Dholavira in Gujarat on UNESCO World Heritage list

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Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Harappan city of Dholavira, in present-day Gujarat, has been named the 40th Indian site on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The site had been on UNESCO’s tentative list since 2014 and India had submitted its dossier in January 2020.

About Dholavira:
  • Dholavira is an archaeological site of a Harappan-era city. It is located in the Kutch district, Gujarat.
  • The site is one of the very few well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia, dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE.
  • The site is the 6th largest of more than 1,000 Harappan sites discovered so far.
  • The site was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi.
  • The site was a commercial and manufacturing hub for about 1,500 years before its decline and eventual ruin in 1500 BC.
  • The site is an exceptional example of a proto-historic Bronze Age urban settlement pertaining to the Harappan Civilization (early, mature, and late Harappan phases).

Note: Dholavira is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the World Heritage tag.

Key Features of Dholavira:

 Strategic Location:

  • Dholavira was located on the island of Khadir when compared to other Harappan towns normally located near rivers and perennial sources of water.
  • This allowed Dholavira to harness different mineral and raw material sources (copper, shell, agate-carnelian, steatite, lead, banded limestone, among others) and to facilitate internal as well as external trade to the Magan (modern Oman peninsula) and Mesopotamian regions.

Property: The city’s property comprises two parts: a walled city and a cemetery to the west of the city.

  • The walled city consists of a fortified Castle with attached fortified Bailey and Ceremonial Ground, and a fortified Middle Town, and Lower Town. A series of reservoirs are also found to the east and south of the Citadel.
  • The great majority of the burials in the Cemetery are memorial in nature. Unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira.
Other Unique Features of Dholavira:
  • Cascading series of water reservoirs
  • outer fortification
  • two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace — nine gates with unique designs
  • extensive use of stone as a building material
  • an expansive water management system designed to store every drop of water available shows the creativity of the people to survive against the rapid geo-climatic transformations and
  • the funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas



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