While exploring Northeastern India, you must pay a visit to Agartala, the state capital of Tripura and a city, where recreation, adventure, and culture all come together. There is a good number of interesting tourist places in and around this city that could amaze you, but “Neermahal” is one such attraction that truly deserves some bit of your time and attention.
“Neermahal” – a magnificent water palace built by Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur, the last ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Tripura; is located at Melaghar (subdivision – Sonamura, District – Sepahijela), which is about 53 kilometers away from Agartala – the capital city of Tripura. This picturesque mansion stands majestically on a marshy island in the middle of a lake named, “Twijilikma”, which is also known as “Rudrasagar”. The elegance, and the phenomenal architecture of this palace will mesmerize you for sure. Visiting this place will let you peep into the culture and history of Tripura. The magnificent blend of the exceptional architectural style of this iconic palace draws thousands of visitors every year to this place. In winter, when the migratory birds arrive, the expanses of the lush meadows flanking the lake are awash in a cacophony of birds’ singing.
Neermahal – the “Lake Palace of Tripura”, was constructed on the edict of Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur, the ruler of Tripura and a member of Manikya Dynasty. During one of his visits to Twijilikma Lake in 1921, the king proposed to build a palace there as his “summer palace”. A British Construction Company – Martin & Burns Co. was given the contract. This construction work began in the year 1930, and it took eight long years to complete the entire structure. The name of “Neermahal” was given by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, as he was very close to the family of Maharaja.
Design and Architecture
The Neermahal palace is the largest (approx. 400 Metres in length) and only water palace in Eastern India. It is notable for the use of sandstone and marble in its construction. This palace appears to be a fort from distance because of its dome-shaped minars. It is an ethereal work of art, which is built with architectural designs drawn from both Hindu and Muslim traditions. The domes and minarets of this palace are influenced by the Mughal design; while the balconies, interior courtyards, and apartments exhibits the Hindu architectural influences. In the royal arena you may also see watchtowers and a guards’ rooms. The tranquil ambiance of this magnificent water palace is enhanced by its lovely gardens, fountains, and courtyard. The overall architecture of this palace reflects the Maharaja’s sophisticated taste and intellect.
Neermahal is divided into two parts. The western part, known as “Andarmahal” was built for the royal family members, while, the eastern part of this palace was an open air theater, where drama, theatre, dance, and different other cultural programmes were usually organized to entertain the Maharaja and his royal family members. Inside this palace, one may also find two staircases those lead to a landing on the water of Rudrasagar. It is said that, the Maharaja used to sail in the hand-powered boats from “Rajghat” to “Neermahal”.
Best Time to Visit
One may visit the Neermahal palace at any time of the year, however, the festival season is the ideal time. In the month of August, every year, the local administration with the local residents host the “Neermahal Water Festival”, which is observed for three days, with vibrant cultural programmes and event play in the evening. Neermahal festival second time is organized in the month of December again with some glorious cultural event at cold atmosphere of winter season. During the festive seasons, this palace looks stunning as it is lavishly decorated.
Other Useful Information
Rates of Entry Fee and Charges for Entry with Camera at Neermahal Palace:
- Adult Entry – Rs. 30/- per person
- Minor Entry – Rs. 20/- per person
- Camera Charge – Rs. 50/- per Camera
- Special permission to be taken from the Director of Tourism Department for video shooting & photo shooting for professional/wedding purpose including use of drone.
How to Reach
- Nearest Railway Station: Bishramganj Railway Station(Distance – 16 KMs approx.)
- Nearest Airport: Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport in Agartala (Distance – 60 KMs approx.)
- Roadways: The nearest major city is Agartala (Distance – 53 KMs approx)