A fantastic and mysterious collection of sculptures beckon in Tripura. Home to the largest bas relief sculptures in India, Unakoti is famous for its massive stone and rock-cut sculptures that have been carved out from the hillside. It is immediately apparent that these carvings were made by extremely skilled artisans. Unakoti literally means ‘One Less Than A Crore’. According to Hindu mythology Lord Shiva once spent a night here en route to Kashi. He was accompanied by 99,99,999 gods and goddesses. He had asked his followers to wake up before sunrise and make their way towards Kashi. Unfortunately, none awoke, except for Lord Shiva himself. Before he set out for Kashi alone, he put a curse on the others turning them to stone. And that’s how the site got its name.
Among the rock cut carvings, the central Shiva head and gigantic Ganesha figures deserve special mention. The central Shiva head known as ‘Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava’ is about 30 feet high including an embroidered head-dress which itself is 10 feet high. On each side of the head-dress of the central Shiva, there are two full size female figures – one of Durga standing on a lion and another female figure on the other side. In addition three enormous images of Nandi Bull are found half buried in the ground. There are various other stone as well as rock cut images at Unakoti.
Far from the country’s popular tourist circuits, the third smallest Indian state may not have a well-developed infrastructure for travellers but its cultural charm and welcoming locals make up for what it lacks in cold concrete. For the adventurous few that venture here, Tripura reveals itself to be a diamond in the rough, a true Indian jewel.
How to reach:
By Rail: Kumarghat Railway Station is approximately 20 kilometres from Unakoti. It has trains arriving from Agartala and Lumding. Lumding is well-connected via rail to West Bengal, Assam, Nagaland, New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. From the railhead, it takes 30 to 40 minutes to reach the site by car.
By Air: Tourists can take helicopter services from Agartala and Kailashahar to reach Unakoti with ease.
By Road: Buses from nearby cities can be boarded to reach Unakoti.
By- Monalisa Gogoi