Tripura is one of India's Northeastern states. It is bordered by Bangladesh in the south, west, and north, Assam in the northeast, and Mizoram in the east. It is one of the regions least explored by foreign tourists, but offers immense natural beauty and an intriguing cultural heritage. Tripura is one of three Indian states ruled by communists, making their presence felt with murals and flags in many places.
- Unakoti — Historic site containing large and mysterious yet fascinating rock-cut and stone sculptures of Hindu deity Shiva
Tripura belongs to the politically volatile North-Eastern region of India. As in neighbouring states, ethnic and communal strife has claimed many lives over the past years. The current ethnic setup in Tripura is a consequence of the partition of India, when large groups of Bengali Hindus left the area that became East Pakistan (today Bangladesh). The previous majority population, the tribals, became a minority and socio-economically disadvantaged in comparison to the new majority.
Two major tribal rebel groups operate in the state, the National Liberation Front of Tripura and the All Tripura Tiger Force, which want Tripura to secede from India. There has been no known account of any violence against tourists in the state, nor any indication that tourists would be a target of violent groups. On the other hand, there are only a few foreign tourists reaching the state at all.
The main language in the state is Bengali. The largest language of the tribal population (approx 30% of the population of the state) is Kok Borok. Other languages include Manipuri, Chakma, etc. Hindi is very rarely used in the state, but is widely understood and spoken if necessary.
Recently, train services have been introduced in the capital and an express train runs daily between Agartala and Lumding, which enhances travelling in this princely state. As there is heavy rush, tickets should be booked well in advance.
Daily train service is also available from Agartala to Silchar and Lumding (Assam) and Dharmanagar (Tripura).
Buses run by CNG and diesel are the main transport between towns of the state. At Agartala, city buses are available in a regular interval. A small group can hire an autorickshaw, run by CNG, for getting around the city. If time is more of an issue than money, one can hire a vehicle with driver. Do note that road conditions might be bad in rainy seasons, even by Indian standards. On some legs, vehicles travel in military convoys, moving extremely slowly through the countryside, especially on the National Highway which connects Agartala with Assam. Some rural areas are not safe to travel to or through after sundown.
The fastest way to travel internally in Tripura is a helicopter service that connects Agartala with the northern parts of the state.
- Akhaura Border, Agartala (Main City)
- Bhubaneswari Temple, Udaipur (Approx 60 km)
- Jampui Hills, North Tripura (Approx 200 km)
- Kamalasagar, Kashba (Approx 40 km)
- Maata Bari temple, Udaipur (Approx 60 km)
- Maharaja Bir Bikram College, Agartala (Main City)
- Malanchya Nivas, Agartala (Main City)
- Neermahal Palace, Melagarh (Approx 50 km)
- Pilak, South Tripura (Approx 100 km)
- Rose Valley Park, Agartala (Outskirt of the city)
- Temple of Fourteen Gods, Old Agartala (Approx 15 km)
- Ujjanta Palace, Agartala (Main City)
- Unakoti, Kailasahar (Approx 150 km)
Typical Bengali cuisine includes rice, fish, meat and dal (pulse). Bengali sweets are also commonly available here. Some unique dishes of tribal people are also popular among the non-tribals and tourists. One of the typical tribal dishes is godok a must-try pork dish. The major ingredients of Tripuri cuisine include pork, chicken, mutton, turtle, fish, prawns, crabs and frogs.
Drinking of wine is banned in open. No bar is available at present. Beware of pirated alcohols, available in plenty. On the other hand, soft drinks of eminent brands are available in almost all shops.
Most local people are quite honest and helpful, but beware of auto drivers charging more than normal rates, especially from Agartala Airport specifically to non-locals . For short journeys, always take three-wheeler rickshaws: they are convenient and easily available anywhere.
There are three ways to get out from here. Firstly, one can opt for air transport; regular flights are available for Kolkata, Guwahati and some other parts of India. One can also opt for rail transport, though rails never run in this route on time. The state is connected with Assam through Meter Gauge Railway. If someone plans to visit Bangladesh, one can opt for road transport: state-run TRTC service is available for visiting Bangladesh, which is cheaper and reliable. From Dhaka, link bus service is also available for going to Kolkata. Only advance tickets are available in this route and the traveller requires a valid visa for this route (Kolkata via Dhaka).
For Bangladeshi visas, there is a Bangladeshi consulate in Agartala which runs a same day visa service; however, depending on the mood of the visa officer, the price of a tourist visa to Bangladesh may mysteriously rise and the length of your stay in Bangladesh also depends on this factor. Make sure you have a good idea of what you want to see in Bangladesh as this will usually enable you to be granted a longer stay.