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Forgotten Kalajhari sculpture drawing tourists again


The 15th century rock sculpture on the Kalajhari hills by the Gomati river is again drawing tourists


Devtamura(Tripura): Pushed to obscurity by decades-old insurgency and government apathy in providing transport, the 15th century rock sculpture on the Kalajhari hills by the Gomati river here is again drawing tourists.

Images of Shiva, Ganesha, Kartika, Mahisasur Mardini, Durga and others adorn the jagged walls of the Kalajhari hills at Debatamura which is at a distance of 75 km from Agartala.

It is not known who carved the figures of gods and goddesses on the steep surface of the hills in this remote place inhabited by Jamatiya and Reang tribes.

Historian Jahar Acharjee, who studied the carvings, said that available evidences suggested that some soldiers, who were hiding in the area during a Muslim attack in the 15th century, had made them.

Writer Panna Lal Roy, who also studied the sculptures, however, contradicted Acharjee’s contention, saying “there is no historical evidence to support it and that it needs more research find the creators”.

In ‘Rajmala’, a historical chronicle of Tripura, it was mentioned that the local Reang tribes, who rebelled against the Manikya kings, named the place as Devtamura. The tribes later became loyal to the Mankiya kings, Roy said.

If not for the sculptures, the area anyway deserves to find a place in the tourists’ diary for its lush green vegetation dotted with beautiful little bamboo-straw huts of the tribals.

Debasish Lodh, a senior information officer of the Tourism Corporation of Tripura, said, “Years of insurgency coupled with lack of proper transport had prevented tourists from visiting the place.”

Lodh points out that visiting the place is still very difficult since the only means of transport is a ferry as in the past. However, the availability of it has increased.

He said the Tripura government had sent a proposal to the Indian Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC) to develop the area as a tourist spot. An ITDC team also visited the place recently.

Alok Banerjee, the executive engineer of Amarpur sub-division in which the area falls, says there is a road to the hills from Udaipur, but it is unpaved. A plan has been finalized under the Pradhan Mantry Gram Sadak Yojna to turn it to metal.

Lodh, who recently visited the place, said the rock carvings, some of which rise up to 20 metres in height on the steep walls of the hill, present an amazing sight.

“Nowhere in the Northeast are such picturesque images ,” he said.

Kuntala Chakraborty, a tourist, regrets that that are no government tourist lodges around the hills to provide accommodation to visitors and wants the government to develop infrastructure.


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