Of all the Harappan sites, the site of
Dholavira locally known as Kotada, in the Khadir Island of
Kachchh, 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 Mohenjodaro,
Harappa, Gharo Bhiro (all in Pakistan) and Rakhi Garhi (in India).
Dholavira enjoys the unique distinction of yielding an inscription of ten large-sized signs of the Harappa script, indeed the oldest signboard of the world. A variety of funerary structures is yet another feature of exceeding importance throwing light on the socio-religious beliefs, thereby indicating the presence of composite ethnic groups in the Indus population of Dholavira.
Dholavira, which presents a Harappan city par excellence, measures about 600m on the north-south axis and 775m on the east west. Inside the general fortification, there are three distinct complexes: an acropolis, a middle town and a lower town.
Additionally, the acropolis and the middle town had been further furnished with their own defence-work, gateways, built-up areas, street-system, wells and large open spaces. The city within the general fortification accounts for 48 hectares. Besides, there are extensive structure-bearing areas though outside yet intimately integral to the fortified settlement. The total area goes well beyond 100 hectares in expanse.
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. Nearly in the centre 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.
The embattled 'middle town' measures about 350 m east west and 180 to 200 m north south and rises to a height of 8.60m 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.
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 runs around.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: The nearest airport is Bhuj.
Road: The small village of Dholavira is approachable from Bhuj via Rappar by a good road. There is a regular bus service plying on the road.
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NEAR BY CITY
Bhuj: 140 kms (Approximately).