Harappan city of Dholavira inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list | Daily Current Affairs 2022
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Harappan city of Dholavira inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list

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Dholavira: Dholavira, the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city in Gujarat, received the UNESCO world heritage site tag on July 27, 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • This is the Indian second site to be included in the world heritage list this month after the Ramappa Temple at Palampet in Telangana’s Warangal.
  • Dholavira has become the 40th from India to make the list and the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag.
  • The IVC acropolis is located on a hillock near present-day Dholavira village in Kutch district, from which it gets its name.
  • Both Dholavira and the Ramappa Temple were included in the list during the 44th session of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee held at Fuzhou in China.
  • Gujarat now has four world heritage sites. They are:
    1. Dholavira
    2. Champaner near Pavagadh
    3. Rani ki Vav in Patan 
    4. The historic city of Ahmedabad
  • The 40 world heritage properties in India include 32 cultural, seven natural, and one mixed property.
  • Apart from India, countries like Italy, Spain, Germany, China, and France also have 40 such sites each.

About Dholavira Site:

  • Dholavira is located on the Khadir Island in Great Rann of Kutch (GRK) of Kutch district in the state of Gujarat.
  • It was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi who later served as the ASI director from 1987 to 1990.
  • The site’s excavation between 1990 and 2005 under the supervision of archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht uncovered the ancient city.
  • This city dates back to approximately 3000 BC and it is believed that the city was occupied till 1500 BC.
  • Dholavira is an exceptional example of a proto-historic Bronze Age urban settlement in South Asia, pertaining to the Harappan Civilization and bears evidence of a multi-cultural and stratified society during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE (Before Common Era).
  • As per the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in the Kutch region, Dholavira is known as Kotda Timba (the fort mound).
  • The city of Dholavira is spread over 22 hectares and it is Indus Valley Civilisation’s fifth-largest archaeological site.
  • 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.

Additional Info:


  • Since the excavation at the site, the ASI has developed a museum here.
  • Dholavira, a village with a population of around 2,000, is the nearest human settlement at present.
  • Near the ancient city is a fossil park where wood fossils are preserved.

Distinct features:

  • After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala, and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.
  • This site is divided into three parts. They are :
    1. The middle town
    2. The citadel 
    3. The lower town
  • The walls are made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.
  • Some of the unique features of the Dholavira site are as follows:
    • A cascading series of water reservoirs, outer fortification,
    • Two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace — nine gates with unique designs, and
    • The funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas.
  • While unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira.
  • Remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy.
  • It was also a hub of manufacturing jewelry made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.
  • It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products.

Fall of Dholavira:

As per the historians, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity from 2000 BC, due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.

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