HERITAGES OF TRIPURA
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF
SOME IMPORTANT TEMPLES:
1) MAHADEV BARI:
According to the Pithamaala, it is the abode
of 'Tripuresh Bhairav'. The phallic symbol of Shiva inside the temple is still
being worshipped. The temple was built by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya. The door of
the temple faces the west. Though the Tripureswari Temple was first to come up,
both were contemporary. When Mahadev Ban or Tripuresh Shiva Temple worn out,
it was repaired in 1651 A.D. by Maharaja Kalyan Manikya. The present temple was
renovated by Radha Kishore Manikya, or one can say it had been rendered a
complete face lift as most part of the temple was decayed by that time. There's
a Naatmandir in front of the temple which was built around 1900 A.D. The temple
is surrounded by wall and there are two more temples in the premises without any
deity. There is a pair of rock-cut images of lion installed at the entry gate of
Mahadev Ban Temple which were supposed to be burned in the soil somewhere at the
north of Bijoysagar (now popularly known as Mahadev Dighi).
2) GOPINATH TEMPLE: According to the information
deciphered from stone inscriptions, the bigger temple in the Mahadev Ban
premises is the Gopinath Temple.Its entrance is southward and the Naatmandir in
front it is not roofed (presently the roof is under construction). Nor a
deity is there inside the temple. Maharaja Kalyan Manikya built the temple in
1650 A.D. (5th Asadha, Tuesday, 1572 S.E) and dedicated it in the
name of Gopinath. Local residents believe, it is actually the deserted
temple of Chaturdosh Devta. The temple stands toll on a paved platform. It is
built with the characteristic four-challa design and the crowns over the outer
and core chambers resemble stupas. There's a Aamlak resembling a small pitcher
or a receptacle (with slightly bulging belly) on the stupa of the vestibule
which, once used to bear a gold pitcher (it is no more out there).
The entrance through the wall around the temple
features a tetrad slanting roof and a bow-shaped vault arched above the gateway.
The design carved above the vault resembles a blooming lotus. It bears the
flag-staff on top.
The other temple within the premises of Mahadev
Bari resembles the Gopinath temple except that it is not built on a paved
platform. Even though it is commonly known as Laxmi Narayan Temple to the local
people, in 1673 A.D., Ramdev, son of Maharaja Govinda Manikya
got it built actually as Vishnu Temple. But, editor of Rajmala opines that
it is actually the temple of Brindavan Chandra that had been built by Mukunda
Manikya. Stone inscriptions (not in hand now) didn't back this opinion and
instead inferred that the temple date back to 1595 S.E. (1673 A.D.). This also
means that it was not Mukunda Manikya who built it, for his reign was
during 1729-1738 A.D.
4) JAGNATH BARI: This temple is regarded as
the most mentionable as wall as exceptional on account of its very own style of
construction. The temple is situated at south-west corner of a large pond called
'Puran Dighi' or 'Jagannath Dighi'. The temple is popularly known as 'Jagannather
Dol'. The temple being actually dedicated in the name of Lord Vishnu, in
true sense it is a Vishnu Temple. According to stone inscriptions the temple was
conferred the name of Lord Vishnu on the full moon day of the month of Kartik in
1583 SE. (1661 A.D.). It was built by Maharaja Govinda Manikya and his youngest
brother Jagannath Dev. It was built with the desire that their mother Saharvati
could ascend to the Heaven.
It is the only temple in Tripura built entirely
with stone. In terms of frame work, shape and every other feature,
the temple looks different. A huge temple in itself, it is one of those
with unique grace and beauty. The text 'Udaipur Bibaran' states- "It is heard
that there were numerous rock-cut images engraved on the walls of the Jagannath
Dev Temple. They don't exist now. One of those images is still intact at Devta
Bari in Sonamura.'
In this context it is important to mention that
there still persist several alcoves on the temple-wall. Probably, these
were adorned by the stone-images. Images of Vishnu and Uma-Maheshwar (now
preserved at the Govt. Museum at Agartala) which were recovered from a nearby
pond actually justifies this belief.
Today, there's no image inside the temple.
Stone-inscriptions don't support the idea that there was a idol of Lord
Jagannath inside the temple, but, local residents opine the other
way and the temple is infact popular as Jagannath Bari among them. From 1904 AD.
onwards Ratha Yatra festival is being organised here, every year. The
Rajmala, in this regard states that Daitya Narayan, the General of
Bijoy Manikya (1532-1563 A.D.) had brought the idol of Lord Jagannath from Utkal
(former name of Orissa) and constructed the temple meant for Jagannath It
implies that there was a Jagannath temple at Udaipur before the reign of Govinda
Manikya, where the image of Jagannath used to be worshipped. No reliable
information is in hand about the location of the temple or whether there had
been any such temple at all. During the reign of Krishna Kishore Manikya
(1830-1849 A.D.) 'Sotero Ratna' was raised near Jagannath Bari at Kumilla
(presently in Bangladesh).
Idol of Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra were
installed in this monastery. Those idols were supposed to be from Udaipur but,
it's not known whether they had any relation with those brought by Daitya
Narayan. From the reign of the Maharajas itself, Jagannath Bari was being
treated as an object of neglect.
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When a huge amount used to be spent annually on
the temple at Kumilla, it was a budgetary allowance of merely Rs. 25 only
granted against Jagannath Bari in 1930 A.D. as financial aid. The temple was
once terribly shook and damaged by an earthquake. The cracks across the wall
still bring back the dreadful memory alive. The damaged temple had never been
repaired and as a result the south-west corner had collapsed. The portico
infront of the temple doesn't exist today. In the past, the temple used to
be surrounded by a brick-wall. Later, the wall in the west had been
replaced by a road. Even Sri Asok Bose, in his report16, states-
'Some of the buildings, specially the Jagannath temple although much
covered and obscure by growing vegetation, still remains intact,
which perhaps proves the excellent and thorough workmanship of the ancient
One of the features of Jagannath Temple is its
entrance. Like most of the temple of Orissa it is east-gated. Later, the
same feature has been maintained while constmcting the Jagannath Temple in
Agartala. Shrisha Chandra Chattarjee in his book 'Devayatan o Bharat Sabhyata'
(Temples and Indian Civilization), tried to draw similarities between the
Jagannath Temple of Udaipur and the stupa at Sarnath. Four intricately designed
buttresses stand erect at four corners of the temple. There is a dome shaped
structure over the roof (consisting of four chaalas) of the temple, though
the apical portion is no more now. Tetragonal plates bearing designs of lotus
are engrafted on the walls of the temple. Designs of lotus petals are
beautifully carved out on the surface of the dome. While tracing out Islamic
influence on the architecture of Jagannath temple, Kashinath Dixit
stressed - 'It is built in a style characteristic of later Mohammedan period The
top is crowned with a dome with a vaulted roof in pure Mohammedan fashion.'
Inspite of embracing the Buddhist and Islamic style of architecture, an
exuberant blend with Tripura's very own style of workmanship is rather prominent
and undoubtedly significant too. While commenting on the ingredients or raw
materials used in the construction of the temple, geologist Asok Bose's
report says- 'The limestone occurs abundantly in Belonia Division, in the
Rishamuke area. This limestone is employed in the Jagannath Temple at Udaipur,
and it is hardly necessary for me to mention here, how well this stone has
stood the crumbling effect of age.' This temple is undoubtedly a peerless
example of typical architecture of temples in Tripura.
This temple is situated by the east bank of
Jagannath Dighi. Detail information about the temple is not available,
though it seems the temple possessed stone-inscriptions. Perhaps it was built
some time in the last quarter of the 17th century. It's still unknown who built
the temple. When and for which deity has it been built is not known either. The
temple was once recovered from the grasp of creeping vegetation in 1901 A.D and
a painting of Radhakrishna had been installed inside and it was adorned as 'Hari
Mandir'. The painting has been donated by Boroda Kanta Nag, a disciple of
Loknath Bramhachari from Baardi Ashram. He had come to Udaipur with the
intention to raise a hermitage. The temple has been built on an elevated paved
platform. It was surrounded by a wall. The bi-roofed (consisting of two Chaalas)
vault of the west-gated temple leads one to the courtyard, then to the
vestibule. Two buttresses decorated with pitchers on them stand tall at the two
corners infront of the vestibule. The wall feautres horizontally protruded ribs.
Prof. Kartik Lahiri mentioned in his book 'Tripurar Moth Masjid o Girja'
(Monastery, Mosque and Churches of Tripura ) that the northern and
southern walls of the vestibule feature multishelved parapets and the smooth
surface between the parapets and the highest rib is ornamented with triangular
lines. The vestibule leads to internal chamber and the core-chamber. The
core-chamber is tetragonal in shape. The apical part of the vestibule and the
core-chamber were built in the form of stupa. After being designated as Hari
Mandir, Dol festival is celebrated every year in the temple.
6) NAGER DOL: At the eastern part of
Chakbazar, the heart of Udaipur town, there are two abandoned
temples situated adjacent to each other. Though the place is supposed to be
regarded as hermitage, the two temples are popularly known as tNager Dol'.
Doors of both the temple open southward. The pair of temples was supposed to be
built some time in 17th century as Vishnu Temples. Vestibules of both temples
have undergone lot of damage. The core chambers are tetragonal in shape and have
been built in charactaristic four-chaala design. The temple on the left measures
15ft. x 15ft.
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7) DUTYAR BARI:
There are two more temples located just adjacent
to the Mahadev Bari. The old, worn out and abandoned tern- pies are
popularly known as 'Dutya' may be a corrupt derivative of 'Dvaita'(Dual),
'Daitya'(Demofl) or 'Dvitiya' (feminine form of Second). The last word seems to
be the most corroboratory source, because there were two ladies by the
name 'Dvitiya'. One was the daughter of Govinda Manikyas younger brother
Jagamiath Dev. Another 'Dvitiya' was the daughter of Balibhim Narayan, who
was the maternal uncle of Ratna Manikya II. The stone inscriptions of the temple
are not decipherable now, so one cannot predict the period. But, Dr.
Dinesh Chandra Sarkar was able to decipher the term 'Dvitiya' and '1621 Saka'.
Had the temples been built in 1621 Saka Era (1692 A.D), it would be the
reign of Ratna Manikya.
8) GUNABATI GROUP OF TEMPLES:
On the way from Mahadev Bari to Badar Mokam, one would find three tempels
on the left of the road. Commonly known as 'Gunabati Mandir Gucchha' (Gunabati
Group of Temples), particulars of their identity haven't been revealed.
Stone-inscription of only one temple throws some light on its history. It
reveals that it was conferred in the name of Her Highness Maharani Gunabati
(wife of Maharaja Govinda Manikya), in 1668 A.D.. Other two temples also
bear the contemporary look but their actual history is still to be unveiled.
Architecture of these temples are almost like most of other temples except that
these have their vestibule devoid of stupa on the roof. Core-Chambers are
characterized with the presence of pitcher-headed buttresses. The temple in the
middle has a semi-circular core- chamber and its vestibule which was once 10'9"
x 11' large with a stupa like crown, is now almost completely damaged. The
crown over the stupa on the vestibule is beautifully crafted like
lotus. Baring the buttresses, the perimeter
of this temple measures 19'10" x 20'1". The right temple is relatively bigger
(the vestibule measures 12'6" x 11'3" and the core chamber 29'lO" x 24'7"). The
stupa above the temple is embellished with conical structures. Though the left
temple is relatively smaller in size (the vestibule measures 9'10 x 9'6" and the
outer sphere of the core-chamber measures 12'9" x 12'lO") than the other two,
it also enjoys a relatively sound state. Not much difference in the architecture
is apparent between the three but the smaller one seems to be built later. The
front wall of the vestibule of the smaller temple features rectangular design
and the crown above the stupa of the core-chamber bears a peculiar look almost
like a seventeen edged carambola. All the three temples are covered with a
four-chaala roof and these are built not quite far above the ground.
9) ONE MORE GROUP OF TEMPLES:
Leaving Gunabati group of temples behind and on way to Badar Mokam,
there's one more cluster of temples on the right. One out of three temples
forming the cluster is now extinct. But one could still see the worn out double
storied 'Jhulan Temple', which also houses many rooms in the ground floor
iron rings were grafted at four corners in the solitary room of the top floor.
The interior wall was decorated with various images of Ananta Naag, the
Serpent and Vishnu. This temple is commonly known as 'Lukpalanir Dalan' ('The
hide and seek building'). Probably it was built with the intention of a Vishnu
Temple and the Vishnu temple (which is extinct flow) was located vis-a-vis the
According to 'Shilalipi Samgraha', in 1668
A.D. (Vaishak month of 1590 S.E.), Gunabati Devi, queen of Govinda
Manikya donated the temple in the name of Lord Vishnu. Presently, the
temple which is apparently somewhat intact is perhaps a Durga temple and
according to the 'inspection Note of Director General of Archaeology (1952),
it was built quite latter.
BHUESWARI TEMPLE: On the northern bank of
Gomati the palace of Govinda Manikya have succumbed to the demand of nature,
but two temples near the old palace compound have survived all odds and still
standing tall. The most noteworthy among the two is the Bhuvaneswari Temple
(presently it is under the archaeological department). If there's is anything
more important than the historical significance of this temple, it is the
involvement of the back-drop of the famous, novel 'Rajarshi' and the drama
'Bisarjan' written by non other than Rabindranath Tagore. The temple is
constructed on a 3feet high paved terrace. The roof features the typical
four-chaala pattern with stupa like crowns on the vestibule and the
core-chambers. The stupa on core-chamber is embellished with floral designs.
Though Govinda Manikya ascended the throne in 1660 A.D, , he was
again dethroned by his step-brother Nakshatra Ray or Chatra Manikya in -j 1661
A.D. But, Maharaja Govinda Manikya restored his throne in 1667 A.D. for
the second time and he went on to govern till 1676 A.D. And during this period
of his reign, between 1667 to 1676 AD. Bhuvaneswari Temple had been built.
He got the text 'Brihadnaarad Puran' translated into Bengali in this period. He
also got the 'Gangaail' dyke built along the bank of river Gomati to prevent
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11) VISHNU TEMPLE:
On the southern side of the old palace,
there's a temple built by Ramdev Manikya in 1677 A.D. (on the full moon day of
Magha in 1599 S.E.) which was dedicated in the name of Lord Vishnu with the
intention of his father Govinda Manikya's ascent to The Heaven. Once the temple
was encompassed by a wall and it had a vault too. The apical part of the stupa
above the core-chamber is now destroyed. The external boundary of this room
measures 1710" x 174". The vestibule or the external chamber is still intact.
12) TEMPLE EMBELLISHED WITH
TERRACOTTA: A temple with difference can be
seen on the south bank of Gomati (at the northeastern side of Jagannath Dighi).
Beyond the range of public eyes, three-fourth of the temple have caved in
just behind the Ram Krishna Ashram, and the rest portion stands tilted
towards the river. It seems very arduous to find the stone-inscription of this
20' x 19'4" temple. Nevertheless, as far as embellishment on the temple
surface is concerned, it'll definitely stand independent of other temples
in Udaipur. The walls of the temple were beautifully engrafted with various
terracotta images (some worn out remnants are still apparent).
Floral-ornamentation was a feature on the wall of the core-chamber. Terracotta
images of six armed Devi and figure mounted on lion are some worth mention. No
other temple at Udaipur features terracotta. When the temple had been built,
terracotta craft was appreciably popular by then. And by observing this
workmanship, it seems the craft was highly affluent too. The temple is
otherwise crowned traditionally i.e. a four chaala roof followed by a stupa like
hemisphere on top. Though, many refer it to be as 'Gundisa
Bari', some call it 'Hari Temple'.
Going for the first choice, it would have been built by Daitya Narayan
(1532-1542 AD.), the general of Bijoy Manikya and in case the latter
nomenclature is true, it should be Govinda Manikya (1660- 1676 A.D.) who
got the temple built. But, if one keenly observes the terracotta
workmanship it would be difficult believing these assumptions. Nevertheless,
it is beyond doubt that the art and craft of the temple was highly enriched,
though it is a petty that this outstanding temple is but waiting for the count
down of destruction.
TRIPURA SUNDARI TEMPLE:
In 1501 A. D. (1423 Saka Era)
Maharaja Dhanya Manikya built the Tripura Sundari
Temple. According to the Rajmala, Maharaja Dhanya Manikya arranged for a
vaastupuja ceremony or the worship of the tutelar deity of a homestead actually
with the desire to build a Vishnu temple at the site of the present day temple.
In course of the beginning of the construction, one night the Raja received a
divine message from Devi Bhagavati in his dreams. He was instructed to fetch the
idol of the Goddess from Chittagong, and to install it at the new temple.
Following the message, the Raja sent his General Rasangamardan to Chattal or
Chittagong in order to bring the idol. But, the idol was not immediately
enshrined after it was brought down from Chittagong by Rasangamardan because,
the construction of the temple (Monastery) was not completed by then, as the
Rajmala says- 'Rasangamardan Narayan was sent to Chattal where, (he) perceived
the divine message in (his) dreams, lies (his) welfare. And was brought in the
state with devotional exuberance and festive flavour. The king walked down
eagerly and greeted (her) with honour. And the monastery came up after some
time.' Only after the construction was over the idol of the Goddess had been
installed with complete sacred scriptural rituals and Maharaja Dhanya Manikya
dedicated the temple in the name of the holy Goddess. Though
many a memorials of that era had faded away, many are still alive. Counting from
ancient seals, copper plates, stone-inscriptions, ruined palaces, temples and
mosques, deeds and documents, utility articles to large ponds; many of such
evidences are still bearing the testimony of the past. And amidst all this,
still upholding the grace and dignity for 500 years in its own is the Tripura
Sundari Temple. Udaipur might have lost the pride of the capital city, but
neither the glory nor the significance of Tripura Sundari temple has been
shadowed. On the contrary, all the business of the present day Udaipur revolves
around this temple. The temple is one of the memorials which still bear the
testimony of the graceful period under the Maharajas.
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The most striking feature of all the temples at
Udaipur seems Salient to be their affinity to be situated by a lake, a
large features of pond or a river and this is something seldom notice- the
temples able in other places. Most of the temples have been built on elevated
paved terraces. Some major temples were surrounded by wall. The vaulted entrance
used to be built either with brick or stone and most of the arches are roofed
with four chaalas. Vaults of many temples have adjoining stairs. Though a large
number of temples bear a naked wall, some features design with rectangular
lines. Some patterns have been maintained throughout while constructing most of
the temples. Influence of medieval period architecture of Bengal is distinctly
visible in the temples through the import of four-chaala style of roofing. But
the style blended with a stupa like crown above the roof is unique to Tripura
and seen nowhere in India. And following this trend a new pattern of temple
construction, very own to Tripura, gradually flourished in the whole
state through Udaipur. And, most of the temples of Udaipur still bear
testimony to the allegiance of the rulers of Tripura with the Vaishnav culture.
Mughal mosque is the oldest mosque at Udaipur. One
would find this mosque on way to the old palace from Bodar Mokam. The mosque
bears the testimony of the battle involving the ruler of Tripura Maharaja
Jasodher Manikya and the Mughal army. It is described in the biography of Mughal
General Mirza Nathan titled Baharisthan-E-Ghayeri' that a war broke out between
Tripura and Delhi as an out come of the refusal of the King of Tripura to
deliver elephants on account of taxes to Emperor Jahangir. According to Sir
Jadunath Sarkar, the battle occurred in 1618 A.D., whereas Dr.
Nalinikanta Kar opines it to be 1621 A.D. Whatsoever the period may be,
the fact is that the Mughals conqured Udaipur and began the construction of this
1100 sq.ft. big. mosque to mark the win over the Princely State. Incidentally,
a severe epidemic broke out in Udaipur and the Mughals were compelled to flee
away leaving the mosque only partially constructed. This unfinished mosque which
is 46'3" long (bigger than Jagannath temple) is one of the oldest mosques in
One way from Gunabati groups of temples leads to
Badar Mokam ferry-ghat. On the right of the ferry-ghat is the Darga of Awaliya
Badar Saheb. This Darga or mausoleum is in fact more popular as 'Badar Mokam'.
It is said that there were two brothers named Ataram and Budhiram, who
were so impressed with the supernatural power of Awalia Badar Saheb that they
converted to Islamism and were appointed as Khadims (servants) in the Mokam. A
fair is being held here on every 1st day of Vaishak (mid of April). People from
all walks of life irrespective of being Hindu or Muslim, gather around
here throughout the year. It is built with the four-chaala pattern. This small
mausoleum (almost 185 sq.ft.) has been raised on a 4 feet 6 inch high paved
terrace. It was once renovated in 1935 AD.
A good number of temples at Udaipur are now
extinct. Though relics of some are still apparent, few are in worn out
condition. Among them, most notable specimens are the and memorials
seventeen cornered building or 'Baikuntha Puri' situated on the last bank of
Dhanya or Dhanisagar, Gopinath Temple of Hirapur (commonly known as Dhoner
Kuthi' meaning 'A treasure house') and the Gopinath temple at Chandrapur built
by Udai Manikya.' Among those decayed out memorials the most mentionable are the
palace of Govinda Manikya near Badar Mokam, the residence of Kashi Manikya
(now housing the S.P. Office), 'Puraton Gaarod' or the old prison (a
cannon which probably belonged to Hussain Shah had been removed from this site
near the Badar Mokarn to Kaman Chowmuhani at Agartala). One can still come
across the wins of the Palaces of Chhatra Manikya or Nakshatra Manikya,
Udai Manikya or that of Hirapur. Once there was brick built bridge named 'Chaand
Surajer Pool' across the Murga Cherra which used to be the main gateway to
Matabari, but, now it is completely extinct. The Mausoleum of Samser
Gazi too had caved into soil. Still more remains of anonymous temples lay
carelessly unnoticed. Their actual identification would have really helped to
unleash the complete history of Udaipur.
History and profile of Udaipur would remain
incomplete unless the tanks, ponds and water-bodies punctuating across the
town are mentioned. One would come across so many ponds in Udaipur that it would
be a Herculean task compiling their independent history. A brief account of few
of them is mentioned here.
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It took three years (1578-1581 AD.) to excavate
It was carried out by Maharaja Amar Manikya.
According to the survey carried out during the reign of Bir Bikram Kishore
Manikya, the pond measured 3684 ft. x 906 ft. The 2400 ft. x 720 ft. big
'Dhanya Sagar' or 'Dhani Sagar' was dug out by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya
(1511-1513 A.D.) Jagannath Dev the younger brother of Govinda Manikya got the 'Jagannath
Dighi' or 'Puran Dighi (2262 ft. x 654 ft.)
excavated (1667-1676). 'Bijoy Sagar' or 'Mahadev Dighi' (750ft. x 450 ft.) had
been excavated sometime in the intermediary period between Dhanya Manikya and
Govinda Manikyas reign. 'Chandra Sagar' (1517 ft. x 888 ft.) at Chandrapur was
dug up by Uday Manikya (1567-1573 A.D.). Another pond at southern Chandrapur
named 'Chhatra Sagar' (810 ft. x 420 ft.) was
excavated by Chhatra Manikya. Much about 'Kalyan Sagar' have already been
discussed. 'Buriya' or 'Burar Dighi' (1680 ft. x 660 ft.) at Matabari might have
been excavated in 1573-1577 A.D.. Another small pond 'Dharma Sagar (390 ft. x
180 ft.) can be seen near Matabari. Two water-bodies at Khilpara in Udaipur
named Ram Sagar (750 11. x 495 ft) and Mahendra Sagar (839 ft. x 423 ft.) were
excavated by Ram Manikya and Mahendra Manikya respectively. There's another
relatively small pond at Khilpara called 'Nanuar Dighi' (660 ft. x 420 ft.)
which probably was excavated sometime in the first quarter of the 18th century.
Apart from these, there are so many ponds still bearing the testimony of
their golden history, viz. Kumari Dhepa, Satya Nazirer Dighi,
Maighya Dighi, chharibardarer Pusbkarini, Thakurer Pushkarini,
Dudh Pushkarini, Jaltongi, Daagir Maar Pushkarifli, Purohiter
Pushkarini, Daira Dighi, Taal Pushkarini, Chantair Dighi (in
the west of Girls School), Chechra Dighi (near Ramesh School) and Ujirer
Dighi to name a few. Some ponds don't exist today and names noteworthy among
them are Maa Gusai and Bil Gusai, Bhatter Pushkarini, Kana Goalinir
Pushkarini, Phooltangi, Kamarnir Pushkarini, Hasti Mardaner
Pushkarini, etc. Asok Bose while discussing on the water-bodies of Udaipur
in the Geological Survey Report (1909-1910 A.D.) states - 'The huge tanks at
Udaipur, some of which are over a mile in length, are now mostly
covered with water lilies and other aquatic plants. The water of some is however
crystal clear and pure. The immense tanks perhaps reminded one of the immensity
and gorgeousness of the past city'.
It would be but a blunder not to mention the
famous 'Sukh Sagar'
as this would otherwise leave the history of
Udaipur incomplete. While commenting on 'Sukh Sagar, Brajendra Chandra
Dutta stated in his book 'Udaipur Bibaran' (1930) - 'In the past it used to be a
lake, but after being misused as a dumping ground for waste and garbage
for long time, it got converted into a bushy wet land. Now,
it's been converted into a green paddy field.' Once, 'Sukh sagar' used to
extend across the southern end of Udaipur town to Matabari. It was also the most
immense of all the Udaipur water bodies. Asok Bose, on this account
states - 'The original Extent of the Sook Sagar Jola was probably close upon 20
sq. miles.' Most probably, till 1830 AD. 'Sukh Sagar had enough
water to facilitate navigation across Udaipur town and Matabari and its beyond
doubt that the immense tank was once used for ferrying. Today, what still
exists is the name only and the one-time immensely large tank is being converted
into an arid land. Though it lost its pride and glory by the passage of time,
the history of 'Sukh Sagar' is still significant.
There is a big pond
'Kalyansagar' on the east of the temple. The pond dates back to the
period of Maharaja Kalyan Manikya (1625 -1660 A.D.), i.e. it was dug up at
least 124 years after the temple was founded. Another big pond was said to be
there, in the north of the temple Chandroday Vidyabinod, the expert
of stone - inscription had seen the signs and remains of the pond in 1903 A.D.
During the time, it was thickly covered with bushes and bore a deserted
look. It is not yet evaluated, when and who had actually (lug the pond up.
But owing to its proximity to the temple, it is assumed that the pond was
dug after the temple stood up and probably it was dedicated to the Devi.
Highlighting this, Chandroday Vidynbinod in his book 'Shilalipi Samgraha'
quotes, 'It is assumed that Maharaja Dhanya Manikya, founder of the
temple had himself arranged for the excavation of the pond.' In the north and
east of the pond Is the 'Sukhsagar'. Another pond in the west of the temple and
'Sukhsagar Jola' in the further west of it had been mentioned in 'Shilahpi
The temple of Tripura Sundari or Matabari faces westward. Though the main
entrance is in the west, there is a small entrance also in the north.
According to Chandrodaya Vidyabinod Bhattacharya the latter might have been
carved out Construction in the later years. He observed that generally the
pattern of the ancient temples didn't seem to have more than one entrance,
The temple had been measured physically in 1892 A.D. which furnished the data
that exterior of the temple was 24'x24' and the inner compartment 16'x 16'. The
temple wall had a width of 8' and it was 75' tall. The difference in measurement
between the outer and inner lies in the fact that the temple wall was
he site at Matabari in Udaipur, where the temple of
Tripura Sundari has come up is regarded as one of the
There is a mythological anecdote behind the establishment of the Pitha. Once,
Prajapati Daksha arranged for a 'Mahayagna' or a great Sacrificial rite. All the
Gods except Shiva were invited. Sati turned up in her father's home without any
invitation. Suddenly, at the yagna site, Daksha started
condemning Shiva acrimoniously. Sati could not bear the reproach against Shiva
and she gave up the ghost at the very site. When Shiva heard this, he
assumed a destructive mood and consequently, Birbhadra came into being
from the shrine or his yellowish-brown matted hair. Alongwith the the 'Pitha'
company of Shiva-followers, Birbhadra demolished all the preparations of
the Yagna. Furious with anger, Shiva took up the life-less body of Sati on
his shoulders and began 'Tandava-Nritya' or a frantic annihilation dance. All
the objects of creation including the Earth was on the verge of extinction as a
result of the 'Tandava'. When all attempts to stop the 'Tandava' failed,
Lord Vishnu used his invincible wheel shaped missile 'The Sudarshan Chakra' that
severed the body of the Sati into many pieces. The sacred fragments of the body
of Sati fell on to many parts of the Sub-continent, which were later
referred to as Maha-Pithas. Later, those sites developed into holy places
It is mentioned in the 'Pithamaala Tantra', 'Maha Pitha Nirupan' and
'Shiva Charita' and other references that the right hind-limb of Devi fell on
Matabari as a consequence of 'Tandav'. Here 'Devi' implies to Tripura Sundari
and 'Bhairav' is 'The Supreme Lord of Tripura'. It is also mentioned in Dr.
Dinesh Chandra Sarkar's book 'The Shakta Pitham' that the Maha Pitha in Tripura
came into being on account of the right leg of Sati.
Note: The measurement of the tanks briefed
here is based on the survey conducted during the reign of Bir Bikram Kishore
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