Tripura Sundari Temple is situated in the ancient Udaipur, about 55 km from Agartala, believed to be one of the holiest Hindu shrines in this part of the country. Popularly known as Matabari, crowns in a small hillock and is served by the red-robed priests who traditionally, minister to the mother goddess Tripura Sundari. Considered to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, consists of a square type sanctum of the typical Bengali hut. It is believed that Sati's right foot fell here during Lord Shiva's Nataraj Dance. The temple consist a square type sanctum with a conical dome.
It was constructed by Maharaja Dhanya Manikya Debbarma in 1501, there are two identical images of the same deity inside the temple. They are known as Tripura Sundari (5 feet high) and Chhotima (2 feet high) in Tripura. The idol of Maa Kali is worshiped at the temple of Tripura Sundari in the form of 'Soroshi'. One is made of kasti stone which is reddish black in colour. It is believed that the idol was Chhotima was carried by king in battlefield. This temple is also known as Kurma Pitha because it the temple premises resembles kurma i.e. tortoise. Every year on Diwali, a famous Mela takes place near the temple which is visited by more than two lakhs pilgrims.
Legend has it that king Dhanyamanikya who ruled Tripura in the closing years of the 15th century, had a revelation one night in his dream, ordering him to install Goddess Tripurasundari in the temple that stood on a hilltop near the town of Udaipur. The temple was already dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and the king was confounded initially, unable to decide how a temple dedicated to Vishnu could have an idol of the consort of Shiva. However, the oracle repeated the divine injunction to the king once again the following night, thereafter the ruler decided to obey the ethereal command, notwithstanding the fact that Vishnu and Shiva typified two different sects of religious following. Thus, the Tripura Sundari temple came into being in around the year 1501, and is now about 500 years old. This legend is recounted as one of the example of how solidarity between the two sub groups, the Vaishnava and Shaiva sects, was known and fostered even during medieval times.
About The Temple:
Goddess Parvati (Partvathi) is worshipped here as Tripurasundari, Tripureshwari and "Soroshi". The temple is a small, square edifice, measuring just 24 square feet (7 sq mt) at the base with a height of 75 feet (24m approximately). The structure of the shrine resembles that of a tortoise, with a roof shaped like the humped back of a tortoise. For this reason, the shrine is also known as "Koorma Peetha" (Koorma meaning Tortoise). As in other typical Hindu shrines, stalls along the approach road sell flowers and baskets of offerings that visitors can buy and take up to be offered to Tripura Sundari and returned as Prasadam. A specialty here is the sweet, brown, condensed milk Pedas that devotees carry back from the temple, to be distributed among family and friends back home. The red hibiscus flower is also prized as an offering.
All though the shrine draws devotees of all denominations and sects all year round (including some foreigners who are fascinated by the tribal heritage of Tripura and adjacent states of the Northeast, the crowds are particularly thick during Deepavali or Diwali (festival of lights), when a major fair turns the place into a tourist attraction.
Tripura is largely a tribal region and some customs typical of tribal communities have crept into the rituals of worship at the temple. One such custom is the offering of animal sacrifices (as in Bengal and in the famous Kamakhya temple in Guwahati). Goats are brought with garlands round their necks, as offerings. A notice board lists the charges for buffalo sacrifices, but these are obviously rare today. There are elements here of the Durga cult and rites, so popular in the eastern regions including Bengal, signifying an aggressive manifestation of the goddess as against the "Shanta-Swaroopini" image of Parvathi's incarnations, as at Madurai, for instance.
Kalyan Sagar lies in the eastern side of the temple. Spreading over 6.4 acres, with a length of 224 yards and width of 160 yards this large expanse of water adds a dimension of great beauty to the temple precincts, with hills rising picturesquely in the background. The water is full of Tortoises, some of them quite large, that come up to the shore looking for crumbs of food that visitors buy at the nearby stalls and feed to these amphibians, as part of the rituals. Devotees feed them with "muri" and biscuits. Fishing is not permitted in the Kalyan Sagar. A big lake Kalyan Sagar just down to the Hillock at the backside of the Temple adds to its beauty. This natural pond has varieties of aqua species.
The area of the Kalyan Sagar Lake is 2.752 acre. The lake is considered sacred and devotees worship the fishes and tortoises present here. Kalyan Sagar is famous for very rare species of tortoise in large numbers. To check the water quality of the lake, TSPCB collected water samples from four locations of the lake and analyzed the different parameters of the water quality. The results of the study show that the water quality of the lake is very good and even drinkable. According to the experts, it is only the construction of the embankments that increased the mortality of the turtles.