Saturday, April 15, 2017

Unusual Bas-reliefs at Chobimura & Buddhist sites at Pilak Tripura India

Chobimura Sculptures
Day four at Belonia: We got up pretty early and headed for the Trishna wildlife sanctuary ...however we could not get in as there were no forest guards to open the gates!

After breakfast at the tourist lodge, we headed for a site at Pilak (around 1 hour from Belonia) where Hindu and Buddhist sites have been excavated. These date back to the 9th and 10th century. Some of the carvings are quite unusual and very well-preserved.

The last item on the agenda for day four was Chobimura in Amarpur. I have never seen anything like this before! What a beautiful and scenic place.




One has to take a ride on the Gomati River to see some amazing bas -relief work; beautiful sculptures cut out on the rocky faces on either side of the river! The boat ride was nice (lasted around 40 min) and the sculptures were a treat! If you are planning a trip to Tripura, Chobimura must be in your list.


Pilak-excavation of 8 temple foundations in Thakurani Tila
Pilak-Tripura

Pilak
Shyamsundar mound-path to Monastery

Shyamsundar Mound Pilak, Tripura
Shyamsundar Mound Pilak

Carvings
Carvings Shyamsundar

Chobimura Tripura

Bas-relief art at Chobimura, Amarpur
Close up of the rock-cut Sculptures

Durga-sculpture at Chobimura

Chobimura
Gomati River

You may want to check out our day three at  Sepahijala Wildlife Santuary, Boxanagar, and Neermahal, Tripura.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tripura; Sepahijala Wildlife Santuary, Boxanagar, and Neermahal


Neermahal
Day three in Tripura was a long day; we covered three places and traveled a distance of 151 km. We started very early in the morning. Our first stop was Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, well-known for its famous spectacled langur. Sepahiijala is well-know for migratory birds. The zoo is where we saw the spectacled langur among other animals.

Our next stop was Boxanagar, a lesser known Buddhist site, around 22 km from Sepahijala. This site was excavated around 2003-2004. The well-preserved stupas date back to the 10th Century.

From Boxanagar, we set off to Melaghar which houses the beautiful former Royal palace of Tripura, Neermahal. Neermahal is around 31 km from Boxanagar. We covered this distance in approximately one and a half hours. Built by King Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman, the construction of the palace started in 1930 and it took 8 years to complete the construction. What makes this place special is the location... it is right in the middle of the Rudrasagar Lake. Also known as Lake palace, the only way to reach the palace is by a boat. We enjoyed our short boat ride. The inside of the palace is now completely bare.Would have been nice to see this palace in its grandeur!

It started to get dark by the time we completed touring Neermahal. We headed towards Belonia which is extreme South of Tripura, that is where we were going to halt at night. It took us around 2 and half hours to reach our guest house in Belonia. The guest house was a pleasant surprise. Well-maintained and spacious, it was what we needed at the end of a long day.

Here are some pictures of day three, photos are courtesy Soma Jha.

Leopard Cat Sepahijala Tripura
Jungle Cat Sepahijala


Lion at Sepahijala

Himalayan Black Bear
Rubber plant Sepahijala Tripura

Rubber plantation Sepahijala Tripura
Sepahijala zoo Spectacled Langur

Hoolock Gibbon Sepahijala
Boxanagar-10th Century Buddhist Stupa

Buddhist Stupas Boxanagara
Buddhist Stupas

Neermahal Tripura
Neermahal Summer palace

Neermahal Tripura
Neermahal


Sun set at  Neermahal, Rudrasagar Lake

You may want to check out our day two in Tripura as well
 :

Jampui hills in North Tripura is the highest hill range in the state

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Jampui hills in North Tripura is the highest hill range in the state

Jampui hills, Tripura
In continuation with my trip report on Tripura....at the end of day one, we set off for Jampui hils from Unakoti.

Jampui hills is around 60 km from Unakoti in North Tripura district. Located at an altitude of 3500 ft, it is the highest hill range in Tripura.

We  stayed at a Government run tourist lodge in Jampui hills. The pleasant weather combined with the sylvan surroundings made for a delightful experience at Jampui hills. This hill station had some very cute looking houses; most of the population in Jampui hills is made up of the Mizo community. The houses were very nicely lit up and decorated since Christmas was just around the corner.We missed the Orange festival by a month, we came to know that the best time to visit Jampui hills is in November. 

At the end of day two, we halted in a small town called Kamalasagar after a 265 km drive westwards. We stayed at a Government run Tourist lodge (Comilla).

Kamalasagar is named after an artificial lake which was built in the 15th century by King Dhanya Manikya. This place receives a lot of tourists mainly because of the 450 year old Kali temple (Kasba Kali bari) near the lake. The temple now looks pretty new after renovation and painting; I wish they have restored it as is.

Kamalasagar is also very close to the Bangladesh border, and it hosts an India-Bangaldesh border haat (market) where villagers from both countries buy and sell local products.Unfortunately we could not attend a haat while we were there.
Pretty cottages in hills
Christmas in the air!
Jampui hills-view from the lodge
Tribals of Jampui
Kamalasagar Lake
Kasba Kali bari, Kamalasagar, Tripura

Kasba Kali


Friday, January 13, 2017

Baul song video at the Baul mela 2017 at Jadavpur, Kolkata


My favourite time of the year is here again. The weather is nice and cool, and there is music in the air. I managed to attend the baul mela, in Shaktigarh at Jadavpur Kolkata, last weekend.This two-day event happens every year in the 2nd weekend of January. I try not to miss it if I am in the city.

I am sharing a beautiful baul performance from the baul mela.






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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Unakoti in Tripura, India, is known for its amazing Rock-cut faces dating back to the 11th century

Unakoti, Rock-cut Shiva head
Tripura is one of the states in India that I have never visited, i have been wanting to visit Tripura for a long time because of some of the gems it houses.

Though not as tourist ready as other states, some of the places that we saw are indeed worth visiting. In our short five day trip, we managed to touch all the districts (we did a total of 930 km by road). The roads are quite well-maintained. If you plan to travel to Tripura, d
on't expect elaborate food menus and great hotels.You will get everything, but without frills. The lodges that we stayed in were basic. My favourite was the Belonia tourist lodge in South Tripura district.

On our
 first day, we headed straight to North Tripura towards Unakoti from the airport. We rented a car through an agent in Agartala who also booked the Government run lodges in the various places we visited.We arrived at Unakoti at 3.30 pm after covering a distance of 145 km. We wanted to see Unakoti in broad daylight, and managed to get an hour of daylight to see this amazing place! Because of the hilly terrain and the number of stairs, it may not be convenient for everyone to access all the sculptures, but you can see the main ones from a distance . 

I am posting some pictures from Unakoti (which means one less than a crore in Bengali) which dates back to the 11 century AD.I have never seen anything like this before!  In fact, these rock-cut faces are considered to be the largest in India. The main Siva head is known as the Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava and is around 30 feet high.

Below is the write up about Unakoti from the ASI :




The combination of these massive rock-cut faces, the greenery, hills, and waterfalls made Unakoti a visual delight. I just loved it!


Entry point to Unakoti
The Central Shiva face 
More amazing faces carved out on the hills
Ganesha

Ganesha and other sculptures
Nandi bulls, Shiva's chariot

More faces
Sculptures on the hills
Interesting face
Is this an animal with a human head?
Dancing figures
Durga on the left side of the main Shiva
The surrounding areas


Three faces (Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara ) enshrined as Linga
The main Shiva head  is about 30 feet high! This is how large the rock-cut sculptures are in Unakoti.

Sunset over Unakoti hills