Dholavira, UNESCO World Heritage Site: Everything You Need to Know

On Tuesday, UNESCO designated Dholavira, a Harappan-era city spread over 100 hectares on Khadir, one of the Rann of Kutch’s islands. Dholavira is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to be included in the list, as it is the fourth site from Gujarat and the 40th from India.


Archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi found it in 1968. Under the guidance of archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht, the site was excavated between 1990 and 2005, revealing the ancient city, which was a commercial and manufacturing powerhouse for nearly 1,500 years before its collapse and final destruction around 1500 BC.


Dholavira is the fifth biggest metropolis in the IVC, after Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala, and Harappa in Pakistan, and Rakhigarhi in Haryana, India. The site includes a fortified citadel, a middle town, and a lower town with sandstone or limestone walls rather than the mud bricks found at many other Harappan sites.

Some of the unique features of the Dholavira site, according to archaeologist Bisht, include:

– 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 funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures similar to Buddhist Stupas.

He claims that the origins of Buddhist stupas can be found in Dholavira monuments.

In contrast to other IVC sites, no human mortal remains have been found at Dholavira. According to Bisht, monuments that do not include bones or ashes but instead contain valuable stone offerings, for example, provide a fresh depth to the Harappans’ individuality.


The art linked with the city is also significant. Artefacts composed of copper, stone, terracotta, gold, and ivory were discovered during the excavations.

According to the ASI report, the population preferred colourful clay for coating structures in the early phases of the civilisation, but this came to an “abrupt end…as if under a royal edict or by a determined popular consensus.”

“The use of bricks had ceased. While many of the pottery shapes and artistic themes were still popular, new ceramics such as white painted black-and-red and white painted grey goods, as well as coarse wares with incised or appliqué or both kinds of designs, and some Bara related pottery, appeared “It was said.

Fall of Dholavira:

When Mesopotamia collapsed, the Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a large market, hurting local mining, manufacturing, marketing, and export enterprises.

He further claims that beginning around 2000 BC, Dholavira experienced extreme aridity as a result of climatic change and the drying up of rivers such as the Saraswati.

People began relocating to the Ganges valley, south Gujarat, and further in Maharashtra as a result of a drought-like condition.


Dholavira is one of the most outstanding and well-preserved urban towns in South Asia, dating from the third to mid-second millennium BCE, according to UNESCO (Before Common Era). The ASI has built a museum on the site since the excavation. 

At the moment, the nearest human settlement is Dholavira, a hamlet with a population of about 2,000 people. A fossil park is located near the old city. A fossil park located near the old city preserves wood fossils.

Here’s the list of 40 World Heritage Sites in India:

  • Dholavira, Gujarat
  • Ramappa Temple, Telangana
  • Taj Mahal, Agra
  • Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
  • Hampi, Karnataka
  • Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
  • Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
  • Bodh Gaya, Bihar
  • Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
  • Red Fort Complex, Delhi
  • Buddhist monuments at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
  • Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu
  • Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam
  • Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
  • Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal
  • Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi
  • Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, Rajasthan
  • Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh
  • Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka
  • Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra
  • Mountain Railways of India
  • Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University), Bihar
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), Maharashtra
  • Qutub Minar and its Monuments, New Delhi
  • Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat
  • Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh
  • Hill Forts of Rajasthan
  • Churches and Convents of Goa
  • Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh
  • Manas Wild Life Sanctuary, Assam
  • Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh
  • Rani Ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat
  • Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan
  • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Uttarakhand
  • Western Ghats
  • Kanchenjunga National Park, Sikkim
  • Capitol Complex, Chandigarh
  • The Historic City of Ahmedabad
  • The Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai
  • The Pink City – Jaipur

    Every now and again, India has demonstrated why it is the world’s most culturally diverse country. We appreciate and protect culture in a way that no other country does.

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