The icon of Agartala, the white-marble palace seemingly floating on the Rudrasagar Lake is extraordinary, with open-air courtyards, lotus ponds, and majestic architecture. ‘The Lake Palace of Tripura’ or the Neermahal Palace reflects the history of its past glory and casts its spell on the mind of all those who visit it. It is famed for being the largest palace of its kind in India and the only one in East India. This architectural beauty derives its name from its location and is a picturesque fairytale royal mansion located on an island right in the middle of the Rudrasagar Lake.
The awe-inspiring view of Rudrasagar and the surrounding lands add to the stark beauty of the Neermahal Palace and make it the most serene sight in Agartala. The light white coloured stone walls of the palace are at stark contrast to the deep blue of the waters of the lake, while from the innards of the palace lush foliage sprouts. A stunning amalgamation of manmade and natural beauty a visit to Neermahal Palace in Tripura is a definite must for anyone who is a fan of history, architecture or nature.
This massive palace was the result of nearly nine years of hard work and dedication by the British company Martin and Burns and was completed under the aegis of the then Manikya ruler, Maharaja Bir Bikram. The grandiose palace was built in 1930 A.D. as Maharaja Bir’s summer residence. Maharaja Bir was a very progressive ruler who aspired to blend the tribal community with modernity by building great infrastructures and Neermahal Palace is said to be one of his most wonderful creations.
This architectural marvel with its high ornate structures has a lot to showcase to its visitors. The surrounding lawns, the greenery, and flower beds add another level of magnificence to the beauty of this place. Neermahal Palace is noted for its resemblance to the enchanting Jag Niwas or Taj Lake Palace in Pichola Lake of Udaipur in Rajasthan.
The architecture and the dome-shaped minars lend the palace a fort-like look, and even today visitors are spellbound by its magnificent presence. The majestic palace is a perfect mélange of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Surrounded by water the palace looks more enchanting during the night time when its reflection can be seen on the lake. Built with sandstone and marble, the royal residence and its splendid balconies, pillars, rooms, ornate walls, bridge, and pavilions make it an architectural splendour to behold.
The spectacular edifice encompasses beautifully laid gardens and flood lighting that add colour to its grandeur beauty. Embracing the royal residence building are the rich green yards and brilliant bloom beds that amplify the overall look of this historical building.
The palace is divided into two parts, the Andar Mahal, which lies in the Western part and an open-air theatre, which lies in the Eastern part of the palace. Andar Mahal served as the royal family’s private residence while cultural activities and performances like drama, dance and music took place in the open area. The 400-meter long palace houses 24 rooms and 2 staircases that are built in a way that they land directly onto the Rudrasagar Lake. The rooms are hung with breezy silks and filled with carved furniture and overlook the lily-filled lake.
Neermahal Palace, Agartala is a masterpiece of brilliant architecture that showcases the striking white marble building with notable courtyards, terraces, gardens, and fountains. The rooms are exquisitely designed with crystal artworks and stained glass works, and some of them even have wonderful paintings and artifacts, which date back to the ancient era.
The erstwhile Maharajas used to travel to and from the palace by hand-powered boats known as Rajghat. Boating facilities are easily available here where you can either opt for a ride on a motorboat or a normal boat to reach the Neermahal Palace. The views of the magnificent palace that one gets while wading through the calm waters of the lake is an experience to remember. For bird watchers, one will get to spot many colourful migratory water birds on the route. Thus, boating to the Neermahal – Agartala is an adventurous yet calming activity to partake in.
Every year in the month of August, the Government of Agartala organizes a three-day long ‘Neermahal Water Festival’ where visitors from nearby states flock the palace to witness and participate in several exciting events like boat race, swimming or fishing competition, and other small festivities. Delectable food, cultural programmes, scenic surroundings, and the beauty of the palace make this festival a big attraction for locals and tourists alike. Besides admiring the elegance of Neermahal, one can indulge in some motorboat riding or catch glimpses of the migratory birds in the lake.
Neermahal Palace is 53 kilometres from the capital city of Agartala. One can just hop on to a shared taxi leaving for Melaghar for as low as INR 30. From Melaghar taxi stand, Neermahal is just a 5-minute drive by an auto or cab. There are shared taxis that ply from Melaghar to Agartala at every short interval.
The palace looks its best between the months of October to March. This is the time when you can escape the ceaseless rains. You can also visit Neermahal Palace during the month of April to experience the Neermahal Water Festival or in December for the Neermahal Festival.
Neermahal is one of the most enchanting tourist places in North East India and an inspiring structure that has clearly stood the test of times. The fusion of Hindu and Islamic style of architecture imparts it a unique look and makes it one of the mesmerizing water palaces in India. Boating to the Neermahal – Agartala is an experience that should be on every person’s bucket list when exploring the North East. It is worthwhile to visit the only floating palace in East India and appreciate its ornately designed stunning architecture that gets reflected on the waters of the Rudrasagar Lake. Make sure to visit this spectacular palace to discover yet another architectural marvel that is a reflection of the rich heritage of India.
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