The ancient Harappan city: Dholavira, Gujarat

Bhuj, Gujarat
Dholavira also known as Kotada timba is a famous excavated site from the Indus Civilisation era. Dholavira is one of the eight major excavated Harappan sites believed to be one of the grandest and most modern civilisations of its time. The Harappa civilisation is also considered to be one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Situated in the Bhachau taluka in the Great Rann of Kutch, Dholavira is a part of western Gujarat in India.
The distance between Bhuj to Dholavira is 219 km. The nearest railway station and airport are also situated at Bhuj. For cheaper flight options it is best to fly to Ahmedabad which is at a distance of 370 km. The easiest and the fastest way to reach the site is by hiring a vehicle for a day trip from Bhuj.
For cheaper options one can also take a government bus from Bhuj. Two buses ply from Bhuj to Dholavira on a daily basis, it is best to confirm the bus timings before hand. Although the bus option is cheaper it is inconvenient due to the distance between the bus stop and the excavation site at Dholavira.
This entire land mass expands to over 250 acres filled with ruins from the historic Harappa period. Dholavira was at its full glory in the year 2650 BC after which it was abandoned and founded again in 1967. Since then the site has been under the Archaeological Survey of India and is now being considered to become a part of the UNESCO world heritage site.
Dholavira is believed to be one of the most important trade centers during its time owing to the highly modernized and planned architecture and equipment’s that have been unearthed at the time of excavations. The unique architecture and the findings of antiques such as animal bones, pottery, gold and silver ornaments have caught the fascination of many considering the time period when it was a flourishing city. 
Dholavira also had one of the most complex and advanced water conservation and harvesting mechanisms ever found anywhere in the world. The structures are mostly built with stones and the area is mainly divided into three major parts — the citadel, the middle town and the lower town. Bailey is another must visit structure while at Dholavira, it is where the most notable officials of the time resided. 
Dholavira was a very systematically planned city with areas specifically allocated for bath, storage and cremation, etc. During the excavation the findings also included precious seals and Indus scripts which are now neatly preserved in the museum built right at the entrance of the civilsation town. Some of the more precious findings have been transferred to the museums in Delhi for security purposes. 
One can enter the museum anytime between 10 am to 5 pm barring Mondays when the museum is shut. There is no entry fee or camera charges to enter the museum. The best way to learn and understand Dholavira and its secrets is to hire a local guide who will charge a nominal fee. The guides are available at the entrance of the museum itself. The entire tour of the site can be done in 2 to 4 hours. 
It is very easy to be lost in Dholavira owing to its huge area. It is also quiet secluded and hence advisable to explore the site before sundown if one wishes to explore by themselves. The best time to visit Dholavira is during the winter months from November to February. 
One can also opt to stay at Rapar which is 93 km from Dholavira, though the accommodation and transport options here are quiet substandard.The availability of food is restricted to only two restaurants where basic food will be available. There are also very few options for accommodation at the site and hence advisable to make prior bookings if one wishes to stay at Dholavira. It is a must visit place while visiting Rann of Kutch.


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