South Tripura - Sipahijala WLS, Neer-Mahal, Matabari, Udaipur 

8th December 2011:
Ginger Hotel Agartala is pretty nice. The AC room had all the standard, modern features & fittings with a nice flat-TV. After a nice hot shower we went down to the Hotel's Restaurant at lobby level. Nice buffet spread with many choices; I did S. Indian with Uttappa, Idli, Sambar, Chatni and Coffee! SK discussed sight-seeing plans with travel-desk guys in the Lobby and finalised a hire-car for us (Rs 1800/-) for us to go to South Tripura today. 

We left around 10:00AM  and first stop was the Sipahijala WLS that included a 'open' type of Zoo. I was wondering if need to see a Zoo at this ripe old age but then was surprised to see quite a few species of animals, in a open type of zoo. Quote from Wiki: "Sipahijola WLS with an area of about 18.53 SqKm is located about 25 KM from the city centre. It is a woodland with an artificial lake and natural botanical and zoological gardens. It is shelter to about 150 species of birds and the unique bespectacled monkey (Phayre's Langur)" 

Spectacled Langurs in Sipahijala
Spectacled Langurs

Geiko

After Siphijala we went to see Neer-Mahal in Rudrasagar Lake. Quoting Wiki: "
Neermahal (Water palace) is a former royal palace built by King Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman of the erstwhile Kingdom of Tripura in 1930. It is situated 53 kilometers away from the Agartala, the capital of Tripura. The palace is situated in the middle of Rudrasagar Lake and assimilates Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. 

Neermahal view from the ghat on shore

On reaching the ghat we hired a rowing boat (instead of waiting for a motorboat to fill up). It takes about 20 mins to row over to the huge palace and its grounds, on an island in the lake.
The Neermahal looked exotic and nice from a distance while rowing in from the shore; but on landing it seemed to lose its sheen. It must have been a nice palace when the king lived here, but now with neglect it is dilapidated.

A closer zoom-in look at part of Neermahal

After Neermahal we went to Matabari near Udaipur. Quoting f
rom Wiki below: 

"
Tripura Sundari Temple is situated in the ancient Udaipur, about 55 km from Agartala, believed to be one of the holiest Hindu shrines in this part of the country. Popularly known as Matabari, crowns in a small hillock and is served by the red-robed priests who traditionally, minister to the mother goddess Tripura Sundari. Considered to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, consists of a square type sanctum of the typical Bengali hut. It is believed that Sati's right foot fell here during Lord Shiva's Nataraj Dance. The temple consist a square type sanctum with a conical dome. 

Legend has it that king Dhanyamanikya who ruled Tripura in the closing years of the 15th century, had a revelation one night in his dream, ordering him to install Goddess Tripurasundari in the temple that stood on a hilltop near the town of Udaipur. The temple was already dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and the king was confounded initially, unable to decide how a temple dedicated to Vishnu could have an idol of the consort of Shiva. However, the oracle repeated the divine injunction to the king once again the following night, thereafter the ruler decided to obey the ethereal command, notwithstanding the fact that Vishnu and Shiva typified two different sects of religious following. 

Thus, the Tripura Sundari temple came into being in around the year 1501, and is now about 500 years old. This legend is recounted as one of the example of how solidarity between the two sub groups, the Vaishnava and Shaiva sects, was known and fostered even during medieval times."

More on Wikipedia: Tripura-Sundari


Sipahijala WLS - Park entrance
 
Flap-Shell Turtle

Excited Bears stand up on seeing their feeder 
 
Neermahal from about halfway

Matabari Temple 

The Tripura Sundari Idol inside the temple

Signpost outside Matabari Temple 

 Slideshow of all pics of South Tripura