Unakoti Rock Carvings: A History

Lord Shiva!

Unakoti is a wondrous tourist site in the princely state of Tripura with multiple rock carvings and stone images. It is said that this place houses one less than a crore (10 million) rock carvings and stone cut images. If you haven’t figured that out already that’s what the name Unakoti translates to – One less than a crore! Genius isn’t it?

Legend has it that Lord Shiva along with 99,99,999 gods and goddesses was en-route to Kashi and decided to pit stop here in this very spot. He had asked them all to wake up before sunrise so they could be back on the road again. Unfortunately these sleepy heads did not wake up and Lord Shiva decided to cover the rest of the route as a solo trip. But before he left he cursed the rest of them to turn into stones. So Lord Shiva is the one less in the one crore. If only there were alarm clocks in those days? Or would they just put it on snooze like the rest of us? I guess we’ll never know! I did not count the number of carvings, but if you’re up for a challenge, be my guest.

1 Crore/10 million or not, irrespective of the count, the rock carvings at this site is worth a visit. And it makes you wonder how much of an effort it must have been back in those days for artisans to have carved these without the help of any modern tools. Did I tell that these date back to 7th to 9th centuries if not earlier? But if these are all indeed cursed gods and goddesses then it would’ve been easy-peasy, all it took was one angry god.

The largest ones that we noticed were one of Shiva himself with Ganga flowing out from his locks. This should be around 30 feet tall. And the other was Lord Ganesha. While we were there, a family dropped by to offer their prayers to the lord along with a struggling animal, ready to be sacrificed! Needless to say I was trying to escape from that place at the earliest.

It took us between 45 minutes to cover the whole place without dilly dallying much. There are some steep ascends and descends that you need to keep in mind, if there are elderly accompanying you.

PS: I have tried to explain the history on a lighter note, and is not intended to hurt any religious sentiments.

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