Dholavira, Gujarat – People lived here 5,000 years ago: The Great Arabian Sea Drive Day 4

gujarat dholavira harappan

And here I was: on the site where people once lived in the 3rd Millennium B.C. Imagine the remains still exist. Don’t let your imagination wander, it can cause vertigo.

The site was discovered only in 1967-68 by Jagatpati Joshi with excavations starting only in 1990 under Dr. R.S. Bisht. The site is known as Kotada in Gujarat.

Spread over 100 hectares, the site is one of the five biggest from the Harappan period in the Indo-Pak region.

P1010253.jpg: Part of the signboard at the city entrance repainted on the walls of an office block

The entrance to the city had a signboard of 10 Harappan characters; it is still existent and is the oldest signboard in the world. Strangely, it is locked away from public eye.

The citadel in the south comprised two fortified sections: the castle in the east and the bailey in the west. Royalty stayed in the former and their servants in the latter.

Beyond the bailey lay the burial ground – graves dug up reveal personal belongings that were buried along with the deceased.

The middle town lies to the north, separated from the citadel by a large ceremonial ground or stadium with a capacity of over 10,000.

Dholavira stands out for its unique water management system, with 10 reservoirs feeding one into the next. These stored fresh water for the bustling city. These are partly excavated into bedrock and partly made of masonry. Steps lead to the water level.

Water came by constructing dams on the Manher and Mansar rivers – the city lay between the banks of these cities. Another source was a well in the citadel area.

My guide said excavation had stopped since 2005; it could be due to lack of funds. Or for Dholavira to get UNESCO World Heritage Status.

Some of the excavations from the site included beads and ornaments made of stones, shells, terracotta, gold, silver etc.; Seals; Weights and measures and terracotta animal figurines.

gujarat dholavira harappan

gujarat dholavira harappan

gujarat dholavira harappan

gujarat dholavira harappan

gujarat dholavira harappan

gujarat dholavira harappan

gujarat dholavira harappan

gujarat dholavira harappan

Ajay Jain is currently on the Great Arabian Sea Drive, starting from Delhi and following the coastline all the way from Gujarat down to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Follow all updates on:
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