This travelogue is different. It’s not a visit to a new place but rather, a nostalgic journey. I remember, in school days,we wrote essays on the visit to Neermahal, the most sought after destination in Agartala. .A favourite picnic spot in college days too. Neermahal is situated about 55 km away from Agartala. During the seventies we used to cross the Rudrasagar lake by boat to reach Neermahal , the Palace on water. We used to put our hands in the water,trying to catch the water chestnuts or paniphal as long as we could. There was no dearth of entertainment as well! Country songs by boat man ,soothing breeze and water birds like cormorants, cranes all entertained us on our way. Those rides were nothing less than magical. Time flew, a few decades have passed. Now speed boat is the most preferred option. It took about ten minutes to reach the palace from the bank of Rudrasagar lake.
NeerMahal was built by Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur, the King of Tripura during 1930-1938 as a summer palace. He was a great visionary and the development of the modern Tripura was initiated by him.
The Rudrasagar lake is 5.3 sqkm in area, a pretty big lake indeed. From the middle of the lake appears the majestic palace as if in a fairy tale . The airy balconies, portico and open windows give the feel of royal luxury of enjoying the nature’s beauty at its fullest. The palace is 400 m in length and has 24 rooms and shows a blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture . It is divided in two parts, the western part (Andar Mahal) which was meant for the Royal family and the eastern side for servants and security personnel. There is an open stage and garden in the western side. Although the palace has been restored recently but the surrounding lake is facing the menace of water hyacinth colony. It’s a heritage property , the maintenance of the surrounding area and boating service could have been better. In fact, it is the only water palace in eastern India but it seems it is not maintained as it should be. But still, its own beauty and grandeur keeps on attracting the tourists over the years.
Tripura has its own beauty with its mesmerising green cover , unexplored beautiful country sides, green hills and hillocks and forests. The small North Eastern state of India though has changed over the years but still its charm remains the same to me.