Dholavira, at a distance of 250 km from Bhuj, is the larger of the two most remarkable excavations of the Indus Valley Civilization or Harappan culture in the country, dating back to 4500 years ago. Dholavira, surrounded by the Great Rann of Kutch, offers a unique insight into the pioneering Harappan mind, with one of the world’s earliest and best planned water conservation systems and what might be the world’s first signboards, written in ancient Indus script.
The remains here show an imposing citadel in the center, with a middle and lower town, each fortified separately, built with pleasingly smoothed structures of sun-dried brick and stone masonry, and with remarkable town planning. Well laid out lanes lead outward systematically from the citadel, with a well-constructed underground drainage system for sanitation. There is a large stadium with a complex structure and seating arrangement.
The excavation also tells the story of the 7 stages of the civilization, from development to maturity to decay. After the peak of the civilization Dholavira was temporarily abandoned, after which it seems that the settlers returned with a markedly de-urbanized culture. There are hints that they willingly chose to simplify their lives, rather than try to ride the collapse of their once glorified civilization.