Trailing Gujarat: Ahmedabad and Lothal

Vadodara to Ahmedabad: Busses to Ahmedabad depart from the city bus stand opposite to railway station. Frequent busses (once in
15-20 minutes) and even luxury Volvos are there on this route. Ahmedabad to Vadodara expressway is superb (109 km, 87 INR, 2 hours).

Bridge on River Sabarmati
                                      Bridge on River Sabarmati
Dormitory in IIM Ahmedabad: Getting a budget accommodation in big cities is a major challenge in India. Most of the budget hotels are generally nasty and stinky in big cities. Safety is another major concern. I was bit apprehensive about lodging in Ahmedabad so I called a friend of mine who was studying in IIM A and checked about possibility of staying for couple of nights.  It seemed like there was no problem so we hit to IIM A just after arriving to Ahmedabad.
Lower Town Lothal
                                                Lower Town Lothal
Aside a free stay, it was also my chance to get into an IIM which otherwise would have been impossible.  Anup’s room was large enough to accommodate 3 people considering he was too damn busy attending evening classes those were turning into night outs. I and Pradeep Sir was the only resident of that dormitory. Ahmedabad was our base for visiting Lothal and other nearby sites.
Dock at Lothal Archaeological Site
                                           Dock at Lothal Archaeological Site

How to reach Lothal: There won’t be many direct busses to Lothal from Ahmedabad. The best way is to board a bus to Bhavnagar and get down at Gundi railway crossing. Alternatively you can also catch one of the frequent busses to Bagodara (On Rajkot highway) and then get a Khatra (10 INR) to Gundi railway crossing.
Lothal excavation site is another 7 km from Gundi crossing and Khatra is the only way to commute. Alternatively one can enjoy a scenic long walk through the countryside adorned with cotton fields. Private Khatra from Gundi railway crossing till Lothal should charge 70-80 INR.
Ahmedabad to Bagodara: 69 km, 59 INR, 2 hours.
Another way to approach Lothal would be via Arnej which is connected to Ahmedabad with state transport busses. From Arnej, Frequent Shared Autos/Khatra will drop you till Gundi Village and then you will have to walk remaining 3 km.
Where to Eat: Small cafeteria near the museum is the only option.

Acropolis side of Lothal Excavation Site
                                         Acropolis side of Lothal Excavation Site
** Lothal Archeological museum: 09:00 AM to 0:005 PM, Friday closed, 5 INR per person.
 

 

Laziness surrounded us perhaps due to Lethargy yet we managed to board a bus to Bagodara. Influenced from Dholavira surged our expectations from Lothal which is certainly not a good habit. Every unfamiliar destination should be embraced without prejudice else you might ruin it. Similarly in life appreciate things for their true nature rather than seeking your pre-conceived assumptions. After reaching Bagodara, we had quick breakfast (again Fafda) on a road side Daba. Shared Khatra dropped us to Gundi Railway crossing which is just 10 km. There is no public transport beyond Gundi Railway crossing to Lothal except intermittent Khatra. Initially we decided to go for a walk till Lothal (7 km) but then a Khatra guy agreed on our price and dropped us to Lothal.
Bead Factory Lothal
                                                 Bead Factory Lothal

The ancient mound at Lothal was excavated by Prof S.R Rao from 1955-62 which unearthed many structural remains of Harappan Town datable to Circa 2500-1900 B.C. The entire settlement was divided into a citadel or acropolis and lower town, which were protected against floods by a 13 m thick mud brick wall, on the western side. The Chief lived in acropolis, where houses were built on 3m high platform and provided with all the civic amenities including paved baths, underground drains and a well for potable water. The lower town was subdivided into two sectors. The main commercial center in which craftsmen lived and the other is residential sector. The most outstanding remains are a large tank identified as a dock and a warehouse.
Excavation Site Lothal
                                             Excavation Site Lothal

The dockyard is constructed of fine burnt bricks and is most scientifically designed to carry out the water flow, to withstand the force of the current and the water thrust. It is known for its unique water locking devices and measures 214*36 m. The other important structure- the warehouse, occupied south west corner of the citadel. It stands on 3.5 m high platform and measures 49*40 m. originally there were 64 cubical blocks of mud bricks built on the platform for providing wooden canopy to protect the cargo.
Excavations around Citadel
                                            Excavations around Citadel

The excavations at Lothal has yielded a variety of artifacts which include beads, seals and sealing, shell, ivory, copper and bronze objects, tools, animal and human figurines, weights. Ritual objects, etc. The prosperity of this small port town largely depended upon its overseas trade of items, such as semi precious stone beads, copper, ivory, shell and cotton goods, etc with West Asia. Discovery of objects of Persian Gulf origin and terracotta figurine of Gorilla and mummy indicate a strong overseas contact at Lothal.
Excavations around bead factory
                                              Excavations around bead factory

Our visit to Lothal was somewhere influenced from the profoundness of Dholavira and its perpetual impression. I will not deny that it would have been more edifying if we would have not visited Dholavira. Museum was closed so we headed back to Gundi village and this time walking. Lothal has undoubtedly got picturesque countryside surrounded by cotton fields. That afternoon walk through the rustic atmosphere was truly fulfilling. From Gundi Village, we hopped into a shared auto to Arnej (7 km, 30 minutes, 10 INR). Arnej is having thin connectivity to Ahmedabad by state transport busses and we were lucky to get one.
Steps at Adalaj Vav
                                               Steps at Adalaj Vav
Evenings at Ahmedabad were like meaningless strolling along the lake side…visiting markets…eating road side food….window shopping in high-end malls. Ahmedabad was also the city to try non-Gujarati food. Besides everything else, I was deeply impressed with the work by Sabarmati Riverfront development projects. Sabarmati River is very clean despite flowing through such a major city.
Looking up the Adalaj Vav
                                                 Looking up the Adalaj Vav

One morning, we borrowed Anup’s bike for roaming around Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Ahmedabad has got plenty of historical sites and museums but we headed bit away towards Adalaj Vav which is some 19 km from the town.
Front Corridor of Adalaj Vav
                                                     Front Corridor of Adalaj Vav

This step-well (vav) was built in samvat 1555 (A.D. 1498) by RUDA , wife of Vaghela chief VIRASIMHA. This is recorded in Sanskrit inscription on a marble slab set into a niche in the first storey on eastern side. The oblong step-well runs from south to north; entry to the Vav is from south through stairs on three sides which descend into a specious landing with octagonal opening supported on eight pillars. At each of the four corners of landing platform is a small room with oriel window. From the landing platform the corridor begins with gently descending staircase leading to octagonal well-shaft on north. The stepped corridor has a parapet wall at ground level.
Carving on the top storey of step well
                                        Carving on the top storey of step well

The octagonal shaft is five storeyed; it's upper four storeys are entered through spiral staircases on western and eastern sides. The corridor railing around octagonal shaft, pillars, pilasters, entablatures, lintels and other architectural are profusely decorated. A panel showing nine planets (navagrahas ) is found over a door in second storey on eastern side of octagonal shaft.
Intricately Carved Slab
                                            Intricately Carved Slab

Among sculptures particular mention may be made of a king seated on a stool under parasol with two chauri - bearers in attendance, erotic scenes, scene showing churning of buttermilk, bhairava, female dancer and musicians, various birds and animals like gaja-sardula, symbolic representation of mother goddess, and medallions, half-medallions, scroll motifs evolving out of kirttimukha, etc.
Hridya Kunj Sabarmati ashram
                                                Hridya Kunj Sabarmati ashram

Adalaj Vav is an impressive architecture and one of the must visit site if you are around Ahmedabad. Later we stopped at Sabarmati Ashram which lies on the bank of Sabarmati River. Sabarmati Ashram was the baser of Mahatma Gandhi and includes many historically important buildings. Ashram currently displays a series of galleries showcasing letters, books, messages, and objects from Gandhi’s life. It’s a peaceful place for leisure time and to get a glimpse of India’s struggle for independence along with the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi… truly enriching experience it is… worth a visit…
 

A fulfilling meal…bid adieu to Ahmedabad and we were off to Patan….

 

Trailing Gujarat Series: In Chronological Order

Trailing Gujarat: Train to Bhuj

Trailing Gujarat: Bhuj, Capital of Kutch

Trailing Gujarat: Northern Kutch, Dhordo and Kalo Dungar

Trailing Gujarat: Western Kutch, Lakhpat and Narayan Sarovar

Trailing Gujarat: Southern Kutch, Beachline of Mandvi

Trailing Gujarat: Eastern Kutch, Splendor of Rapar and Dholavira

Trailing Gujarat: Dhrangadhra, a lesser known delight of Gujarat

Trailing Gujarat: Little Rann of Kutch, Salt Plains and Heat Mirage

Trailing Gujarat: Jamnagar and Marine National Park, Narara

Trailing Gujarat: Dwarka, Where Pilgrims meet the end of earth (Read: Sea)

Trailing Gujarat: Junagadh, City of archaeological attractions

Trailing Gujarat: Gir National Park, last home of Asiatic Lions

Trailing Gujarat: Diu, Real thirst-quencher

Trailing Gujarat: Alang, Where Ships come to die

Trailing Gujarat: Champaner and Pavagadh

Trailing Gujarat: Ahmedabad and Lothal

Trailing Gujarat: Patan, Modhera and Separation

I visited this site in the

I visited this site in the winter. This place has vibrant excavations for a history lover. If you hate ancient stuff then this place will bore you.

 

The whole site can be covered in 3-4 hours, including the ASI maintained museum. It's closed on Fridays.

 

 

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