- GS Paper 1: Indian History: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
- Dholavira, the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city, received the UNESCO world heritage site tag during the 44rth meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.
- Dholavira is also locally known as Kotada timba.
- Earlier, the Government of India had submitted a nomination dossier of ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ for inclusion in the World Heritage List for the year 2020.
- Dholavira has now become the 40th Indian site to be on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
About Dholavira site
- Location: It is located on a hillock near present-day Dholavira village in Kutch district, from which it gets its name.
- It is located in the Khadir Bet Island of the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Dholavira’s location is on the Tropic of Cancer.
- Discovery: discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi. The site’s excavation between 1990 and 2005 under the supervision of archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht uncovered the ancient city.
Importance of the Dholavira site:
- It is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag.
- It was a commercial and manufacturing hub for about 1,500 years before its decline and eventual ruin in 1500 BC.
- Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC after Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala, and Harappa in Pakistan, and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India.
- Only the Harappan site to be divided into three parts: it has a fortified citadel, a middle town, and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.
- Cascading series of water reservoirs: Dholavira appears to have had several large reservoirs, and an elaborate system of drains to collect water from the city walls and housetops to fill these water tanks.
- Two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace.
- Nine gates with unique designs.
- Funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas.
- No mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira unlike other graves at other IVC sites. Memorials contain no bones or ashes but offerings of precious stones, etc.
- Other findings: include painted pottery, seals, stone figures, weights, signboard, etc.
- Knowledge of metallurgy: as indicated by the remains of a copper smelter in Dholavira.
- It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products.
- It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate, and used to export timber.
- Trade with Mesopotamia: as beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia.
Other Harappan sites in Gujrat
- Lothal: located in Saragwala village on the bank of Sabarmati in Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district.
- It was excavated between 1955 and 1960.
- It is an important port city of the ancient civilization, with structures made of mud bricks.
- Key discoveries: 21 human skeletons from a graveyard, Foundries for making copperware, Ornaments made of semi-precious stones, gold, etc.
- Rangpur on the bank of Bhadar river in Surendranagar district was the first Harappan site in the state to be excavated.
- Other sites: Rojdi in Rajkot district, Prabhas near Veraval in Gir Somnath district, Lakhabaval in Jamnagar, and Deshalpar in Bhuj taluka of Kutch.
Possible Reasons for the downfall of the city
- Collapse of Mesopotamia: due to the integrated economic system between the two civilizations, the downfall of Mesopotamia may have caused the downfall of Dholavira.
- Harappans lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing, and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell.
- Climate Change: from 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up.
- The drought-like situation resulted in large-scale migration from Dholavira toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.
- 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.
- Remained free from encroachment in the historical period as well as in modern times.
- UNESCO termed Dholavira as one of the most remarkable and well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE.
- Development of a museum here by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
- Fossil Park: near the Dholavira city has been developed where wood fossils are preserved.