Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Dholavira, Harappan-era city in Gujarat, recognized as World Heritage Site by UNESCO

The UNESCO added yet another archeological site to its list of world heritage list when it added Dholavira in Kutch district of Gujarat as one. The Harrapan-era village takes its pride of place as the first site of Indus Valley Civilization in India to be marked as such. This comes days after the ongoing 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO inscribed the 13th-century Rudreswara/ Ramappa Temple in Telangana as a heritage site.

The UNESCO on its website has called the Dholavira location as ‘one of the best-preserved urban settlements from the period in Southeast Asia’. Those digs at Dholavira, have found enough evidence that mark the rise and fall of the Indus Civilization, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said.

Key Points:

1.Dholavira details:

  • It is one of the most amazing and well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia.
  • It wasdiscovered 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).
  • IVC grew around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia, what today is Pakistan and Western India. It was basically an urban civilization and the people lived in well-planned and well-built towns, which were also the centers for trade.
  • The place holds ruins of an ancient IVC/Harappan city. It contains two parts: a walled city and acemetery to the west of the city.
  • The walled city consists of a fortified Castle with attached fortified Bailey and Ceremonial Ground, and a fortified Middle Town and a Lower Town.
  • A series ofpools are created to the east and south of the Citadel.
Dolavira city of Gujrat – Harpan-era city

2. Where Dholavria is located:

  • Dholavira’s location is on the Tropic of Cancer.
  • The ancient city of Dholavira is an archaeological site atKachchh District, in the state of Gujarat, which dates from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE.
  • Unlike other Harappan antecedent towns normally located near to rivers and perennial sources of water, the location of Dholavira in the island of Khadir bet.
  • This was strategic to harness different mineral and raw material sources (copper, shell, agate-carnelian, steatite, lead, banded limestone, among others).
  • It also facilitated internal as well as external trade to the Magan (modern Oman peninsula) and Mesopotamian regions.

3. What archaeologists found:

  • Artifacts that were found here contain terracotta pottery, beads, gold and copper ornaments, seals, fish hooks, animal figurines, tools, urns, and some imported vessels.
  • Remains of a copper smelter indicate 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 exported finished products.
  • It was also a hub of manufacturing jewelry made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.
  • 10 large stone inscriptions, carved in Indus Valley script, perhaps the world’s earliest sign board.
  • Near the ancient city is a fossil park where wood fossils are preserved.
  • Unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira.

4. Dholavira has been noted for its spectacular planning and architecture

  • Cascading series of water reservoirs.
  • Outer fortification.
  • Two multi-purpose grounds, one of which was used for festivities and other as a marketplace.
  • Nine gates with unique designs.
  • Funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas.
  • Multi-layered defensive mechanisms, extensive use of stone in construction and special burial structures.
Dholavira site with its spectacular planning & architecture

5. Decline of Dholavira:

  • 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.
  • Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up.
  • Due to a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.
  • Further, 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.

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