Location : Northeastern India, Tripura.
Best time to visit : October to May.
Local Transport : Auto rickshaws, cars and buses.
Places to see : Unakoti, Eye hospital, temples.
Dharmanagar - The Tale of the city :
The history of Dharmanagar says that it is derived from the scripts of Rajmala. These scripts are from the Royal Chronicles of the Tripura Kings. These are written in the 14th century AD. They were not in record. It was initially in the Kokborok language which was the language of the kings of Tripura. Today it has been translated and edited into the Bengali language by Pandit Kaliprasanna Sen and Pandit Likhan Chandra Ghosh. The name “Dharmanagar” is in reference to four kings who are known by the name Dharma. It is therefore difficult to say which king gave his name to the town. There is another link which says that the “Faticuli” meant Dharmanagar in ancient years.
Dharmanagar - Down the Ages :
Down the ages, Dharmanagar is a small town in Tripura and is also a Nagar Panchayat. Situated in the northeastern part of India, in the North Tripura District, it is a smaller area now. It was the earlier capital of Tripura. Today it is a small subdivision in the state of Tripura. Bound by Bangladesh in the North and the Maulvi Bazaar of Sylhet in the north again, it has the Karimganj District of Assam in the eastern portion and the state of Mizoram in the south, and the Kailashahar subdivision in the west.
Dharmanagar - A Rendezvous :
Today Dharmanagar, the earlier capital of Tripura has a population of more than 32,000. With an average literacy rate of more than 73.66% it has a majority speaking Bengali and has the Kokborok speaking tribals living here. With the area dominated by Hindus, there are also Buddhists and Muslims here. It has a very pleasant climate though the summers are very humid and hot. It is witness to lot of rainstorms in the rainy season. The months of November to February are chilly and have extreme freezing conditions.
Dharmanagar - Travel kitty :
The tribals form a nice different travel kitty for the people coming to Tripura. The wares they sell locally are of very reasonable price and come quite cheap. There are also woolen articles which are found here and they are of great interest to the tourist. The local handicrafts are also items of interest .Besides; the travel kitty includes understanding the ambience well and learning to enjoy the unique surroundings of Dharmanagar, the land of the tribes.
Dharmanagar - Joie de vivre in the city :
What could be the joie de vivre of living in a city which is full of history, tradition and culture? This is the place where the tribes are seen in plenty and also offer the best kind of intriguing beauty to the people around. The simplicity of the surroundings couple with a lovely backdrop of mountains, valleys and plateau ensure that the person coming here is satiated. He would see the following here:
Festivals and Temples :
Durga Puja :
Dharmanagar is the place where the famous festival of Durga Puja is celebrated. People come in all colour and gaiety and they flock the entire town of Dharmanagar. The streets of this city are filled with the statues of the Goddess Durga which are seen all over the town. This annual festival is in celebration of the conquest of the good over the evil and is celebrated for six days. Starting from Mahalaya, we have the Shashti, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and the Bijoya Dashami. The festival is filled with pomp, grandeur and glory. With everyone in new clothes and the sight of the drum beats and the dances with the camphor is something to cherish forever.
Kali Puja :
This is another important Bengali festival which is celebrated in the months of September and October. Everyone enjoys this festival from the children to the elderly. This is the time of meeting each other and greeting with joy and happiness. The bright lights and the beautiful decorations adorn all houses. The entire city is lit up magnificently. The sight is wonderful and luminous.
Kalibari Temple :
This is a temple built many years back. The presiding deity is Goddess Kali. It is situated on the banks of the Dighi. With its pristine surroundings and magnificent ambience this temple is a much revered place of the Hindus.
Hari Mandir :
This temple is another place of pilgrim spot for people who come to Dharmanagar. Set against the backdrop of the dighi and the with the tranquility of the surroundings, this temple has Lord Krishna as its presiding deity. This temple is known by the name of Hari Mandir and is near the Kalibari temple and a little into the interiors of the local market place.
This means “one less a crore”. Dedicated to number of gods and goddesses who are believed to have been turned into stone under the curse of Lord Shiva, this place today holds a great place in the tourism industry in Tripura. The Kailashahar subdivision lies near this temple and the place exudes a great mythological touch and an equally good historical influence. The sculptures and the images here are beautiful in their rock cut splendor. The stone idols of Lord Shiva are worth seeing and one really is taken into a totally different land here altogether. This is a very important tourist spot of Tripura and tourists who come to Dharmanagar go to Tripura to see this lovely creation out of rocks.
This is a pond that is called the dighi. It is there at the centre of the city and presents a beautiful sight with its innumerable shops around it. Side by side the temple of Kalibari is present here and this adds to the beauty of the place. This temple is visited by pilgrims and devotees get peace by visiting this calm and tranquility around. The serene waters of the Dighi relax a tired soul and a tourist loves to enjoy in this kind of ambience.
Other Tourist Spots :
This is a tea garden and is a popular tourist spot too. Located near Dharmanagar it is also known as the “Switzerland of the East.” With its pristine surroundings and calm atmosphere this city presents a sight of beautiful waterfalls, and lovely gently flowing streams. With the background of the hills and the sight of white clouds seemingly touching us, this place is a traveler’s dream comes true. The misty mornings juxtaposed with the green trees, the scenic splendor and the tranquil ambience seem very surreal. This is the place where a tourist would certainly love to spend his valuable time.
Eye Hospital :
The P.C.Chatterjee Eye hospital at Dharmanaagar is a place of respect for the people. It is run by the Sri Sankardeva Nethralaya which is a great organization with many crores of compassion, caring and a lot of ethical and legal standards. It gives treatments to patients with eye problems and gives a very good service.
Lions Club :
There is a beautiful lions’ club at Dharmanagar and the place is famous for the same. This lions club is a place where people of all professions meet and do some action when it is needed. Socially committed the club here is open to members all through the day.
Tea Villages :
This is another venue which is very well visited by all coming to Tripura. So Dharmanagar is not to be left behind. Home to many tea villages, this place is abundant with such verdant expanses. The tea villages deal with growing, planting and producing tea leaves. These tea villages have the locals who take care of the tea gardens. These villages include Haflong, Algapur, Ganganagar, East Kameshwar.
Thus it is seen that with the best kind of ambience and the right kind of blend of culture and tradition, Dharmanagar, the land of Gods is a place to reckon with. One who comes here is completely taken in by the surroundings and the atmosphere and the tranquility though sets the mind at rest is something to experience. With its unique ability to maintain a trend of the traditional and the modern, the city of Dharmanagar though small yet gives out the best kind of waves across. Earlier it was much bigger but today it is a smaller patch of land.
Dharmanagar - Entertainment factor :
The entertainment factor in Dharmanagar is to enjoy all the celebrated fairs and festivals.
AS a person leaves this place he thinks “I could back here again.”