Dholavira – A Harappan City

Until my foot landed on the grounds of Dholavira, I didn’t believe I would actually get to see the ancient city about which I had read in my school days. Dholavira is an archaeological site at Khadirbet in Bhachau Taluka of Kutch District, in the state of Gujarat.

This ancient archeological site was discovered in 1967-1968 by J.P.Joshi, ex. D.G. of Archaeological Survey of India. Also known locally as Kotada timba, Dholavira is the fifth largest of eight major Harappan sites. The other major Harappan sites discovered so far are: Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Ganeriwala, Rakhigarhi, Kalibangan, Rupnagar and Lothal.

Today what is seen as a fortified quadrangular city set in harsh arid land, was once a thriving metropolis for 1200 years (3000 BCE-1800 BCE) and had an access to the sea prior to decrease in sea level.

Dholavira02Dholavira04Eastern Entrance of Castle

The ancient settlement is embraced by two monsoon channels, namely, the Manhar and Mansar. The ruins, including the cemetery covers an area of about 100 hectares half of which is appropriated by the articulately fortified settlement of the Harappans alone. One of the unique features of Dholavira is the sophisticated water conservation system of channels and reservoirs, that too built completely of stone.

This full-grown cityscape consisted of three different zone- a bipartite ‘citadel’, a ‘middle town’ and a ‘lower town’. Among antiquities recovered during excavation, an inscription measuring 3 meters long had been recovered from the chamber near the northern gate of the castle and is believed to be a sign-board. Other things  that were found includes painted Indus black-on-red-ware pottery, square stamp seals, seals without Indus script, one poorly preserved seated male figure made of stone, large black-slipped jars with pointed base, a giant bronze hammer, a big chisel, a bronze hand-held mirror, a gold wire, gold ear stud, copper celts and bangles, shell bangles, grinding stones, mortars, etc.

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Opening Hour & days:

Opens around 9 A.M. every day of the week

Entry Fee:


How  to get there?

By road: Dholavira is 250 km from Bhuj and is reached via Bhachau and Rapar. A bus leaves from Bhuj at 14:00 and arrives at Dholavira at 20:30. It leaves at 05:00 the next morning and returns to Bhuj by 11:30. You can also rent a cab.

By air: The nearest airport is Bhuj. Bear in mind that an on-site guest house allows the possibility of a more leisurely experience, rather than a day trip.

All in all a trip to Dholavira was like a history being recreated right in front of my eyes. A must visit for any archaeophile and history lover.

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