to tripura as well now.
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Old 5th May 2010, 09:55   #52
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
I have to extend my north east trip plan to tripura as well now.
There is a possibility of an International road trip as well. I have no idea if any privately owned vehicle will be allowed across border but by public transport this route might make sense: Kolkata->Dhaka->Agartala->Karimganj->Sylhet->Dawki->Shillong->Guwahati

I would very much like to explore such a possibility. It might not be a comfortable trip with family and kids though.

There is a bus service between Kolkata and Dhaka and also between Dhaka and Agartala (just 98 km!). The existing road from Karimganj to the border post has recently been upgraded to a National Highway (NH 151) to facilitate border trading with the Sylhet side in Bangladesh. From Sylhet to the picturesqe Dawki (Meghalaya) it is just 40 odd kilometers and transportation is supposedly not a problem. Dawki to Shillong is just 90 km.
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Old 5th May 2010, 10:14   #53
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WOW! tortoiseNhare.

Wonderful scenes - neer, neermahal, neer panchi (bird), neer crop (rice), and, as icing on the cake, greenery abound! a mouth-watering recipe indeed.

Thanks
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Old 5th May 2010, 10:22   #54
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NeerMahal looks very nice. It has lot of bird varietes too, seen herons, storks, ducks, cormorants, kingfishers, egrets etc in your snaps. Keep going

Last edited by jacs : 5th May 2010 at 10:24.
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Old 5th May 2010, 11:23   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
There is a possibility of an International road trip as well. I have no idea if any privately owned vehicle will be allowed across border but by public transport this route might make sense: Kolkata->Dhaka->Agartala->Karimganj->Sylhet->Dawki->Shillong->Guwahati

I would very much like to explore such a possibility. It might not be a comfortable trip with family and kids though.

There is a bus service between Kolkata and Dhaka and also between Dhaka and Agartala (just 98 km!). The existing road from Karimganj to the border post has recently been upgraded to a National Highway (NH 151) to facilitate border trading with the Sylhet side in Bangladesh. From Sylhet to the picturesqe Dawki (Meghalaya) it is just 40 odd kilometers and transportation is supposedly not a problem. Dawki to Shillong is just 90 km.
I am told that taking your own car across Bangladesh is possible, but I have never heard of any Indian car having been permitted. Any one has more positive news on this?
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Old 5th May 2010, 20:13   #56
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Coming out of the water palace we saw more tourists having arrived at the spot and a few vendors opened shops selling bamboo artifacts and coconut water. We had coconut water and the ladies bought some memorabilia. Soon we were on our way to Udaypur, the Tripura Sundari Temple to be precise.

Udaypur houses the headquarters of South Tripura District. It is on NH44 about 55 km from Agartala. From Melaghar one does not have to come back to Bishramganj to catch NH44; there is a narrow but good enough road straight to Udaypur. Like Udaipur in Rajasthan this town is also famous for its lakes.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040753.jpg

The Mata Bari (Tripura Sundari) Temple is about 8 kms further south along NH44. It is one of the 51 most sacred places all over India where Goddess Sati's body parts had supposedly fallen.

We reached Mata Bari at about noon. I was amused to see so many shops selling pedas. Pedas seemed to be a must item to be offered to the Goddess. A good samaritan told us not to buy from just any shop and pointed to one as a recommended one.

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Devotees taking a holy dip in holy water.

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The Tripura Sundari Temple

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Bright sunshine had made the tiled walkway into the temple unbearably hot and the devotees, being allowed inside only on bare feet, were made to feel like cats on hot tin roof. Half of our offering was returned to us as prasad and we had the opportunity of tasting the pedas. Yes, the pedas were of superb quality.

After about an hour there it was time to leave. The sun was merciless and the high humidity had sapped all our energy. We didn't feel like coming out of the air conditioned comfort inside the car any time soon and therefore we decided not to enter the city area of Udaypur. We are now on the way back towards Agartala on that part of NH44 that we had bypassed on the way to Mata Bari from Neermahal. Just one word about the road: WOW!

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It seemed we had entered some dense forest but soon we discovered that those were vast areas of rubber plantation. We later came to know that Tripura produces the second largest quantity of rubber in India (of course a long way behind the leader, Kerala).

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The process of collecting rubber from the wood didn't look pretty.

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Our next stop was at the gates of Sepahijala Wildlife sanctuary. We were not very keen to go in and just then we saw that on Fridays it is closed for visitors.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040776.jpg

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We now had to find a decent place to have lunch; preferably an AC restaurant. But Agartala had to be reached first.
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Old 5th May 2010, 23:20   #57
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Beautiful Sir. Thanks a lot for the wonderful narration and the pictures.

K
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Old 5th May 2010, 23:53   #58
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@skartik2 Thanks a lot for the appreciation.

...

We were at the Agartala City Centre just before 2.30 pm.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040781.jpg

The sun was at its furious best then. The City Centre is state owned property resembling a shopping mall. I parked my car in the parking lot at the ground floor of the building. I asked around to get information about restaurants nearby and then set off on foot. SIL and my wife were aghast to know that they would have to walk in such sweltering heat.

Wifey had an umbrella for some comfort.

To Tripura : A driving experience to remember-p1040783.jpg

On the way, to the left I saw some good looking houses and flats. I was told that those were the official residences of MLAs, Ministers etc. It was amazing to see VIP residences without any elaborate security arrangements. The Chief Minister Mr. Manik Sarkar is known to regularly walk into the market to buy vegetables.

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We managed to find an AC restaurant after a longish walk. Inside I could spot a couple of tourists whom we had met at Neer Mahal earlier in the day. Ordered steamed hilsa and chicken curry and had a good meal.

There are those WW-II exhibits at the traffic point near West Agartala Police Station. The Congress Bhawan is at the opposite end.

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Back at the city centre I was pleasantly surprised to know that no parking fees would have to be paid. We moved toward the area near the govt. circuit house where there were many places of tourist interest.

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First, Rabindra Kanan. Closed, as it was a Friday.

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Next, the Governor's residence. Photography prohibited but managed to take one from a distance.

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And then, the ruins of Malancha Niwas.

From Agartala District Ujjayanta Palace, Kunjaban Palace, Malancha Niwas, Unakoti, Pilak, Tripura Sundari Temple
Quote:
Kunjaban Palace
Kunjaban Palace is at a distance of about 1 km from Ujjayanat Palace. The sub-urban Palace was built by Maharaja Birendra Kishore Maniyka during 1909-1923. Poet Rabindranath Tagore resided in the eastern apartment of this palace during his 7th and last visit to the state in 1926. The southern side of the garden is open for the public and has been named as ‘Rabindra Kanan’.

Malancha Niwas
Malancha Niwas ia a Bungalow adjacent to Kunjaban palace situated on a hillock. The Malancha Niwas earlier was a kaccha house but when the place was constructed, it was given the name of Malancha Niwas.
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Inside the sprawling campus of Malancha Niwas there stood a modern building.

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Without thinking much I had entered that house leaving behind my tired companions who preferred to sit on the lawns in front of the Governor's residence. I took the photograph of this portrait when the caretaker of the house confronted me.

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The house turned out to be private property of the late King Ranjit Bikram Kishore Manikya and I was not supposed to enter without permission. The caretaker, having made his displeasure known, yelled at the person guarding the place outside who had obviously been lax in performing his duty. Before the situation could get any more complicated I beat a hasty retreat.

Then we went to Ujjayanta Palace again. There is a Rs.5 entry fee into the sprawling campus. We heard that the fee included some light and sound show. Because of the ongoing repair work we could not view the palace in its pristine glory. The light and sound show was no more than switching on water fountains and playing tunes from Hindi movies.

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The most important event for the ladies in any trip, shopping, still remained. After some asking around we reached Purbasha a shop for handloom and handicraft run by Tripura Govt.

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The intricate bamboo works fascinated me.

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After some more shopping near the sadar area it was time to reach the TU Guest House for our last night in Agartala.
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Old 6th May 2010, 06:02   #59
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I initially thought all NE states were at an altitude. Then when I looked at the snaps, I got a strange feeling that the place does not look like a hill station. When googled, I realized that the average altitude of the state is 12.8 meters above sea level.

So are no hill stations in the state or folks need to travel to Meghalaya and other places.
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Old 6th May 2010, 06:45   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
I initially thought all NE states were at an altitude. Then when I looked at the snaps, I got a strange feeling that the place does not look like a hill station. When googled, I realized that the average altitude of the state is 12.8 meters above sea level.

So are no hill stations in the state or folks need to travel to Meghalaya and other places.
Haven't you heard about the infamous Assam floods? Some places are supposed to be below mean sea level. There indeed is a hill station in Assam called Haflong which is the headquarters of North Cachar Hill District. It is about 6 hours from Guwahati by train (requires a change to metre gauge at Lumding). Road link exists (NH37->NH36->NH54) but not recommended.

The last few years had seen a lot of violence in the district. Now it is peaceful. I had a good time there on 31st December 2009 & the new years day. The train journey on the MG rail track (in dilapidated coaches) built by the British that passes through numerous tunnels is awesome. Some pics:

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Last edited by tortoiseNhare : 6th May 2010 at 06:46.
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