Agartala: Hidden from the view of travellers for centuries, exquisite images of 15th century Hindu gods and goddesses carved on a hill at Devtamura in Tripura's south district are now attracting tourists in droves.
The site is full of images of Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Kartika, Mahisasur Mardini, Durga and others carved on the steep wall of the Kalajhari hill.
The unexplored site is just 75 kilometers from Agartala and overlooking the Gomati river and is being visited by hordes of tourists.
Devtamura, also known as Chabinmura, is picturesque and is largely inhabited by the Reang tribe. The lush green vegetation and little bamboo-straw dwellings of the tribals are as much a point of attraction for the tourists as the images.
Lack of proper transport coupled with years of insurgency had prevented tourists from visiting it, Senior Information Officer of the Tourism Corporation of Tripura, Debasish Lodh says.
"It is not as if transport has improved much. The access to the place is still by boats as in the past, but it has just caught the tourists' imagination," he says.
The Tripura government had sent a proposal to the Indian Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC) to develop the area as a tourist spot, Lodh says.
An ITDC team also visited the place recently.
Lodh, who recently visited the place, says the rock carvings - some of which raise up to 20 meters in height on the steep walls of the hill - present an amazing sight.
Rowing in a boat from Amarpur towards Udaipur for about three hours, a tourist would encounter many rock-cut images.
"Nowhere in the Northeast are such picturesque images seen," adds Lodh.
Writer Panna Lal Roy, who has studied the images, says that no one knows exactly how and who sculpted them.
"Some say it was built by some soldiers who were stranded in the area sometime in the 15th century, but there is no historical evidence to support it," Roy says.
In Rajmala, a historical chronicle of Tripura, it was mentioned that the local Reang tribes which rebelled against the Manikya kings, named the place as Devtamura. The tribes later became loyal to the Manikya kings.