The 120-acre quadrangular city was surrounded by dams that directed water to the lower town area from two seasonal streams, the Mansar in the north, and Manhar in the south. One of the most famous artifacts from this site is a nearly 3 m long inscription made up of carefully cut pieces of crystalline marble. However, because of faint markings on its upper parts, it appears to have been engraved on a wooden board. The wooden plank would have been hung somewhere on the northern gate, visible to the middle town.
A majority of the inscriptions were found on seals (mostly made of stone) and sealings (pieces of clay on which the seal was pressed down to leave its impression). At this site there is also a four-sign inscription with large letters on sandstone that is considered to be the first inscription on sandstone at any Harappan site. Even though the inscription doesn't help to translate the Harappan script, its discovery in the field of archeology has certainly been identified as 'the discovery of the decade,' as V. N. Mishra deemed it.
Other Structures & Objects
An enormous circular structure on the site is believed to be a grave or memorial. However, no skeletons or human remains were found. This structure consists of ten radial mud-brick walls shaped like spoked wheels. There was a soft sandstone sculpture of a male with a phallus erectus, but the head and feet below the ankle truncated. In addition to pottery pieces, terra cotta seals, bracelets, rings, beads, and intaglio engravings, many funerary structures have been found (although none contained skeletons).
In Dholavira, seven hemispherical structures were excavated, of which two have been excavated in detail, which were built over large rock cut chambers. One of the excavated structures was designed in the form of a spoked wheel, while the other was designed in the same fashion, but without spokes. Although they contained pottery burial goods, no skeletons were found apart from one grave, where a skeleton and copper mirror were found. In one of the hemispherical structures, a necklace of steatite beads strung to a copper wire with hooks at both ends, a gold bangle, gold and other beads were also found. A report by the Archaeological Survey of India describes these hemispherical structures as reminiscent of early Buddhist stupas.
As an exemplary model city that demonstrates proto-historic India's achievements in high-level urban planning and top-notch engineering skills, Dholavira possesses stories from the pre-Harappan era, as well as exhibiting unique urban planning, and has an advanced and well-developed water conservation system. A UNESCO World Heritage Site tag that it recently received is richly deserved.
1) Great Rann of Kutch is about 20km from this archaeological site, which is famous for its white salty desert sand and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world. The word 'Rann' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Irina' which means 'desert'.
2) Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary is about 196km away from Dholavira, which is famous for its sandy desert. This desert is home to 15 species of wildlife and desert plants with spikes and thorns.
3) Dhordo Village is about 95km from Dholavira, located on the Indo-Pak border, north of Bhuj, and is famous for its White Desert, birdwatching, and craft villages. With the Kutch Rann Utsav (December - January) Dhordo has become a renowned tourist destination.
4) Kutch Museum (Bhuj) is roughly 130km away from this archaeological site, in which the Kshatrapa inscriptions from the first century AD are on display, along with examples of the extinct Kachchhi script. Established in 1877 by Maharao Khengarji. A section of the museum is devoted to tribal cultures, with many examples of ancient artifacts, folk crafts, and information about tribal cultures. There are also exhibits of embroidery, paintings, arms, musical instruments, sculpture, and precious metalwork.
5) The Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary also known as the Lal-Parjan Sanctuary, is about 215km from Dholavira, and is the second main location for the conservation of the Indian Bustard. Despite being only 2 square kilometers, this is one of the smallest bird sanctuaries in the country, but a thriving breeding ground for endangered species. This semi-desert area allows the 'Ghorad' (local name) to feed on cereal crops.
Where To Stay
Dholavira has several mid-range resorts and Heritage hotels that offer budget accommodation such as Toran Hotel Narayan Sarovar, Vijay Vilas Palace Heritage Hotel (Mandvi, Kutch), Holiday Village Resort (Gandhidham, Kutch), The Bhuj House Heritage Hotel (Kutch), Mahefeel E Rann Resort (Kutch), and JP Resort (Nakhatrana, Kutch).
Dholavira in Kutch is open from 6 am to 8 pm in the evening.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Dholavira is during the winter months from October to March. Monsoon is also a good time for those who are planning their trip to Dholavira but the summers are unbearably hot and humid.
How To Reach
By Road: Dholavira is 250 kms from Bhuj and is reached via Bhachau and Rapar. There are many state-owned buses, taxis available to reach Dholavira. The option of renting a vehicle is also available.
By Train: There are no direct trains available to reach this archaeological site. You can cover a part of your journey by train and the nearest railway station to reach Dholavira is Samakhiali, just 137 kms away. There are three major railway stations nearby: Bhachau, Gandhidham, and Anjar, each located 152, 187, and 191 kilometers away. After that, one must take a bus or a cab to get to this magnificent location.
By Air: The nearest airport from Dholavira is Kandla airport, situated at a distance of 191 kms. Another reachable airport is Bhuj (215 kms away).