The Lost Civilization

Photo of The Lost Civilization by Indresh Pal

Dholavira in Kutch is one of the five largest Harappan sites in the world and the biggest in India. Its located in the the Kutch region of Gujarat, in a monsoon island called Khadir island. During monsoon, sea comes in and the entire Khadir region is cut off from the rest of the world by surrounding water, as the water flows back it leaves behind a pure white sheet of salt which covers the region around till the next monsoon spell.

The area has seen successive settlements over 1500 years, and the fourteen excavations here over the past few decades have revealed much about the people and their lives here. The most recent has been the discovery of a 5000 years step-well here which is a matter of great pride for us all.

This is almost three times bigger than the Great Bath of Mohenjo Daro that's 12m in length, 7m in width, and 2.4m in depth.

How to reach Dholavira:

We visited this excavation site purely by chance, as we sat one evening discussing the plan for visiting the Rann of Kutch in Bhuj. While travelling in train we started looking for nearby places and things to do in Kutch but came to know about Dholavira which has the cleanest white salt dessert (Rann) , Fossil Park and an archaeological site of Harappan civilization.

We immediately changed our plan and get down Bachau junction and took the bus to Rapar, waited and hour and bus to Dholavira. I think it took about five hours to reach Dholavira. The last leg of the journey was the most interesting part of the drive, its road that connects Khadir island with the rest of the Kutch landmass. It was the first time I saw the famed white sand of Kutch (salt left behind when the sea retreats after monsoon) spread all around for kilometers and kilometers. Its a view which is impossible to describe in words, its just plain poetry on the earth.

I manage to convince a guide of Harappan Civilization to take me to site on his motorbike while my fellow friend came an hour later by walking. The guide gave me a introduction of what to expect at site and a great built up story about the place.

Walking into the ruins:

And I was ready to explore the famous mounds. Enthusiastically we all walked into the site with just a rough map in our mind. I completely loved the space, it was phenomenally huge with stunning town planning. My friends were soon exhausted and showed little inclination in following my wild chase under such a strong sun (it was almost mid-day and the overhead sun was punishing). However, I continued on and went further beyond, trying to picture the town in its heydays; I am convinced my imagination was far from the truth but it was fun nevertheless.

I walked and walked and didn't stop till I disappeared from everyone's view and my friends started calling out my name out as they were worried! It was nice to be alone with the ruins, but had to head back as the sun was punishing and we had more crazy plans to spend overnight on the Rann of Kutch in our tents.

But I promised myself that I would come back here again to explore the site more in future, and I do hope that happens.