Ujjayanta Palace, also referred to as Nuyungma, stands as the historic royal residence of the Tripura kingdom. Constructed in 1901 under the patronage of Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya, this magnificent palace holds a significant place in Tripura’s heritage. The name “Ujjayanta” was bestowed upon it by the renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore.
In its earlier years, the palace served as the State Legislative Assembly until 2011. Today, it has been transformed into the State Museum of Tripura, nestled in the capital city of Agartala. This iconic landmark has captured the hearts of travelers, leaving them in awe of its mesmerizing architecture, captivating stories, and meticulously crafted interiors.
Brief History of Ujjayanta Palace
Ujjayanta Palace, an architectural marvel, was built between 1899 and 1901 under the patronage of the esteemed ruler of Tripura, Raja Radha Kishore Manikya. Tripura holds a distinguished place among the ancient princely states of India, and the Manikya Kingdom represents a significant chapter in its history, tracing its origins to the reign of Raja Radha Kishore Manikya.
Originally constructed in 1862, Ujjayanta Palace faced significant damage during a powerful earthquake in 1897. It was subsequently restored in 1899 by Martins and Buns, British architects commissioned for the project.
Following the integration of Tripura into India in 1949, the royal assets were seized, and the main palace structure was acquired by the Tripura government. For a brief period, Ujjayanta Palace remained unoccupied until it was repurposed as the state’s judicial building.
Architectural Marvels of Ujjayanta Palace
Covering an expansive area of around 1 square kilometer (250 acres), the majestic Ujjayanta Palace complex encompasses a range of impressive public spaces, including the throne room, durbar hall, library, and reception hall. Nestled in the heart of Agartala, the palace’s buildings and grounds span a vast expanse of 800 acres (3.2 square kilometers).
The neoclassical architectural marvel was skillfully designed by Sir Alexander Martin from the renowned Martin and Burn Company. Rising to a grandeur of two stories, the palace boasts three magnificent domes, the tallest of which reaches an impressive height of 86 feet (26 meters), perched atop a four-story central tower.
Reflecting a captivating blend of influences, the architecture showcases elements inspired by Mughal, Roman, and British styles. Enhancing the allure of the palace, the surrounding garden features two expansive artificial ponds, complemented by ornamental pools and graceful fountains.
Within the palace walls, an enriching museum awaits visitors, offering a profound insight into the diverse facets of lifestyle, traditions, arts, culture, crafts, customs, and practices of numerous indigenous communities from the northeastern region. The museum within the palace serves as a window into the unique identities and expressions that define the region’s diverse groups, providing an educational and enlightening experience for all who venture within.
To facilitate the visitors to this magnificent palace, the Tripura Department of Tourism arranges various excursion trips to Ujjayanta Palace. Positioned adjacent to a serene lake, the palace is adorned by an enchanting garden, a testament to its historical roots shaped by the Mughals. Spanning an impressive area of approximately twenty-eight hectares, the palace stands proudly amidst sprawling grasslands, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its regal ambiance.
Festivals and Cultural Significance
Ujjayanta Palace holds immense cultural significance and hosts various festivals throughout the year. Many state festivals are organized annually to showcase the vibrant folk traditions of the state, including music, dance, and crafts. The palace becomes a hub of cultural celebrations during auspicious occasions, such as Durga Puja and Diwali, when it is adorned with stunning lighting and decorations.
How to Get there
Ujjayanta Palace is situated in the heart of the state capital of Agartala. The ideal time to visit Agartala is during the winter months of October to February. The city’s natural beauty is at its best during this season as the temperature drops. Tourists flock to the area during this time to experience the rich culture of the state.
The city is well-connected to the rest of the country via National Highway 44, which connects it to Assam. National Highways 44 and 44A also connect the city to Silchar, Guwahati, and Shillong. Private taxis and buses, including a bus service to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, are available.
Agartala Railway Station is about 5.5 km from the city. To reach Agartala by train, one must first take a broad gauge train from Guwahati to Lumding, then an overnight express to Agartala. Another alternative route is to take a direct train from Silchar in South Assam.
Agartala has a fully-functional airport at Singerbhil, located 12 km from the city. The airport is well-connected by major national airlines to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore via Guwahati, and Kolkata. Taxis and auto-rickshaws are readily available at the airport, and it takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the city.
Ujjayanta Palace stands as a symbol of Tripura’s glorious past and offers a glimpse into the lives of its erstwhile rulers. With its rich history, architectural marvels, and cultural significance, the palace continues to enthrall visitors from around the world. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture aficionado, or a traveler seeking to immerse yourself in royal opulence, Ujjayanta Palace is a destination that should not be missed. Plan your visit and embark on an unforgettable journey into the regal heritage of Tripura.