All about Tripura’s Unakoti, the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’ seeking UNESCO world heritage tag

Source: The post is based on the article “All about Tripura’s Unakoti, the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’ seeking UNESCO world heritage tag” published in Indian Express on 15th December 2022

What is the News?

Unakoti, famously known as the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’ is vying for a UNESCO World Heritage Tag.

What is Unakoti?

Unakoti is located in Tripura. It is a ‘Shaiba’ (Saivite) pilgrimage site with gigantic rock cut sculptures.

The site displays almost the same mystical charm as the Angkor Wat temple of Cambodia. Hence, it is called the Angkor Wat of North-East.

Meaning: Literally, Unakoti means ‘one less one crore’ in Hindi and Bengali and it is believed that these many rock carvings (ninety-nine lakh ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine) are present here.

– In the local Kokborok language, Unakoti is called Subrai Khung 

Mythological significance: According to Hindu mythology, when Lord Shiva was going to Kashi along with one crore gods and goddesses, he made a night halt at this location. He asked all his fellow gods and goddesses to wake up before sunrise and proceed for Kashi. 

– It is believed that in the morning, except Shiva, none of them could wake up so he set out for Kashi alone, cursing others to become stone images. 

– As a result of this curse, ninety-nine lakh ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine stone images and carvings continue to be present at Unakoti.

What is Angkor Wat Temple?

Angkor Wat literally means ‘city of temples’. It is a temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world.

The temple was built by king Suryavarman II who is regarded as the Khmer empire’s greatest kings. 

The temple was originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. But it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. As such, it is also described as a “Hindu-Buddhist” temple.

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