Ujjayanta Palace

Agartala, Tripura

#Historical and Heritage


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The Ujjayanta Palace is a museum and former royal palace of Tripura (princely state) situated in Agartala, the capital of the Indian state of Tripura. The palace was constructed between 1899 and 1901 by the Tripura king, Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya, and stands on the banks of a small lake surrounded by Mughal gardens.

It was the home of the ruling Manikya dynasty until the Tripura`s accession to India in October 1949. The palace was purchased from the royal family by the Tripura government in 1972-73 for Rs. 2.5 million, and was used to house the state legislative assembly until July 2011. Ujjayanta Palace is now a state museum and it showcases the lifestyle, arts, culture, tradition and utility crafts of communities residing in northeast India.

The name 'Ujjayanta Palace' was given by Rabindranath Tagore, the first Asian Nobel Prize winner.

 

Tripura claims to be one of the oldest princely states of ancient India. The royal line of Tripura began during the reign of Maharaja Maha Manikya, who was crowned in 1400 AD, and was the first ruler under the royal title of Manikya. Ujjayanta Palace was built in 1862, 10 km (6 mi) away from Agartala, by King Ishan Chandra Manikya (1849-1862). It was devastated by the Assam earthquake of 12 June 1897. The palace was rebuilt in the heart of Agartala city by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya in 1899–1901, at a cost of 10 lakh (1 million) rupees.

 

Design

The Ujjayanta Palace compound covers an area of approximately 1 km2 (250 acres) and includes public rooms such as the throne room, durbar hall, library and reception hall. The buildings and grounds cover 800 acres (3.2 km2) in the heart of Agartala. The neoclassical palace was designed by Sir Alexander Martin of Martin Burn Company. The Chinese Room is particularly notable, the ceiling of which was crafted by artisans brought from China. The two-storied palace has three large domes, the largest of which is 86 ft (26 m) high, and which rests atop a four-storied central tower. The architecture shows a mix of influences: Mughal, Roman and British The palace has tiled floors and carved front doors. A newer attraction is the musical fountain installed in front of the main entrance. The grounds are laid out as formal Mughal gardens adorned with fountains. There are two large artificial ponds on either side of the garden which is decorated with pools and fountains.

Several Hindu temples occupy plots adjacent to Ujjayanta Palace, dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan, Uma-Maheshwari, Kali and Jagannath.

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