A Day at an Indian Governor’s Palace: Tripura Raj Bhaban
Sachi G. Dastidar
It is rare to visit a governor’s mansion whether in India or in America, even rarer if that building is a palace – a historic palace at that. I had that exceptional opportunity when I was able to visit the Governor’s Mansion, the Ujjayanta Palace, at the Tripura State capital in Agartala, India. This is a real palace of a real king, built a century ago by King, Maharaja, Birendra Kishore Manikya of Tripura. Tripura is located in Northeast India, surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides. Partition of India in 1947 made Tripura one of the most inaccessible states of India cut off from rest of India’s old routes by East Pakistan, now called Bangladesh. Tripura residents claim that theirs is one of the longest unbroken kingdoms of the world until India abolished monarchies in 1970s and absorbed all 700 kingdoms into India and introduced democracy as in rest of India. During my visit in 2017 Governor of Tripura was/is the Honorable Tathagata Roy. He found time to talk with me during his busy schedule, and as he prepared for the seminal book, Ja Chhilo Amar Desh (A tale of exodus of minorities from East Bengal [now Bangladesh]) published by Mitra & Ghosh Publishers of Kolkata.
Wikipedia described the palace as:
“Raj Bhavan is what was earlier the Pushbanta Palace. It was built by Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya (1909-1923). He selected a spot on a green hillock known as Kunjaban, which stands at a distance of 1 km north of Ujjayanta palace [the former palace of the king], for its scenic beauty for building a suburban palace for retreat. The palace was constructed in 1917. It was named as Pushbanta Palace and it covers a total area of 1.76 hectares.
“This palace was mute witness to the poetic creations of many great poets including a number of popular songs. There are well laid gardens and lawns within the palace compound. It is now the official residence of the Governor of Tripura. The southern side of the garden has been made open for the public and has been named as Rabindra Kanan” [poet Rabindra garden.] (Wikipedia)
Originally the palace was built as a resident for multiple guests of the king. Each guest unit is a spacious suit with a bedroom, living room and several bathrooms. The Palace now holds many formal receptions and has unique paintings, Tripura-famous bamboo-made handicrafts, old Colonial-style furniture and a large collection of books, especially because of the current Governor of the State, the Honorable Sri Tathagata Roy, is not only an eminent scholar and author of books of Indian independence as well of consequences of Indian Partition, and is a noteworthy engineer. Raj Bhaban is guarded 24/7 by scores of security personnel in that terror-prone state. The state is run (2017) by the Communist Party of India-Marxist government. Inside the palace compound there is a large well-designed garden of flowering tropical plants, a cottage for ducks, and several large evergreen trees.
Here are some pictures from the Governor’s Mansion.
Governor Tathagata Roy
Swapna; February 7, 2017