Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti


Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti, Unakoti Range, Unakoti District is part of the Tentative list of India in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti comprise massive images of Hindu gods. The earliest date from the 8th-9th centuries CE. The site is still used for spiritual rites and a yearly festival called Ashokastami Mela is held in the month of April.

Map of Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Stanislaw Warwas

Poland - 10-Apr-24 -

Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti (T) by Stanislaw Warwas

Visited February 2024

The biggest challenge is to get to this site. There are no shortcuts, although some roads (most of them) in Tripura look like shortcuts…

The nearest town which has pretty good (or any) connections with the rest of the state of Tripura and the neighbouring state of Assam (and Bangladesh too) is Dharmanagar, 20 km away. It has a train station with some daily trains to/from Agartala (capital of Tripura, the nearest airport, many daily flights to Kolkata) and Silchar in Assam, a bus connection with Guwahati, Silchar and Dhaka, and many places to sleep and eat.

To get here I took the night bus from Guwahati (capital of Assam) bus terminal ISBT (it is not located in the city centre where you can buy your ticket! It’s around 20 km south of the main market) – I would rather say night and day bus… According to the timetable the trip takes 13 hours; in reality, it took 20 – because of the heavy rain that surprised everyone in February which is usually a dry season. And the road itself – you’ll have to see it to believe it is the main road linking the north with the south of North-East India…

Ok, so we are almost there, in Dharmanagar. We have two options to get to Unakoti: 1. wait for the local bus/sumo (10-seater SUV) to take you there (destination of the bus: Kailashahar) and get out at Unakoti Eco Park; there are only few sumos and even less buses a day, so if you’re not in the right moment at the sumo/bus station, you’ll have to wait… 2. take a taxi (no rickshaw wanted to go there (?!)), the price is reasonable, even if it seems high by Indian standards. It is not far but the road is in very good conditions (rare in this part of the country) and very winding, but the views are really nice - you can ask the driver to stop for photo opportunities; let’s count 40 minutes to get to the entrance of the site. No entry fee, just a book where you write your name. I have asked about foreign tourists visiting the site – at the end of February 2024 and I was the third non-Indian tourist 😉 this year. Take your time while there – the taxi will wait for you.

I had seen some pictures of Unakoti before but what I saw at the site made me feel like… Hmm, yes, it was worth to have spent so many hours in the bus just to see these sculptures or rather bas-reliefs – they are really amazing! The place is ready for tourists: parking for multiple cars, some food and drink stalls, souvenirs, few information boards, a circular path to follow and even a English-Hindi leaflet about Unakoti that you can look at the entrance gate, no, you cannot get one because there had only one copy. I wish I could get some more info about this Shvaite place. I hired the local guide from the entrance booth – and it did not matter ‘cos he was not speaking English but at least showed me things that I’d not have had noticed.

I have read some articles about it before visiting and I am not going to repeat what you can find online.

I spent the night in Dharmanagar and the next morning I took the morning train to Agartala – there are no buses! Of course, it was delayed. But I still have some time to do the city tour of Tripura capital before going to the airport.

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Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti, Unakoti Range, Unakoti District
Archaeological site - South (East) Asian
2022 Added to Tentative List

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Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti (T)


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