Dholavira (Kutch- Gujarat)

So I was telling you about Indus Valley Civilization, in the last post (when we were calling it the Harappan Civilization, as every other text book says, expert Michel Danino, vehemently opposed it, as the area is so so so much more than Harappa!). And I ended the post with a note on a huuuuge site and here's the post on it. The site is called Dholavira and its in the Rann of Kutch.

The site was discovered in 1967-68. This is one of the 5 biggest site covering 100 hectares. The site is spectacular. The boundary is in the shape of parellelogram and has fortified wall on all sides! Unlike Lothal which was more of an industrial town, this was more of a residential town. Here are some important things - Citadel, Middle town, lower town, reservoirs, and fort walls.
First things first. Reaching here is an awesome experience by itself. The previous day I was at Ahmedabad and from there via Modhera (travelogue on the sun temple there, coming up soon), the trip was to Dholavira. The long lonely road with very few villages that occur occasionally!!! At the last relatively bigger village with some shops, I made sure to call my mom & hubby to inform that I'll be soon entering a no-cellphone-signal zone! But guess what, not just BSNL, Vodafone also picks up signal even till the deepest part of Dholavira!!!
Dholavira has just 2 options to stay - the guest houses of the state tourism dept. and the state forest dept. In any case pre booking in necessary, coz even they are very less in numbers. I stayed at the tourism dept guest house and the night spent there was fabulous. The houses were typical Gujarati pol houses - circular houses with conical thatched roof. However the facilities were pretty good with air conditioner, geyser, etc. 
The best part of the night was star gazing. The last time I saw a sky filled with so many stars was in the highway while returning from Panamalai! The unpolluted environment here made the sky so clear and millions of stars visible!
Well, early next day we started off the the actual Indus valley civilization site. Here, unlike Lothal where mostly bricks were used, here stones of various sizes were used with mud as mortar. The 3 major sections in here were the citadel, middle town and lower town. The citadel has the castle in the east and bailey in the west. 
At certain places their incredible skill in stone work was evident. One such example was this cylinder. This is actually a base of a pillar. The level of polishing was incredible. In the sultry, hot sun, this stone was so so chill!
Another example are these poles. Where they the first ever form of Sivalingam??? May be!
Another example is the very polished step!
Very similar to Lothal, here too drainage and sanitation were given a very high importance.

Also similar to Lothal, wells were built very neatly here too. One of the wells also had a side plank where the pulley marks are still visible! 

But its not these that caught my attention, it was the reservoirs. Huge reservoirs. There are 16 of them around the area. At a particular point there were 5 of them next to each other. They not just hold water but also filter it to a certain extent. The largest of them all, measures approx, 73m x 29m. There are steps to reach the depth of the reservoir when water level is low. 
Though I couldn't see with my own eyes, the thing that amazed me the most was the sign board. Perhaps, the world's first sign board. Its 10 characters. Huge in size. A character per plaque of size 37cm high. The entire 10 letters, is 10m long. What does it say? May be 'Namaste', may be 'welcome', may be the town's name, may be the king's name, may be some divine chant like 'Om'.... May be.... No one knows, coz Indus valley script is not deciphered yet. Presently public viewing is not possible, as ASI has safeguarded this. 
There are 2 open spaces also which might have been used for various purposes like entertainment, bazaar, meetings, gatherings, ceremonies, sports etc. 
The view from one point in Dholavira was spectacular, from where the horizon meets the white sands of the Rann of Kutch!

Also I spotted a couple of interesting rocks! A rock with several sea shells fossilized and embedded onto it! Another rock with multi color stripes naturally occurring on it!!!
A few km from here was the Pakistan border! See that watch house there? That's the BSF post. Just beyond it was the Indo Pak border. Went so close to the border and still waiting for my Pakistan trip dream to come true...

TO GET THERE:
From Ahmedabad Airport: 330km via Mahesana, Radhanpur, Balasar
From Bhuj Railway Station: 220km via Bhachau, Rapar, Balasar

TO STAY:
Toran (TCGL) Guest Houses are available at Dholavira itself.
They are the traditional Gujarati Pol Houses, and only 10 are available.
They are very good, for that locality, in the middle of nothing, with Air Conditioning and Geyser facility.
Food is also prepared according to requirement.
So definitely prior booking is very necessary.
Few similar Guest Houses of the Forest department are also available, in which case also prior booking is necessary.

On Google Maps: http://goo.gl/eGhf2T

Dedicated to Prof. Swaminathan & Co...

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

20 comments:

  1. hey great information. Actually i had visited this site in 2003 when i was in 8 std. It was a great experience we had travelled all the way from bhuj via rappar and journey was approximately 250 km. Then there was no facility to stay there. Good to know after 11 years we have such facilities so i may visit again. Thanks to you and gujarat government for their development and network connectivity and making facility to stay.

    saurabhthuse@ymail.com

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    1. Do visit again. You'll have some nostalgic beautiful memories!!! :)

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  2. Nice post.... I have not been to this part of our country. would love to go......

    Thanks for sharing the details, Bhusha......

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    1. Thanks Venkat!
      Do visit these places. You'll love them too!!! :)

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  3. Interesting information. Thanks for sharing this.

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  4. Wonderfully informative post of ancient civilization.

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    1. Thanks a lot for the appreciation Rajesh!

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  5. Replies
    1. Me too waiting for your version of travelogue!

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  6. wow - so much history!! when did you go? Next time you travel please call me too

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    1. Went in Jan. Definitely, will let you know next time!

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  7. Rann of Kutchh, Gujarat is surely one of the places I wish to visit. You have shared some impeccable pictures out here. Civilizations like he Harappan civilization have always revealed to the world the progress of man even in ancient times.

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  8. Dear Bhushavali

    I am planning to visit Dholavira in the second week of January 2015, and want to stay there for one night. Can you advise on this ? also can you please share contact details of toran guest house manager ? any details about the forest department guest house ?

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    Replies
    1. Right now I do not have the details. Will try to find & update.

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  9. next fortnight i am planning to visit from ahmedabad to Dholavira. i read on web that road from radhanpur to balasar is not existing or under construction or not in good condition. please confirm i can go on this route by my own car.Regards and lots of love

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    Replies
    1. The road is not great and you can't compare it with city roads and has a lot of potholes. But you can take your car!

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