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Did Vaastu Shastra further evolve in Harrapan Kutch?

Press Trust Of India  |  Gandhinagar 

Did Vaastu Shastra, the ancient science of architecture mentioned in the Vedas, evolve in a big way during the Harrapan civilisation?
According to Y S Rawat, the director of Archeological Survey of India, Vastu Shastra could have further evolved in Dholavira, which is a relic of a whole Harrapan city. Rawat has worked at the Dholavira site, one of the largest sites of the Indus Valley civilisation in the Kutch region of Gujarat.
"Having worked in Dholavira, along with its then project director R S Bisht, I have a strong feeling that the people of this region made best use of the ancient science" said Rawat. Rawat goes on further to add that it was Bisht who had done maximum work in Dholavira.
The location of Dholavira between two rivers, the shape of the site, directional alignment, geometrical shape and construction of the houses, the planning of the gates, the direction of the walls-all indicate perfect use and understanding of Vaastu Shastra.
"Looking at the Dholavira site, I have a strong feeling that Vaastu Shastra evolved in a big way in this Harappan site," Rawat said.
The science dates back to the Vedic ages. It is composed of specific rules, regulations and directions set down by the sages of those times for the construction of the houses. Rawat said, the excellent water harvesting system, rock cut reserviors, the location of the grave yard, use of open spaces and other things point to the understanding of Vaastu Shastra by the Harappan civilisation inhabitants.
The water harvesting system also shows the hydraulic engineering skills of the Harappans, who converted the city walls into veritable reservoirs to preserve every drop of water, he said.
"An interesting point to note here, is the existence of a citadel, middle town and lower town. The citadel is the most secure place among them, which is furnished with beautiful entrance on all four directions", Rawat said, adding that all these are in accordance with the Vaastu Shastra.
The city is divided into 49 squares having perfect geometry and alignment. The houses were constructed using circular structures to withstand storm and sandblasts, he added.
On the basis of general evidence coming from Kutch and parts of Gujarat, it appears that the Harappans brought to the place, their full blown culture and lived almost a full life before their culture declined and fragmented, causing large scale migration from Kutch to the hinterland of Gujarat.
Of all the Harappan sites, the Dholavira one, locally known as Kotada in the Khadir island of Kutch, stands apart. The magnificient planning and enormity of area and the deposit of the site is remarkable. Among the present sites, it is one of the largest settlements in India and the fourth-largest in the subcontinent.

First Published: Wed, September 21 2005. 00:00 IST