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Tripura | Geography, History, People & Physiography | North East India Info

Tripura is a state in Northeast India. The third-smallest state in the country. Bordered by Bangladesh 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. The State of Tripura, with a geographical area of 10,491 sq. km is predominantly a hilly region. It is surrounded on all sides by a deltaic basin of Bangladesh except for a small part in North-East which adjoins Cachar district of Assam and Mizoram.
The origin of the name of Tripura is still a matter of controversy among historians and researchers. According to the 'Rajmala", Tripura’s celebrated court chronicle, an ancient king named 'Tripura' ruled over the territorial domain is known as 'Tripura' and the name of the kingdom was derived from his name. 

Many researchers explain the name 'Tripura' from its etymological origin: the word 'Tripura' is a compound of two separate words, 'tui' (water) + 'pra' (near) which in totality means 'near water'. The geographical location of the state with its close proximity to the vast water resources of eastern Bengal coupled with the generic identity of the state's original inhabitants as 'Tipra' or 'Twipra' apparently justify this explanation of the State's name.
Ujjayanta Palace


Tripura has a long historic past, a unique tribal culture, and a fascinating folk-lore. The history of Tripura can be studied from the Rajmala chronicles of the Tripura kings and writings of other Mohammedan historians. There are references to Tripura even in Mahabharata and Purans. 

The origin of the name Tripura is a highly debated issue. According to Rajmala, Tripura was once ruled by king Tripur after whom the state has been named. This opinion has been challenged by many historians and scholars as well. They claim that the king Tripura was an imaginary figure and no historical basis can be ascribed to this fact. 
Some writers have observed that the name Tripura derives from the Goddess Tripura sundari- the presiding deity of the land. Hunter in his book- "A statistical account of Bengal" - observed that the name Tripura was probably given to the state in honor of the temple at Udaipur which was dedicated either to Tripuradana, "The sungod", or to Tripureswari,-"the mistress of the three worlds. The history of Tripura dates back to the Mahabharata, the Purans and pillar inscription of emperor Ashoka. 

There are no historical records available of Tripura except Rajmala which is the chronicle history of the rulers of Tripura. According to it, early rulers were known by the surname "Fa" meaning "father". There is a reference of rulers of Bengal helping Tripura kings in the fourteenth century. Kings of Tripura had to face frequent Mughal invasions with varying successes. 

They defeated the Mohammedan sultans of Bengal in several battles. The nineteenth century marked the beginning of the modem era in Tripura when king Maliaraja Birchandra Manikya Bahadur modeled his administrative setup on the British India pattern and brought in various reforms. 

His successor ruled over Tripura till 1947 when it was annexed to the Indian Union on August 13, 1947 through the final integration was effected on October 13, 1947, as a part of the "C" category state. The Tripura Territorial Council, a body of elected representatives of the people were first formed on August 15, 1957, under the provision of the Territorial Act, 1956, Tripura became a centrally administered Union Territory of India on 1st July 1963 and on the 21st January, 1972, it attained the states of a full-fledged state and Late Sri Shachindra Lai Singh was the first Chief Minister of the state.


Chakmas girls

The small State of Tripura has a large diversity of tribal peoples. There are around nineteen tribal communities: Tripuri, Reang, Jamatia, Chakma, Halam, Mog, Kuki, Noatia, Garo, Munda, Lushai, Oraon, Santhal, Uchai, Khasi, Bhil, Chaimal, Lepcha and Bhutia


This is the largest tribe in Tripura, comprising 55 percent of the tribal population in 2001. Tripuris are concentrated in West District with a few people in North and South Districts. Debbarma and Choudhury are used as surnames by Tripuris. Tripuris belong to the Bode group of Indo-Mongloid origin, and their mother tongue belongs to the Kokborok linguistic group.


The Reangs comprise the second biggest tribe in Tripura. Reangs also live in Mizoram and Assam. Their language Kau Bru is distinct from Kokborok, and belongs to the Tibeto–Burman family of languages. One half of the population of Reangs resides in North District, the remaining are in South and Dhalai districts. Reangs have been termed a ‘primitive tribe’ by the Government of India.


The Jamatias, the third largest tribal group in Tripura, are Kokborok-speaking people. Almost 80 percent of Jamatias are found in the South District. The tribe has a distinctive community organization termed Hoda.


Chakmas are a Scheduled Tribe in Tripura, Mizoram, Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal. In Tripura, Chakmas are concentrated in the northern part of the State. Their language, Chakma, is Indo–Aryan. Most Chakmas are Buddhists.


Halams are considered to be a Kuki group. In Tripura, Halams are concentrated in the southern and western part of the State. The tribe has four main sub-groups or dafas, namely, Halam Kaipeng, Halam Kaloi, Halam Molsom and Halam Rupini. The Halam Kaipeng and Halam Molsom speak the Halam language, while the Halam Kaloi and the Halam Rupini speak Kokborok.


Mogs are said to have migrated from Myanmar via the Arakan Hills and the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and are spread all over the State with the maximum density in South District. Mogs speak the Magh language, belonging to the Tibeto–Chinese family of languages, and use the Burmese script.


The hill ranges in the State encountered as one move from west to east are the Baramura–Debtamura Range, the Atharamura Range, the Longtharai Range, the Shakhan Range, and the Jampui Range. Belting Shib (939 meters), situated in the Jampui Range, is the highest peak of Tripura. 

Valleys such as Khowai, Dhalai, Manu, and Deo are situated between the main hill ranges of Tripura. The uplands are interspersed by small isolated hillocks that are known locally as tillas. The alluvial plains of Tripura include the narrow valleys, locally known as lungas, that lie mainly in the western part of the State. 

The lungas are fertile and rice is cultivated here. There are very few flood plains in Tripura; they are mostly located in the west and south and form the main agricultural lands of the State. There are marshes, and both natural and artificial lakes, in the plains. 

A number of west-, north- and south-flowing rivers originate in the hills of Tripura and flow into Bangladesh. The westward-flowing Gomati is the longest and most important river of the State. A hydroelectric power plant has been set up by harnessing the Gomati at Dumbur Falls. 

Natural gas deposits are among the most important features of Tripura’s natural resource base. Natural gas has been struck in the Baramura Hills and in Rokhia in South District, and natural gas-based thermal power plants have been set up at both places. The hills of Tripura have red laterite soil which is porous and lacks essential mineral salts, so that irrigation and fertilizers are needed to make it suitable for cultivation. 

The flood plains and narrow valleys of the State have alluvial soil. However, the alluvial soil is sandy, lacks the capacity for water retention, and is poor in humus and essential nutrients. Although Tripura is a land-locked State, since it is situated only about 60 km to the north of the Bay of Bengal, the sea influences the climate. 

The highest temperatures recorded in the Agartala Observatory in the height of summer in April and May range between 35°C and 37°C. In January, the coldest month of the year, the mean temperature of the state seldom goes down below 10°C. Tripura experiences very heavy rain from June to September/October from the South West Monsoon. Winters are mostly dry. The annual average rainfall of the State is 225 cm.

To study more about the Geography of Tripura some books recommendation given below. These are also used as references for this article. So, I highly recommend you go through these books. For details click the book title.

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