Chaturdasha Temple, Agartala, Tripura
The Chaturdasha Temple is a Hindu temple (mandir) situated near Old Agartala, India, and features the Bengal dome patterned after the roofs of village huts in Bengal. The dome is surmounted by a stupa-like structure which reveals traces of Buddhist influence. This temple was built in honour of fourteen deities, together called the Chaturdasha Devata, by King Krishna Manikya Debbarma of Tripura in 1761 and these deities are ceremoniously worshipped during Kharchi Puja. The Kokborok names of the fourteen deities are Lampra, Akhatra, Bikhatra, Burasa, Thumnairok, Bonirok, Sangroma, Mwtaikotor, Twima, Songram, Noksumwtai, Mailuma, Khuluma and Swkalmwtai.The temple is located near the old part of Agartala where the royal palace is situated. The location of the temple is about 8 kilometers away from the main city of Agartala which is the capital of the state of Tripura in India. The temple was dedicated to the Chaturdasha Devata which means fourteen deities. The temple was built by King Krishna Manikya Debbarma who was the ruler of Tripura at that time.
he temple is fondly called the Chaudda Devata Mandir. The fourteen deities worshipped at the Chaturdasha temple Tripura are called Burasa, Lampra, Bikhatra, Akhatra, Thumnairok, Sangroma, Bonirok, Twima, Songram, Mwtaikotor, Mailuma, Noksumwtai, Swkalmwtai and Khuluma in Kokborok. These deities are the local forms of Hindu gods and goddesses who are Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, Kartikeya, Saraswati, Ganesha, Samudra, Prithvi, Agni, Ganga, Himadri and Kamadeva. These deities and the gods they represent have completely influenced the people of this state which is called the country of fourteen gods and goddesses. People from the neighboring states also come here in large numbers every year to pray for peace, happiness and prosperity.
Legend / Local stories
Tripura is called the land of the fourteen gods. As per legend and the description in the royal chronicles regarding Chaturdasha temple history, king Tripur was killed by Lord Shiva because of his irreligious acts and conduct. Harabati, the widow of Tripur, had gone to bathe in the river when she saw the fourteen gods being chased by a wild buffalo and taking refuge on a cotton tree. Harbati helped the gods to kill the wild buffalo and save themselves. The fourteen gods and goddesses were so pleased with Harabati that they came to stay in the royal palace at Udaipur and were worshipped there. The sacrifice of a wild buffalo at the Kharchi festival has come down as a tradition since then.
The city of Udaipur fell to Muslim invaders under the command of Samser Gaji. The Muslim invaders occupied the city, and the Tripuri king had to shift his capital to Agartala on the banks of the river Haora. It is said that when King Krishna Manikya Debbarma set up a new capital at Agartala after leaving his original capital Udaipur behind, the gods and goddesses also wanted to leave the place and come with him to his new adobe. The king took their request to heart and brought them to Agartala and installed them at the newly built temple.
The King installed the heads of the fourteen deities he had worshipped in Udaipur. All idols were originally made of alloy. When one of the heads got washed away while being bathed in the river, it was replaced by a head made of silver. The temple that he had built for the fourteen deities had a flat roof that was similar to the architecture followed in Bengal at that time but has two domes that taper upwards like Buddhist stupas. The one at the back is higher than the one at the front.
How to Reach:
- By Air :The airport that serves the city is only 12 kilometers from the heart of the city. It is connected to the cities of Kolkata, Mumbai, Dehli, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore by domestic carriers. The airport at Guwahati in the neighboring state of Assam is also connected by air.
- By rail:The city is connected to the vast network of the Indian Railways by the North Eastern Railway. You can arrive from other cities of the country by trains via the Howrah Railway Station located in Kolkata in West Bengal up to Silchar and Lumding. From Lumding, you have to take an overnight express to reach Agartala.
- By road :Agartala and Tripura are connected to the neighboring states by the National Highway 44. The national highway connects to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya and Guwahati, the capital of Assam. Regular bus services are available from Guwahati, Shillong and Silchar to Agartala. The distance from Guwahati to Agartala is approximately 594 kilometers. You can make the Chaturdasha temple yatra by auto-rickshaws, buses and cabs.