Unakoti, 178 kms from Agartala is a ‘Shaiba’ (Saivite) pilgrimage site dating back to 7th – 9th centuries located in the Kailashahar subdivision in the northern part of Tripura. Unakoti means one less than a crore and it is said that these many rock cut carvings are available here.
The legend goes that Lord Shiva spent a night at Unakoti while travelling to Kashi. Before sleeping at night he asked his companions to wake up early in the morning so that they could head for Kashi. Unfortunately, nobody woke up before sunrise and this invited the ire of Lord Shiva, he transformed all his companions into stones. These carvings are located at a beautifully landscaped forest area with green vegetation all around which add to the beauty of the carvings. The images found at Unakoti are of two types, namely rock-carved figures and stone images.
Among the rock cut carvings, the central Shiva head and gigantic Ganesha figures deserve special mention. The central Shiva head known as ‘Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava’ is about 30 feet high including an embroidered head-dress which itself is 10 feet high. On each side of the head-dress of the central Shiva, there are two full size female figures - one of Durga standing on a lion and another female figure on the other side. In addition, three enormous images of Nandi Bull are found half buried in the ground. There are various other stone as well as rock cut images at Unakoti. Every year a big fair popularly known as ‘Ashokastami Mela’ is held in the month of April which is visited by thousands of pilgrims.