A Durga Puja, introduced by the erstwhile King of Tripura Krishna Kishore Manikya Bahadur in early 19th century, continues to be the major attraction for the people of the state.
The Goddess has two arms at the Durgabari Temple here where the 200-year-old puja is currently organised and funded by the state’s Communist government. The district magistrate of West Tripura is the main sevayat of the puja.
When Tripura signed the instrument of accession with the Government of India on October 15, 1949, it was agreed that the daily work at the Durgabari temple, Tripureswari Kali Temple at Udaipur in Gomati district and some other temples would be funded and looked after by the state government.
History has it that the queen of Krishna Kishore fainted after seeing the Goddess with ten arms, Panna Lal Roy, who studied history and heritage of the state, said.
Thereafter, on the advice of priests, Goddess Durga has only two hands visible while the remaining eight are hidden at her back at the Durgabari temple which stands before the 114-year-old Ujjayanta Palace, considered to be the eastern India’s largest one.
The octogenarian Chief Priest of the Durgabari temple, Dulal Bhattacharya, who is paid an honorarium of Rs 6,000 per month by the government and is engaged in performing the puja for the last 60 years, said, “The idols of Durgabari that lead the Dashami procession are the first to be immersed at Dashamighat here with the state police band playing the national song.”