Tripura is a peaceful state in far East India with a laid back vibe. A wall flower among the North Eastern states so much so that the rest of the country vaguely nod at its existence.
Well, Assam has its tea, Nagaland has the Hornbill Festival and Arunachal with its border squabbles with China draws all the attention. Then again, one could blame the Tripura Tourism for not doing a stellar job.
Do not go gentle into the good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
– Dylan Thomas
I was in Agartala, Tripura’s big and noisy capital, made up of temples trails, grand palaces and wooded parks. Its market place remained packed with jostling locals, shrill cries even though dawn would come early and night would descend by 5 pm.
If you entered the city via the narrow road that lead through an old archway skirting a shimmering lake, you were in for a magnificent treat. In any light of the day, the water reflected the resplendent Ujjayanta Palace.
Imperial and glorious, it always made me stop in wonder.
The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
– Chuck Palahniuk
The time of the Royals may be over, yet their legacy lives on. You can read it in the pages of the history books, on plaques, and see it in museums and these architectural marvels they called home.
A few kilometres out of the city, is Udaipur and its Lake Palace- Neer Mahal on Lake Rudrasagar. The similarities between the names Udaipur and its Lake Palace hundreds of kilometres away in Rajasthan and one here in Tripura grab your attention immediately. Maybe the Royals of the East were inspired by their counterparts in the West. It may have been awkward that they sought to replicate the grandeur in their kingdom, but I wouldn’t complain.
Life is not what one lived, but rather what one remembers, and how it is remembered to tell the tale.
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Like Maharajahs, we sat in boats and sailed across the lake to the Summer Palace.
The guide out there spun tales of how the Rajah would receive the British emissary, only there. He would come with his entourage while the queen with hers, never together. There were stories of colourful lavish parties and escape by secret doorways. Political and personal intrigues became even more dramatic when casually flung as footnotes; the guide knew he had his audience mesmerized.
A good story teller knows, attention is fluid and fleeting.
It’s quite like our memory that becomes dull at the edges, fraying over time, fluidly changing form and colour, unless pinned.
Have no fear of perfection- you’ll never reach it.
– Salvador Dali
That day as I walked along the Palace parapet, the sun felt warm and the lake water seemed to merge with the azure sky. All that remained of the Neer Mahal were its tall white walls that echoed with the excited cries of photo clicking happy families. I was at peace.
That moment was perfect!