Pilak - A tete a tete with the city :
Location : Northeastern India, Tripura.
Best time to visit : Post monsoon months.
Local Transport : Auto rickshaws, taxis, cars and buses.
Places to see : Shyam sundar Tilla, Thakurani Tilla, Balir Pathar, Basudeb Bari.
Souvenirs : Tribal wares, cane articles.
Pilak - The Tale of the city :
Pilak is revealed as a civilization site that existed around 12 centuries back. It has proof of existence of cultures of different kinds. The structures here speak of influence of the ARakan, and Myanmar. There are terracotta plaques which are very resemblant of plaques from Mainamati and Paharpur. There have archaeological excavations which reveal stupas made of bricks which existed here centuries back. History and archaeology has it that there have been many dynasties ruling this place. With the excavations we can figure out that Hindus and Buddhists dominated the region and this was perhaps the main capital too. Pattikera comes across as a probable capital and Pilak and it lies in the Comilla region. Pilak is near Comilla. It lies today at the junction of Assam and Bengal but was earlier connected to Burma by land. The valleys of Kacher, Surma and Gomati connected the two countries along with present day Manipur and Lusai hills. Chittagong and ARakan was on the other side. Pilak was a very important trade centre between Pattikera, Burma and Pilak. Thus with all this history Pilak dates centuries back.
Pilak - Down the Ages :
Located in Tripura, Pilak, the Buddhist land has a green valley surrounding it. It lies around 26kms from Udaipur and 100 kms from the capital of Tripura AGartala. With beautiful paddy fields dominating the region, this is around 100 km from the city of Agartala. Not with much population it is the proof of an era which existed before. A major pilgrim spot in Tripura, it has the Buddhist and the Hindu pilgrims visiting the temples here. Today Pilak, the archaeological spot is famous for its remains. Exquisite sculptures of Buddhism and Hinduism are found here. Today Pilak has excavated remains of Abolokiteswara images, Narasimha idols etc. All these seals and plaques show a lot of sects and castes living together.
Pilak - A Rendezvous :
When one comes to Pilak, this rendezvous is special. Located with archaeological remains, this is a place which speaks a lot about the past history here. Pilak has such picturesque beauty that the art and culture here takes over the place. With its lovely surroundings and scenic ambience Pilak comes across as a land of history, tradition and culture. The area has the embers of a past culture and history and is today an archaeological hub. With its tea plantations, paddy fields and magnificent ruins of the past Pilak is worth a visit today.
Pilak - Travel kitty :
With the best of culture and tradition and a commendable past history Pilak has everything a tourist could take back as travel kitty. Archaeological excavations are an interesting travel kitty and the remains that are found here make the kitty even more intriguing. One loves to come here and feel the rustic ambience against the backdrop of the paddy fields. At this juncture, a tribal selling wares and a local shop with artifacts is a good bet for the traveler to cherish as a good travel kitty.
Pilak - Joie de vivre in the city :
Anyone coming to Pilak would first savor the freshness of the paddy fields and then understand the history of the place. The unique blending of two cultures of Hinduism and Buddhism perhaps existed since ages and today the smoulders of the blend still simmer in Pilak. One who comes here could see the following:
The mounds :
Shyam Sundar Tilla : These are remains of a past history. The Archaeological Survey of India excavated this place in the year 1984-85. The simmering embers of an erstwhile majestic place are seen here and there are remains of shrines which indicate that Buddhist shrines existed here. Excavations have proof of this place being a Buddhist stupa of the 10th century. With the terracotta kind of sculptures and the beautiful planning, this is worthwhile spot to visit.
Thakurani Tilla : Similar to the Shyam Sunder Tilla, this is also a proof of the glorious past. Excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India, this too has the Buddhist art and sculpture here indicating a possible existence of Buddhist Shrines here. This too was excavated in the year 1984-85.
Balir Pathar : Again an archaeological find, these remains reveal a lot of sculptural icons of Indian Gods. Brahminical cult along with Buddhist pantheons were found in areas like Balir Pathar. Balir Pathar is one of the six mounds that Pilak Pathar is comprised of. There are structures and remains of past history lying here. Images of Gods and their idols have been excavated here.
Basudev Bari : This is also a result of an archaeological excavation. With the simmering ruins and remains of past, this place is too is one of the six mounds that Pilak Pathar is made of. With antique articles and statues being recovered from Pilak, Basudev Bari also is witness to a number of excavations which give proof of the past. The remains here are mostly in the early stages of the history of Tripura’s sculptures. They date back to the 8th century.
Sagar Deba : This ruined land and a land of excavation is again one of the six mounds comprising the present day tourist spot of Pilak. It is believed that the ruins reveal the Gupta form of art here so this may be the origin of the art form. A sun God statue found in Pilak reveals similarity with the Sun God of ARakan. Similarly idols of Ganesha and Devi Durga show a tendency of Gupta kind of art.
Archaeological Evidences :
Thus Pilak shows a lot of influence of the Hindu Buddhism style of architecture through the artifacts found here. There is an image of Vishnu which is shown to stand on a lotus pedestal. The same kind of sculptures is found in Srihatta sculptures and also sculptures in Mianamati in Bangladesh. Thus it is evident that present day Pilak had a lot of Buddhist cultural centers earlier which have been scattered now as Bengal is divided into many portions.
Buddhist Pilgrimage spots :
Pilak has come to be a Buddhist pilgrim spot. This is because of the discoveries of Buddhist sculptures and Abalokiteshwara from Pilak. They are similar to the Loknath that was found in Srihatta now in Bangladesh. Thus Pilak comes across as a great pilgrim land with a lot of pre existent Buddhist shrines which are all in ruins today.
Agartala Museum :
Situated around 100 kms from Pilak this museum houses all the excavated Buddhist and Burmese sculptures. There is a large Sun god of 10ft by 5 ft. Then we have the Abloiteshwar idol along with the idols of Nrisinghdev, Mahishashurmardini, and statues of Ganesh. There is a Shiv ling and all this are amidst a collection of a variety of stones too which have been excavated.
Other Places :
Khowai : This is a town that lies in West Tripura. It is a Nagar Panchayat and has the River Khowai passing through. River Khowai originates from the Athharpura Hill and enters Bangladesh in Sylhet. This town is a good scenic spot.
Bangladesh Frontier : This is just around 3 kms away hence is an ideal tourist interest. The Akhaura Road takes you there. One can reach there by foot or by rickshaw.
Pilak - Entertainment Factor :
Pilak today is a haven of images of Buddhist and Hindu origin. Dating back to the 9th century, these sculptures are living proof of a historical past in this region. There are beautiful terracotta plaques which indicate a colossal religious culture in the past. Today Pilak has become a major attraction due to these excavations. With the images of Shakti Goddess having eight hands, and many other such beautiful plaques depicting the past, the Archaeological Survey of India has today declared Pilak as an archaeological site. It has also made this place very popular as a tourist spot so that the people would understand the value of past history and learn to respect the early architecture and art. The Government also holds the Pilak festival annually which helps the tourist to understand the region better and also encourages inter community culture. Traditions and cultures of the past are always intact and places like Pilak help in understanding them better.
As a person leaves this place, he thinks, Old is gold.”