The boat race is an annual event that is also a part of the Neermahal Festival in Tripura. The festival is witnessed by the locals and global tourists with the same fervour. It is so exciting to watch people compete with each other enthusiastically on the colorful boats and in the backdrop of lush green and serene Rudrasagar lake. The venue for the event is either the village of Melaghara or Gandhacherra. Melaghara is located 50km away from Agartala, whereas the Gandhacherra is situated approximately 74km away from Agartala.
These villages become the center of attraction and adventure during the boat race event and one cannot deny the buzz that follows. The event is organized in the Rudrasagar lake, which also houses the Neermahal (water palace) which is another popular tourist destination.
The race takes place in the morning when the weather is very pleasant and the presence of the sun feels comfortable. Traditionally, only men from the fishermen community would take part in this festival and there would be ten teams, but now anyone can participate in the event, even women can take part in this race and the number of teams may also vary. The winning team is awarded by the organizers at the end.
The boat race festival has been a part of the local traditions for a long time now. The event celebrates and emphasizes the significance of teamwork and team spirit. People wait for the event round the year and participate in the event with an invincible spirit. The event attracts onlookers from other parts of India and across the world for its high adventure and excitement quotient.
Neermahal has derived its name from two words ‘neer’ which means water and ‘mahal’ which means palace, which together means water palace. The palace was built in the middle of the Rudrasagar lake by the Maharaja of Tripura, Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarma Manikya. The palace was the summer residence of the Maharaja where he would come to relax and escape from the scorching heat. Neermahal water festival is held twice every year once in the month of August and later in the month of December. The one that happens in August accommodates the popular boat race event while the one in December features cultural performances and folk art.
When in Tripura, eat what the locals of Tripura eat! If you are in Tripura to witness the exciting boat race then its time to indulge in some exotic northeastern cuisine. Mui-Borok a fermented fish, Chauk the traditional beer, Mosdeng Serma a tomato dip and a lot more will excite your taste buds.
By Air. Tripura’s capital city Agartala has its own airport known as Agartala Airport. The airport has direct flights from Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Imphal, and Silchar. There are connecting flights as well to reach Tripura, from Mumbai and Bengaluru. The airport is well connected through roads and one can easily travel further 53km to reach the Neermahal through local transport such as cabs or buses.
By Road. If you have decided to take the trip through roadways then to reach Tripura from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangalore, one has to cover a distance of 2300km, 3200km, 1400km and 3300km respectively. One has to cover a major distance of National Highway 27 in order to reach this place where the exciting boat race happens. From Agatala one has to travel a distance of 53km to reach the Neermahal.
By Rail. The Agartala railway station is the nearest railway station. One can take a local taxi or bus to commute to the hotel/resort that you have booked for your stay in Agartala, Tripura. Tripura Sundari Express and Kanchanjangha Express are the two popular trains that take you to Tripura. Apart from these special trains, there are frequent trains to Agartala from all the metro cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru.
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