‘THE MOUND OF THE DEAD’ this was the meaning of the place ‘Lothal’ we were to visit in Gujarati (a regional language). It is an epitome of well-known Indus valley civilization. It is 85 km away from the Ahmedabad city. Not long back its remains have been excavated as the whole town was destroyed by the natural catastrophes. I was amazed to see the old ruins and when our guide told us about how well planned the lay out of the city was and about their work culture; believe me I had all the regards for them and their knowledge. The town was planned with houses in a row and proper drainage system. Householders possessed a collection chamber to deposit solid waste in order to prevent the clogging of city drains. They had a dockyard and a warehouse and were busy traders. During its hay days Lothal was a major trade centre, importing en mass raw material like copper, semi -precious stones etc. and distributing to inner villages and towns. Lothal exported its beads, gemstones, ivory and shells. There are still the remains of the factory where the ornaments from gems, beads, ivory and precious stones were made. Before visiting the actual site one must visit the museum first to get the full feel of the place. A man out there was selling ornaments and key rings made of stones. All of us purchased something or the other just as souvenirs. Walking through the once busy lanes but now ruined I could almost visualize the kind of life people must be living here. I and my friends were glad that we came here.
On way back to Ahmedabad we got to see Adalaj Vav. It’s a five storied step well located in a small sleepy village named Adalaj, about 18 km from Ahmedabad. It was built in 1499 by queen Rudabai and is counted amongst the finest architectural structures of Gujarat. Our guide had an interesting story to tell us regarding the step well. He told us how a Muslim ruler of a neighboring state killed the king and was so besotted by the beauty of the queen Rudabai that proposed her to become his queen. The queen agreed with one condition that he should complete a five story step well for her. In record time this step well was made, but so pure was the queen Rudabai’s love for the slain king Rana Veer Singh that instead of marrying the Muslim ruler she said her final prayers and jumped into the well and died.
The Vav is a classic example of Indo Islamic style of architecture. The designs on its walls and pillars include leaves, flowers, birds, fish and other breath taking ornamental designs. Sunlight cannot directly reach the well, but opening in the ceiling enable light and air to enter inside. This keeps the water inside the well cool even in summer. We were mesmerized by the beauty of the place. Though my friends wanted to spend more time there but as we were to get back to the hotel we reluctantly made our way back.
After having a good wash and wonderful dinner we all made to our rooms to have a much deserved nap. I couldn’t stop thinking about the beautiful places till the sleep engulfed me.