Gujarat & Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization was one of the worlds first great civilization. It is also known as Harapan civilization. In Gujarat Rangpur in Limdi Taluka of Ahmedabad district was the first site which was re-exacavated after independence as it was suspected to be a Harappan outpost. Rangpur represented a late phase of the mature Harappan culture. Further surveys of the peninsulas of Saurashtra and Kutch and the mainland of Gujarat from 1954 to 1958 brought to light different phases of the Harappan civilization and thereby added a new province to the Indus Empire. The discoveries extended the civilization by 500 Km upto the north of the river Kim where another small Harappan part, Bhagatrav, gives access to the agate bearing mines and forest hills of the Narmada Tapi Valleys.

Around 2500 B.C., the Harappans probably started infiltrating into Kutch and settled down there with an amazing speed and strength. So far 60 Indus settlements have been found in Kutch. Out of them about 40 belong to the 'early' phase and the remaining represent the late phase of the mature Harapan culture.

Only five settlements of the 'early phase' continue into the 'late phase' and the remaining are new settlements of the late Harappans.

On the basis of general evidence coming up from Kutch and parts of Gujarat it appears that the Harapans brought here their full blown culture and lived almost a full life before their culture declined and fragmented causing large scale migration from Kutch to the hinterland of Gujarat and also perhaps Saurashtra.


Of all the Harappan sites the site of Dholavira locally known as Kotada, in the Khadir island of Kutch, stands apart. It is remarkable for its magnificent planning and enormity of area and deposit. On the present showing, it is one of the two largest settlements in India and the fourth or fifth largest in the subcontinent, the others being Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Gharo Bhiro (all in Pakistan) and Rakhigarhi (in India). No wonder, if it was the metropolis of the entire Kutch or even a larger area.
Dholavira enjoys the unique distinction of yielding and inscription of ten large-sized signs of the Harappan script: indeed the oldest sign-board of the world. A variety of funerary structures is yet another feature of exceeding importance throwing new light on the socio-religious beliefs, thereby indicating the presence of campsite ethnic groups in the Indus population if Dholavira.
Dholavira which presents a Harappan city par excellence, measures about 600m. on the north-south axis and 775 m. on the east-west. Inside the general fortification, there are three distinct complexes-An Acropolis, a middle town had been further furnished with their own appurtenant defense-work, gate ways, built--up areas, street-system, wells and large open spaces. The kith within the general fortification accounts for 48 hectares. Besides, there are extensive structure-bearing areas though outside yet intimately integral to the fortified settlement. If put together, the total area goes well beyond 100 hectares in expanse. Amazing indeed!
Considerable pre-planning seems to have gone into the layout and construction of the 'ACROPOLIS'. It is the most carefully guarded as well as impressive and imposing complex in the city of which it appropriates the major portion of the southwestern zone. The towering 'castle' stands majestically in fair insulation and is splendidly defended by double ramparts. It admeasures about 140 m. along east-west and 120 m. north-south and registers a maximum height of more than 16 meters. Nearly in the center of each of the eastern, western and northern sides of the double defenses a big gate is provided to give access to the 'castle' through a flight of steps.
Middle Town :
The embattled 'middle town' admeasures about 350 m. east-west and 180 to 200m. north-south and rises to a height of 8.60 m. from the general ground-level. There were two or three more gates in the enclosure which facilitated intercommunication normally with the 'lower town' in the east and the open spaces on other sides.
Lower Town :
The built-up area of the 'lower town' occupies nearly 2/3 part of the eastern half of the fortified city. It measures 300 m. east-west and 350 m. north-south, approximately attaining the height of 7.50 m. Like the 'middle town' this too reveals a constructed area having several built up projections and open recesses at least on the north east and south where the latter merges with the general open area which reins around.


Lothal is the name of an ancient mound situated in the revenue jurisdiction of Sarajwala Village in Dholka Taluka of Ahmedabad District in Gujarat State. The word 'Lothal' meaning 'Place of the dead' in Gujarati language is said to have to have been formed by combining the words Loth and thal (sthal).
Lothal is essentially a single culture site. The Harappan Culture in all its variant forms is well represented here.
The Harappans were attracted to Lothal not only by its sheltered harbor with a rich cotton-and rice-growing hinterland but also by its bead-making industry.
The Indus dichotomy of dividing the city into a citadel or Acropolis and a Lower Town was followed in planning Lothal. The Ruler and his entourage lived in the acropolis where houses were built on 3 m high platforms and provided with all the civic amenities including paved baths,  underground drains and a well for potable water.
The Lower Town which also enjoyed civic amenities was subdivided into two sectors. The north-south arterial street flanked by shops was the main commercial center in which the rich merchant and ordinary craftsmen lived together. The residential sector lay to the east and west of bazaar.
While planning the town, Lothal engineers accorded high priority to two other needs. The fulfillment of which depended the economic prosperity of the inhabitants. The first one was a dock for berthing ships and the second a warehouse for storing and examining cargo. The dock built on the eastern flank of the town is an engineering feat of the highest order. Its very location away from the main current avoided shifting the same time ships could have access to the docking high tide.
The second need, namely the warehouse, arose from the large volume of cargo which Lothal had to handle. Hence, a warehouse was built close to the acropolis on a 3.5 m high podium of mud-bricks to serve as a clearing house for incoming and outgoing cargo.
With the birth of a planned Harappan port-town in Phase II (2350 BC) Lothal enjoyed great prosperity owing to foreign trade. It became a busy industrial center importing pure copper and producing bronze Celts, fish-hooks, chisels, spearheads and ornaments which were supplied through normal trade channels all over the western province and beyond.


Around 2300 BC, the Harappans came to Surkotada and built a fortified citadel and residential annex, made of mud brick, mud lumps and rubble containing houses with bathrooms and drains. They had painted pottery with Indus alphabet painted on the pots chest blades and cooper objects, a typical Harappa seal has also been found. Other interesting finds are clay lingo like objects evidently of cult significance. A piece of charred rope adds to the variety of the finds. Bones of the Equips from the earliest levels are the other important discovery in that they show the animal was known to the Harappans. Some important finds are a typical Harappan terracotta seal, a heavy copper chisel, a hoard of copper beads and bangles and terracotta toys, tanks and beads besides animal skeletal remains of the horse, camel, elephant and sheep.
The harappans buried the bones of their dead in small oval pits and put jars and dishes on a stand probably for keeping food etc. and covered it with a huge slab. This practice is unprecedented in the Harappan burial tradition.
The excavations have revealed that the Harappans lived here along with an antecedent culture with all their typical modes of habitation and cultural assemblage and continued even after the mature phase was over.

How to reach ?

Dholavaria :  It is a small village situated near the north-western extremity of Khadir, which is a large island in the great Rann of Kutch. The village is approachable from Bhuj via Rappar by a good road on which plies a regular bus service.
Nearest Airport Bhuj
Distance from Bhuj to Dholavira 140 Km. (Approx.)
Lothal : Situated at a distance of 6 Km from Lothal-Bhurkhi Railway Station on the Ahmedabad Bhavnagar meter gauge section of the Western Railway. It is well connected by an all weather road with Bhurkhi, Ahmedabad, Dholka and other major towns such as Bhavnagar and Rajkot. Nearest airport is Ahmedabad.
Surkatada : Approachable from Bhuj by road and a regular bus service is available.
Nearest Airport bhuj
Distance from Bhuj to Surkotda 85 Km. (Approx.)

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