Tripura is one of the seven states in the north eastern part of India located between 22 degree and 56 minutes and 24 degree and 32 minutes north latitude and between 90 degree and 09 minutes and 92 degree and 20 minutes east latitude. It is bounded on the north, west, south and south-east by Bangladesh whereas in the east it has a common boundary with Assam and Mizoram. Click here for maps.There is a common belief that the name of the State has originated from "Tripura Sundari" - the presiding deity of the land which is famous as one of the 51 pethos of Hindu Pilgrims. Apart from this traditional view it is believed that originally the land was known as "Tuipra" meaning a land adjoining the water. It is fact that in days of yore the boundaries of Tripura was extended up to the Bay of Bengal when its rulers held sway from Garo hills to Arakan.The history of Tripura as a administrative unit dates back to the days of Maharajas when the territory was a native State. It is significant to note that all though Tripura was conquered by force of arms in 1761, no Political agents was appointed in the State till 1871 - a gap of 110 years.
The former princely state of Tripura was ruled by Maharajas of Manikya dynasty. It was an independent administrative unit under the Maharaja even during the British rule in India though this independence was qualified, being subject to the recognition of the British, as the paramount power, of each successive ruler.
After independence of India, an agreement of merger of Tripura with the Indian Union was signed by the Regent Maharani on September 9, 1947 and the administration of the state was actually taken over by the Govt. of India on October 15, 1949. Tripura became a Union Territory without legislature with effect from November 1, 1956 and a popular ministry was installed in Tripura on July 1, 1963. On January 21, 1972 Tripura attained statehood. It has excellent opportunity for Tourism. It has many places of interest. Folk Dances of Tripura speak its rich cultural heritage.
Tripura has rich cultural heritage of 19 different tribal communities, Bengali and Manipuri communities. Each community has its own dance forms which are famous in the country. The main folk dances are Hozagiri dance of Reang community, Garia , Jhum, Maimita, Masak Sumani and Lebang boomani dances of Tripuri community, Bizu dance of Chakma community, Cheraw and Welcome dances of Lusai community, Hai-Hak dance of Malsum community, Wangala dance of Garo Community, Sangraiaka, Chimithang, Padisha and abhangma dances of Mog community, Garia dances of Kalai and Jamatia communities, Gajan, Dhamail, Sari and Rabindra dances of Bengali community and Basanta Rash and Pung chalam dances of Manipuri community. Each community has its own traditional musical instruments. The important musical instruments are' Khamb( Drum)', Bamboo flute, 'Lebang,', 'Sarinda', 'Do- Tara', and 'Khengrong', etc.Long and intimate association of Poet Rabindranath Tagore with Tripura has added luster to the rich cultural heritage of the state. The state has produced the famous musicians Sachin Dev Barman and Rahul Dev Barman.
Places of Interest
Tripura Govt. Museum
Buddhist Pilgrimage and Interest Centres in Tripura
Tripura is a tiny state in the North-East of the country. It has extensive international border with Bangladesh and, in fact, 85% of its perimeter is international border with rest being common boundary with Assam and Mizoram to the east. There is a common belief that the name of the state has originated from the presiding deity ‘TRIPURA SUNDARI’. Another theory is that the name of the state was originally ‘TUIPRA’ – meaning a land adjoining water. Once upon a time Tripura extended upto the Bay of Bengal when its ruler held from Garo Hill to Arakan.History of Tripura as an administrative unit back to the days of Maharajas, when the territory was a native state. It was an independent administrative unit under the Maharajas even during British Rule. The agreement of merger was signed by the Regent Maharani on September 9, 1947 while Government of India took over the administration on October 15, 1949. Tripura attained full statehood on January 21, 1972.Out of the total area of 10,491 sq.km. the state has 6,291 sq.km. under forest cover. The location of the state stands in the way of industrial growth in the state. The state is connected with Asssam through a railway track from Kumarghat, which is at a distance of 140 km from the capital town Agartala, while National Highway-44 connects Agartala with Sillong in Meghalaya and Guwahati in Assam. Agartala is connected by air with Calcutta and Guwahati. The state has three more small Airports at Khowai, Kamalpur and Kailasahar, where small-chartered planes can land after prior information.Tripura has a large number of attractive tourist sites including religious sites of Hindu’s and Buddhists. The places of Buddhists interest are described below.
Excellent variety of handicrafts using bamboo and cane are made by different ethnic groups which have earned great name and fame throughout the country. The most famous handicraft products are Room Divider, Decorated wall panels, Attractive furniture of cane , Different decorative pieces using Bamboo roots, Bamboo Dining table mats, Floor mats and various other gift items. Tourist can watch the craft persons at work in different villages and buy handicraft and handloom products from Purbasha, a Govt.of Tripura undertaking Sales Emporium and other private Sales Emporium throughout the state.
Cane & Bamboo Handicrafts
From time immemorial Tripura has carved out a name for itself in the field of Handicrafts. The Gifted artisans produce wonderful objects of crafts from simple material like cane, bamboo & wood. There rare artistic skill has not been streamlined in the manufacture of exquisite household pieces. Tripura's unique topography and the gracious nature bestowed their choicest blessings on the hereditary artisans of Tripura. Here three distinct cultures viz. Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam have converged together to give shape and content to a unique tradition that found eloquent expression through immemorable work of art & crafts made out of very simple materials like cane, bamboo, clay, wood, palm leaf etc. With the passage of time, there has been changes in the demographic character of the state. But in each phase of her history, Tripura has shown remarkable inner strength of assimilation of synthesis, while retaining her own traditional heritage. With the original distinct tribal motifs were added the skills of Manipuri and Bengali artisans who came subsequently to settle in this land. Time has changed and so also the quick adaptability of our gifted artisans who never failed to respond to the demands of contemporary tastes.Cane & Bamboo occupy a distinctive place in the life of Tripura. From cradle to grave, there is hardly any occasion, complete without the use of cane & bamboo.Today the magnificent skill of artisans has been directed to produce of a wide range of more than 200 exquisite products. Presently, about 10,000 skilled artisans are engaged in production of various handicrafts in the state. However, the industry remains largely unorganised. There is a need to organise the industry in order to build up a proper production base capable of responding to the market requirements and to introduce the modern techniques. The state government has already initiated steps in this direction, in view of the vast potential of the industry to grow, both in domestic as well as international markets. The state also welcomes private enterprise in this field.Cane/ Bamboo handicrafts of Tripura are acknowledged to be among the best in the country, due to their beauty, elegance and exquisite designs. A vast range of items are produced, including Furniture, Panels and Partitions, Table Mats & other Mat products , Lamp Shades etc. Tripura handicrafts are also being exported to various countries. For interior decoration Tripura Handicrafts offer a wide range of false ceilings, paneling, plaques, Pot containers(Planters) etc. made of Gossamer thin bamboo mattress. Ornated with wood inlay and cane & bamboo. The household items have blended utility with artistic beauty. Panels and partitions provide another wide range of utility items made out of solid but thinly splitted bamboo pasted on plywood.The THHDC undertakes interior decoration works in hotels, conference rooms, show rooms interiors of different Govt. buildings with there beautiful bamboo & cane materials of Tripura on turnkey basis.Lamp shades made of fine strips of cane & bamboo add distinct touch and glamour to the living room. Exhibiting a rare combination of tradition and talent, there products would brighten up the interiors demonstrating the taste and feeling of the connoisseurs. The supply capacity is much less for the exquisite item.Furniture of Tripura once exclusive to royal palaces continue to have its excellence and exquisite workmanship. For the elegant Drawing Rooms there are Bamboo-Cane, Sofa sets, Garden Chairs, Dinning Chairs, Baby Chairs, Centre & Side Tables, Morah, Apple Morah etc.Baskets knitted out of Cane & Bamboo Strips, offer a whole range of products . Exquisite tray Planters, Fruit Baskets of different shapes, sizes, pattern and designs as a rare combination of art and utility. A wide range of baskets and baskets with divisions are being used for making gift packages with some traditional artistic touches by the consumers.Mat and mat articles, bamboo chatai etc. have good demand in the market. There are different types of roll mats weaved in multicolored designs which are familiar for making door & window screen, and also have various uses for room decoration.Amongst the Mat articles ladies bag, Hand fans, Portfolio bag (for seminar) etc. are the most popular items.On the consoetic table as well, there are quite a number of items to present. Some of those are small framed mirror, Hair Clips, Powder Case, Decorative Trays etc.Bamboo and cane Ornaments are also very intricate and exquisite in nature. Bamboo and cane ornaments are not available in any other part of the country as well as abroad.
The Tripuris constitute the weightiest section of the entire tribal community, representing more than 50% of the total tribal population of the State. The Tripuris live on the slopes of hills in a group of five to fifty families. Their houses in these areas are built of bamboo and raised five to six feet height to save themselves from the dangers of the wild animals. Nowadays a considerable section of this community are living in the plains and erecting houses like the plains' people adopting their methods of cultivation and following them in other aspects of life, such as dress, manners and cosmetics. Tripuri women rear a scarp, called Pachra, which reaches down just below the knee. They weave in their loin-loom a small piece of cloth, which they call 'Risha', and they use this small piece of cloth as their breast garment.
The life and culture of Tripuris revolve around Jhum(shifting) cultivation. When the sowing of seeds at a plot of land selected for Jhum is over by middle of April, they pray to the God 'Garia' for a happy harvest. The celebrations attached to the Garia Puja continue for seven days when they seek to entertain their beloved deity with song and dance.
Lebang Boomani Dance
After the Garia festival is over, the Tripuris have a time to rest awaiting the monsoon. During this period, folks of charming colorful insects called 'Lebang' use to visit hill slopes in search of seeds sewn on it. The annual visit of the insects renders the tribal youths to indulge in merry-making. While the men-folk make a peculiar rhythmic sound with the help of two bamboo chips in their hand, the women folk run tottering the hill slopes to catch hold of these insects called 'Lebang'. The rhythm of the sound made by the bamboo chips attracts the insects from their hiding places and the women in-groups catch them. With the change of time jhuming on hill slopes are gradually diminishing. But the cultural life that developed centering round the jhum delved deep into the society. It still exists in the state's hills and dales as a reminiscence of the life, which the tribal of today cherish in memory, and preserve as treasure. In both the dances Tripuris use the musical instruments like Khamb made of Bamboo, Flute, Sarinda, Lebang made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal. Tripuri women generally put on indigenous ornaments like chain made of silver with coin, Bangle made of silver, ear and nose rings made of bronze. They prefer flower as ornaments.
Next to Tripuris, the Reangs constitute the second biggest group among the tribal population. It is generally believed that this particular community migrated to Tripura from somewhere in the Chittagong hill Tracts in the middle part of the fifteenth century. The Reangs are very disciplined community. The head of the community enjoys the title 'Rai' word is supreme in all matters of internal disputes and hence to be obeyed by all belonging to the said community. They generally avoid normal court for justice. The Reangs are very backward both educationally and economically and, therefore they are still considered to be the primitive group.
While the theme of the dance remains almost to be the same as of other tribes, the dance form of the Reang community is quite different from others. The movement of hands or even the upper part of the body is somewhat restricted, whereas the movement beginning from their waist down to their feet creates a wonderful wave. Standing on an earthen pitcher with a bottle on the head and a lighted lamp on it, when the Reang belle dance twisting rhythmically the lower part of the body, the dance bewilders the onlookers. The Reangs also use the musical Instruments like Khamb, Flute made of bamboo and bamboo cymbal. The Reang women prefer to put on black Pachra and Rea. Reang women put on coins ring, which generally covers their entire upper region. They also put on rings made of coin in their ears. They are fond of fragrant flowers as ornaments to metal things.
People of Chakma Community in Tripura are found normally in the Sub-Divisions of Kailashahar, Amarpur, Sabroom, Udaipur, Belonia and Kanchanpur. They are followers of Buddhism. Although the Chakmas are divided into several groups and sub-sections, no major difference is noticed in the manner and customs indifferent groups. The Chakma chiefs are generally called 'Dewans' and they exercise great authority and influence within the community in all internal matters. The Chakma Women, like all other tribal women are experts in weaving. The Chakmas are very neat and clean in their domestic life.
This popular form of dance is characteristic of the Chakma community. Bizu means 'Chaitra-Sankranti'. 'Chaitra-Sankranti' denotes end of Bengali calendar year. It is during this period when the Chakmas sing and dance to bid good-bye to the year just being ended and welcome the new year. The dance is beautifully orchestrated with the rhythm playing of what is known as 'Khenggarang' and 'Dhukuk' sorts of flutes. The Chakma women are fond of flower, which they often use in their hair. They also use metal ornaments.
Malsum is one of the 12 groups belonging to the Halam community of Tripura. Halam, again, originally hailed from one of the branches of Kukis. It is said that Kukis had lived in Tripura even before the Tripuris came in to conquer the land. Those of the Kukis who had submitted to the Tripura 'Raja' came to be known as Halams. Originally the tribal was divided into 12 sub-groups of 'Dafas' but in course of time these sub-groups have split into sections and new as many as sixteen clans are found to be making up for the whole Halam community. Malsum belongs to one of these 12 groups. The Halams are followers of the 'Saka' cult, but the influence of 'Vaishnavism' is quite marked, particularly, in two sections of the community. They believe in the existence of spirit too. Their worship is solemnized with offerings and sacrifices so that nothing calamitous befalls the community in the form of crop failure or epidemic or any other natural disaster. During the festival, they sit together to settle all internal disputes, try cases or crime and inflict punishment on the offenders which make the Puja a useful social gathering in keeping peace and harmony within the community.
Like other tribal community of this State the social and economic life of the Halam community also revolve around jhum cultivation. At the end of the harvesting season the Malsum traditionally adore Goddess Laxmi. They enjoy this festive occasion for their famous Hai-Hak dance. It is also a community dance with exquisite beauty. Rhythms of the dance reflect the tradition inherited from distant past.
The people of Garo community live in the South and Dhalai District of Tripura. Originally they use to live in Tong Ghar made of bamboo to save themselves from wild animals like the other tribals of Tripura. But now they prefer houses made of mud wall with 'Chan' grass as roof. They are believed to have migrated to Tripura from Garo Hills. The life style of the Garo living in Tripura is almost like the other tribal. The Heads of the community is known as Sangnakma and the priest of the community is known as Kama. They put on the dress as good as that of the Khasis.
After the happy harvest 'Wangala'(1-st rice eating ceremony) is performed in every houses. The Sangnakma, head of the communities visits every house and cuts a pumpkin as a part of worship. This pumpkin is sacrificed on this occasion. After that the women dance to the beat of 'Dama' and 'Aaduri' made of buffalo horn. The dance projects the rehearsal for war.
The Lusai were originally inhabitant of the hills lying with east and north-east of Tripura and also to the adjoining hilly areas. They have settled down on Jampui Hills situated on the North-East boundary of the state under Kanchanpur Sub-Division in North Tripura District. Their number is very insignificant to the total population of the state. Their social life and Customs have been objects of great attraction to others. The principal means of livelihood of the Lusai still remain to be Jhum cultivation. Of course, this can be considered chiefly to the dearth of plain land in the hills. They prefer living in high altitude of the hills.
The Lusai girls are well dressed. They generally wear their colorful cloth. They performed welcome dance whenever any visitor pay visits to their house. This is very colorful dance where young girls of the entire community take part. Their dress is so colorful that the ornaments are not very much required except fragrant flowers.
The Darlongs are the sub-caste of the Lusai community. They live mostly in Kailashahar Sub-Division in North Tripura District. Their main livelihood is cultivation of pineapple, orange and cotton.
The Darlong reposes faith in after life. They believe that man is destined to go to Haven after death. Incidentally, they think that if a pregnant woman dies, she feels it very difficult, with all her physical strains, to track the long journey to Heaven. Hence at the last stage of her pregnancy - in fact just at the time or immediately prior to delivery all her relatives perform this 'Cheraw' dance in-group throughout day and night so as to instill confidence in the mind of that woman. They are firm in their belief that even if the woman dies at this juncture. It will be possible for her to go Heaven with the courage and confidence together with joy gained through the sound of bamboo as the rhythm of the dance produced till her death.
There is a controversy over the origin of the word 'MOG' or 'MOGH'. In a periodical magazine of the Burmese Research Society, this 'word' has been desired to originate from Bengali. But in the model Bengali Dictionary of Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, the origin of this word is 'unknown'. In another Dictionary this word is claimed to have originated from a Burmese word 'Mogh' which is generally used as an epithet before the name of a gentleman. Some others of course referred to the ancient Mogadha Empire for its origination. But it is sad that when the domination of Hindu religion began to thrive in this ancient center of Buddha religion, a branch of Mogadha dynasty left for Chitagong and subsequently settled down in Hill Chitagong. Probably the Word 'Mong' came from 'Mogadhi'(one who hails from Mogadhaor one who is a resident of Mogadha). In English dictionary the words Mog, Mogen, Mouge have been shown as surnames to the inhabitants of Arakan in 15-th and 16-th centuries. Bangalees of course refer to the inhabitants of Arakan as 'Mog'. The people of 'Mog' community claimed to have come from Arakan and settled down in Tripura in 957 A.D. Almost all the people belonging to the Mog community are the followers of Buddhism. Sangrai ( last day of the month of Chaitra, which is the last month of the Bengali Calendar Year) is the occasion of special festival. The people of the Mog community in general and the young boys and girls in particular celebrate the day through cultural programs to invite the new year. Cakes are prepared at every home and denizens move from house to house to take cakes. On this day water is carried through auspicious pitchers and respected persons are allowed to take bath with this water. The young boys and girls indulge in aquatics traditional Khouyang is played on bet. Paste of fragrant sandalwood and water of green coconuts are sprinkled in every house. There is myth and merriment everywhere and in the midst of pomp and grandeur fragrant water is poured on the root of 'Bodhi Briksha'. The festival continues for three days. The youths of Mog community on this auspicious occasion move about from house to another dancing and singing with pious 'wish Yielding Tree'(Kalpataru) on head.
Way (Lamp) Festival
The people of Mog community observe austerity from the full moon of Bengali month of Ashad down to the full moon Bengali month of Ashwin. Generally no auspicious occasion of Ashad down to the full moon of Bengali month of Ashwin. Generally no auspicious occasion like marriage is celebrated during the period. Even the married women do not go to their parents' house during this time. 'Way' festival is celebrated on the day of full moon of the Bengali month of Ashwin. Lamps dedicated to the Lord Buddha are launched on this day. The young boys and girls stand in rows with lamps in hand to worship the Lord Buddha. The youngsters indulge in merriment through songs and dances in the premises of Buddha temple. The traditional dance of the Mog community is known as 'Way Dance' or 'Lamp Dance'.