Monday, 05 October 2009 12:37

Harappan Ruins Lothal

About:

Lothal’s Harappan Ruins are by far the most important and significant tourist attractions of the place. One can take a stroll round the ancient dockyard, the bastion, the lower town, the bead factory and the storage houses. The advanced and modernized drainage system is something to marvel at. There is a museum right to the west that showcases a number of articles comprising of bronze and copper mirrors, painted potteries, miniature bullock carts used as toy items, jewelry, beads and a variety of objects made of stone, shell and bone. You can also take a close look at the seals from Bahrain, terracotta figures whose origin can be traced back to Sumeria and other objects from Egypt. Another interesting item on display is a model of the city made of plaster of Paris based on reconstructions made by archeologists

 

One of the southernmost outposts of the Indus civilisation, and certainly one of the most interesting of Harrapan townplanning, Lothal is around 80 kms from Ahmedabad. The unique lockgated dockyard is perhaps the greatest of maritime architecture from the ancient world, and to the Sabarmati river just before its meeting with the sea in Gulf of Cambay. The citadel is obviously seperated an acropolis, with its own paved baths, and a lower town more humble residential quarters, coppersmithing workshops, sheds and bead factories. The whole exhibits system an excellent of sanitary drainage.

Lothal is a city that is nearly 4500 years old. Stumbled upon by the archeologists in the second half of the twentieth century, Lothal enjoyed immense importance as a port town during the Harappan era. The Harappan ruins, Lothal have led the archaeologists and historians categorize the Harappan culture into two distinct phases. The remains that can be traced back to the period between 2440 and 1900 BC are an indicator to a flourishing Harappan culture. However the relics dating back to the 1900 to 1600 BC are representative of a declining culture

The Harappan Ruins, Lothal showcase the excellent architecture and town planning of the Harappans. The excavations at the site have revealed the existence of a town that was divided into two parts. The upper part was meant for the upper class people of the society while the lower part was dominated by the common town folks. A tour to Harappan Ruins Lothal reveals scientifically made drainage system, well laid out and paved roads and individual baths for every home.

The map in the archaelogical survey of India office, shows scores of Indus Valley sites scattered across the whole of Gujarat, most of them occupying positions near deltas, on the banks of rivers or near the sea coast.Around a dozen of them were sited along the Gulf of Cambay, and there is evidence that agate was mined here during the period. While this proves that the Harrapans had maritime tendencies, depended on water sources for their survival and navigated rivers and sea water for trade and communication, none of these ancient cities became a major scientific port like Lothal. For tourists interested in archaelogy and ancient civilisations, Lothal is a perfect place to get an insight into the Indus Valley civilisation

Lothal developed as the most important port and a centre of the bead industry until 1900 BC when the great flood resulted in 300 years of decline. However, the civilisation survived here in the 1600s and 1500s, after it disappeared from the northern provinces, and the result is a high maturity in town planning and a fine insight provided by less derelict ruins. The vitality of the civilisation at Lothal can be judged by the 3 floods that resulted in large scale destruction, but did not dampen the ambitions of the inhabitants. Instead they breached the gaps and rebuilt the important structures on higher platforms. On the contrary, after the 2200 BC floods, the northwest section beyond the bazaar was enlarged further and additions were made to the ruler's palace and the merchant houses.

Location info:

Address:Harappan Ruins, Lothal,Gujrat,India
District:Ahmedabad
Nearest City: Bavla
Language: Gujarati, Hindi.
Best time to visit: October to March

Climate/Weather:

Maximum temperature during summer hovers around 23°- 44°C while the minimum temperature during winter dips down to around 10°-36°C.

History:

Lothal was discovered after India had to give up the sites of Harappa and Mohenjodaro to Pakistan during the partition in 1947. A flourishing and prosperous city during the Harappan era, its culture can be divided into two phases. The remains dating from 2440 to 1900 b.c. are of a mature and thriving Harappan culture while those belonging from 1900 to 1600 b.c. represent the late Harappan culture in its state of decline.

As in the other cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, Lothal too had excellent architecture and town planning. Excavations have revealed a town neatly divided into two parts. The upper part or the acropolis was where the ruler and other important people of the city lived while the lower part was meant for the common folks. The entire city had a scientific drainage system, well laid-out, paved roads and a bath for every house, some of which were double storied and built on mud platforms.

The most architecturally sophisticated part of Lothal was its dockyard, which provided berthing facilities for the ships. Constructed from kiln-fired bricks, the dock comprised a basin 214 meters long, 36 meters wide, and 13 meters deep. A 13-meter wide channel on the northern side was included to facilitate entry of ships. Near the dock were warehouses for storage of cargo brought in by the ships.

Lothal was an active business center and had business links with Mesopotamia, Egypt and Persia. Beads made in the city were quite famous and there is evidence of a bead factory in Lothal. Pottery was another flourishing industry. The ruins of a fire altar suggest that the people of Lothal worshipped the fire god along with the sea god.The unique Harappan system of weights and measures was used in Lothal too. Bricks were in a perfect ratio of 100×50×25, and the decimal system was used for measuring width.

Interesting things to do:

worshipped:
The people of Lothal worshipped a fire god, speculated to be the horned deity depicted on seals named Atha (Athar) and Arka, which is also evidenced by the presence of private and public fire-altars where sacrifices of animals and cattle were apparently conducted. Archaeologists have discovered gold pendants, charred ashes of terra-cotta cakes and pottery, bovine remains, beads and other signs that may indicate the practice of the Gavamayana sacrifice, associated with the ancient Vedic religion.

Interesting things to Visit:

Earthenware:
strong large ceramic jars, human and animal figurines, as well as toys and games-figures.A thick ring-like shell object found with four slits each in two margins served as a compass to measure angles on plane surfaces or in the horizon in multiples of 40 degrees, up to 360 degrees. Such shell instruments were probably invented to measure 8–12 whole sections of the horizon and sky, explaining the slits on the lower and upper margins.

Copper and stone tools:
Tn beautiful designs of human and animal figurines, often of bulls.Lothali copper is unusually pure, lacking the arsenic typically used by coppersmiths across the rest of the Indus valley. The city imported ingots from probable sources in the Arabian peninsula. Workers mixed tin with copper for the manufacture of celts, arrowheads, fishhooks, chisels, bangles, rings, drills and spearheads, although weapon manufacturing was minor. They also employed advanced metallurgy in following the cire perdue technique of casting, and used more than one-piece moulds for casting birds and animals

 

seals:
Lothal holds the third largest collection of seals and sealings, engraved on steatite, with animal and human figurines and letters from Indus script, but these remain undeciphered, so they do not provide as much insight into the material culture as the other findings. They do however show aspects of the spiritual culture; there are signs of worship of fire, and of the sea goddess, but not of the mother goddess.

Beads:
Lothal had a highly developed bead-making industry that has not been surpassed even by the modern Cambay craftspeople working 4000 years later. Lothal was famous for its micro-beads that were made by rolling ground steatite paste on string, baking it solid, and then cutting it with a tiny saw into the desired lengths. The expertise is evident in the micro-beads of gold under 0.25 mm in diameter which cannot be found anywhere else. The gold, like today, was most likely only for the upper classes, while the poorest citizens had to make do with shell and terracotta ornaments.

weights and measures:
Despite the vast area over which the Harappan culture spread, it developed an extraordinarily precise system of weights and measures, standardized across the empire, represented in the local materials at Lothal.

Underground drainage:
There were also 12 private paved baths on the upper town, probably for the ruling classes. These all show a remarkably forward thinking concern for hygiene and sanitation.On plan, Lothal stands 285 metres (935 ft) north-to-south and 228 metres (748 ft) east-to-west. At the height of its habitation, it covered a wider area since remains have been found 300 metres (1000 ft) south of the mound. Due to the fragile nature of unbaked bricks and frequent floods, the superstructures of all buildings have receded. Dwarfed walls, platforms, wells, drains, baths and paved floors are visible

Dock and warehouse:
The dockyard allowed ships to sluice from the sea, and expertly constructed lock gates allowed them to float while loading or unloading their cargo. Apparently the dockyard could, at that time, hold 30 ships of 60 tonnes, or 60 ships of 30 tonnes, a capacity comparable to that of the modern docks of Vishakapatnam. The dock allowed sea trade with West Asia, in particular, to expand greatly.

Mobile range info:

How to reach?

Nearest Railway Station:Bhurkhi railway station,Bhavnagar to Ahmedabad railway line.
Nearest Airport:Ahmedbad (78 km),Airport
Road Transport:State and private buses are always available. Apart from this,Lothal is 78 km from Ahmedabad. Buses from Ahmedabad take 3 hours.

Nearest Visiting places:

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary:
A black tailed godwit gracefully descends upon the tranquil water, flutters its wings and sails on. A small, brown and white wader with a slightly up curved bill, the bird has traveled 3500 kms from its nesting ground in Central Europe to spend the winter at Nalsarovar in Gujarat!.Clouds upon clouds of more than 200 types of birds land in this lake having made an equally long journey to escape the harsh winter of their nesting areas. Here they find food and warmth. These migrant birds visit Nalsarovar every year from November to February. During these four months water is plentiful and fish, insects and aquatic plants abound in the lake - an ideal environment for the birds.Nalsarovar at this time is a birdwatcher's delight.

 

When food and water are scarce in Nalsarovar, some birds go away for short periods to nearby areas and return to the lake after monsoon to a feast of fish and insects. These are the resident birds. The lake - Nalsarovar - and the wetlands around it were declared a bird sanctuary in 1969. Spread over 120 sq.kms, the lake and the extensive reed beds and marshes are an ideal habitat for aquatic plants and animals. The lake attracts a large variety of birds like plovers, sandpipers and stints.

Thol lake bird sanctuary:
Thol lake bird sanctuary is a shallow freshwater body surrounded by marshes on the edge and scrubby forest embarking the sides. The lake sanctuary covering an area of 7 square kilometers was declared officially in 1988 and is also known by the name of Thol Bird Sanctuary.

The shallow water reservoir speckled with reed beds gives it a distinct ambience while being an ideal dwelling for varied species of birds and insects. The agricultural land surrounding the lake provide ample amount of food for quite a number of birds while the hydrological ecosystem takes care of the others. One gets overwhelmed with flocks of bird flying together and crating graphical patterns on the sky while long-legged elongated necked cranes keep stalking for fishes and small insects. The still and serene ambience of the locale gets melodiously symphonized with the echoing of thousands birds and illustrated by the varied movements of these spirited creatures.

A visual treat for any tourist and a treasurable experience for a bird watcher or ornithologists, this place is home to more than 100 species of birds. Cranes, geese, flamingoes, pelicans, egrets, herons, spoonbills, ducks, whistling teals and many other migratory birds nest and breed in the lap of this natures exuberance. The most commonly noticed Indian Saras Crane with its long bare legs, elongated head and red head gracefully pecks insects while walking around the lake with dance like movements. This bird which flaunts the status of being the tallest flying bird on earth is often see in pairs and has over centuries inspired poets and artists with its elegance and beauty.

Nearest Petrol Pump:

HP Petrol Pump: NH-8A, Bavla.Ahmedabad,Gujrat,India,Ph: 02714-32089

 

Alakha Petrol pump:Limbdi,Gujarat,India

Hotels/Lodge/Accommodation:

Avantika Hotel:Limbdi,Surendranagar,Gujarat,India,Ph:02753 260794

 

Hotel Shiv International:SH 20,Surendra Nagar,Gujarat,India

Hotel Jamna:Limbdi,Surendranagar,Gujarat,India

Things to carry:

Tips & Suggestions:

Help Line/Phone Number:

Police Station:100
Nearest Hospital:
RR. Hospital:Limbdi,Surendranagar,Gujarat,India
Gandhi Hospital:SH 20,Surendra Nagar,Gujarat,India
Society/Community Phone Number:
Links:www.en.wikipedia.org

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