Tripura: A Backpacker’s Oasis That No One Knows Of

Yes, after several failed attempts, I finally managed to visit Tripura. Although I had to cut it short due to external circumstances and had to rush through my destinations, still I managed to cover a lot within those four days. While I will come up with detailed posts about each of the attractions, I really wanted to say something about the place in general. Tripura is an excellent place for budget travellers and it is surprising that hardly anyone is visiting it!

Actually, my emotions may be stronger at the moment because of my other experiences in the recent months. Regular readers here know that I have made several trips to the other Northeastern states in the last few months and as much as I like to promote them, I must admit that most of the trips were logistical nightmares due to the lack of basic infrastructure. It is probably easier if you have a vehicle but for a budget traveller like me who relies on public transport, it was a real struggle.

Tripura looks equally remote on the map but I was surprised how easily I managed to cover it. The only hiccup was at the time of returning when the train to Guwahati got cancelled. However, the issue was not with Tripura but it was due to some disturbances in the hill districts of Assam. So, I had to reach Silchar and take a bus to Guwahati through Meghalaya.

My Quick Tripura Itinerary

Day 0

Took a train from Guwahati at night to Silchar because direct train to Agartala was not available that day.

Day 1

Got down at Badarpur early morning, shared a car to Karimganj, and finally got a bus to Dharmanagar. Visited Unakoti Temples and returned to Dharmanagar for night halt.

Day 2

Took the morning train to Agartala and directly took a shared car to Melaghar. Visited Neer Mahal and spent the night at the lodge near the lake.

Day 3

Took a shared car to Udaipur. Completed some urgent work from the hotel room and then some local sightseeing in Udaipur, including medieval temples and lakes.

Day 4

Took a shared car to Jolaibari to visit ancient ruins of Pilak. Returned by noon and wanted to visit Amarpur-Devtamura. But was too tired by then and so decided to return to Agartala for some local attractions and night halt.

Day 5

I had a direct train to Guwahati in the morning which was cancelled as mentioned before. So,I reached Silchar and took the bus.

So, now let me explain why I found Tripura to be delightful and why it is ideal for backpackers with a limited budget.

No Permits needed for Tripura

As you know, it requires Inner Line Permits (ILP) to visit the Northeastern States of Arunachal, Nagaland, and Mizoram. Other states like Manipur and Meghalaya also occasionally keep demanding the same. They do have their reasons for doing the same and those complexities are beyond the scope of a travel blog but for travellers, it is an additional layer of formality and in some cases, you may have to devote an extra day just to get the permit even before you reach the state. But Tripura asks for no such things. Just book your tickets and go.

Excellent Rail Connectivity

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Except for Assam, most other NE states practically have no rail connectivity excluding some border towns. Tripura used to be the same but in the recent years, the Indian Railways have made rapid progress to connect all major towns of the state and also to connect the state to the rest of India. Now they even have a Rajdhani Express to Agartala but I was more impressed by the local passenger trains with chair cars where you can prebook and get a comfortable seat for INR 40-50, and enjoy the best of rail travel as the compartment mostly remains empty. Train network has now reached as far as Udaipur in South Tripura, and they are constructing lines that will eventually connect the state to Bangladesh.

Easy Road Connectivity

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I found most of the roads to be in reasonably good shape. Buses and shared cars are available everywhere. Interestingly, different types of cars are more prevalent in different towns. I mostly saw Tata Magic around Dharmanagar, Mahindra Maxx around Agartala, and classic Jeeps around Udaipur as you can see in the pic above. Electric rickshaws are available to travel within the towns. In any case, you don’t have to pay more than INR 40-50 for any stretch.

Quality Budget Accomodation

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Comfortable accommodation on a budget is not always easy to find. When I was planning for Tripura, I was talking to a friend. I had found a long list of official Tripura Tourism Lodges that are present near every major attraction in the state. He refused to believe it and wondered if they exist only on paper. But now I am glad to report that they actually exist. I found a big one even in a place as remote as Jolaibari (Pilak). Also, apart from the government lodges, all major towns have good budget hotels complete with TVs and attached bathrooms for INR 300-400. The government lodges can cost a bit more, around INR 600-800, but that is purely optional.

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Food in Tripura may surprise you

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Normal Bengali food is available everywhere. Apart from the usual, they seem to have local variations, permutations and innovations in every town. I don’t really have much knowledge about them. the best way to surprise oneself is to walk around the streets. Hardly anything costs more than INR 10-20-30.

Tripura is Easy on the Wallet

As you must have realized already, it is a very cost-effective place. Accommodation costs are around INR 300-400, transport and food can be wrapped up in 2 digits everywhere. You can cover the whole state in 6-7 days, spending no more than INR 3000-4000 (i.e. $50-60).

Tripura is Rich in History

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While it looks isolated on the map, Tripura has connections with ancient Bengal (Including present day Bangladesh) right from the beginning. In the medieval times, it came under the rule of Twipra Kingdom and although they have lost the political power, the Royal family till exists. In that sense, Tripura feels a lot like Rajasthan. Of course, it does not have the gigantic forts like Rajasthan but there are many ancient ruins, temples, and palaces to explore.

Tripura is the state of Lakes

Tripura (12)

Due to the royal patronage, all major towns in Tripura seem to be well organized and they have a lot of lakes. It is not a coincidence that there is a town called Udaipur in Tripura and it is also known as the Lake city like its counterpart in Rajasthan. All other towns also have lakes that add to the visual allure. Neermahal, one of the most famous royal palaces in the state, is located in the middle of a lake and needs a boat ride to visit.

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Tripura has a Unique Culture

Tripura is a Bengali majority state but the original inhabitants also have their own rich language and culture. My trip was too quick to explore any of it. I guess one should time the visits with some traditional festivals to get a better experience in this regard.

Tripura has its own Orange Country

Jampui hills are one region in the state that I failed to accommodate in my short itinerary but it must be mentioned anyway. It is the hilly region of Tripura bordering Mizoram. The people living there are also Mizos and the area is known for Orange cultivation. They even organize an orange festival in the winter and you can do some small hikes in the hills too. Next time I am in Tripura, I will directly go to this region.

Also Read…

Neermahal, Melaghar

Pilak, Udaipur

Unakoti

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Jitaditya Narzary

Is a traveller disillusioned by the familiar and fascinated with the unknown... and of course the founder of this blog.

19 thoughts on “Tripura: A Backpacker’s Oasis That No One Knows Of

  • 2018/01/31 at 1:38 pm
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    त्रिपुरा के बारे में अच्छी जानकारी भरा लेख।

    Reply
  • 2018/02/01 at 1:48 pm
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    What a lovely place is Unadkoti . I have seen it on TV many times and since then have a dream to be there a day . Your post is truly a best post based on Tripura written in simple and in easy way .

    Reply
  • 2018/02/03 at 10:33 pm
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    I never even heard of this place before. Would love to check out this area. Looks nice.

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  • 2018/02/04 at 6:31 am
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    Thanks for sharing, I’d never heard of this spot! I’m actually heading to Rajasthan tomorrow (yay!) so it will be interesting to see how the state compares.

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  • 2018/02/04 at 7:16 am
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    So after spending a day in Udaipur last year, Darcee & declared that we will return to spend more days there to explore more cause we loved the look and feel of that town. But now I can add taking a side trip to Tripura! I love hidden gems like this. I would love to explore the culture and ancient history there and you sold me on the food. I wish I could just eat your pictures.

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  • 2018/02/04 at 8:25 pm
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    Havent explores that part of the country much, but gave it a start by visiting Shillong, and Guwahati last year. I so need to visit the seven sisters, and reading your posts and going through your experiences, keeps the flame burning f doing a budget backpacking trail across the seven sisters.

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  • 2018/02/04 at 11:29 pm
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    Love reading about under the radar places…and learning how budget-friendly it is! I have not done a lot of backpacking, but I do want to inflect some more adventure in my future travels!

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  • 2018/02/06 at 12:44 pm
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    I will admit that Tripura was down on the list of my NE plans but after this post, have pulled it up. For one, I did not know that there are no restrictions here. The place looks so unspoiled and lovely and I must get a go at it before the rush of crowds. Definitely want to see the lakes and the orange counties. 😀

    Reply
  • 2018/02/06 at 5:11 pm
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    The north eastern states have long been eluding me! At least twice I have had to cancel due to one reason or the other. Thanks for an informative post on Tripura and good to note that one does not require ILPs.
    I guess I am going to plan one moth in the NE states as a starter.

    Reply
  • 2018/02/06 at 5:31 pm
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    Brilliant post and Tripura does seem to be so amazing to explore. Hopefully will remake my plans for 2018 again and make sure of setting foot in the remaining 2 north-eastern states; Mizoram and Tripura.

    Very helpful guide.

    Shubham

    Reply
  • 2018/02/07 at 7:35 am
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    The food looks very delicious! I love trying some new foods. Street food photography is always awesome 🙂 The place looks very inviting and relatively free from other visitors, too!

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  • 2018/02/07 at 8:33 am
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    Every post I read about India just keeps adding to my list of how many fascinating things there are to do in India. A visit to Tripura certainly seems off-the-beaten-path. Appreciate the tips about the food and affordable lodging options in the area.

    Reply
  • 2018/02/07 at 1:44 pm
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    You’re right – I hadn’t heard of it until your post! It looks like there are great things to do, it’s great to visit on a budget, and I’m sure your post will inspire many more people to visit. I still need to make my way to India.

    Reply
  • 2018/05/03 at 9:06 pm
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    This was so awesome to read! It looks like a great place to visit with a lot to do!

    Reply
  • Pingback:Neermahal Palace: Melaghar, Tripura | The Travelling Slacker

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