Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dholavira, Indus Valley Civilization

A sort of touristy overview from

Dholavira was the lake city of the great Indus Valley civilization
Published: Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010, 14:07 IST
By Hemang Desai | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The Indus Valley civilization existed in India five thousand years ago. This great urban civilization, contemporaneous with those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, covered an expanse that stretched from Baluchistan in the west to the Upper Ganga-Yamuna Doab in the east. Harrapa, Mohen-jo-Daro, Channu Daro, Rakhigarhi, Lothal and Dholavira are among the famous towns of the Indus Valley civilisation that were dug out by archaeologists.

Dholavira, located near Khadir Bet in the Great Rann of Kachchh of Gujarat is an incredible example of this Indus Valley civilization town.

The area of the civilization was larger than that of today's Western Europe. Dholavira perched at one end of it on a small island, possibly surrounded then by the sea. Surrounded by a unique geographical location, Dholavira was literally a paradise in the desert.

Archaeologists believe that the five-thousand-year-old town must have been a lovely city of lakes during its heydays. In fact, the residents of Dholavira who had settled in the town between two water streams, Mansar and Manhar, collected their waters in the monsoon and used that water during the rest of the year. They used clever water storing and collecting techniques.

The New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Technology believes that the ancient Dholavira has a lot to teach the modern water -starved world about water collection, usage and storage.

After Egypt and Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley civilization is one among the four oldest civilisations of mankind. This civilization is shrouded in mystery as very little is known about its social and cultural aspects even today. But the town remains and the qualities of objects found on its sites testify that this must have been a high civilization.

The first town of the Indus Valley to be discovered by archaeologists was Harrapa in 1921, followed by Mohenjo Daro in 1922.

Each town of this civilization, at times two thousand kilometres away from the other, had a similar plan: there was a palace in each town; the town area was divided on a grid pattern and wide streets that ran north to south and east to west.

The curator of the Pennsylvania University Museum, Gregory Posehal, says, "Dholavira is a planned city. Exactly like the planned modern cities, Dholavira was made based on a design. Mohenjo Daro too was built like this."

Like other towns of the Indus Valley civilization, Dholavira too is a parallelogram. The wall of the "citadel" is eighteen metres thick.

Buildings in Dholavira were made ofsun-dried mud bricks and stone and some of them stand in good condition even today.

The refinement of buildings and materials used reveals a high knowledge of civil engineering that must have been prevalent among the Dholavirans. Ornaments made in lapis lazuli, agate, carnelian, shells, silver and gold, as well as utensils and toys made from clay, also reveal a high artistic and technological sense.

The water wells and street remains of the town speak of the technological sophistication of the Indus Valley people. Unfortunately, the script of the Indus Valley civilisation remains yet to be deciphered. But this civilisation continues to fascinate and intrigue even after five thousand years of its existence.

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