Lothal Culture

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You arrive in Lothal and see no intricate carvings or vibrant fresco walls. No grand fortifications or temples. Instead you see flat and desolate ruins.  But you have come not for what is visible now; rather, to imagine what once was. And in the emptiness, you recreate for yourself a unique drama of the place that some believe was the cradle of the subcontinent’s oldest civilization.

Lothal, literally “Mound of the Dead”, is the most extensively excavated site of Harappan culture in India, and therefore allows the most insight into the story of the Indus Valley Civilization, its exuberant flight, and its tragic decay.

Once a sleepy pottery village, Lothal rumbled awake to become a flourishing centre of trade and industry, famous for its expertly constructed system of underground sanitary drainage, and an astonishing precision of standarized weights and measures. Unlike many other doorways into Harappan culture, Lothal passed through all the phases of the society, from earliest development to most mature. In the height of its prosperity, it not only survived but was strengthened by three floods, using the disaster as an opportunity to improve on the infrastructure. The fourth flood finally brought the settlement to the desperate and impoverished conditions that indicated the end of a powerful civilization.

Roam the ruins with your heart open to the ancient, and with the help of the local museum here, allow yourself to be transported to an era 4,500 years ago, and see in your mind’s eye the palace on high, and the artisans and crafts below, and the bustling dockyard that once reached out to the rest of the world.

You arrive in Lothal and see no intricate carvings or vibrant fresco walls. No grand fortifications or temples. Instead you see flat and desolate ruins.  But you have come not for what is visible now; rather, to imagine what once was. And in the emptiness, you recreate for yourself a unique drama of the place that some believe was the cradle of the subcontinent’s oldest civilization.

Lothal, literally “Mound of the Dead”, is the most extensively excavated site of Harappan culture in India, and therefore allows the most insight into the story of the Indus Valley Civilization, its exuberant flight, and its tragic decay.

Once a sleepy pottery village, Lothal rumbled awake to become a flourishing centre of trade and industry, famous for its expertly constructed system of underground sanitary drainage, and an astonishing precision of standarized weights and measures. Unlike many other doorways into Harappan culture, Lothal passed through all the phases of the society, from earliest development to most mature. In the height of its prosperity, it not only survived but was strengthened by three floods, using the disaster as an opportunity to improve on the infrastructure. The fourth flood finally brought the settlement to the desperate and impoverished conditions that indicated the end of a powerful civilization.

Roam the ruins with your heart open to the ancient, and with the help of the local museum here, allow yourself to be transported to an era 4,500 years ago, and see in your mind’s eye the palace on high, and the artisans and crafts below, and the bustling dockyard that once reached out to the rest of the world.

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