Dholavira, the Harappan city in the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Dholavira, the Harappan city in the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

New Delhi, July 27, 2021

Dholavira, the Harappan city in the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat was today inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list, becoming the 40th such site in the country.

India had submitted the nomination dossier for Dholavira: A Harappan city to the World Heritage Centre in January 2020. The site was on the UNESCO’s tentative list since 2014, It is one of the very few well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Absolutely delighted by this news. Dholavira was an important urban centre and is one of our most important linkages with our past. It is a must-visit, especially for those interested in history, culture and archaeology.”

Union Minister of Culture G Kishan Reddy shared this news on Twitter shortly after the announcement. Two days ago, the Rudreswara Temple, (also known as the Ramappa Temple) at Palampet, Mulugu district, Telangana State became the 39th World Heritage Centre in India.

Reddy tweeted, “It gives immense pride to share with my fellow Indians that Dholavira is now the 40th treasure in India to be given @UNESCO World Heritage tag. Another feather in India’s cap as we now enter the Super-40 club for World Heritage Site inscriptions.”

With this successful nomination, India has 40 world heritage properties overall, which includes 32 cultural, 7 natural and one mixed property. The countries that have 40 or more World Heritage sites include Italy, Spain, Germany, China and France.

Being the 6th largest of more than 1,000 Harappan sites discovered so far and occupied for over 1,500 years, Dholavira demonstrates its multifaceted achievements in terms of urban planning, construction techniques, water management, social governance and development, art, manufacturing, trading, and belief system. With extremely rich artefacts, the urban settlement contributes significantly to the existing knowledge of the Harappan Civilization.

The configuration of the city of Dholavira, during its heyday, is an outstanding example of a planned city with planned and segregated urban residential areas based on possibly differential occupational activities and a stratified society. Technological advancements in water harnessing systems, water drainage systems as well as architecturally and technologically developed features are reflected in the design, execution and effective harnessing of local materials.

Unlike other Harappan antecedent towns normally located near rivers and perennial sources of water, the location of Dholavira in the island of Khadir was strategic to harness different mineral and raw material sources (copper, shell, agate-carnelian, steatite, lead, banded limestone, among others) and to facilitate internal as well as external trade to the Magan (modern Oman peninsula) and Mesopotamian regions.

Dholavira is an exceptional example of a proto-historic Bronze Age urban settlement pertaining to the Harappan Civilization (early, mature and late Harappan phases) and bears evidence of a multi-cultural and stratified society during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE. The earliest evidence can be traced back to 3000 BCE during the early Harappan phase of the Harappan Civilization. This city flourished for nearly 1,500 years, representing a long continuous habitation. The excavated remains clearly indicate the origin of the settlement, its growth, zenith and the subsequent decline in the form of continuous changes in the configuration of the city, architectural elements and various other attributes.


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