Dholavira, Gujarat, India Week 143 December 23rd - 25th 2013
Just across the border in Gujarat is a string of roadside hotels.

Transport cafes anywhere else.

We stopped the night in one.

Towns are becoming smaller, fewer and further between.

Dholavira is on an island in The Rann of Kutch.

One of those names from school history or geography that stuck in one's mind.

Until about the 1890 earthquake it was fed from part of the Indus delta.

Now the salt marsh is probably rain fed.

Just right for pelicans.

One last police check post.

There's some military around, we are nearing the Pakistan border.

Still room for massive irrigation works.
And a hint of flamingoes.
There's a long causeway to the island.

Looks like its ran out of water.

Camped at the Toran Hotel in Dholavira we walked about 1 km to the citadel.
Dholavira was part of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Bronze age.

From north east Afghanistan, across Pakistan and north west India.

From about 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE it peaked between 2600 and 1900 BCE.

We put that in the perspective of stonehenge, circa 3100 BCE and the Great Pyramid of Giza (Cheops) about 2650 BCE.

Dholavira was excavated from around 1990.

The Archeological Survey of India was founded in 1861.

The excavation of the first identified site, Harrapa, starting in 1920, was the result of earlier work over many years by the Survey.

First the museum and a visit to the weights and measures department.

The Indus Valley Civilisation was bronze age, around the time of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The weights have a mathematical progression.

Evidence of trade with Mesopotamia has been unearthed.

The seals are steatite. Soapstone to you and I.

These look like replicas.

Apparently used to seal cargo for trading.

Some with animal designs, some with Indus Valley script.

Unearthed also were terracotta animal figurines. 
We approached the east gate of the citadel.
A tad narrow.

With lots of steps.

Though there are some suggestions (but not much evidence) there was wheeled transport my guess is it didn't come this way.

The eastern reservoir is in the background.

A round house inside the "castle".

There is no evidence of palaces or temples. And not much evidence of kings.

Not that they didn't have them, just that huge edifices haven't been found.

Though there must have been social order and organisation to build citadels (there are several in the valley) and trade.

Maybe hierarchical, maybe more republican.

One of the distinctive features of Dholavira is the drainage and water supply.

Another is that there is sufficient evidence in the citadel to trace the rise and fall of the Indus Valley Civilisation through several stages.

Plus, the Indus Valley had its own language.

Though it hasn't really been translated.

No Rosetta Stone.

The sign itself is covered with corugated iron which was a bit difficult to look under for a peek.

Streets and steps.

The stonework has been lightly dressed.

Presumably associated with grain processing.

There's also some suggestion of columns.

This well is in the centre of the top of the castle.

Drainage channels lots of ways.

At another of the Harrapan (Indus Valley Civilisation) sites there are many wells, with steps.

One thought is that they are precursors of the ornate Hindu step wells.

The (very minority) necropolis view of this site suggested this may have been a shaft grave! But then we'd wonder what the slab at the far side was for.

Outside the castle is the bailey.

Very 'norman' sounding terms to us that don't quite capture the idea of what we are looking at.

A corner of the castle.

Clever people leaned the walls inward.

Probably why they've survived 4-5,000 years.

We aren't sure what the dwellings are being protected from.

The eastern reservoir. Below the eastern gate.

Inside the main outer wall.

The bit that looks like rock at the opposite corner to us is unexcavated, compacted, silt.

Round the corner is the southern reservoir.

More a series of reservoirs. Made use of the sandstone bedrock.

The water flow is away from us, towards the west.

Mostly steps.

We were intrigued by this ramp into the reservoir.

We've seen only two ramps.

Still no evidence of wheels though.

Back to the top for another look.

Salt pan in the distance. About 3km away.

We didn't see any on site.

We didn't see anywhere they may have been used.

This is a section of terracotta water pipe.

The only piece in the museum.

Back to our hotel.

We took a shortcut.

A good solid wheel with a single iron 'tyre' holding it together.

Staying at the Toran Hotel.

Well the car park really.

Very friendly, though they do like us eating in their restaurant.

Only Thali. A selection of whatever dishes are available, with lots of chipatis.

Spicy for me. Less so for Ali. It would have been nice if more than the chipatis were warm. Indian waiters seem to enjoy serving chipatis with a flourish, where we would prefer something a little less hands on.

They also forgot to ask us to fill out forms, which was a tad annoying when the immigration service turned up unexpectedly.

Being Christmas Day, and having a feeling that we'd only part explored Dholavira we set forth again.

The joins in the stonework, part of the eastern reservoir wall, reminded us of other joins we've seen.

There's an open area between the 'castle' / 'bailey' and the middle town.

This is the east gate to it.

We'd walked through it yesterday without recognising it.

Under the silt, either side, is tiered seating for the stadium.

The field is planted with millet. Common in India but the first time we've seen it.

Apparently its grown because it can be planted when it rains then doesn't subsequently need water.

What we see is a very sparse low yield crop.

The middle town is to the north of the open space.

Raised a bit.

This is the east end of the main (almost single) street.

There are slots, presumably associated with a gate, but not a style we recognise.

Main street is about 400m long.

Houses here are rectangular.

The small rooms have been labeled bathrooms with drains to the street.

Something about that doesn't quite sound right to us. A lot of building and water carrying effort that hasn't carried over to subsequent culture. Nor was it part of the citadel residences.

But we don't have an alternate explanation.

There is one cross-roads in middle town.

A short, 50m, street to either side.

In need of traffic control.

Sandstone came from a quarry about 9km away.

There's also limestone used (in the floors of those bathrooms among other places), but we don't know its source.

We didn't make it to the lower town, "where the artisans lived".

In the outermost western wall there's a well.

In retrospect this is a (almost) round house.

The round houses in the citadel, and presumably this one, are from a later era, as the citadel declined.

Further to the south, in the line of the wall, we found the well.

Damp at the bottom.

A concreted tank to put lifted water in.

And a very old looking sandstone trough to carry the overflow away.

No evidence of how water is lifted. Maybe now one of the many single cylinder diesel pumps we hear.

The site has a variety of funerary structures to the west.

We suspect we didn't walk far enough.

There were no photos or description in the museum so we were at a bit of a loss as to what we were searching for.

Easier for the archeologists to speculate with an open book and a clean sheet of paper..

This is a gate in the outermost wall. On the western side, towards the south west corner.
The wall was well and truly silted over before excavation.
The gate had large flagstones outside.

"Don't tread mud into our city!".

No evidence of wheeled traffic and a bit narrow to negotiate if there were.

We have met many Indian tourists during our trip.

Lots want their photo taken with us. Some want to talk.

Interesting conversation with family from Delhi. And they had a guide plus spoke excellent English.

One twist. From our culture we look at the walls and wonder who they were protecting the people from. From the Indian culture it was obviously an early statement of the differences in social status that India is well known for.

We settled on the Indian view as there are no ramparts and few weapons found.

Another version is that the walls and height were for flood mitigation. But we haven't found flood gates.

A more obscure version is that the whole site was a necropolis, but we have our doubts about that one.

The hydraulic engineering was mainly for drains, for collecting all available water in a dry climate

This is the steps into one of the southern reservoirs.

The circular hole is assumed to be where pots to be filled with water were stood ready.

Thus, lots of design and build effort for collecting water, but not yet ways of lifting it or reticulating it to houses.

The circular houses are still built locally.

By lower social orders!

These are next to the museum.

The remains of circular houses in the citadel are from late in its life, part of the decline.

We only knew about one hotel in Dholavira. There's a second, more recent one.

Next to it are rectangular buildings with thatch roofs.

A fascinating place. We retired to cook Christmas Dinner.

Rann of Kutch and Gujurat Solar Park, Gujurat, India Week 143 December 26th - 27th 2013

Ian & Jan Mon, 30 Dec 13 07:09:50 +1100
Interesting culture and pictures, especially as we travel South in Morocco and find that English is understood less frequently the further South you go as French is the more common second language even after the Spanish were here.
Enjoy and Happy New Year wherever you end up for it! It looks like we could be at a Kasbah in the middle of nowhere at a place called Ksar Tafnadilt! (Different to Bouzikarne!)

Babette et Jean jacques Wed, 01 Jan 14 23:45:09 +1100
Bonne Année à vous deux,nous sommes en Espagne Andalousie et bientot le Maroc.
Jean jacques et Babette

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