Ashokastami Festival is a major religious celebration observed in Tripura. Tripura is characterized by its unique concoction of Hindu and Tribal religion. All rituals and traditions of Tripura carry a mark of this unique blend. This Hindu festival takes place at Unakoti in Tripura, situated at a 10 kilometres distance from Kailashahar. The Ashokastami Puja usually takes place in the month of March or April.
History of Ashokastami Puja
Legends say that Ashokastami Festival is closely connected with the great Indian epic, Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Rama, before embarking on his journey to defeat the evil King Ravana, had performed the Ashokastami Puja. Rama emerged victorious, signifying the triumph of good over evil. Some of the main rituals of the festival are the worship of Lord Shiva, Shakti and taking a dip at the holy reservoir.
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When is Ashokastami Festival Celebrated
The Ashokastami Festival and Fair take place in the month of March or April, depending on the tithi.
How Ashokastami Festival is Celebrated
The primary ritual of the Ashokastami festival is centred around taking a holy dip at the Ashtamikunda. This act is considered to be extremely pious, as it brings good fortune for mankind. Ashtamikunda or Sitakunda is a natural water body in Tripura that remains at the heart of all religious traditions in Tripura. Hundreds of local residents and tourists flock to Tripura to witness this festival and receive God’s blessings.
At Unakoti, you will find humongous rock carvings dedicated to Lord Shiva. Apart from the religious significance, Unakoti in itself is an archaeological marvel of India. With intricate carvings on stone and magical sculptures, the place is historically prominent.
During this time, the Ashokastami Mela or Ashokastami Fair becomes a great attraction of Unakoti. This fair is a cultural celebration of Tripura where people of various religions, caste and creed congregate to celebrate the joyous festival.
Apart from Tripura, Ashokastami is observed in various other parts of the country. For example, in eastern India, it is celebrated as a festival of cars. Ashokastami is also a part of Odissi Culture, and the celebration takes place at the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar.
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Other Attractions of Tripura
Tripura, situated in the hilly regions of North-East India, is rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage. Despite its beauty and grandeur of tradition, Tripura is yet to be explored by international tourists. If you find yourself in Tripura, here are a few places that you must explore – Neermahal, Bhubaneswari Temple, Jampui Hills, Malanchya Nivas, Pilak, Rose Valley Park, Chaturdasha Temple, Ujjayanta Palace, and so on.
How to Reach Ashokastami Festival Tripura
If you wish to observe the Ashokastami Festival, undoubtedly the best place is Unakoti, Tripura. Tripura is well connected to the rest of the country by air and trainways. The nearest airport is Agartala Airport (also known as Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport) from where you can get a cab to reach Unakoti. If you are travelling by train, the closest railway station is Agartala Railway Station. You can also avail bus route, that operates from Kolkata and Dhaka to Agartala.