The Tripuri (Tipra or Tipperah) tribes and Bengalis are considered to be the original inhabitants of Agartala. Various dialects called Kokborok as well as a version of Bengali is spoken in the city. The women wear brightly coloured Risa and Rikutu made of cotton on the upper half of their body and clan-specific distinctly patterned Rignai for the lower half. The men wear Rikutu for the loin and Kamchwlwi Borok for the upper part of the body.
Language and Religion
Bengali, the official language of Tripura since over 250 years, is primarily spoken in the city. The tribal people speak Kokborok, the standard dialect of Debbarma tribe and the co-official state language. Tripuri, Manipuri and Chakma are also in use.
Hinduism is considered to be the dominant religion in Agartala, followed by a minority of Christians (Baptists). A few tribes believe in animism – the belief that God resides in all natural objects. Islam and Buddhism are also followed by a minority.
Though the city cannot boast of many big restaurants or multi-cuisine dining, almost all restaurants offer a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines from Chinese to Tandoori and even Continental. Muitru, Mwkhwi and Chakhwi are the traditional foods of the state, while rice dishes like Maisa, Mami and Guriya are common. Berma is a dried and fermented fish, used as a key ingredient. One can feast on turtles, crabs, prawns and other seafood too. Bengali sweets and Apong, a rice and millet beverage are famous.
Local Festivals, Art and Music
The main festivals celebrated in Agartala are Ashokastami, Durga Puja, Kharchi Puja, Orange and Tourism Festival and the Budha Fair. Boat races organised every year in August are a popular tourist attraction.
The Tripuri tribes have a rich variety of dances like Garia, Bizu, Hai Hak and Cheraw. Sumui, Sarinda and Dundoo are some traditional musical instruments of the city. Handicrafts made from cane and bamboos are a major draw.