Located in the Khadir Bet Island in Kutch district of Gujarat, Dholavira is one of the five most important sites of the Harapan civilization found across the Indian subcontinent. Tourists during their Gujarat tour shouldn’t miss out this archeological place of interest.
Location and Area:
In the westernmost Indian state of Gujarat, Dholavira is located at 23°53′10″N 70°13′0″E. The archeological site at the Kutch District is situated 165 km from Radhanpur scattering around 250 acres of the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary at the Great Rann of Kutch.
In Harappan or the Indus Valley Civilization is one of the most ancient civilizations established around the 3rd millennium BC. In the post-independence era, the Kotla Nihang Khan located in the District Ropar in Punjab and Rangpur, in the District of Surendranagar in Gujarat were the few significant Harappan sites that were left in India after the partition. But as the exploration and excavation to find the traces of the ancient civilization didn’t stop; many Harappan sites were brought into light across the state of Gujarat, India from the finding processes since 1954.
The location was discovered by the J. P. Joshi who was also the ex. D.G. of A.S.I. in 1967-8. Many significant remains of the Harappan civilization have been unearthed by the Archeological Survey of India here in Dholavira, also known as Kotada Timba by the locals. Reminiscences of the Bronze Age in which the Indus Valley Civilization belonged from 2650 BCE to 2100 BCE are found in a great deal from the ruins of Dholavira. It is said that for a short time the place was abandoned by some unknown reasons but, later on, it was again occupied until c.1450 BCE.
Per sources, the site of Dholavira is the second largest among the rest of the other Harappan sites in India and the fifth largest in the whole of the Indian subcontinent among other significant sites like- Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Rakhigarhi, Lothal, Rupanagar and Ganeriwala. Besides Lothal, Dholavira is the only site that has the reminiscences of the presence of all stages throughout the Harappan civilization and culture from the 2900 BC to 1500 BC.
Travelers to Gujarat nowadays take great interest to explore the archeological site of Dholavira whenever they are exploring the Great Rann of Kutch area.
Urban architecture and the antiquities:
As it is known that Harappa was a planned city and it can be best known from the unearthed urban architecture and the reminiscence of their antiquities that have been excavated collected from the soils. From the research and excavation by the Archeological Survey of India (A.S.I), it is known that once Dholavira was an important center of commerce and a major trading zone in the present day Gujarat, Sindh, Punjab as well as the Middle East. The advanced civilization also implemented the use of seals, beads, gold and silver ornaments, and bronze utensils as well as other decorative items including ornaments. The ancient people also used the metallic and clay potteries as well as knew the artwork of terracotta. Many collections of such excavated pieces are kept in Dholavira so that tourists can come and see how advanced the Harappan Civilization was.
The water reservoir system:
The water reservoir system that has been dug out from the ancient remains has awestruck the archeologists. It is still a wonder to figure out the advanced thinking and perceptions of the century-old people that planned such a grand underground water reservoir system.
The system was designed in such as a way so that the rain water can be stored as the place was possibly dry because of proper sweet water resources. It has been assumed that the water was also used in irrigation and to fight the droughts.
The remains of the Citadel:
Remains of a citadel are also excavated out from the debris in the middle and the lower town at Dholavira Harappan site. Fine artistry and craftsmanship of the then masons are estimated from the unearthed citadel that is completely destroyed. Still from the reminiscences of the sun-dried bricks and stone masonry, the skills of the builders during the Harappan age can be estimated.
Besides an underground drainage system has also been found used for sanitation under the citadel.
Archeologists have also traced ten large-scale inscriptions engraved in Indus Valley script that is kept in the museum along with the other relics of the Indus valley civilization.
Bhuj is the nearest airport. Tourists have to get a car from there to reach the site. Regular buses are also available from the Bhuj.
Bhuj Railway Station is the closest railway station.
Buses and rental cars are available from Bhuj and other places from Gujarat that take the travelers to Dholavira. From Bhuj, Dholavira is 250 Kilometers and people have to reach there only via the roadway. Buses that leaves Bhuj at 14.00, reach Dholavira by 20.30. Again on the next morning, the buses start from Dholavira and reaches Bhuj around 11.30 am.
For more comfortable journey, tourists can rent SUVs or any other car-on-rent from the station or from the airport. Pre-booking is suggested during the rush season such as winter.