Tripura’s old capital, the ‘Puran Haveli’ to get a new look with tourism dept’s initiative  

By Jayanta Bhattacharya

Agartala, May 21: Nestled at eight KM away from here, Tripura’s old capital, ‘Puran Haveli’, set up in the year 1760 is going to have a new look as the Government has taken initiative to refurbish the historical site to attract tourists.

The acclaimed Chaturdash Devata temple, considered as a famous pilgrimage was built by King Krishna Manikya Debbarma who was the ruler of Tripura at that time is also located in the old capital complex area.

“Thousands of Hindu devotees throng the place from the state, neighbouring Assam and Bangladesh to offer pujas and participate in the seven-day long ‘Kharchi Mela’ held  in the months of June-July. State government will obtain a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and part of this will be utilized for renovation of the old capital and Chaturdash Devta temple which is a historical site”, state minister for tourism, Sushanta Chowdhury said.

He said the government has taken a major initiative to renovate and upgrade tourists’ sites and facilities in the state for generation of more revenues by attracting more tourists to the state.

As part of this the minister, accompanied by local MLA Ratan Chakraborty and senior officials visited the site of the historic Chaturdash Devta temple in Puratan Agartalaon Tuesday last and held a high level meeting there with the officials and the elected members of the area to give a final shape to the plan.

Later the minister said the temple and the old capital complex area will be given a new look with financial help from Asian Development Bank.

It was way back in the year 1760 that the then princely capital of Tripura had been shifted from Udaipur to Puratan Agartala before it was shifted to present Agartala in the year 1838.

But the relic of the old palace in Puratan Agartala is still there but there is no effort to recover and retrofit it to make it visible and enjoyable, said Uttam Kumar Pal, the Executive Engineer of the department.

The state government has decided to refurbish the Chaturdash Devata Bari Mandir and the adjoining areas to facilitate the devotees who come to offer puja and at the same time make the century-old temple a major attraction to the domestic as well as international tourists, he said.

He said, a museum which hosts tribal culture would be renovated and a park in proximity would be further developed.

“There is a swimming pool, an open air theatre and a guest house in the old capital complex, but these are in bad shape which needs to be reconstructed”, Pal said.

He also said that the priests of the Chaturdash Devata temple also stay in the temple premises, but their houses are in dilapidated condition, so priests' accommodation would be rebuilt.

The temple was built by King Krishna Manikya Debbarma who was the ruler of Tripura at that time.

The fourteen deities worshipped at the Chaturdasha temple in Tripura are Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, Kartikeya, Saraswati, Ganesha, Samudra, Prithvi, Agni, Ganga, Himadri and Kamadeva respectively.

“These deities and the Gods represented here have completely influenced the people of this state which is called the Country of Fourteen Gods and Goddesses. People from the neighboring states also come here in large numbers every year to pray for peace, happiness and prosperity”, said Panna Lal Roy, a writer, who studied ancient culture and history of the state.

The city of Udaipur, now in Gomati district, about 60 KM from here had fallen to Muslim invaders under the command of Samser Gaji. The Muslim invaders occupied the city, and the Tripuri king had to shift his capital to Agartala on the banks of the river Haora, Roy said.

“It is said that when King Krishna Manikya Debbarma set up a new capital at Agartala after leaving his original capital Udaipur behind, the gods and goddesses also wanted to leave the place and come with him to his new adobe. The king took their request to heart and brought them to Agartala and installed them at the newly built temple”, he added.

Pal said, the old palace would be restored and retrofitted and the entire area would be given a new look for which about Rs. 20 crore was earmarked.