The Archaeological Survey of India has discovered a 5000 year-old step well at Dholavira according to the Times of India. Moreover it is three times the size of the Great Bath at Mohenjo-Daro, one of its best known structures. Overall the reservoir is rectangular – 73.4m long x 29.3m wide and 10 m deep. It seems that this discovery shows a deeper excavation with rough steps down to the water level. The superintending ASI archaeologist thinks there may be other reservoirs and wells yet to be discovered and spot analyses will be done in December. And he hopes to find the ancient shoreline when Dholavira was a significant port. This find raises the reservoir to be greatest known ancient example in India.
Anyone who has been to Dholavira from Bhuj will know that it’s not a casual outing. An early start, chai at Raipur, a long country drive northwards, then the long causeway across the Rann of Kutch to Khadir Island, which was once a major link to open sea and is now enclosed by salt flats. When I got to the museum no one was there apart from the curator who locked up and showed us round, quite an experience. Even then there were at least 16 large fresh water reservoirs fed by monsoon channels. Only discovered in 1967 Dholavira is acknowledged to be one of the top five Indus Valley Civilisation cities. Now its importance has gone up even further and worth a major detour.