Neermahal Melaghar, Sipahijala, Tripura

A former royal summer palace built by King Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman of the erstwhile Kingdom of Tripura, Neermahal was constructed in the middle of Lake Rudrasagar in 1930

Neermahal palace is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tripura, and is located 55 km from its capital city Agartala. A former royal summer palace built by King Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman of the erstwhile Kingdom of Tripura, Neermahal was constructed in the middle of Lake Rudrasagar in 1930. As a matter of fact, not many in the country know that Neermahal on Rudrasagar lake is one of the few lake-palaces in the country. The first is the famous Palace on Pichola Lake in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Lake Rudrasagar itself was only declared a national lake (India?s 13th) in 1993; this I learned only during my rendezvous with Neermahal palace one fine Saturday afternoon in April. While on my way to Melaghar town (where the palace is located) with my siblings and some friends, I had imagined the lake to be blue and crystal clear, and that summer palace would be a mysterious and imposing structure, with many stories hidden within. It had taken us two-and-half hours to reach Melaghar town from Agartala. Once inside the town, the driver of the van in which we were travelling took abrupt right turn away from the main road, taking us past a colony of small houses leading towards the lake. The narrow road was crowded with people doing many everyday things, from a farmer drying his rice stock right in the middle of the road to children running around and chasing each other. We had to be careful as we navigated our way down this road, which was bordered in some areas with brick wall to prevent land encroachment around the lake. After about 20 minutes, we reached our destination. Some distance away from where we stood on the lakeshore was the majestic palace, which appeared to be floating in the middle of the lake.

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