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Tripura to house region’s 1st heritage park

- Miniature landmarks and waterscapes coming up at Kunjaban near Agartala

Agartala, Nov. 29: Tripura is coming up with the first heritage park in the Northeast, designed to present the landmarks as well as archaeological, architectural and sculptural sites of the state in miniature form.

Having been at the receiving end for a long time over indifference to the state’s history and heritage, the Left Front government has decided to launch the Heritage Park on the sprawling 10 acres of land in Kunjaban, north of Agartala.

The location is opposite Malancha Niwas, formerly a royal guesthouse that had hosted Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore who was close to the last four kings of Tripura and had visited the state seven times during his lifetime.

“The park is being built at an initial cost of Rs 2-crore for visitors and tourists, with different landmarks, landscapes and waterscapes, archaeological, sculptural and architectural treasures in miniature. This will give visitors an insight into the vastness of the land and understand the attractions,” D.K.Barik, a conservator in the forest department, said.

Work on the park began in September, on the initiative of chief secretary S.K. Panda. “Altogether nine miniature replicas of important landmarks and sites have been built by students of the Art College. Five hill ranges of the state (in miniature) and the sprawling Dumbur lake, Neer Mahal, Ujjayanta Palace and other archaeological and architectural marvels will supplement this. Visitors will be greeted at the gate by the exquisite sculptures carved in the Unakoti hill ra-nges of North Tripura near Kailasahar town,” Barik added.

Unakoti, with its rich sculptural work, is the second largest Shaivite site in the country, next only to Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.

The interior of the park has Ujjayanta Palace, the former abode of the king of Tripura. At present, it is the state museum that had been originally built by King Radha Kishore Manikya (1897-1909) and was inaugurated in 1901.

Significantly, Tagore had lent a helping hand by negotiating a big loan from the British-owned Bangal Bank for the construction.

The spectacular sites of Unakoti and Ujjayanta Palace in miniature is further heightened by a mini reconstruction of the Maata Tripureswari temple, one of the 51 Hindu shaktipeeths built by King Dhanya Kishore Manikya (1490-1520) in 1501 at Udaipur, headquarters of the present Gomati district.

“Neer Mahal, the lone water palace of the Northeast built by King Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya (1923-1947), as a summer resort in the middle of the sprawling Rudra Sagar in Sonamura subdivision in 1930, is also being recreated in the park,” Barik said.

“Most of the important hill-ranges, archaeological sites and even 10 major rivers showing their places of origin and downstream course towards Bangladesh are also being recreated within the park by our artists and engineers.” Barik was hopeful that the park would be inaugurated within the next couple of months.

To a question about the dispute over land where the park is coming up, Barik said royal scion Mata Maharani Bibhu Kumari Debi has filed a case claiming ownership of the land.

“If the Supreme Court rules in her favour the state government will act upon the order. In case a compensation is ordered, we will pay it, but the Heritage Park will remain in its place,” Barik added.