Just 96 hours and I travelled more than thousand kilometers and visited places older than medieval history.
Doesn’t it sound like Dan Brown’s next novel? Well, I must say fiction has definitely turned out to be real for me!
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, now a part of Pakistan, are the two largest metropolises of Indus valley; while Dholavira and Lothal are two most remarkable Indus sites located in Gujarat are magnificent yet oblivion. Evidences claim that this area was known as ‘Meluha’ during its heyday.
One fine weekend I decided to visit these ruins. It started with an overnight journey from Mumbai to Ahmedabad and then Ahmedabad to Dholavira, located beyond the Great Rann of Kutch. Dholavira is considered as fifth largest Indus valley town. This metropolis of Indus valley has neither historical nor mythological connection, yet something lies beneath this desert which had brought me here. When Buddha did not come up with Dhamma, when no Christianity emerged, when no Islam was formed and Vedic culture did not arise and spread across the India; this place not just did breathed and grew, but prospered and went into the deep slumber after touching the peak of marvel.
Once I entered into the vicinity of Dholavira excavated site, the first thing drew my attention was a small man-made mound of citadel. This was an acropolis which has been fortified and projecting its loftiness. It was bifurcated into citadel and bailey which was officials’ residence. Researchers have discovered world’s first inscription here. It has ten symbols made of white gypsum on wooden panel and considered as the oldest ‘sign board’. However, this inscription is still a mystery for us as Indus script is not yet deciphered. Even so, this inscription indicates literacy. We also found residues of finely chiseled stone pillars and they were looking like recently sculpted. We also found a railingless well. The fortification had divided lower town from the center part of the town. These stone brick formations are still holding their charm.
A grand gateway to the north of the citadel opened into an area fashioned as an auditorium. Beyond this auditorium, middle town gets started. While this segment had specious houses, well-planned lanes; there is a lower town downwards where farmers and commoners were inhabited.
Dholavira has pillars, beams, walls, wells, and reservoirs. This town’s reservoirs, their water conservation system as well as sewage system are beyond imagination. Entire town was surrounded by sixteen reservoirs. They are large rectangular compartments, functioned as water supply ducts.
Lothal, a six thousand year old pre-harappan dock, is another excavated site just 80 KM away from Ahmedabad city. The jetty built over here recounts the stories of international trading. Lothal’s giant rectangular tank is an epicenter of mystery. Some historians consider it a jetty where waters of two rivers (Bhogavo- a sub-river of Indus and Sabarmati) functioned as a trade route. This rectangular duct has two small gates. When boats were harbored in the port, gates would get closed to curb the water flow. Boats got repaired right in the dockyard once place got dry and then opened either gate so again journey would start. Warehouses were adjoined to dockyard. It has stone base and then wooden housing. Even Lothal has wells and paved baths.
Today there is not a single sign of Bhogavo, Sabarmati is distant from this place; and the Arabian Sea has receded up forty kilometers. Yet whatever residues we see today are evident of Indus Valley civilization’s prosperity and ancestors’ sense of geometry, mathematics, architecture and aesthetics. All these remnants are the silent storytellers who have concealed umpteenth number of stories of the bygone glories.
This overall experience was quite enriching and insightful. It did not just made us realize that we are the offspring of such splendid civilization, but also inspired to bring golden days back to this land.
Don’t Forget to check our post on India’s First UNESCO Heritage city