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The ancient city of Dvaarkaa was situated on the extreme West
Coast of Indian territory. Dvaarkaa, a
Nagari (City) submerged in the Indian sea at the Gujarat
Gomati creek, located at the eastern side of Dvaarkaa, served as
a safe harbour till the 19th century AD. Offshore explorations have
brought to light a large number of stone structures which appear to
be the remains of an ancient jetty. This hypothesis is supported
also by the discovery of a large number of stone anchors of various
types in Dvaarkaa waters.
The typology of anchors has indicated that Dvaarkaa was an important port since historical period. Maritime
activities increased many folds during the medieval period. This
flourishing port and religious capital got submerged under the sea.
Archaeological excavations brought to light a jetty at Kuntasi in
Gujarat dating back to Harappan period. Similarly, excavations have
revealed a dockyard and a few stone anchors at Lothal, another
There are several literary references mentioning
ports at many coastal sites during the early historical period (2500
to 1500 yrs BC), but archaeological remains of these ports are
scanty. Most of the settlements were situated either on the river
banks or on the banks of backwaters, which would have served as an
excellent natural harbour.
These locations being highly vulnerable
to floods and other natural disasters, it is not surprising that
only scanty evidence for their existence remain. Excavations at Poompuhaar brought to light, a wharf situated on the bank of the old
course of the river Kaaveri.
Similarly, onshore excavation at Elephanta Island yielded a wharf dating back to early centuries of
the Christian Era. There is evidence to suggest that the present Bet
Dvaarkaa jetty has been used as a harbour since the early historic
The results of marine archaeological explorations undertaken by
the Marine Archaeology Centre of the National Institute of
Oceanography, Goa between 1997 and 2001.
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