The points of tourist interest in Tripura range from adventure and culture to wildlife and arts and crafts. Such is the kind of diverse travel experience that this place promises. In terms of geography, the state is marked by the presence of five major hill ranges which extend from north to south and then extend southwards till they meet the Chittagong Hill Tract in Bangladesh. The highest peak among the hill ranges in the state is Betlingchhip. The state is also blessed by 10 rivers. Upon arriving in the state for the first time, however, it is the lushness and the greenery all around which immediately catches your attention. Such dense greenery is a gift to the eyes and a treat to the sense.
One of the top tourist attractions in Tripura are its heritage sites. The foremost among these is the Ujjayanta Palace, a gleaming white structure stretched out leisurely in the heart of the city of Agartala. The magnificence of the structure stands as a reminder of its past glory, at a time when it was ruled by illustrious rajas and maharajas. Built by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya in 1901 AD, it impresses the visitor with its floor curved wooden ceilings and exquisitely crafted doors. It was the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore who gave this palace its name.
Equally magnificent in its design and grand in its dimensions is the Neermahal, which means the water palace. It bears a strong resemblance, in terms of design and architecture, to the Jag Niwas Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan. It was built by Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya in 1930 AD to serve as his summer residence. The domes atop the palace tend to lend it the appearance of a fort. A major attraction inside it is the Darbal Hall. The lake adjacent to the palace is visited by a variety of resident as well as migratory birds. There are facilities for boating and water sports, and a boat festival is held in the month of July/August.
Among the top things to do in Tripura, one is visiting its temples. Many of these were built thousands of years back, and are still noted for their traditions. Matabari, or the Tripura Sundari Temple, is an example of this. Built by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya in 1501 AD, it sits on top a hill and is particularly revered as being one of the 51 Peethas or centers of worship and submission. The main deity of the temple is Goddess Tripura Sundari, who is revered as an avatar of Goddess Parvati. The lake behind the temples does much to enhance its beauty. There are tortoises in the lake, and these too, enjoy as much attention and respect as the deities inside the temple. For this reason, perhaps, the temple is also respected as koorma (which means tortoise in the local language) pith. Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm in this temple.
The Chaturdash Devta Temple, or, the Temple of Fourteen Gods, located in Khayerpur, West Tripura, is another popular tourism destination in Tripura. The temple is associated with several legends, one of them from the great Hindu mythological epic, Mahabharata. A special feature of the temple is the statues of the gods which display only the heads rather than the fully body.
Kasba Kali Temple in Sepahijala district is another temple which is great for a religious experience as well as sightseeing. Like so many other temples, this too was built by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya in the 15th century. The presiding deity is that of Goddess Durga who is worshipped in the form of Goddess Kali slaying the demon Mahishasura seated on a buffalo. The temple is famous, among other things, for a large fair which is held in April and attracts hundreds of devotees.
Apart from temples and monuments, the presence of archaeological sites is another reason for visiting Tripura, the most famous of these is at Unakoti, known as the Unakoti Archaeological Site. The landscape here is marked by waterfalls, incredible rock carvings, murals and the amazing waterfall. Scattered over a slope at regular intervals, their beauty is enhanced by the lush greenery surrounding them. Two major attractions here are the gigantic Shiva head and the Ganesha statue. This place also hosts an annual fair known as Ashokastami Mela which draws a large number of pilgrims. Pilak Archaeological Sites are also quite famous. Dating back to the 8th to 9th centuries, they are dotted with both Hindu and Buddhist sculptures. The images of Ganesha, Durga and Surya enjoy dominance. It also hosts the Pilak Festival every year in the month of December. Exploring these ruins can be an enlightening experience, considering that they were built thousands of years back. Ancient ruins are also found at Baxanagar in Sepahijala district. The discovery of these ruins is attributed to the denudation of the forest area. After some research by the Archaeological Survey of India, it was found that it was once home to an ancient Buddhist stupa.
As a wildlife enthusiast, Tripura will not disappoint you, as the state is home to several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. The most famous of these is the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to an impressive variety of flora and fauna. Various kinds of primates can be spotted at this wildlife sanctuary, from capped langur to spectacled monkey. Different kinds of animals found include clouded leopard, jungle fowl, barking deer and wild pig. Other attractions inside the park are the coffee and rubber plantations, which are spread over a large area. Tourists can also enjoy a boat ride or a toy train ride.
Another wildlife sanctuary which is a must visit during your visit to Tripura is the Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary. The primary attraction of this sanctuary is the Indian Bison, also known as the Gaur. In this dense forest resides the endangered ape species called Hoolock Gibbon along with primates like Capped Langur and Golden Langur. Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary located in North Tripura, is famous for its migratory birds while Gomti Wildlife Sanctuary also houses a large number of animals including sambar, barking deer, elephants, serow and wild goat. Two nature parks where you can enjoy the company of nature are Baramura Eco Park and Kalapania Nature Park.
If you enjoy boating, then head over to Dumboor Lake located in the Dhalai district. It is called Dumboor because it resembles the “damboor” of Lord Shiva. During winters, the lake is visited by several varieties of migratory birds. It is also home to around 48 islets. Another prominent tourist attraction is the Saniya Waterfalls in the Dhalkai district. This place affords sweeping views of the Kamalpur Valley from a particular hilltop. No sooner do you come upon a crossing than you meet the waterfall. It is a sight to watch, as the water crashes into the rocks below and its sound reverberates throughout the forest. After enjoying some time at the waterfall, you can explore the tribal lifestyle of the Reang tribes, who are quite famous for their bamboo handicrafts.