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Dholavira and Lothal

After a tour to the Indus Valley sites in Pakistan, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, let us come back to our land and look at some of the sites in Gujarat, India.

While most other sites have seen only early or later stages of the Harappan culture, Lothal and Dholavira have passed through all stages of the culture, spanning from 2900 BCE to 1500 BCE.


The Harappan site of Dholavira located in Kutch is known for the enormity and the brilliant planning. The site has yielded some inscriptions in form of large sign boards.

A new light on the socio religious belief is thrown with the funerary structures found at the site.

The excavation revealed a citadel in the center along with middle and a lower town, each fortified separately. The citadel was laid out in the south of the city. The Middle town rises to a height of 8.60 m from the ground level and has two to three gates in the enclosure enabling intercommunication with lower town.

Similar to the middle town, the lower town too had a constructed area with several built up projections.

Dholavira is known to have an excellent water conservation system. Satellite photos have revealed a reservoir underground, without which the city would not have been able to survive with the sparse rainfall of the desert.


Lothal developed as an important port and a center of bead industry. Archaeological finds indicate trade with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Floods in the region resulted in large scale destruction, however did not deter the spirit of the inhabitants.

The dominant sight of Lothal is the dockyard which is built on the eastern flank of the town. This has made the site prominent on an international archaeological map. The dockyard displays knowledge about tides and hydraulics. Ships could enter northern side of the dock via an inlet channel that was connected to an estuary of the river during high tide. After unloading of the cargo the gates would have opened allowing the ship to the Arabian Sea.

The warehouse is another important structure at Lothal which was built close to the acropolis. It served as a clearing house for incoming and outgoing cargo.

One of the discoveries has revealed two bodies in a single grave indicating burial to be a common ritual.

Thus a walk through these ancient cities gives us tremendous knowledge about what life would have been then.

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