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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.


Map of Lothal:

A museum is stocked with archaelogical findings that offer an insight into the Indus Valley period. The Indus Valley Civilisation at Lothal Ahmedabad district was a hub centre for the Indus valley civilisation when it moved down from Sindh to the Saurashtra coast to establish trading zones. Rangpur and Lothal, both around 75 kms south from Ahmedabad, were among the first 2 places where the Indus valley civilisation was discovered in India.

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.

Lower town:

Not only is it one of the southernmost outposts of the sub-continent's oldest civilisation but it saw all the phases of the Harrapan culture including the most mature period when the civilisation had all but disappeared from present day Pakistan. Originally Lothal was the site of the Red Ware culture, named for its micaceous pottery, until 2400 BC when the Harrapans arrived here from the Indus Valley in search of more fertile lands and potential ports. Gradually they colonised many areas along the Gulf of Cambay, forming citadels that include the southernmost outpost of the Indus Valley civlisation, which spanned an area larger than those of the Nile Valley civilisation in Egypt and Euphrates-Tigris river civilisation in Sumeria.

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.

Dockyard at Lothal:

A long wharf connected the dockyard to the main warehouse, which was located on a plinth some 3.5 meters above the ground. The first concern of the Harrapan engineers would have been to ensure against floods and tides which had been their undoing in Mohan Jo Daro and Harrappa. The whole town was situated on a patch of high ground, rising up from the flat alluvial plains of Bhal, a wall was erected to encircle the town and a platform was built for the warehouse where goods were checked and stored.

The warehouse was divided into 64 rooms of around 3 1/2 sq meters each, onnected by 1.2 meter wide passages, and 12 of these cubical blocks are visible even today. Seals were used to lable the imports and exports from the dock, and some of these lables have been found during digs. Klin fired bricks, which the Harrapans had learnt from experience were unaffected by tidal waters, were used in making passages to protect the cargo. Beside the warehouse, and also on a high plinth, is the upper town or acropolis, spanning 128x61 meters. The rulers home is no longer a grand palace, but the foundations show signs of it having been a 2 or 3 storeyed mansion. The rooms of the upper town were obviously built for ruling classes, as they had private paved baths, and a remarkable network of drains and cess pools. The proximity of the seat of power to the warehouse, ensured that the ruler and his entourage could inspect stocks easily. An ivory workshop at the acropolis suggests that elephants may have been domesticated for the purpose.

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