This Travel Story Will Inspire You To Travel To Rann Of Kutch Today

There are 20 of us on the bus. The front rows are cribbing about the journey that I have supposedly dragged them into. Despite the occasional sarcastic remark, I am happy. I’ve done this before, and know what to expect. I’ve told them, “Wait till that road comes up. And you’re surrounded on both sides by nothing.” I know what to expect. I’ve seen this before. Then again, I haven’t. Or maybe my brain has suppressed this memory. Stored it away, slyly showing me glimpses but never the entire truth. The road from Ahmedabad to Dholavira is straight—the occasional turns and u-turns come mostly as we near the destination. It’s flat.

Mostly arid, spotted with the occasional farm and, farther on, salt production units. Marshes being harvested for salt. There are about 30 km left when, suddenly, everything goes white. On both sides of a double- laned road, the landscape is unending, blank, reflecting the glare of the sun straight into your eyes. The sun is high in the sky but descending, for it is afternoon. The Rann has finally arrived. There is silence in the bus. Everyone is gazing out, looking at the white. Scarily beautiful. Majestic and unending. Why did the residents of the third oldest Indus Valley Civilisation site (after Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro) put themselves on an island? This was sea then. Leading to nothing. Why would they put themselves so far from land?

Bhim Raoji guides us through the site very meticulously and dutifully. He has been here since the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) first started excavating the site, and learnt what he knows from the banter he caught and, later, from the archaeologists themselves. “This big cylinder,” he pats a column-like structure, actually a sphere shaped like an hourglass, “was the base for a massive statue of a man sitting. It is now in Delhi.” Unlike Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, Dholavira was constructed with a specific architectural plan, he tells us.

There was a guided structure, a citadel, a middle town and a lower town. He guides us past several small ‘houses’ in the Citadel, a huge reservoir for water, a sewer system that could put to shame Mumbai and several other cities in India and then shows the coup de grâce. Except, there isn’t much to see. He points towards a spot, covered up right now for restoration, where the artifact sat. It was a signboard. The most complex and longest arrangement of the Harappan script found to date. The Harappans had arranged and set pieces of gypsum to form 10 large symbols or letters on a big wooden board. This, too, resides in Delhi.