Unakoti



Unakoti hill, literally meaning one less a crore in Bengali, hosts an ancient Shaivite place of worship with huge rock-cut images and stone idols of Lord Shiva. It is the prime tourist spot of Unakoti District in the Kailashahar Subdivision of Tripura.


Description

It is a historic Shaiba pilgrimage spot and dates back to 7th - 9th centuries if not earlier. While the marvelous rock carvings, murals with their primitive beauty form the chief attraction, natural beauty including mountain scenery and waterfalls are an added bonus.

Legend behind the name

Unakoti means one less than a crore and it is said that these many rock cut carvings are available here. As per Hindu mythology, a person called Kallu Kumhar was a devotee of Lordess Parvati. Lord Shiva and Parvati were going to Kailash mountains. He also wanted to accompany them. Shiva kept a condition in front of him that he should make 1 crore statues of him in the night. The next day, when the statues were counted it was 1 less than 1 crore. Shiva left Kallu Kumhar in that place and went to Kailash.

Iconography

The images found at Unakoti are of two types: namely rock-carved figures and stone images. Among the rock cut carvings, the central Shiva head and gigantic Ganesha figures deserve special mention. The central Shiva head known as Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava is about 30 feet high including an embroidered head-dress which itself is 10 feet high. On each side of the head-dress of the central Shiva, there are two full size female figures - one of Durga standing on a lion and another female figure on the other side. In addition three enormous images of Nandi Bull are found half buried in the ground. There are various other stone as well as rock cut images at Unakoti.