Harappan city of Dholavira inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list UPSC Notes

Dholavira, a Harappan-era city in Gujarat, has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a World Heritage Site (WHS).The decision was made during Tuesday’s 44th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, which was held online and chaired from China.

Distinctive characteristics

Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis in IVC, after Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala, and Harappa in Pakistan, and Rakhigarhi in Haryana, India. The site consists of a fortified citadel, a middle town, and a lower town, all of which have walls constructed of sandstone or limestone rather than mud bricks, as many other Harappan sites do.

Dholavira’s ascension and fall

Remains of a copper smelter demonstrate that the Harappans of Dholavira were skilled in metallurgy. Dholavira traders are believed to have sourced copper ore from modern-day Rajasthan, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates and exported finished items. It was also a centre for the manufacture of shell and semi-precious stone jewellery, such as agate, and was used to export lumber.

Additional Harappan ruins in Gujarat

Prior to the excavation of Dholavira, the most prominent IVC site in Gujarat was Lothal, located near Saragwala village on the banks of the Sabarmati in the Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district.

Dholavira’s background:

Dholavira is an archaeological site in Khadir Bet, Bhachau Taluka, Kachchh District, Gujarat, western India, named after a modern-day village one kilometre (0.62 mi) south of it. This village is located 165 kilometres (103 miles) from Radhanpur. The site, also known as Kotada timba in the local dialect, contains the ruins of an ancient Indus Valley Civilization/Harappan city.

  • Dholavira is located on the Cancer Tropic. It is one of the five largest Harappan sites and most prominent archaeological sites in India associated with the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • It is also thought to have been the grandest city of its time.
  • It’s on Khadir Bet Island in the Kachchh Desert Wildlife Sanctuary in the Great Rann of Kachchh.
  • Dholavira is the larger of the two most remarkable Indus Valley Civilization or Harappan culture excavations, dating back 4500 years. While the other site, Lothal, is more comprehensively educated and more easily accessible, a visit to Lothal only supplements, rather than replaces, a visit to Dholavira.
  • It is famous for having one of the world’s earliest and best-planned water conservation systems, as well as what may be the world’s first signboards, written in ancient Indus script.
  • Dholavira was temporarily abandoned after the civilization’s peak, and it appears that the settlers returned with a markedly de-urbanized culture.

Dholavira’s Notable Discoveries

  • Dholavira, also known locally as Kotada (large fort), sprawls over 100 hectares of semi-arid land at the north-west corner of the island of Khadir, one of the islands in the Great Rann of Kutch that remain above the flood-plains during the monsoon months when the rest of the desert is submerged by the monsoon.
  • Mansar, in the north, and Manhar, in the south, are the two seasonal nallahs, or streams, in Dholavira.
  • The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) discovered the site in 1967, but it has only been systematically excavated since 1990. Dholavira excavations began in earnest in 1989, when R.S. Between 1990 and 2005, Bisht, an expert archaeologist from the Archaeological Survey of India, and his team excavated at the site.
  • Terracotta pottery, beads, gold and copper ornaments, seals, fish hooks, animal figurines, tools, urns, and some imported vessels indicate trade connections with lands as far away as Mesopotamia.
  • There were also ten large stone inscriptions carved in Indus Valley script, possibly the world’s earliest signboard. These are among the most important discoveries about the Indus Valley Civilization, but they remain a mystery.
  • The ruins reveal an imposing citadel in the centre, as well as a middle and lower town, each fortified separately, and built with pleasingly smoothed structures of sun-dried brick and stone masonry, as well as remarkable town planning.
  • From the citadel, well-planned lanes lead outward in a systematic fashion, with a well-built underground drainage system for sanitation. A large stadium with a complex structure and seating arrangement exists.

The government had submitted one of the nomination dossiers for inclusion on the World Heritage List for 2020, titled ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City.’

  • Dholavira is in the state of Gujarat. It is located in the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary’s Khadir Bet Island in the Great Rann of Kutch. It is one of the most extensive Harappan sites. The site had been nominated by the government for designation as a world heritage site in 2020.
  • Dholavira discoveries include a stadium, dams, embankments, a water harnessing system, water reservoirs, a stepwell three times the size of the Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro, and more. It is the only site that is divided into three sections rather than the usual two. Other discoveries include painted pottery, seals, stone figures, weights, a sign board, and so on.
  • Major Harappan Sites: The Indian subcontinent has eight major Harappan sites: Lothal, Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Rakhigarhi, Kalibangan, Rupnagar, Ganeriwala, and Dholavira. Dholavira is the fifth most populous of these sites. Rakhigarhi is the most extensive Harappan site. Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and Ganeriwala are in Pakistan, while the others are in India.

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