Dholavira in Gujarat on UNESCO World Heritage list
- July 28, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN Topics
Dholavira in Gujarat on UNESCO World Heritage list
Dholavira, the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city, received the UNESCO world heritage site tag. Dholavira became the fourth site from Gujarat and 40th from India to make the list, it is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag. Gujarat now has four world heritage sites — Dholavira, Champaner near Pavagadh, Rani ki Vav in Patan and the Historic City of Ahmedabad
- Dholavira is located in Kutch district of Gujarat. It was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi.
- After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of Indus Valley Civilization (IVC).
- Dholavira was a commercial and manufacturing hub for about 1,500 years before its decline.
- Dholavira was a hub for copper metallurgy. It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products.
- It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and also used to export timber.
- From around 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.
- The water management system, multi-layered defensive mechanisms, extensive use of stone in construction and special burial structures are some of the unique aspects of Dholavira.
- Dholavira houses a cascading series of water reservoirs believed to be part of a water harvesting system.
- Dholavira has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks as in other Harappan sites.
- Dholavira had an enormous outer fortification running on all four sides.
- The funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas— are a unique feature of Dholavira
- There are remains of two open air stadiums
- A range of artefacts of copper, shell, stone, and jewellery made of terracotta and ivory had been found at the site.
Rise and fall of Dholavira
- Remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy.
- It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products.
- It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.
- The beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia, indicating Dholavira used to trade with the Mesopotamians.
- Its decline also coincided with the collapse of Mesopotamia, indicating the integration of economies. Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell.
- From 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.
- The Great Rann of Kutch, which surrounds the Khadir Island on which Dholavira is located, used to be navigable, but the sea receded gradually and the Rann became a mudflat.
Other Harappan sites in Gujarat
- Before Dholavira was excavated, Lothal, in Saragwala village on the bank of Sabarmati in Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district, was the most prominent site of IVC in Gujarat.
- It was excavated between 1955 and 1960 and was discovered to be an important port city of the ancient civilisation, with structures made of mud bricks.
- From a graveyard in Lothal, 21 human skeletons were found. Foundries for making copperware were also discovered. Ornaments made of semi-precious stones, gold etc. were also found from the site.
- Rangpur on the bank of Bhadar River in Surendranagar district was the first Harappan site in the state to be excavated.
- Rojdi in Rajkot district, Prabhas near Veraval in Gir Somnath district, Lakhabaval in Jamnagar, and Deshalpar in Bhuj taluka of Kutch are among other Harappan sites in the state.
- The Dholavira site has remained free from encroachment in historical periods as well as in the modern era
- The site was found free from any kind of encroachment, a rarity in India.
- In its release, UNESCO termed Dholavira as one of the most remarkable and well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE (Before Common Era).
- Dholavira, a village with a population of around 2,000, is the nearest human settlement at present.
Near the ancient city is a fossil park where wood fossils are preserved
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
- Other than India, Italy, Spain, Germany, China and France have 40 or more World Heritage Sites.
- UNESCO’s announcement comes just days after another site, Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) in Telangana, was admitted to the World Heritage List.