Showing posts with label Travelogue of Dholavira. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travelogue of Dholavira. Show all posts

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Travelogue of Dholavira (Kutchh): Exploring The World of lost Harappan Civilization

Most of us have read about Indus Valley and Harappan valley Civilization in our school days. Truly, it is one of the most interesting places to be found in North-West of India in Gujarat.

Dholavira-Kutchh, the name sounded so musical to my ears when we decided a trip to this magical place as part of the culmination to our history unit Civilizations. Dholivara is at a distance of 235 km from Bhuj. Dholavira’s location is on the Tropic of Cancer.

This 50 hectare site, the largest in India, has been excavated only in the last decade and is attracting the attention of archaeologists from all over the world.

My journey from Bhuj to Dholavira
Dholavira is quite a remote village and very difficult to visit by public transport. Dholavira is where the remains of a part of the Harappan civilization exist. The city is located on an island called Khadir Bet.
To avoid hard travelling by public transport, we hired Swit Dezire taxi from Bhuj to Dholivara, @Rs 5000.00 to and fro. We left early morning (6.00 AM) by hired taxi.

We reached Rapar, a village in between, at 9.00 AM Rapar is the largest town in the eastern side of Kutchh. With no other major town in its vicinity.That’s the reason hundreds of people from nearby villages visit Rapar every day. There are just 2-3 basic hotels in Rapar and all are cheap and nasty.
This journey to Dholavira took us very close to the life of tribes and communities in this side of Kutchh. Their outfits, ornaments, eating habits.
On either side of the road, lies the Great Rann of Kutchh. The topography of the land is unforgiving. People adopt various kinds of vehicles for mobility, the discomfort surmounted with a stoic smile and the super white of their clothes.
Finally we reached to the village of Shiranivadh which is the last village before the island of Khadir, where excavated site of Dholavira is located. A bridge over the white desert of Great Rann connects the island to Shiranivadh. It’s a vast terrain of salt marsh and exquisitely fascinating.
I felt like as if I reached to the other shore after a voyage. Finally we reached Dholavira which lies on the edge of island overlooking the Great Rann. Driver parked taxi in parking area.
Dholivara (an ancient city) Archaeological excavation site.
The site was discovered in 1967-68 by J. P. Joshi, of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and is the fifth largest of eight major Harappan sites. It has been under excavation since 1990 by the ASI.

First, you have to visit a small museum situated near to this ancient site. This museum gives information on the city planning and its features. Do you want to gain some knowledge about History? Then it will certainly happen after your visit to Dholavira museum.
We headed to the excavation site with our guide.Now there is nothing, except those memories buried under the ground. And we are digging their past.

Step wells, citadel, castle, bailey, and ceremonial grounds narrate their glory in a slow fashion. The best part of the Island is its serenity and awe-inspiring settings in the middle of Great Rann.
In 1967, when the ASI stumbled upon Dholavira, it found the largest Harappan city yet that preserved seven distinct cultural phases spanning a period of 2,000 years. Not even Harappa and Mohenjodaro can claim to have material remains from all the distinct phases that made up the historical extent of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Dholavira acted as a link in the trade routes from the Harappan cities in the Indus Valley to the port of Lothal. Situated in the salt flats of Kutchh, Dholavira was built in three tiers:

One of the most important discoveries in Dholavira was the town plan, which incorporated a sophisticated network of storm water drains connecting to a main artery, which in turn fed a reservoir.

Ten Indus characters from the northern gate of Dholavira, dubbed the Dholavira Signboard.

The most significant discoveries at Dholavira were made in one of the side rooms of the northern gateway of the city, and are generally known as the Dholavira Signboard.
The Harappans had arranged and set pieces of the mineral gypsum to form ten large symbols or letters on a big wooden board.

This ‘signboard’ containing ten large Harappan pictorial letters,the civilisation’s script continues to be a mystery, these remain of great value.

Apparently the site is overrun with scorpions, bats, snakes and assorted nocturnal creatures once the sun goes down.
According to the archaeological records, Dholavira was known for excellent water storage system and town planning. Hence, the big water reservoirs are a big attraction. In one of the recent excavations, a 5000- year water reservoir was excavated here. This is said to be the biggest water tank when compared with baths of all Harappan Cities.

Harappan civilization is said to have come to an abrupt end.
The following reasons are put forward for its abrupt end:

(1).The neighboring desert encroached on the fertile area and made it infertile.

(2).Regular floods destroyed the area.

(3).Aryan invaders killed people and destroyed the Indus Valley Civilization.
The Harappan people were peace loving. They did not have weapons to attack others or to defend themselves. They had implements for hunting or farming.
So they could not defend themselves against the invaders. The destruction of these people by Aryans was a sad event in history. The Aryans lived in villages and knew nothing of urban life. Thus it took hundred of years again for India to have beautiful cities like Mohen-jo-daro and Harappa.

(4).The end was partly caused by changing river patterns.
These changes included the drying up of the Hakra River and changes in the course of the Indus River. The river changes disrupted agricultural and economic systems, and many people left the cities of the Indus Valley region.

(5)Earthquakes and Epidemics caused destruction.
By 1700 B.C., the Indus civilization had gradually broken up into smaller cultures, called late Harappan cultures and post-Harappan cultures. However, some aspects of Indus art, agriculture, and possibly social organization continued in the smaller cultures.

Some of these aspects became incorporated into a unified urban civilization that began developing throughout the region about 600 B.C
Finally we returned back to the parking lot and started our incessant effort for getting a ride back to Bhuj. Tourist inflow is thin in Dholavira.

The next appeasing side of this journey was a short stop for a meal at Rapar; we had in the Punjabi restaurant. There is couple of eating options in Rapar and all offers delectable meals. Gujarati Thali is the best deal and economical as well.I sauntered in the streets, chit chatted with Pan Walas.
Each place has been a theater of actions for centuries.Come, lets discover the ideas that shaped our multiple identities.
The End
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