I recently visited the Unakoti caves in Agartala in Tripura. We made a special trip as, as a family we are history buffs. The north-east part of India has hidden jewels and a beauty that is untouched. Thus, our visit to explore one of the beautiful yet untouched parts of India.
The Unakoti caves were the main attraction for they are designated as a World Heritage UNESCO site. ‘Unakoti’ literally means one less than 1,00,00,000 (one crore). The number of statues in Unakoti caves is exactly one less than 1,00,00,000 or 99,99,999 idols.
There are two different legends about the statues. If the 1st legend is to be believed, it is said that Lord Shiva, along with his wife, was accompanied by 99,99,999 gods. They were going to Kashi. Lord Shiva told the other Gods to get ready early in the morning so that they could continue with their journey. In the morning only Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were the ones who got up. Lord Shiva was so furious that he turned all the other Gods into statues of stone.
According to the second legend, Goddess Parvati and God Shiva told a man to make one crore statues in a specific time. They expected that he would never be able to make those many statues. The sculptor managed to complete all the statues in the limited time, except 1.
It is estimated that the statues date back to the 7th to 9th century. Each statue is of a different God. I was dumb struck on seeing so many different statues and of such huge size. Among the many statues, there are statues of Nandi, Ganesh ji, etc.