Left out; Tripura Sundari temple in Agartala set to see good times ahead

Addressing the first Press conference after the BJP’s resounding victory in Tripura, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav thanked Maa Tripura Sundari for her blessings on the party. With the BJP at the helm of affairs in Tripura, this ancient temple, which has seen only neglect and apathy during the 25 years of the Communist rule, is set to see good times ahead.  BJP leaders vouch that they will develop the temple as a major pilgrim centre in the North-East.

BJP leaders are staunch devotees of Maa Tripura Sundari. Every time Amit Shah visits Tripura, he doesn’t fail to pay obeisance to the mother goddess, the presiding deity at the Tripura Sundari temple at Udaipur, some 55 km away from the state capital Agartala. Not only Shah, whenever some leaders from the Centre come to the state, BJP state in-charge Sunil Deodhar makes it a point to arrange their trip to the shrine. The temple is one of the prominent among the 51 Shakti Peeths.

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It a divine experience. Every time I visit the temple, I feel energized; the battery is recharged. You can feel the power at the core of your heart,” said Deodhar, a staunch devotee of Maa Tripura Sundari.

A devotee feeding a tortoise in the Maa Tripura Sundari temple pond.

In public meetings, BJP leaders remind the people that the land of Tripura belongs to Maa Tripura Sundari. Addressing a BJP rally in Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s constituency recently, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister for Education, Health and Finance in Assam and Convener of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), said the Marxists have ruined the land of Maa Tripura Sundari. The BJP effort was to bring back its pristine glory.

Although the temple is one of the most important Shakti Peeths in the country, the Marxist government had done precious little to develop it, though there is scope for making it a tourist attraction. “The Marxist government had done nothing for the temple. You can argue that they didn’t do anything against it, but they didn’t do anything for it either. If BJP comes to power in the state, we will give the temple its due. We will develop it as a pilgrim centre.”

The temple is also called ‘Kurma Peeth’ as it stands on a tortoise-shaped hillock. There are two idols in the temple. “The big one is called Tripura Sundari Maa and the small one is called Chota Maa. The idol of Tripura Sundari is made of touch stone,” says the priest of the temple.

The temple was built by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya in 1501.  It is believed that the king had a dream in which he was ordered by the Maa to bring the idol of Tripura Sundari from Chattagram, presently in Bangladesh, and install at the present site. Later, his successor Kalyan Manikya dug a big lake adjacent to the temple which is known as Kalyan Sagar. During an excavation the idol of Chota Maa was recovered.

The lake is home to different kinds of fish and tortoises and devotees consider feeding them brings good fortune. It is believed that tortoises come to the temple and breathe their last in the temple premises. The temple has a graveyard for tortoises.

Puja schedule of the temple

4.00 am — Mangal Arati

8.00 am — Devi’s bath

9.30 am — Puja starts

11.30am —Bali

12.30pm — Pushpanjali

1.30 pm —-Bhog

Temple closes for one hour

7.00 pm —- Sandh Arati

9.30 pm —- Sital Bhog

10.00pm —-Shayan

Temple closes