Many of us might have individually witnessed the carving brilliance in the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, but there are lot many tourists to whom Unakoti is just like another lost hill. Nestled around 175Kms from the capital city of Agartala, Unakoti is indubitably one of the absolute stunners in the Indian state of Tripura. North-east India has always been an enticing revelation to a first goer, and visiting Unakoti will surely leave you a valid reason for that.
Let’s take you for a ride over the least explored Unakoti in Tripura.
Literal meaning of the term ‘Unakoti’ is one less than a crore. Perched in the Kailashahar Subdivision of Tripura, Unakoti is an ancient Shaiva centre, which is visited by many Hindu devotees from far and wide. Nestled amidst the lush bush environs, the key magnetism of Unakoti is its captivating rock carvings, which portrays the sculptures of many Hindu deities such as Lord Shiva, Nandi Bull, Lord Rama, Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman. Apart from these stone carvings, Unakoti is equally enthralling for undergoing trekking and hiking activities amidst the steep mountain.
If you plunge into the age old history of Unakoti, there go many tales behind the existence of this location. It is said that all the cravings here were shaped by a famous sculptor Kallu Kumhar, who was also a devotee of Goddess Parvati. Once Devi Parvati with Lord Shiva and there entourage were passing through Unakoti when Kallu Kumhar also wanted to accompany them. Lord Shiva was quite distrustful on such sudden wish from the sculptor. Considering the wariness of Lord Shiva, Devi Parvati suggested Kallu Kumhar to crave 1,00,00,000 images of Shiva overnight so that Lord Shiva gets pleased with his efforts and permit him to be a part of their entourage. Next dawn the sculptor fell short of only one image from the said figure and unfortunately he couldn’t be a part of their entourage. Since then the place is eminent as Unakoti meaning one short of a crore.
There is one more popular myth about the place. According to the local inhabitants, it is believed that on their way to Kailash, Lord Shiva and his entourage stopped by Unakoti and decided to spend the night at Kailashahar. Lord Shiva instructed his entourage to leave the place before dawn so that their presence at this location remains unnoticed by anyone. Next dawn, only Lord Shiva was able to woke up before time. Lord Shiva couldn’t bear disobey of his instruction and in anger he cursed all the late sleepers, which turned them into stones in the terrain of Kailashahar. Today, it is believed that most of these carvings at Unakoti are actually the stony form of those late sleepers.
It reads well when you get to explore such astounding tales about a place where you plan to visit. Whatever the tale is; one visit around the mastery of such 30-40 feet high sculptures leaves you completely spellbound.
Best Time to visit:
Unakoti can best be rejoiced between October to April. The reason being, weather condition around the place is quite favourable that time for visitors, and the popular Ashokastami Mela is also celebrated here in the month of April. Unakoti also hosts one more small festival in the month of January when ample of visitors flock here from its nearby locations. However, avoid visiting there during May-June when the temperature is quite scorching. The region also faces intense rainfall during monsoon. Trekkers and hikers can visit Unakoti during winter.
Travel Pointer: Accessing Unakoti doesn’t incur any entry fees. On weekdays, few small stalls you may find on the go from where you can buy something to eat. However, on Sundays, most of these stall remain closed. So, it is advisable to carry some foodstuff on off days.
Things to do:
Having depicted the main attraction of Unakoti, the site offers you a blend of scenic splendour and spectacular stone carvings in the midst of a tiny knoll. A 30 feet high giant head of Lord Shiva is the major tourist puller at Unakoti. Besides, a 10 feet headdress of Goddess Durga is one more stunning part of the multiple carvings to behold. The serpentine staircases make it easier for a visitor to climb atop the hill. In addition, walking across the exotic bridge may add more spice to your exciting excursion at Unakoti. While crossing the staircases, few seating arrangements can also be spotted where visitors can take a sit and relax.
Upon scaling atop the hill, you get to witness a picturesque visa around the location. Gentle breeze, breath-taking panorama and tranquil environs make your excursion absolutely blissful here. The natural grandeur of Unakoti allures plenty of nature buffs and photographers as well. So when in Unakoti, make sure you are accompanied by your camera.
One more interesting place to see or explore at Unakoti hill is a small Kund (reservoir). If you happen to be there during monsoon, you may witness an exhilarating flow of cold water in the reservoir. During mid-summer, liveliness of the water flow starts diminishing gradually. If you dip your hand into the water, you may find galore of coins in the Kund that are layered with thick algae.
The lost hill of Unakoti is unquestionably an eminent tourist spot in Tripura. It has been reported that Tripura Government has already approached to UNESCO to declare Unakoti as a world heritage site. A large amount of money has also been capitalised for the development of its surrounding area to emerge Unakoti as one of the major tourist attractions in the North-eastern Indian state of Tripura.
How to go:
Located in the Kailashahar Subdivision of Tripura, reaching Unakoti is no such fuss for travellers. The place is well accessible from different parts of the country. If you make a plan to visit the least explored hill of Unakoti, here’s what you need to count on:
By Air: The nearest airport to Unakoti is Agartala airport, which is located nearly 176 Kms away. Agartala airport is well-connected to various major destinations in India. From Agartala, you may take a bus or hire any private vehicle or board into the train to reach your destination.
By Train: If you are travelling from Agartala railway station, you may either get down at Dharmanagar railway station (nearly 15Kms from Unakoti) or at Kumarghat railway station (nearly 18Kms from Unakoti). From both of these railway stations you may hire an auto-rickshaw or take a bus to reach Unakoti. Alternatively, if you are coming from Assam, the nearest railway station is Silchar (around 145Kms). From Silchar railway station you can board into Agartala bound train and get down at Dharmanagar railway station. From here, take a bus or an auto-rickshaw to reach Unakoti conveniently.
By Road: The roadway connectivity to reach Unakoti is equally convenient. There are regular state and private transports that run from Agartala, Silchar, Dharmanagar and other nearby locations. From Agartala, you can a take bus till Kailashahar and from Kailashahar you may get into an auto to reach Unakoti. On the other hand, if you travel from Silchar, you will find many direct buses till Dharmanagar and Kailashahar. Unakoti lies in between Dharmanagar (nearly 40 minutes) and Kailashahar (nearly 25-30 minutes). So, you can get down at Unakoti on the go.
Places to stay:
Considering the gradual footfalls of tourist, some decent lodges and hotels are set up in its close proximity. There is no such accommodation exactly at the tourist spot, but you can enjoy a pleasant stay in some of the comfortable hotels located in Kailashahar and Dharmanagar. Depending on the amenities you avail the charges at these hotels may vary. However, you can still avail a quality room with decent food within the price range of INR 400- INR650.
Here are some of the hotels listed for your convenience:
#Unakoti Tourist Lodge
Address: Near Kadalgidi Park, Kailashahar 799277, India
#Sri Krishna Hotel
Address: Unnukutti, Kailashahar, Tripura 799277
Address: DNV Rd, Power House Quater Complex,
Dharmanagar, Tripura 799250
Address: Power House Quater Complex,
Dharmanagar, Tripura 799253
Address: Unnamed Rd, Office Tilla, Algapur,
Dharmanagar, Tripura 799253
So explore the primitive excellence of rock carvings in the midst of Unakoti, which were shaped way back during 7th or 9th centuries. Natural beauty and mountainous alleyway could be two added bonus in your excursion to Unakoti.