Tripura The third-smallest state in the country, it covers 10,491 km2 (4,051 sq mi) and is bordered by Bangladesh to the north, south, and west, and the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram to the east. In 2011 the state had 3,671,032 residents, constituting 0.3% of the country’s population.
The area of modern ‘Tripura’ was ruled for several centuries by the Tripuri dynasty. It was the independent princely state of the Tripuri Kingdom under the protectorate of the British Empire which was known as Hill Tippera while the area annexed and ruled directly by British India was known as Tippera District (present Comilla District). The independent Tripuri Kingdom (or Hill Tippera) joined the newly independent India in 1949. Ethnic strife between the indigenous Tripuri people and the migrant Bengali population due to large influx of Bengali Hindu refugees and settlers from Bangladesh led to tension and scattered violence since its integration into the country of India, but the establishment of an autonomous tribal administrative agency and other strategies have led to peace.
Tripura lies in a geographically disadvantageous location in India, as only one major highway, the National Highway 8, connects it with the rest of the country. Five mountain ranges—Baramura, Atharamura, Longtharai, Shakhan and Jampui Hills—run north to south, with intervening valleys; Agartala, the capital, is located on a plain to the west. The state has a tropical savanna climate, and receives seasonal heavy rains from the south west monsoon. Forests cover more than half of the area, in which bamboo and cane tracts are common. Tripura has the highest number of primate species found in any Indian state. Due to its geographical isolation, economic progress in the state is hindered. Poverty and unemployment continue to plague Tripura, which has a limited infrastructure. Most residents are involved in agriculture and allied activities, although the service sector is the largest contributor to the state’s gross domestic product.
Mainstream Indian cultural elements coexist with traditional practices of the ethnic groups, such as various dances to celebrate religious occasions, weddings and festivities; the use of locally crafted musical instruments and clothes; and the worship of regional deities. The sculptures at the archaeological sites Unokoti, Pilak and Devtamura provide historical evidence of artistic fusion between organised and tribal religions. The Ujjayanta Palace in Agartala was the former royal abode of the Tripuri king.
Although there is no evidence of lower or middle Paleolithic settlements in Tripura, Upper Paleolithic tools made of fossil wood have been found in the Haora and Khowai valleys. The Indian epic, the Mahabharata; ancient religious texts, the Puranas; and the Edicts of Ashoka – stone pillar inscriptions of the emperor Ashoka dating from the third century BCE – all mention Tripura. An ancient name of Tripura is Kirat Desh (English: “The land of Kirat”), probably referring to the Kirata Kingdoms or the more generic term Kirata. However, it is unclear whether the extent of modern Tripura is coterminous with Kirat Desh. The region was under the rule of the Twipra Kingdom for centuries, although when this dates from is not documented. The Rajmala, a chronicle of Tripuri kings which was first written in the 15th century, provides a list of 179 kings, from antiquity up to Krishna Kishore Manikya (1830–1850), but the reliability of the Rajmala has been doubted.
The boundaries of the kingdom changed over the centuries. At various times, the borders reached south to the jungles of the Sundarbans on the Bay of Bengal; east to Burma; and north to the boundary of the Kamrupa kingdom in Assam. There were several Muslim invasions of the region from the 13th century onward, which culminated in Mughal dominance of the plains of the kingdom in 1733, although their rule never extended to the hill regions. The Mughals had influence over the appointment of the Tripuri kings.
Tripura became a princely state during British rule in India. The kings had an estate in British India, known as Tippera district or Chakla Roshnabad (now the Comilla district of Bangladesh), in addition to the independent area known as Hill Tippera, the present-day state. Udaipur, in the south of Tripura, was the capital of the kingdom, until the king Krishna Manikya moved the capital to Old Agartala in the 18th century. It was moved to the new city of Agartala in the 19th century. Bir Chandra Manikya (1862–1896) modelled his administration on the pattern of British India, and enacted reforms including the formation of Agartala Municipal Corporation.
Following the independence of India in 1947, Tippera district – the estate in the plains of British India – became a part of East Pakistan, and Hill Tippera remained under a regency council until 1949. The Maharani Regent of Tripura signed the Tripura Merger Agreement on 9 September 1949, as a result of which Tripura became a Part C state of India. It became a Union Territory, without a legislature, in November 1956 and an elected ministry was installed in July 1963. The geographic partition that coincided with the independence of India resulted in major economic and infrastructural setbacks for the state, as road transport between the state and the major cities of India had to follow a more circuitous route. The road distance between Kolkata and Agartala before the partition was less than 350 km (220 mi), and increased to 1,700 km (1,100 mi), as the route now avoided East Pakistan. The geo-political isolation was aggravated by an absence of rail transport.
Some parts of the state were shelled by the Pakistan Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Following the war, the Indian government reorganized the North East region to ensure effective control of the international borders – three new states came into existence on 21 January 1972: Meghalaya, Manipur, and Tripura. Since the partition of India, many Hindu Bengalis have migrated to Tripura as refugees from East Pakistan; settlement by Hindu Bengalis increased at the time of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Hindu Bengalis migrated to Tripura after 1949 to escape religious persecution in Muslim majority East Pakistan. Before independence, most of the population was indigenous;. Ethnic strife between the Tripuri tribe and the predominantly immigrant Bengali community led to scattered violence, and an insurgency spanning decades. This gradually abated following the establishment of a tribal autonomous district council and the use of strategic counter-insurgency operations, aided by the overall socio-economic progress of the state. Tripura remains peaceful, as of 2016.
Green imperial pigeon is the state bird of tripura. Like most of the Indian subcontinent, Tripura lies within the Indomalaya ecozone . According to the Biogeographic classification of India, the state is in the “North-East” biogeographic zone. In 2011 forests covered 57.73 per cent of the state. Tripura hosts three different types of ecosystems: mountain, forest and freshwater. The evergreen forests on the hill slopes and the sandy river banks are dominated by species such as Dipterocarpus, Artocarpus, Amoora, Elaeocarpus, Syzygium and Eugenia. Two types of moist deciduous forests comprise majority of the vegetation: moist deciduous mixed forest and Sal (Shorea robusta)-predominant forest. The interspersion of bamboo and cane forests with deciduous and evergreen flora is a peculiarity of Tripura’s vegetation. Grasslands and swamps are also present, particularly in the plains. Herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees such as Albizia, Barringtonia, Lagerstroemia and Macarangaflourish in the swamps of Tripura. Shrubs and grasses include Schumanniunthus sichotoma (shitalpati), Phragmatis and Saccharum (sugarcane).
According to a survey in 1989–90, Tripura hosts 90 land mammal species from 65 genera and 10 orders, including such species as elephant (Elephas maximus), bear (Melursus ursinus), binturong (Arctictis binturong), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), porcupine (Artherurus asamenthas), barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), sambar (Cervus unicolor), wild boar (Sus scrofa), gaur (Bos qouras), leopard (Panthera pardus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and many species of small cats and primates. Out of 15 free ranging primates of India, seven are found in Tripura; this is the highest number of primate species found in any Indian state. The wild buffalo (Bubalees Arnee) is extinct now. There are nearly 300 species of birds in the state.
Wildlife sanctuaries of the state are Sipahijola, Gumti, Rowa and Trishna wildlife sanctuaries. National parks of the state are Clouded Leopard National Park and Rajbari National Park. These protected areas cover a total of 566.93 km2 (218.89 sq mi). Gumti is also an Important Bird Area. In winter, thousands of migratory waterfowl The diverse ethno-linguistic groups of Tripura have given rise to a composite culture. The dominant ethnic groups are Bengali, Tripuri (Debbarma, Tripura, Jamatia, Reang, Noatia, Koloi, Murasingh, Chakma, Halam, Garo, Kuki, Mizo, Uchoi, Dhamai, Roaza, Mogh, Manipuri, and other tribal groups such as Munda,Oraon and Santhal who migrated in Tripura as a tea labourers. Bengali people represent the largest ethno-linguist community of the state. Bengali culture, as a result, is the main indigenous, non-Tripura culture. Indeed, many elite tribal families which reside in towns have actively embraced Bengali culture and language in the past, but in today’s generation more Tripuris are embracing their culture. The Tripuri kings were great patrons of Bengali culture, especially literature; Bengali language was the language of the court. Elements of Bengali culture, such as Bengali literature, Bengali music, and Bengali cuisine are widespread, particularly in the urban areas of the state.
Tripura is noted for bamboo and cane handicrafts. Bamboo, wood and cane are used to create an array of furniture, utensils, hand-held fans, replicas, mats, baskets, idols and interior decoration materials. Music and dance are integral to the culture of the state. Some local musical instruments are the sarinda, chongpreng (both string instruments), and sumui (a type of flute). Each indigenous community has its own repertoire of songs and dances performed during weddings, religious occasions, and other festivities. The Tripuri and Jamatia people perform goria dance during the Gorija Puja. Jhum dance (also called tangbiti dance), Lebang Dance, Mamita Dance, and mosak sulmani dance are other Tripuri dance forms. Reang community, the second largest scheduled tribe of the state, is noted for its hojagiri dance that is performed by young girls balanced on earthen pitchers. Bizhu dance is performed by the Chakmas during the Bizhu festival (the last day of the month of Chaitra in Hindu calendar). Other dance forms include Wangala dance of the Garo people, hai-hak dance of the Halam branch of Kuki people, and sangrai dance and owa dance of the Mog. Alongside such traditional music, mainstream Indian musical elements such as Indian classical music and dance, Rabindra Sangeet are also practised. Sachin Dev Burman, a member of the royal family, was a maestro in the filmi genre of Indian music.
Durga Puja is the major festival of Tripura.
Hindus believe that Tripureshwari is the patron goddess of Tripura and an aspect of Shakti. Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Dolyatra, Ashokastami and the worship of the Chaturdasha deities are important festivals in the state. Some festivals represent confluence of different regional traditions, such as Ganga puja, Garia puja, Kharchi puja and Ker puja. Unakoti, Pilak and Devtamura are historic sites where large collections of stone carvings and rock sculptures are noted. Like Neermahal is a cultural Water Palace of this state. Sculptures are evidence of the presence of Buddhist and Brahmanical orders for centuries, and represent a rare artistic fusion of traditional organized religions and tribal influence. The State Museum in the Ujjayanta Palace in Agartala has impressive galleries that depict the history and culture of Tripura through pictures, videos and other installations.
Within its small geographical area, Tripura offers plenty of attractions for the tourists in the form of magnificent palaces ( Ujjayanta Palace and Kunjaban Palace at Agartala and Neermahal – Lake Palace at Melaghar ), splendid rock-cut carvings and stone images ( Unakoti near Kailashahar, Debtamura near Amarpur and Pilak in Belonia Sub-divisions ), important temples of Hindus and Buddhists including the famous Mata Tripureswari temple ( one of the 51 Pithasthans as per Hindu mythology ) at Udaipur, vast natural as well as artificial lakes namely Dumboor lake in Gandacherra subdivision, Rudrasagar at Melaghar, Amarsagar, Jagannath Dighi, Kalyan Sagar, etc. at Udaipur, the beautiful hill station of Jampui hill bordering Mizoram, wild life sanctuaries at Sepahijala, Gumti, Rowa and Trishna, eco parks created by forest department at Manu, Baramura, Ambassa and rich cultural heritage of Tribals, Bengalis and Manipuri communities residing in the state. The main attractions in Agartala are Ujjayanta Palace, State Museum, Heritage Park, Tribal Museum, Sukanta Academy, M.B.B. College, Laxminarayan Temple, Uma Maheswar Temple, Jagannath Temple, Benuban Bihar, Gedu Mian Mosque, Malancha Niwas, Rabindra Kanan, Purbasha, Handicrafts Designing Centre, Fourteen Goddess Temple, Portuguese Church etc.
Places of Interests—
Agartala , Unokoti , Badamuda , Tripureswari Temple , Kasba , Udaypur etc.
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