After Dholavira a few days ago, I got some readers advising I visit Lothal, another major Harappan town of the ancient Indus River Valley civilization.
Lothal was discovered in 1954, with excavations being carried out from 1955-62 to reveal mostly of what can be seen today.
Strangely, Lothal means ‘mound of the dead.’ Shudder! Not the best of ideas to camp here for the night. Folks buried here are old, very old. You never know how they may behave.
Lothal dates to circa 2500-1900 B.C. Trick question: How many centuries ago is that?
The town’s chief lived in the Acropolis, with houses built on 3 metre high platforms and provided with all civic amenities like paved baths, underground drains and a well for potable water.
The lower town was divided into the commercial district where craftsmen worked, the other being the residential sector.
Excavations have revealed beads; seals and sealings; shell, copper, ivory and bronze objects; tools; animal and human figurines; weights; ritual objects etc.
Lothal was an important overseas trading port, and its prosperity was based on business in semi precious stone beads, copper, ivory, shell and cotton goods with West Asia.
Discovery of objects of Persian Gulf origin and terracotta figures of gorillas and mummies indicate strong international connections.
My reaction at the site? I was told it is a big deal, but turned out to be more modest than Dholavira. At least in visual appeal. Much smaller, and not close to as imposing as the other. Lothal may be more talked about as it was discovered earlier, and might have held greater commercial significance.
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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