Lothal, which means ‘The City of Dead’, is an old city dating back to the 4,400-year-old Harappan civilization and one of the few known ports on an ocean. Once here, you can visit the site excavated by archaeologist S. R Rao in 1952-61 and the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and archaeological museum which was established in 1976. You will be fascinated by the Indus Valley civilization (28 Cetury B.C. to 18th century B.C.) while you read about its immaculate town planning, the seals, the pottery and the ornaments.
The museum has been divided into three galleries.
As you enter, you are greeted by a detailed artist’s imaginary depiction of the Harrapan town, complete with the course of the Sabarmati River, on the banks of which the port town is situated.
The left wing of the museum has exhibits of ornaments (bangles, neck pieces and earrings) of terracotta and shell, steatite seals, pottery and beads.
The right wing houses game boards, miniature and painted pottery, human figurines, weights,ritual objects, bricks beside a replica of a joint burial and a scaled model of the Lothal site.
The museum houses a total of 800 items of the unearthed 5089 during the excavation. The museum also has a reference library and a publication counter where you can find pamphlets and informative guides.
A tour around the museum gives you an idea that Lothal made significant and unique contributions in that era in science, engineering, city planning, art and architecture.
The small town of Lothal was prosperous with its bead making industry and its sheltered harbour with a rich cotton and rice growing hinterland. It was a gateway to western Asia for the Harrapan civilisation and for overseas trade of semi-precious stone beads, copper, ivory, shell and cotton goods.
Lothal has enjoyed the status of being the leading center of trade in the bygone times. It was actively involved in the trade of beads, gems and expensive ornaments that were exported to West Asia and Africa.
The techniques that were used by the people of this city brought a lot of name and fame to them. People are of the say that, the scientists of Lothal were the ones to initiate the study stars and advanced navigation.
Archaeologists excavated a dockyard in the site which shows that the ancient city carried maritime trade during that time as it was close to the Arabian Sea. This was one of the unique lock gated dockyard which is one of the greatest maritime architecture to be discovered from the ancient world. The whole town was situated on high ground and a wall was erected to encircle it.
The Harrappan pottery was largely utilitarian. You can see large pots, dishes, vases, perforated jars, all made from terracotta.It is said that pottery, beads and other objects of daily life were buried with the dead by the Harrappans.
The town of Lothal had an extensive drainage system, hallmark of the Indus Valley towns and like others was divided into two parts- The upper town (Acropolis or Citadel) and the Lower Town (commercial and residential area).
It is said that the town was destroyed by frequent floods in about 1900 B.C. and was completely abandoned by Harappans in 1700 B.C.
Enter Lothal, and you would know what it means to be transported to another era.!!
Special thanks to my friend JP for this joint guest blog. This is the first guest blog on Decoding Happyness. Since this trip to Lothal was courtesy to JP, along with whom – me and my family had the pleasure to visit this site and majority of the pictures were clicked on JP’s phone, I thought a guest blog would be the best idea for this post 🙂