Tripura’s royal palaces, which were command hubs until the erstwhile princely State’s accession to India in October 1949, are now being turned into museums to showcase North-East India’s art, culture, history and ethnic diversity.

“Once beyond the reach of the people, the palaces — Puran Habeli and Ujjayanta Palace — would not only be mere museums, these would be knowledge hubs and tourist hotspots for both Indians and foreigners,” Tripura Information and Cultural Affairs Minister, Mr Anil Sarkar, said.

“The endangered art, culture and history of North East India’s tribals and non-tribals, and the ethnic diversity, archaeological and geological reserves of the region would be showcased and preserved in the two giant museums.”

“The natural heritage of the mountainous North Eastern region would also be conserved in these museums, being constructed at a cost of around Rs 14 crore,” said Mr Sarkar, also a renowned writer and poet.

The Puran Habeli museum, refurbished at a cost of Rs 3.64 crore, was inaugurated on Monday by the Tripura Chief Minister, Mr Manik Sarkar.

The Chief Minister said: “The two-storeyed Ujjayanta Palace is being made a giant museum according to the agreement signed with the erstwhile separatist outfit, All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF) in March 1993. This was decided earlier as per the pre-conditions of the ATTF.”

Ujjayanta Palace is now being provided seismic retrofitting to prevent it from possible earthquake damage before making it a museum at a cost of Rs 10 crore.

The palace, which was built by British construction company Martin Burn with a bank loan arranged by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, is just one of the several landmarks that the Tripura Government is planning to strengthen.

The Puran Habeli and Ujjayanta Palace will not only be mere museums, these would be knowledge hubs and tourist hotspots for Indians and foreigners.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 27, 2012)
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