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    Lost Hill of Faces, Unakoti

    Map Academy

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    Located in the dense forests of Jampui Hills in Unakoti, Tripura, in India, the Lost Hill of Faces comprises Shaivite rock-cut sculptures and stone sculptures dating to the seventh to ninth centuries. Known as Subrai Khung in the local Kokborok language, it was an important Shaivite pilgrimage centre during the Pala period. Some scholars have also suggested an earlier Buddhist presence in the region. The name Unakoti is believed to have been derived from the Bengali word koti, meaning ‘one less than a crore’, indicating the number of sculptures in the region. 

    Amongst the notable bas-reliefs on the hillside is the 30-feet-tall Shiva head, known as Unakotishwara Kal Bhairava, which is depicted wearing a 10-foot-tall ornamented headgear. The headdress is flanked by Ganga and Durga standing on their vahanas. On the rear of the hill are large figures of Ganesha. The site also has images of Ravana, Hanuman and Nandi, amongst other religious and mythological figures. 

    According to one legend, the gods and goddesses were cursed to turn into stone images by an enraged Shiva. Another legend attributes the sculptures to Kallu Kumhar, a sculptor and a devotee of goddess Parvati, who was told that he could accompany Shiva and Parvati on their passage to Mount Kailash if he sculpted one crore stone images. 

    The site was added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2022. The government of India has allotted a sum of INR 12 crore to the state to undertake developmental projects at Unakoti. 


    “All About Tripura’s Unakoti, the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’ Seeking UNESCO World Heritage Tag.” The Indian Express, December 12, 2022. Accessed January 19, 2023.

    Gupta, Ria. “Unakoti, Tripura : The Story Behind the Lost Hill of Faces.” Conde Nast Traveller, February 1, 2022. Accessed January 19, 2023.

    Senger, Resham. “Mystical Sculptures of Hindu Deities Lay Unexplored in Tripura’s Unakoti Hill.” Times of India, February 13, 2018. Accessed January 19, 2023.

    “Tripura’s Unakoti in Run for UNESCO World Heritage Tag; Here’s All About Its Mythological and Historical Significance.” Financial Express, December 17, 2022. Accessed January 19, 2023.

    “Unakoti, ‘Angkor Wat of North-East’, Being Pitched for World Heritage Tag.” The Print, December 10, 2022.

    “Unakoti’s ‘Lost Hill of Faces’.” Telangana Today, March 25, 2021. Accessed January 19, 2023.

    “Unakoti, the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’, is Vying for World Heritage Tag.” Hindustan Times, December 10, 2022. Accessed January 19, 2023.

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