Ujjayanta Palace

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Coordinates: 23°30′04″N 91°09′57″E / 23.5010°N 91.1657°E / 23.5010; 91.1657

Ujjayanta Palace
Ujjayanta Palace as seen from the Rajbari Lakes.jpg
Established 1901
Location Palace Compound, Agartala, India
Type Museum
Kingdom of Tripura
Part of History of Tripura
Royal flag of Tripura
Kings of Tripura
Dhanya Manikya 1463-1515
Dharma Manikya II 1714-1733
Vijay Manikya II 1743-1760
Krishna Manikya 1760-1761
Rajdhar Manikya 1783-1804
Ramgana Manikya 1804-1809
Durga Manikya 1809-1813
Kashi Chandra 1826-1830
Krishna Kishore 1830-1849
Ishan Chandra 1849-1862
Bir Chandra 1862-1896
Radha Kishore 1896-1909
Birendra Kishore 1909-1923
Bir Bikram Kishore 1923–1947
Kirit Bikram Kishore 1947-1949
Kirit Pradyot Deb Barman 1978-
Tripura monarchy data
Manikya dynasty (Royal family)
Agartala (Capital of the kingdom)
Ujjayanta Palace (Royal residence)
Neermahal (Royal residence)
Rajmala (Royal chronicle)
Tripura Buranji (Chronicle)

The Ujjayanta Palace (Bengali: উজ্জয়ন্ত প্রাসাদ, Ujjoyonto Prashad) is a former royal palace of the Tripura (princely state) situated in Agartala, the capital of the Indian state of Tripura, and also served as the meeting place of the Tripura Legislative Assembly until 2011 and now a museum. Ujjayanta Palace is a tourist attraction of Agartala, and tours are conducted by the Tripura Tourism Department. The Palace stands on the banks of a small lake surrounded by the lush greenery of Mughal gardens in Agartala, sprawling over 28 hectares of parkland, the exotic palace has several Hindu temples dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan, Uma-Maheshwari, Kali and Jagannath. It is the largest museum in Northeast India covering an area of over 800 acres of land in the capital city, Ujjayanta Palace was the command hub until the erstwhile princely Tripura`s accession to India in October 1949.[1] The museum showcases the lifestyle, arts, culture, tradition and utility crafts, beside the customs and practices of various communities residing in northeast India. The name Ujjayanta Palace was given by Rabindranath Tagore.[2] The Palace was purchased from the royal family by the Tripura government in 1972-73 for Rs. 2.5 million, housed the state legislative assembly till July 2011. It was constructed between 1899 and 1901 by then Tripura king, Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya.[3]

History[edit]

Tripura claims to be one of the oldest princely States of ancient India. The historical chapter of the Royal line of Tripura, known as the Manikya dynasty, began during the reign of Maharaja Maha Manikya, who ascended the throne, being crowned in 1400 A.D., and was the first ruler, started his governance of the State under the Royal title of Manikya.[4] Ujjayanta Palace was originally built in 1862 by then king Ishan Chandra Manikya (1849-1862) and it was devastated by a massive quake in June 1897 then the Palace was built by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya during 1899–1901[5] at a cost of 10 lakh (1 million) rupees[6] despite financial constraints.[7] The earlier royal palace of the Kingdom of Tripura was located 10 km (6 mi) away from Agartala. However, the earlier palace was destroyed as a result of a devastating earthquake in 1897, and replaced with Ujjayanta Palace in the heart of Agartala city.[6] The project, which cost a million rupees, was started in 1899, with construction by Martin & Burn Company, and continued for two years until finally being completed in 1901.

A panoramic view of the palace during 2007

Upon the merger of the Kingdom of Tripura with India in 1949, royal properties were nationalised. The main building along with the area of the palace was sold to the Government of Tripura during the period of Maharaja Radhakishor Manikya Bahadur and hence Ujjayanta Palace remained unoccupied for some time before beginning its role as the State Legislative. Building.

Design[edit]

Ujjayanta Palace compound covers an area of approximately one km².[citation needed] The main block covers 800 acres (3.2 km2), comprising public halls such as the Throne room, the Durbar hall, Library and the Reception hall.[8] The Neoclassical palace was designed by Sir Alexander Martin of Messrs Martin & Co.[8] The Chinese Room is particularly notable, the ceiling of which was crafted by artisans brought from China.[9] The palace has a mixed type of architecture, the two-storied[10] palace has three large domes, the largest of which is 86 ft (26 m) high from the ground,[11] and which rests atop a four-storied central tower. The palace has tiled floors and carved front doors. Newer attractions are the musical fountain installed in front of the main entrance, and the night-time floodlights. The grounds are laid out as formal Mughal gardens adorned with fountains.[6] There are two large artificial ponds on either side of the garden which is decorated with pools and fountains. The main block includes public halls Throne room, Durbar hall, Library and the Reception hall. A Chinese room was later in the palace.[12]

Several Hindu temples occupy plots adjacent to Ujjayanta Palace, dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan, Uma-Maheshwari, Kali and Jagannath.[citation needed]

Renovation[edit]

From 1972 to 2011 the Palace remained as meeting place of Tripura Legislative Assembly until plans were in process to turn the monument into a Historical Museum.

Ujjayanta Palace was provided with seismic retrofitting to prevent it from possible earthquake damage before making it a museum at a cost of Rs. 100 million. It was the model of the Maharajah's palace in Tintin. It was purchased from the royal family by the Tripura government in 1972-73 and housed the Tripura legislative assembly until July 2011.[13] In realisation of a century-old dream, the country’s biggest royal mansion in the Northeast India, the Ujjayanta Palace, is the home to the biggest museum in the region. The museum showcases northeast India’s art, culture, history, tradition and ethnic diversity. The Tripura government’s museum, which was established in 1970 at the heart of Agartala city, along with the state archive has also been shifted to the new museum. [14]

Museum[edit]

Tripura State Museum was inaugurated by the Vice President of India Mohammed Hamid Ansari on September 26, 2013

Controversy[edit]

A controversy has erupted over the state government's proposed move to rename Ujjayanta Palace, erstwhile royal abode of the Manikya kings, to Tripura State Museum. Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra, has written to Vice President Hamid Ansari (who will inaugurate the new museum) protesting against the move, INPT objected to the move saying deletion of the word 'Ujjayanta' is aimed at hurting sentiments of tribal populace of the state. Ujjayanta Palace served as the Tripura state legislative assembly till 2011. The royal family is reported to have spent Rs 1 million despite financial constraints at the time. Martin & Burn Company was assigned to build the palace which was completed in 1901. The government also said it had already decided to build a statue of Maharaj Radha Kishore Manikya at the museum premises. The clarification, it appears, was made to end the ongoing palace controversy.[15] The name of Ujjayanta Palace and the renovated museum would be called Tripura State Museum, Ujjayanta Palace, Agartala, the government also said it had already decided to build a statue of Maharaj Radha Kishore Manikya at the museum premises. The clarification, it appears, was made to end the ongoing palace controversy.[16]

Picture gallery[edit]

References[edit]