The Indian civilisation has been a symbol of the rich heritage that showcases our diverse prosperous legacy. With a vast coastline of around 7500 kilometers, it is of significant importance that we preserve our maritime cultural history.
The present government is working to bring back the rich naval history of the Lothal site in Gujarat. A National Maritime Heritage Complex(NMHC) at Lothal is in progress, whose work was reviewed by PM Modi yesterday via video conferencing.
NMHC – To be a symbol of rich maritime culture
A National Maritime heritage complex is under progress at the Indus valley civilisation site of Lothal in Gujarat with the efforts of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways. A one-of-its-kind complex in the world, it will display the diverse and rich maritime history of India.
At the center of the museum will lie a mini re-creation of Lothal enclosed by waters on all sides. It will be structured similarly to the architecture of the Harappan civilisation sites, which will inform the visitors about the housing patterns of that time.
Four theme parks have been planned inside the maritime complex, namely the Monuments, Maritime, Climate Change, and Amusement theme parks.
The world’s largest lighthouse museum with 77 meters of height will also be housed in the complex. NMHC will be accommodated with hotels and eco-resorts with connectivity via ‘Harappan canals’.
In two phases, a total of 14 galleries will be established in the complex.
These galleries would unravel the ancient mythologies of the sea to the visitors. The theme of the galleries includes orientation and mythologies; Harappans: The Pioneer Seafarers; Post Harappan trajectories and the impact of climate change; India’s contact with the Greco-Roman World and an Indian navy gallery.
History of Lothal
The Indus Valley Site of Lothal in Gujarat was first discovered in 1954 by S R Rao of the Archaeological Survey of India. It has been a thriving trading port since 3700 BCE and is home to one of the oldest docks in the world.
Archaeologists believe that the city was a part of the major river system on the ancient trade route from Sindh to Saurashtra in Gujarat. The remains of stone anchors, marine shells, seals, and a structure of a warehouse further confirm that Lothal was a port with a dock and not an irrigation tank.
The site is also known to be one of the important centers of shell-making as reported by S R Rao, “The method of bead-making in Lothal was so advanced that it is still followed by bead-makers in Kathiawar, more than 4000 years later!”
In 2021, Lothal was recognized as India’s 40th World heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The establishment of NMHC will not only acknowledge the rich maritime culture of Lothal but will also boost the tourism and employment industry. It will act as a centre for learning and understanding India’s diverse maritime history. NMHC will also be recognized as an internationally-renowned tourist destination in the coming years.
PM Modi has lately been making efforts to bring back and preserve the forgotten Indian historical culture. During his speech, he said that “Lothal was not only a major trading centre of the Indus Valley Civilization, but it was also a symbol of India’s maritime power and prosperity,”. Along with Lothal, PM also talked about bringing back the maritime glory of one of the largest Harappan sites, Dholavira in Gujarat.