Tripura
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Tripura is a state in Northeast India. The third-smallest state in the country, it covers 10,491 km2 (4,051 sq mi) and is bordered by Bangladesh (East Bengal) to the north, south, and west, and the Indian states of Assam and Mizoram to the east. In 2011 the state had 3,671,032 residents, constituting 0.3% of the country’s population. Indigenous communities, known in India as scheduled tribes, form about 30 per cent of Tripura’s population. The Kokborok speaking Tripuri people are the major group among 19 tribes and many subtribes. The Bengali people form the ethno-linguistic majority in Tripura.

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The State of Tripura has a long history. The Kingdom of Tripura at its peak included the whole eastern region of Bengal from the Brahmaputra River in the north and west, the Bay of Bengal in the south and Burma to the east during the 14th and 15th centuries AD.The last ruler of the princely state of Tripura was Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur who reigned from 1947 to 1949 Agartala after whom the kingdom was merged with India on 9 September, 1949, and the administration was taken over on 15 October, 1949.The origins of the kingdom are shrouded in the myths written in Rajmala, the chronicle of the Kings of Tripura, which meanders from Hindu mythologies and Tripuri folklores.The ancient period can be said to be from around the 7th century when the Tripuri kings ruled from Kailashahar in North Tripura and they used “fa” as their title, “pha” in Kokborok means “father” or “head”.The Kings of Tripura adopted the “manikya” title and shifted their capital to Udaipur (formerly Rangamati) on the banks of the River Gomti in South Tripura in the 14th century. This was their most glorious period and their power and fame was even acknowledged by the Mughals, who were their contemporaries in North India.The modern period starts after the domination of the kingdom by the Mughals and the further tribute to British India after the British defeated the Mughals. In 1871, the British Indian government appointed an agent to assist the Maharaja in the administration. During this period the capital of the kingdom was shifted to Agartala, in West Tripura, the present state capital in the early part of 19th century.After India’s independence, the princely state of Tripura was merged with the Union of India in 1949. Tripura became a Union Territory on 1 July, 1963, and attained the status of a full-fledged state on 21 January, 1972.

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Phayre’s leaf monkey

Phayre’s leaf monkey (Trachypithecus phayrei), also known as Phayre’s langur, is a species of lutung found in Southeast Asia. The species epithet commemorates Arthur Purves Phayre.Its range includes Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.It is mostly arboreal and feeds on leaves of a large number of tree species. A study in Tripura, India found the principal food tree species to be Albizzia procera, Melocanna bambusoides, Callicarpa arborea, Dillenia pentagyna, Litsea sp., Albizzia lebbek, Mikania scandens, Gmelina arborea, Artocarpus chaplasha, Syzygium fruticosum, Ficus fistulosa, Ficus racemosa, Ficus hispida, Ficus indica. Macaranga denticulata and Albizzia stipulata.

Green imperial pigeon

The green imperial pigeon (Ducula aenea) is a large forest pigeon.The green imperial pigeon is a large, plump pigeon, 45 cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are metallic green. The head and underparts are white, apart from maroon undertail coverts. Sexes are similar. The bird’s call is deep and resonant, and is often the first indication of the presence of this treetop species.

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Agarwood

Agarwood, also known as oud, oodh, agar, aloeswood or lign-aloes, is a dark resinous heartwood that forms in Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees (large evergreens native to southeast Asia) when they become infected with a type of mould. Prior to infection, the heartwood is odourless, relatively light and pale coloured; however, as the infection progresses, the tree produces a dark aromatic resin in response to the attack, which results in a very dense, dark, resin embedded heartwood. The resin embedded wood is commonly called gaharu, jinko, aloeswood, agarwood, or oud (not to be confused with bukhoor) and is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance, and thus is used for incense and perfumes.

Only one major road, the National Highway 44 (NH-44), connects Tripura to the rest of India.Starting at Sabroom in southern Tripura, it heads north to the capital Agartala, turns east and then north-east to enter the state of Assam. Locally known as “Assam Road”, the NH-44 is often called the lifeline of Tripura.However, the highway is single lane and of poor quality; often landslides, rains or other disruptions on the highway cut the state off from its neighbours.Another National Highway, NH 44A, connects the town Manu in South Tripura district with Aizawl, Mizoram.The Tripura Road Transport Corporation is the government agency overlooking public transport on road. A hilly and land-locked state, Tripura is dependent mostly on roads for transport.The total length of roads in the state is 16,931 km (10,520 mi) of which national highways constitute 448 km (278 mi) and state highways 689 km (428 mi), as of 2009–10.Residents in rural areas frequently use waterways as a mode of transport.

Agartala Airport, located 12.5 km (6.7 nautical miles) northwest of Agartala at Singerbhil, is the second busiest airport in north east India after Guwahati. There are direct flight connections to Kolkata, Imphal, Delhi, Silchar, Aizwal, Guwahati, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The major airlines are Air India, Jet Airways (Operating Codeshare and connect Flights), Indigo Airlines and Spicejet. Passenger helicopter services are available between the capital and major towns (Kailashahar, Dharmanagar) as well as to more remote areas such as Kanchanpur and Gandacherra.Rail transport was absent in the state until 2008–09 when a rail connection was established between the capital Agartala and Lumding junction in Assam.This is a meter gauge rail track connecting to the usual Indian gauge at Lumding. The major railways stations in this line are in Agartala, Dharmanagar, and Kumarghat. As of 2009–10, the total length of railway tracks in the state is 153 kilometres (95 mi). Extension of railway line from Agartala to the southernmost town of Sabroom is in progress, as of 2012.Tripura has an 856 km (532 mi) long international border with Bangladesh, of which 730.5 km (453.9 mi) is fenced, as of 2012.Several locations along the border serve as bilateral trading points between India and Bangladesh, such as Akhaura near Agartala, Raghna, Srimantpur, Belonia, Khowai and Kailasahar.A bus service exists between Agartala and Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.In 2013, the two countries signed an agreement to establish a 15 km (9.3 mi) railway link between Agartala and the Akhaura junction of Bangladesh.Citizens of both countries need visa to legally enter the other country; however, illegal movement and smuggling across the border are widespread.

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Cuisine

Tripuri cuisine is the type of food served in the northeast Indian state of Tripura. The Tripuris are essentially nonvegetarians and hence the main courses are mainly prepared using meat, but with the addition of vegetables. Traditional Tripuri cuisine is known as Mui Borok. Tripuri food has a key ingredient called Berma, which is dried and fermented fish. The food is considered to be healthy as it is prepared without oil. Flavor wise, Berma is more on the sour side. Tripuri food such as bangui rice and fish stews, bamboo shoots, fermented fish, local herbs, and meat roasts are extremely popular within and outside the state.

Bengali culture

Bengali people represent the largest non-tribal community of the state. Bengali culture, as a result, is the main non-tribal culture in the state. Indeed many tribal families, especially those who are from the elite class and reside in urban centres, have embraced Bengali culture more than their tribal cultural roots.The Tripuri kings were great patron of Bengali culture, especially literature, and Bengali language was the language of the court.The Nobel laureate Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore had notable friendship with the kings.Elements of Bengali culture, such as Bengali literature, Bengali music, and Bengali cuisine predominate particularly in the urban areas of the state.

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Handicrafts

Tripura is noted for bamboo and cane handicrafts.Bamboo played important part in the jhumia (shifting cultivation) of the tribes. It was used to make watch stations on stilts, and was devised to carry food and water. Besides these usages, bamboo, woods and cane were used to create an array of furniture, utensils, hand-held fans, replicas, mats, baskets, idols and interior decoration materials.

Songs and dances

Music and dances are integral part of the tribal people of Tripura. Some of their indigenous musical instruments are the sarinda, chongpreng, and sumui (a kind of flute). Songs are sung during religious occasions, weddings, and other festivals. Each tribal community has their own repertoire of songs and dances. The Tripuri and Jamatia tribe perform goria dance during the Goria puja. Jhum dance (also called tangbiti dance) in the harvest season, lebang dance, mamita dance, and mosak sulmani dance are other Tripuri dances.Reang community, the second largest tribe of the state, are noted for their hojagiri dance performed by young girls balancing on earthen pitchers.The Bizhu dance is performed by the Chakmas during the Bizhu festival (the last day of the month of Chaitra).

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Sculpture and architecture

Unakoti, Pilak and Devtamura are historic sites where large collections of stone carvings and rock sculptures are noted.These sculptures are evidence of the presence of Buddhism and Brahmanical orders for centuries. These sculptures represent a rare artistic fusion of traditional religions and tribal influence.