Agartala: Perched on the Atharamura hill range, Montang, a nondescript place in Tripura’s Khowai district, is emerging as a new destination for tourists due to its scenic beauty.
Locals and tourists from other states are making a beeline to this place, known as the Mountain of Peace’ among people of the local Tripuri community, to see floating clouds from proximity, Prasenjit Debnath, a faculty in the Department of Journalism in Tripura University, who visited the spot recently, said.
A narrow and serpentine winding track of about 30 km goes to the top of the Atharamura hills from the National Highway (NH8) near the Chkmaghat barrage. The site is about 80 km from state capital Agartala.
The spot came to the limelight after documentary filmmaker-turned-politician, Kamal Kalai made a tong ghar’, a thatched bamboo hut anchored on planks made of bamboo and timber, for spending time there.
“Taking some time off from my daily busy schedule, I thought of spending some time in tong ghar. I will cook rice and vegetables, collected from Jhum fields, and fish caught from small rivulets flowing down the hill,” Kalai, a man from the tribal community, told PTI.
The place suddenly turned into a bustling tourist spot and emerged as a new destination for travellers and nature lovers after he posted the photos of the place on social media, which went viral.
Kalai is now an executive member of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) after winning the elections in April last year.
The tribal council constitutes two-thirds of the state territory.
After becoming the executive member of the tribal council, he was successful in getting funds from the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to build a connecting road from National Highway 8 to Montang, as this beautiful place falls under his constituency, and built a tong ghar’ there.
“My dream is to turn the place into a full-fledged tourist spot. The TTAADC does not have enough money to spend there. So I want the state tourism department to pay attention to develop the place. Law and order is being looked into as people have started making a mad rush to see the place”, Kalai said.
He also has plans to turn a portion of the place into an organic farm and also encourage floriculture to make it a village of flowers’.
One Surinder Kumar, who came to visit Tripura with a group of his friends recently from Punjab, is overwhelmed by the scenic beauty of the area but rued that there was no proper infrastructure.
“It is such a lovely place that everyone from outside will enjoy a lot. It is completely an unknown place to the rest of the country. Infrastructure should be built to provide facilities to tourists. The connecting road from the national highway is so bumpy that no visitor will like it. There is no bungalow to stay “, he told a group of visiting journalists.
Tourist operator, Supriya Deb, who is also a member of Tripura Tourism Development Forum (TTDF) said it was estimated that at least 500 tourists visit the place every day even as the infrastructure is very poor.
“What I have seen is that there are only 7-8 shops here selling indigenous tribal food and handicraft items and also a makeshift restaurant where Biryani is sold and one tong ghar, where the owner Mr Kalai stays at times,” Deb told PTI.
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However, Rahul Paul, a youth, who visited the place several times, said that tourists enjoy indigenous food like Bangoi, a special type of rice boiled in special types of leaves grown in the hills, and pork bharta.
When contacted, an official of the state tourism department said, the state government is planning to create infrastructure there and widen the road connecting it with the national highway and also build other facilities.
“We are planning to develop the place. Tourism is now the priority of the state government”, he said.
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