Rann of Kutch – Leg 2 – Dholavira – History and Geography lessons

The journey so far took us through jams, national expressways, amazing lunches along the lake and to top it all, a fun filled wedding. We truly did befriend the highway and now we were very comfortable with the tarmac. With the wedding party send back to Mumbai, we were the kings of the free road, or as one of us put it, “there is a car with an engine and steering, four days and no booking! Lets go where the steering takes”. 

So we did that. Obviously, since I was the master of the wheel, we went straight to Dholavira. If you remember your History lessons, Dholavira housed the ancient Indus Valley civilisation. Recent archaeological excavations have unearthed a part of the city, and excavations are underway. To add to the dopamine release, there is a fossil park where some tree fossils were discovered. If this isn’t enough reason to visit, add flamingo’s migration season in December! All in all a must visit place for two days.

The drive from Pushkar to Dholavira is very scenic. Especially if you start early in the morning. The mist and fog in tandem with the sun, create dramatic scenes. The collection has a lot of point and shoot photographs which look equally good as the one below. Such amazing views with lots of good breakfast of parathas, Dhokla, jalebi and fafda on the way makes for a very calm and satisfying drive. The highway is flanked by places that you can pick and choose from and I hope you don’t get disappointed. One good indicator of decent food, is places where State Transport buses stop. You would usually not be disappointed to say the least.

Highway, greenery, sunrise, view, gujarat, rajasthan
Early morning view from the car

India, Railway tracks, Crossing, meter gauge, Indian Railways, Gujarat, rural
A picture clicking opportunity grabbed with both hands

On arrival at Dholavira, our search for accommodation led us to Toran Tourist Complex operated by Gujarat Tourism. As luck had it we were just one week before the the start of the Rann Utsav, so it was the end of the off season. We got nice huts to stay in and fresh food specially cooked for us by the staff. If you read online reviews of the place, people find out problems with the accommodation like bathroom water etc. But according to us it was a basic accommodation place, serving good food and helping you light a campfire in the night. The 4 of us had a jolly good time around the fire chit chatting away to glory.

One arrival we rushed to the archaeological excavations. As taught in the history class in college, you could visualise geometric planning of the houses. Houses with a separate kitchen and semicircular structures, The semi circular structures were the surprising part and according to the best if my knowledge, a characteristic of the Dholavira city. The Dholavira civilization lasted from about 2600 BCE – 1400 BCE. The way the stone walls etc were found was surprising and an indicator of the quality of construction. We also visited a reservoir that was excavated and seemed to be in perfect condition. If history or urban planning interest you even a minuscule bit, you should visit the place and compare it to modern cities planning. You will notice that we haven’t really changed. Since then there have been various segregation for various classes that run to date. It’s three divisions were, the citadel, the middle town and the lower town. The lower is yet o be excavated completely.

Dholavira, Stone, Indus, preservation, archaeology, excavation, grid, structure, home
A wall that has stood the test of time
Dholavira, Stone, Indus, preservation, archaeology, excavation, grid, structure, home
Houses planned in grid
Dholavira, Stone, Indus, preservation, archaeology, excavation, grid, structure, home, circle
The semi – circular structure – characteristic of the Dholavira city

The next day morning we visited the flamingos. It was the first time we went specially to see birds and they didn’t disappoint. They came in flocks and got captured in the camera and our lens. We were still pretty far away and a better telephoto lens would have helped, still watching the sun rise over the salt marsh (Rann) with flamingos is a delightful experience. The marsh was still wet and this we couldn’t enter the marsh from there. To add to it there is army presence in the area discouraging you from entering the marsh. Thus, Dholavira loses out on tourists that it could have garnered.

Flamingos, Dholavira, migration, Gujarat,
First flamingo spotting
Flamingos, Dholavira, migration, Gujarat,
Flamingos in action

We moved on to the fossil park from here. The spot is very close by. Even if you aren’t interested in the fossils, the way the rocks have weathered and the sedimentation of these rocks make for amazing photographs. Sure you will get some profile pictures out of it that you could cherish for long. With the Rann in the background, the eyes get to cherish a different view that stays and lingers on for long. Somehow that morning we were realised how thankful we were for coming to Dholavira even though we weren’t allowed to enter the Rann.

Fossil, park, dholavira, sunrise, view, rocks, weathered, sedimentary
Light on the rock face
The group photo – Fossil park – Dholavira

Some places struggle to gain recognition as a legitimate tourist place. Dholavira is one of them even though it is best mix of what lessons History and Geography have to offer. The reasons are beyond me but I just wish that some day Dholavira gets its due.

From here we move on to the place which is known as the gateway to the Rann of Kutch – Dhordo.. The only way you can do justice to your senses is by visiting this place. Photographs are just the tip of the iceberg of the experience that the white desert has to offer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *