You know those places you heard about in your history classes in school that you found boring and the memories of them ebbed the instant the teacher walked out of the room, yes Lothal in Gujarat is one such place. You’d roll your eyes in disbelief if I tell you, I did not forget about Lothal, for that matter, Harappa culture as a whole. I mean these people were slaying their era, they understood the concept of community, fashion statement, foreign trade, and the oh-so-fascinating covered drainage system, can these people BEEE anymore cooler! So, yes, while the rest of you got busy creating a bigger, brighter future for yourself over the years, I’ve pushed myself to go back to my history textbooks and the maps to go back to those places that exhilarated me once.
Lothal instantly became a part of my Gujarat travel itinerary that included several other interesting places which I will interlink with this blog for you to read. Since reaching Lothal was a challenge for me as a solo traveller who hadn’t saved anything for booking a private vehicle for it from Ahmedabad, I thought, I’d create a comprehensible travel guide on it that can help you reach this ancient site conveniently. Here’s all you need to know.
Nearest well-connected city: Ahmedabad, which sits some odd 75 km from Lothal
Nearest Bus Station: Bagodara, some 20 km away via Arnej
For those who have a private vehicle or can afford to book a transport, can easily reach Lothal from Ahmedabad as it is a perfect place for day sightseeing. There are many car service providers in Ahmedabad offering decent deals. However, if you are travelling solo or on a budget, there is a slightly inconvenient but moolah-saving way for you as well, and here it goes:
Take a bus to Bagodara from Geeta Mandir Bus Station in Ahmedabad, which takes around 1.5 – 2 hours of time. Ask the conductor to drop you at chaukari (chowk/square) where a road sign pointing towards Vataman is located. From the square, take the vehicle (mostly it is the shared auto) that will drop you to Arnej Railway Crossing and get down there. Here, you will see a sign pointing towards Lothal at 10 km. You can get a Chakda (local auto-style rickshaw) or a tuk-tuk for Lothal. There is also a bus that goes to Lothal in every few hours, for which you have to walk another 100-200 m to board.
My suggestion would be to grab the first tuk-tuk or chakda you get because the frequency is quite low, so less that I got myself tanned standing there, and I am sure, you don’t want that. Also, as I mentioned the frequency of public transport is extremely low, it is suggested that you ask the driver to take you back as well. Bargain or ask for the fare before sitting in any of the vehicles, this keeps things really easy and cordial between you and your driver.
Time Required to See Lothal: 4 – 5 hours (if you are a history buff), 1- 3 hours (if you want to do it in a relaxed pace)
Best Time to Visit: July to March
Staying Option: There are no places to stay in Lothal. The nearest place to stay would be at Bagodara. Here too, the options are limited. Ahmedabad is apparently the best place to stay with options ranging from budget to luxury hotels.
Let me take you to Lothal how I found it suitable to explore. In that case, the first place to see in Lothal will be the ASI Museum, which gives you a detailed tour of what this 5000 years site was like. Right from the map of Harappan sites in the world to reconstructed images of Lothal’s town planning, from metallurgy evidences to the terracotta jewellery to utensils in the household to kids’ toys and from the model of the town to the twin skeletons, you have a world of people once residing in Lothal all in front of your eyes and it is simply breathtaking. Let me try to recall what all I saw in the bullet points so that it is also easy for you to read as well:
Thing to Note:
The twin burial drew my attention the most. Yes, the archaeologists have preserved a skeleton remain that displays the concept of twin burials was quite common in the Harappan culture.
ASI have facilitated a documentary on Harappan and Indus Valley Civilization and on Mohenjo Daro (in Pakistan) and Lothal. The documentary is shown every 30-minutes and on request, and gives you in-depth yet comprehensible insight on the Indus Valley history and that of Mohenjo Daro and Lothal.
Once done with the documentary, you can take an exit from the insightful world of museum to relive the history on the original site now. The air somehow lightens once you are at the site, giving you a very positive feel about the place. The first thing that catches your attention is a small half-broken well which instantly gives you goosebumps. And you look more towards your right, there it is – the famous Dockyard, half full or dried up, depending in which season you are visiting, and the view just grips you. Wow! Here some 5000 years ago, the people of an incredibly planned city anchored their boats.
On the left side of the well, lies the entire town of Lothal which had citadel, bead factories, lower town of the common people and the Upper Town for the rich citizens. Remember the famous drainage? Yes, you can see it in person and be at awe of it. Since, I visited this offbeat tourist site in the monsoon month, the place was lush green with grass growing knee tall making it look even more surreal.
Note to the Readers:
As a traveller, I felt that the transport is the major issue, if there was better connectivity between Bagodara and Lothal, I am sure, a lot of people would come to this lesser or unexplored place in Gujarat. However, the auto-driver who was a local resident intimated of a railway line being constructed till Arnej, which will hopefully make Lothal more accessible for travellers. Until then, I request you all to be patient, but not to postpone your plan to visit Lothal since it is a great weekend getaway from Ahmedabad. Book your cabs from Ahmedabad or if you are like me, use the Gujarat Roadways bus and use the local means of transport so that even they can generate some revenue. Be a responsible traveller. Happy travelling!