Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Gujarat Diaries - 2

Overview: Anticipating a long day ahead, we started a bit early from Ahmedabad. It was pitch dark outside at 5:15am when we checked out of our hotel and headed north towards Kutch.
Our main point of interest was the Harappan metropolis of Dholavira, which was around 7 hours drive from Ahmedabad. We stopped somewhere on the highway for breakfast. We couldn't get anything immediately, so we bought some fruits to fill our stomach. We passed through some salt producing units at Surajbari. At Shikarpur, we stopped at hotel Ajanta for a brunch. We munched on some Aaloo Parathas and some tea to keep us going.

Salt Units
At around 11:30 am, we reached Rapar, the last major village on the way to Dholavira. After around 30 minutes of drive, we passed through Khadir Bet road, which bisects the Rann of Kutch. We stopped for a photo session, with vast desert of salt on the either side, and the other end could not be seen for miles. This geological wonder is a treat to the eyes, and not a soul could be seen for miles, giving an eerie feeling. At places, water from Rann of Kutch Lake formed small puddles which wore different colours like purple and green at a few places.

Rann of Kutch

Rann of Kutch

Rann of Kutch
After a few minutes, we started from the place, and reached the Dholavira site at around 1:30pm. We hired a guide for a nominal fee of Rs 300 so that we get the detailed info on the place. We saw the citadel, the drainage systems, the 3rd century BCE marketplace, wells, some pillars probably for time calculating. At the entrance of the site was an Indus inscription, which is still not deciphered yet. Locals claim it marks the entrance to the city with a 'Welcome' board. A massive reservoir could be seen at the southern end of the site, used to collect rain water, or store the river water for drinking and irrigation purpose. After getting good info, we visited the Dholavira museum, which displays artifacts from the excavation of the site.

Dholavira

Dholavira

Dholavira

Dholavira

From here, we went to the Fossil Park, around 10kms from here. The road is a little less explored towards this park, and as we approach the site through a small hillock, we could see a vast expanse of salt desert, which extends all the way to Pakistan, which is just around 50kms from this place. We saw the wood fossils from the Jurassic age, around 180 million years old. Such wood and plant fossils are very rarely found in India.

Wood Fossil Park

Wood Fossil Park
After spending around 30 minutes here, we decided to head back as it was another long drive to Jamnagar where we had booked our accomodation. We took a tea break at Chitrod at around 6pm. We finally reached Jamnagar at around 9:10pm having driven close to 700kms in a day.
Day 2: Ahmedabad - Rapar - Dholavira Harappan metropolis - Wood Fossil Park - Chitrod - Jamnagar (644 km)

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