Rise, Reform & Recline of the Raj in Tripura

Dr. Jagadish Gan Chaudhuri


Tripura, a hilly and tiny kingdom in the north-eastern corner of Bharat, has been fortunate of having been ruled for centuries by one branch of the famous Lunar dynasty of the Mahabharata. But, Tripura had long been in a very disturbed condition; invasions plunged Tripura into the maelstrom of miseries. Difference in dogma marked the line of division for combat. Rather, Bharat became more & more troubled at the complex circumstances.


 1. The Ganga -Brahmaputra Valley period

Geneology of the Lunar dynasty places Dhruya in the eighth generation, and Yudhisthira in the 48th generation. Dhruya was the projenitor of the Tripuri royal dynasty. Dhruya undertook an epic journey eastward from Hastinapur; it was a voyage by boat through the river Ganga; Dhruya reached the lower basin of the river Ganga and settled in the Sundarban region of Bengal, near Ganga sagar. Dhruya died of old age in Bengal; his near descendants died in Bengal; after many years his distant descendants spread out to Assam, and from Assam to Tripura. The Ganga-Brahmaputra Valley period includes the names of 107 kings.

Sri Raj Ratnakaram and Sri Rajmala are the names of the two official chronicles of Tripura. These two impressive books erected the backbone for the history of Tripura.

Tripura is the site of one of Bharat's oldest monarchies. Sri Rajmala recorded the names of 186 kings in a chronological order. It is a noteworthy event that the 108th king Raja Pratit (c.540 -550 A.D.), was the first monarch to settle down in the north-east corner of Tripura. Even to-day the ancient royal residence is known as Rajbari. It is located within the Dharmanagar sub-division of northern Tripura. It is adjacent to Assam, Mizoram, & Manipur.


 2. The Barak Valley period

This period includes the names of 29 kings. Two incidents stand out prominently during this period. The 116th Raja Adi Dharma-phac.635 - 675A.D.), was a ruler of some eminence. One record of 642 A.D. gave him the full royal title of Tripura Parvatadhis Sri Sri Adi Dharma-Pha. He organised a very big sacrifice and offered land to the priests.

The other incident was the historic attack by Hiravant Khan. For the first time, Trip ura had herself suffered pillaging, plundering, and attack in 1240 A.D. during the reign of 134 th Raja Chengthoom-Pha (cl225-1250). With the usurpation of the throne of Bengal from Raja Lakshman Sen in 1204 A.D., the danger became imminent for all the native kingdoms of the north-eastern corner of Bharat. The alien devilish forces, working in the contrary direction, were very aggressive, militant and fanatic.

On the bank of the river Kusiara, the two forces stood opposite to each other. The belligerent force was in a jubilant mood. But, Raja Chhengthoom-Pha was in a dilemma; he was about to surrender; hesitation and despondency crippled the king. His forces were untrained cultivators and miserably equipped civilians.

Suddenly, the powerful speech of the Rani Tripura-sundari Devi, galvanized the royal forces, they displayed superb courage and repulsed the attacking enemey. The king's effort was evanescent, but no words can fully estimate the effort of the queen; she encouraged the fighters, consoled the wounded and comforted the mourners.

But the spirit of the battlefield was changed subsequently. By a steady flow of infiltration into Sylhet, the marauders caused a demographic imbalance in the north-eastern part of Tripura. The martial strength of Tripura was gravely impaired.

By paying attention to the circumstances, the next two kings {Achong - Pha (c. 1250-1270A.D.), Khichong-Pha (c.1270 -1280) } migrated southwestward and entered into a life of exilement in forest and reached near the river Gomati.


 3. The Gomati Valley Period

The Gomati Valley period includes the names of 36 kings 

It began with the reign of Dangar-Phac.1280-1300A.D.) and ended with the reign of Vijay Manikya(1746 A.D.). It was an age of war.

The peril of attacks de battles, plllage e plundering, was heavily thrust upon Tripura also by the alien invaders; the obvious door was through Bengal.

Friction with the invaders on the Meghna Valley frontiers got intensified with additional demand for elephants from Tripura hills. Aurangzeb's (1658-1707) letter to Govinda Manikya (1660-1661, 1667-1672) was an instance of mingled honey and gall diplomacy.

Torrential incidents of battles & bloodshed, tyrannicide & regicide were frequently blown over the entire lands of Bharat including Tripura. One raid after another, for centuries, devastated the western border of Tripura. Amidst the welter of disgrace & devastation, there appeared in Tripura the towering personality of Maharaj Dhanya Manikya(c.1490-1515 A.D.) What King Alfred the Great (871-899) had been to the Anglo-Saxons, Maharaj Dhanya Manikya was to the people of Tripura:Tripura's power rose to its zenith; Hussain Shah(1493-1519) was repulsed; human sacrifice was prohibited; Kali temple was built(1501).

The last invader was Samser Gazi. Raja Vijay Manikya(1746) died in captivity in Dacca. Krishna Manikya (1747-1783) escaped with weeping eyes and lived in exile in the eastern hills for about twelve years (1747-1758). For more than ten years, Samser Gazi held the overlordship which Vijay Manikya & Krishna Manikya had lost.

The spirit of this epoch may be summed up thus : it was an epoch of attacks & invasions, of danger & disorder, of intensified strife & struggle; it was an epoch of belief in the heavenly authority & respect for the earthly au-thority.

The kings embellished the capital city (Udaypur) with big tanks & temples. The main thrust of the administration was on Tripura's protection, on tax collection from the subjects and on feudal service from the distressed subjects in times of attacks. At least thrice in 450 years was Tripura at the invaders' feet. The militia of Tripura poured out their blood like water in the battlefields.

It was an epoch-making turn of policy which marked the rise of the Haora Valley period. Bengal's Nawab Alivardi Khan(1740 - April 1756) inflicted capital punishment on Mir Habib in 1755, and gun-fired Samser Gazi in early 1756 at Murshidavad. More important still, was the historic battle of Plassey on 23June 1757.


 4. The Haora Valley period

The Haora Valley period includes the names of 14 kings. 

It began with the reign of Maharaj Krishna Manikya (1747-1783) and ended with the reign of Maharaj Kirit Bikram Kisor Manikya (1947-1949).

This short period of two hundred years (1747-1949) has one strongly marked character: it was an age of respite and reforms. It marked the modernisation of Tripura.

Maharaj Krishna Manikya (1747-1783) was a tragic figure. The first years of his reign were marked by the conflict with Samser Gazi. He had to traverse many hills, ranges, ravines, rivers and streams; he had to flee for refuge to the hills. He had much difficulty in getting food & shelter. After the fall of Samser Gazi in early 1756, Krishna Manikya had felt embarrassed to go back to the Gomati Valley; and instead, he selected a site in the Haora Valley. The struggle of Krishna Manikya proved successful ultimately. The other side of the coin was that internal jealousy, greed, quarrels had paralysed Tripura. Sometimes the throne was captured by some vile hands temporarily.

The Haora Valley period had a few statesmanlike kings, such as Maharaj Bir Chandra Manikya (1862-1896), Maharaj Radhakisor Manikya (1896-1909), Maharaj Birendra Kisor Manikya (1909-1923), and Maharaj Bir Bikram Kisor Manikya (1923- 17-5-1947).

From the accession of Maharaj Bir Chandra to the demise of Maharaj Bir Bikram, a period of about eighty years, had one strong government; it was an age of peace and prosperity; it was an age of reform and renaissance, it was an age of consolidation and cordial relation with the British Government. To those ends the kings had devoted themselves. During the reigns of the four Kings (1862-1947), there had been a galaxy of competent ministers and civil servants. The kings wisely selected competent and honest ministers and civil servants and allocated to them lawful charges to work according to their conscience and jurisdiction. They worked hard to introduce various reforms such as :-

Reform in boundary demarcation

Legal reform

Municipal reform

Educational reform

Judical reform

Medical reform

Internal administrative reform

Fiscal reform

Postal reform

Feudal reform

Reform in weekly holiday

Reform of census Reform in cabinet Reform in payment

Social reform

Reform in legislation

Reform in tribal education

Reform in the relation between police & revenue department

Reform in agriculture & industry

Reform in civil service Reform in banking

Reform in village administration

Constitutional reform


The reforms seem to have been shaped in the direction of the British administrative model. Since the battle of Plassey(23June 1757), a new epoch in the relation of Tripura administration and British administration had dawned.

This epoch was favourable for reformation in Tripura; the local kings, ministers and employees did not lose the opportunity and worked with efficiency & economy.

The lesson came from Britain. For sixty four years (1837-1901), Queen Victoria was the most conspicuous figure, venerable matriarch of Europe ! She had a galaxy of competent ministers and statesmen. They initiated many reforms. The resolute administration brought about internal prosperity, external security and reformative spirit. In heart & soul, Queen Victoria was trustworthy & unswerving. Hence, the phrase: Victorian reformative spirit.

How badly Tripura's help was needed, when Burma had launched terrific at-tacks. In seeking to guide the British troops & Tripura troops during the second world war, Maharaj Bir Bikram's health broke down; his death on 17.5.1947 took place at a very critical moment. The minor king Kirit Bikram had a turbulent reign of two years (18.5.1947 -14.10.1949). Troubles had again gathered fast. Tripura's very existence was in grave danger. The map of Bharat was transfigured by the action of two forces : the forces of disintegration and the forces of integration.

Tripura was again traumatized; so, this ancient dynasty wisely signed the Merger Agreement on 9.9.1949 in New Delhi. The government of Bharat undertook the responsibility of Tripura on 15.10.1949 A.D.



1. Since 1204 A.D. the north-eastern part of Bharat was in danger of sions.

2. The valiant Rani Tripura-sundari repulsed the first invader in


3. Statesmanship of Dhanya Manikya blended imperialism with human ism.

4. Moderation of Govinda Manikya blended monarchism with magna-nimity.

5. The Gomati Valley period was a bloody period. Bharat & Tripura had then a set of common alien adverse overlords.

6. Cupidity & jealousy of some princes enfeebled Tripura.

7. Recurrent incidents of headhunting & raid by some hills people hauled down Tripura's progress.

8. Tripura was exposed to the natural calamities.

9. The Victorian reformative spirit accelerated the process of reforms

10. Hospitality & munificence of several kings rescued Tripura's pres-tige.

11. Tripura was dragged into the vortex of the two world wars.

12. The last king did duly bequeath this ancient heritage.

13. But the days of trouble were, by no means, over with the bequest.


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