The Harappan city of Dholavira is not UNESCO World Heritage Site which is situated in present-day Gujarat.
Dholavira UNESCO World Heritage Site is now the 40th world heritage sites of India, which includes 32 cultural, seven natural and one mixed property,
Back to Basics
- UNESCO’s announcement came just days after another site, Ramappa Temple in Telangana, was admitted to the list.
- The ancient city of Dholavira is 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).
- It is the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city.
- Discovered in 1968, the site is set apart by its unique characteristics, such as its water management system, multi-layered defensive mechanisms, extensive use of stone in construction and special burial structures.
- A range of artefacts of copper, shell, stone, jewellery, terracotta and ivory had been found at the site.
- Located in the Kutch district, Dholavira is the larger of the two most remarkable excavations of the Indus Valley Civilisation dating back to about 4,500 years ago.
- The site had been on UNESCO’s tentative list since 2014 and India had submitted its dossier in January 2020.
- Dholavira was an important urban centre and is one of our most important linkages with our past.
- Gujarat so far has three world heritage sites – Champaner near Pavagadh, Rani ki Vav in Patan and the historic city of Ahmedabad.
- It was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi. The site’s excavation between 1990 and 2005 under the supervision of archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht uncovered the ancient city, which was a commercial and manufacturing hub for about 1,500 years before its decline and eventual ruin in 1500 BC.
- After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.
- The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.
- Archaeologist Bisht cites a cascading series of water reservoirs, outer fortification, two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace — nine gates with unique designs, and funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas— as some of the unique features of the Dholavira site.
- One finds the origin of the Buddhist Stupas in memorials in Dholavira.
- While unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira.
- Contain no bones or ashes but offerings of precious stones, etc. add a new dimension to the personality of the Harappans.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Besides Lothal, 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.
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