Water-harvesting techniques of Dholavira

Water-harvesting techniques of Dholavira

Question-Dholavira has revealed to the world the grandeur of the Harappan site and its futuristic water-harvesting techniques. Elaborate

Dholavira is a small village in the Kutch district, situated in a corner of an island, Khadir in the Great Rann of Kutch. One of the five biggest Harappan sites in the sub continent, Dholavira has an unbroken stratigraphy. The site extensively excavated by prof. Bisht has revealed an elaborate water system speaking of the advanced hydraulic engineering feat achieved by the Harappans of Dholavira.

The site is divided into three parts- the citadel, the middle city and lower city and archaeologists have identified a sequence of seven stages. A fortification wall is seen running around the entire city. Dholavira shows a wide use of dressed stone in construction.

Water System:

- The site gives ample evidence of rainwater harvesting network, a system of tanks and ponds that supply water and even a sewage system way advanced for its times.

- The city was built between the seasonal rivulets of Mansar and Manhar.

- The water from these streams was accumulated with the help of dams from which water was let into the reservoirs.

- Water conservation of Dholavira speaks volume of the innovativeness of those people who has managed to develop a system that depended on rainwater harvesting.

- The rain water thus collected was stored in yet another reservoir that was carved out in the western half of the city.

- Huge stone drains are seen which were used to direct storm water to the western and northern section of the lower town that had been separated with the help of bunds.

- The city has also yielded a good system of sanitation.

- The site has a total of sixteen reservoirs built on eastern, western and southern sides which were internally linked.

- Rock cut reservoirs were part of a rather complex water system that made use of rainwater and partly from ground water which reveals an enormous, elaborate system of water harvest.

- Rock cut reservoirs had distillation chambers to provide purified water as well as channels to divert overflowing water. The rock cut well found in the eastern reservoir was probably built during the early phase of the city.

- The citadel was approached by a flight of steps at the eastern gate inside which was another rock-cut well which had a provision for drawing water manually and a drain with distillation chambers to carry this water to a tank, and from there through a drain from the tank to a “hamam”.

- Hamams were considered as a place of bath for the elite. Of the two stadiums exposed, one was a slight bigger one which could have been used for various social purposes. The point to be mentioned here is that there was a drain to prevent water from accumulating during the rains.

Seven stages: Dholavira has been divided into pre-Harappan, mature Harappan, late Harappan and post-Happaran. The first stage which began around 3000 BCE, had a strong fortress and in the second stage the settlement was seen to have expanded northwards. Evidences of an earthquake having struck the settlement between the end of stage II and the beginning of stage III are seen. The most creative was stage III. Most of the architecture along with reservoirs were built during this stage. The city was at its peak in the stage IV and continued with the same zeal into the stage V, although the end of this stage witnessed the abandonment for few decades. Stage VI shows the return of the habitants but lived only in the citadel and middle town reducing the size of a city to that of a town. The site was deserted for good in stage VII around 1500 BCE.

Dholavira's long cultural sequence, its precise town planning, its monumental architecture, the excellent water management system and symbolic burials have all contributed to the fame of the site making it one of the biggest. A quarry located in close proximity to the site has revealed that sandstone was mined and cut to be transported to Dholavira to build the reservoirs, fortification walls and residential quarters in the city. The most remarkable after the water system is the fact that the site has yielded the longest inscription of ten signs on a board that was strategically placed above the northern gate.
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  • RE: Water-harvesting techniques of Dholavira -Bharti sahu (11/05/17)
  • The excavators is jp jhosi, bhist is for banawali