5000 Year Dholavira Planned City Water Harvesting Astronomically Aligned

The Ancient History of India is amazing,not merely for the accuracy of facts ,including Geographical but for the skill of the people in building not only temples but well planned cities.

The myth that early Indians built only temples and were called ‘Barbaric’ these  barbarians built massive temple structures,where the shadow of the building falls in its base,was built in an area where no granite was available,80 tons monolithic block was hoisted at a height of around 180 feet,when pulleys were not supposed to have been known (Thanjavur),

Temple where the pillar does not rest on the ground,(Lepakshi’

Where the rays of the Sun fall at a specific time at a specific period;falls at the feet of the Deity..

There are many temples of this kind.

There are astronomically aligned temples.

I have written on most of them.

Please check under Temples/ Hinduism Category.

Not only this.

The ancient Indians built cities in concentric circles with temple at the center,Water tanks,fortification,sewage system,centralised granary,Disaster shelters..

These were specialized by the Dravida Kings.

The Kings of North did not lag behind.

They matched their counterparts in the south.

Even during Vedic period well planned cities were built.

Treatise on Town Planning of the Vedic period is found.

Please read my article on this.

Now the Harappan period of Dholavira had an advanced town planning system.

Excavations at Dholavira,Gujarat,India confirm this.

The city had,

16 Gates,

4 Stadia,

Water harvesting,

Drainage system,

Brick Masonry and Ceramic used.

The city was built with mathematical precision and

It was astronomically aligned.


For details,I am producing excerpts from Archeological Survey of India Report.

Fourteen field seasons of excavation through an enormous deposit caused by the successive settlements at the site for over 1500 years during all through the 3rd millennium and unto the middle of the 2nd millennium BC have revealed seven significant cultural stages documenting the rise and fall of the Indus civilization in addition to bringing to light a major, a model city which is remarkable for its exquisite planning, monumental structures, aesthetic architecture, amazing water harvesting system and a variety in funerary architecture. It also enjoys the unique distinction of yielding an inscription made up of ten large-sized signs of the Indus script and, not less in importance, is the other find of a fragment of a large slab engraved with three large signs. This paper attempts to give an account of hydro-engineering that is manifest in the structures of the Harappans at Dholavira.

The ancient site at Dholavira (230 53′ 10″ N; 700 13’E), taluka Bhachau, district Kachchh in state Gujarat, lies in the island of Khadir which, it turn, is surrounded by the salt waste of the Great Rann of Kachchh. The ancient settlement is embraced by two monsoon channels, namely, the Manhar and Mansar. The ruins, including the cemetery covers an area of about 100 hectares half of which is appropriated by the articulately fortified settlement of the Harappans alone.

Lying between the monsoon channels and being undulating sloping towards the south, the site was ideally suited for a settlement having artificial dams and reservoirs.

Thee city of Dholavira in its fullest form was a precisely proportionate whole and proportionality resolved configuration following a resolute set of principles of planning and architecture with mathematical precision and, perhaps, with astronomically established orientation. Of the city, at present, three corners with partially eroded towers but fully intact inner corners have been confirmed by excavation. When measured between the inner corners, the E- W length of the city area along the northern defensive wall and N-S one along the western one worked out to 771.10 m and 616.87 m, respectively – thus giving the precise ratio of 5 : 4. Similarly, the other divisions of the city also revealed amazing ratios and proportions. The following table provides revealing information:

 Sl. No.   Division  Width  Length  Ratio
1 City, internal 616.87 711.10 4 : 5
2 Castle, internal at available top 92 114 4 : 5
3 Castle, external (as per present exposure) 118 151 4 : 5
4 Citadel (castle + bailey), external approximately (including bastions) 140 280 1 : 2
5 Bailey, internal 120 120 1 : 1
6 Middle Town + Stadium, internal 290.45 340.5 6 : 7
7 Middle Town, excluding Stadium, internal 242 340.5 5 : 7
8 Stadium, internal 47.5 283 1 : 6
9 Lower Town, built-up area 300 300 1 : 1

The above table inter alia reveals the proportional relationship between the castle and the city so it does in respect of intra-divisional and inter-divisional measurements. It is interesting to give another illustration: the diagonal drawn between the two opposite angles made by the north-eastern and the south-western corners of the city touched the north-western corner of the castle. While of the remaining two, the south-eastern corner is still missing, or not found out, a line, therefore bisecting the north-western angle also bisected the north-western corner of the middle town and further on cut across a crossing of four streets and finally the north-eastern corner of the castle. This could have been achieved by precise mathematical calculations and drawings which were then translated on the ground that was undulating by 13 m in gradient. It was indeed a great engineering achievement. In the whole scheme, the enwalled area of the castle became 49th (7 X 7) part of the city while its total built-up area was 25th (5 X 5) part.

Furthermore, it is very significant that the two-thirds of the middle town and the whole of lower town were planned with bold projections and recesses just like those one finds in the layout of an Indian temple of the later ages. As a result, the city divisions were provided with a number of housing sectors and spaces. Some of latter were found to have been used for dumping domestic refuse. Another significant feature is the arterial street that ran across axially from west to east dividing all the above-mentioned units and sub-units into two equal halves, and a north-south street, perhaps somewhat staggered, further subdivided each unit….

Seventeen gates, all built in the fortification walls with equally interesting add-on components, have been exposed so far. Their number-wise break up is: cattle 5, bailey 2, stadiums 4, middle town 1, annexe 2 and the remaining 3 belonging to the late Harappans of Stage VI. ..

The other area in which the Harappans of Dholavira excelled spectacularly pertained to water harvesting with the aid of dams, drain, reservoirs and storm water management which eloquently speak of tremendous engineering skill of the builders. Equally important is the fact that all those features were integrated part of city planning and were surely the beauty aids, too, The Harappans created about sixteen or more reservoir of varying sizes and designs and arranged them in a series practically on all four sides. A cursory estimate indicates that the water structures and relevant and related activities accounts for 10 hectares of area, in other words 10% of the total area that the city appropriated within its outer fortification. The 13 m of gradient between high and low areas from east to west within the walls was ideally suited for creating cascading reservoirs which were separated from each other by enormous and broad bunds and yet connected through feeding drains.

Six of the water tanks, one to east of castle and five of the series to south of it, have been fully or considerably exposed while a few others or other related features are testified in check digs. It was found to be the largest, grandest and best-furnished reservoir of rectangular shape measuring 73.40 m N-S and 29.30 m E-W (ratio 5:2) at the top while above that there should have been a 1 to 1.20 m high embankment as evidenced at four corners.


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