The 1,000-year-old Buddhist archaeological site of Pilak, set in the enchanting landscape of northeastern India, is sure to mesmerize visitors as it rises to prominence. A recently established cultural and religious tourism circuit, reports The Bhutan Live. The rich historical and spiritual history of Pilak, located in the beautiful area of Jolaibari in South Tripura district, is being promoted by the Tripura State Government. This historic site is part of a network of Buddhist and Hindu tourist attractions close to the tri-border region of Tripura, Bangladesh (formerly East Bengal) and Rakhine State (formerly Arakan) of Myanmar.
According to The Bhutan Live, Pilak in South Tripura has already established itself as a famous tourist destination, attracting travellers from all over the country. Bhutan Live covers Bhutan news, politics, Bhutan culture, Bhutanese Buddhism and much more for a unique understanding of the Himalayan region. The state tourism department, headed by TK Das, to highlight the region’s cultural richness even more, has created an attractive archaeological tourism circuit that includes Pilak as well as Chhabimura and Udaipur in the Gomti district. The famous Tripureshwari Kali Temple, one of the 51 Shaktipeeths, located in Udaipur, also known as Rangamati, is the starting point of the Yatra. The journey starts from the state capital Agartala. The circuit is not complete without a stop at Chhabimura, which is famous for its fascinating rock carving panels on the high hill wall and overlooking the calm waters of the Gomti River.
Its extensive collection of ancient Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, including terracotta and stone temple plaques, as well as two magnificent ninth-century stone images of Avalokiteshvara and a stunning 12th-century statue of Narasimha, illustrate Pilak’s historical importance. These valuable artefacts are prominently displayed in the Government Museum, Agartala. Notably, these sites also yielded two bronze Buddha statues close to Pilak, which provide invaluable information about the early Buddhist kingdoms of the region, which flourished before the arrival of Hinduism.
Since 1999, the conservation of Pilak has been carefully monitored by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Brick stupas were found during ASI-led excavations in the early 1960s, which throw light on the historical importance of the site.According to The Bhutan Live, additional ASIs carried out excavations at Jolaibari and surrounding mounds, which found Buddha statues and other Mahayana Buddhist sculptures. Uttam Pal, the executive engineer of the state tourism department, explained the government’s goal of making Pilak a popular travel destination for Buddhist travellers not only from Southeast Asia but from across the world. Despite the site’s well-deserved status as an archaeological treasure, strict regulations prohibit the construction of permanent structures within 150 meters of it. However, the state government has invested in building first-class tourism facilities near the restricted area. The number of visits has been unusually high, and for the convenience of tourists, a tourist bungalow has been carefully built next to the site at Jolaibari.
A magnificent full-size Buddhist stupa said to have been built under the rule of the Palas of Bengal in the 11th century, has recently been discovered at Sundari Tila near Pilak. The site’s many rock-cut sculptures and images display the artistic influence of the Pala and Gupta dynasties of Bengal, the Arakan region of Myanmar, and the Mainamati region of moulded plaques. Rich in history, Pilak was earlier an important component of the famous Samatata kingdom in prehistoric Bengal. It now stands alongside other spectacular archaeological sites in Bangladesh, including Mainamati and Sompura Mahavihara, famous for their priceless clay tablets, seals, and early Hindu and Buddhist sculptures from the eighth and ninth centuries. As The Bhutan Live reports, the recently established tourist circuit promises an extraordinary experience for those seeking a soul-stirring journey through time, culture and spirituality, with Pilak proudly crowning this age-old treasure.