Surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides, the lush mountains, hills and valleys of Tripura became part of India in 1949. Its fate and culture has been closely entwined with Bengal, while indigenous ethnic groups form around thirty percent of the population, mostly around the northern and eastern districts. Partition and the subsequent creation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1948, followed by war, famine and military regimes forced millions of Bangladeshis to flee into Tripura. Indigenous people, such as the Tripuri (a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group), became outnumbered, causing resentment and conflict over the decades. In 2013, elections returned the CPI(M) government, making Tripura one of the last Communist-run states in India. Today, Agartala, the capital, is a relaxed city with a palace and a few temples. A handful of wildlife sanctuaries, such as  Gumti, Rowa, Trishna and Sepahijala, protect the state’s few remaining forests while to the northeast the medieval Shaivite rock carvings of Unakoti are now accessible after years of strife.

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