(Ancient & Medieval History & Culture)General Studies Paper 1
Question:- 99. The government is developing National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) in Lothal, the oldest dock of the world. What are the features of this project? Explain the significance of this project by tracing down history of this site. Answer in 250 words.
Oct 27, 2022


Lothal was one of the southernmost sites of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, located in the modern state of Gujarat. It is known for the discovery of the oldest man-made dockyard. Archaeologists believe that the city was a part of a major river system on the ancient trade route from Sindh to Saurashtra. Lothal was a thriving trade centre in ancient times, with its trade of beads, gems and ornaments reaching West Asia and Africa. The meaning of Lothal (a combination of Loth and (s) thal) in Gujarati is “the mound of the dead”.



A maritime heritage complex in Lothal is fitting tribute to the city’s historical legacy and heritage.



National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) is being developed in Lothal as a one-of-its-kind project to display India’s rich and diverse maritime heritage and to also help Lothal to emerge as a world class international tourist destination.

The heritage complex in Lothal is being built in such a way that the common man of India can easily understand its history. In this, an attempt is being made to revive the same era by using very modern technology. It will have several innovative and unique features such as-

  1. Lothal mini recreation to recreate Harappan architecture and lifestyle,
  2. Four theme parks –
  • Memorial theme park,
  • Maritime and Navy theme park,
  • Climate theme park, and
  • Adventure and Amusement theme park.


  1. It will also house following among others-
  • the world’s tallest lighthouse museum,
  • Fourteen galleries highlighting India’s maritime heritage starting from the Harappan times till today,
  • A Coastal states pavilion displaying the diverse maritime heritage of states and UTs.



Indian archaeologists started the search for cities of the Harappan Civilisation post-1947 in Gujarat’s Saurashtra. Archaeologist SR Rao led the team which discovered the port city of Lothal. The National Institute of Oceanography in Goa discovered marine microfossils and salt, gypsum crystals at the site, indicating that sea water once filled the structure and it was definitely a dockyard. In later excavations, ASI unearthed a mound, a township, a marketplace, and the dock.

Significance of National Maritime Heritage Complex

  1. National Maritime Heritage Complex at Lothal will act as a centre for learning and understanding of India’s diverse maritime history.
  1. National Maritime Heritage Complex will help Lothal to emerge as a world-class international tourist destination which will augment the economic development of the region.



Lothal was not only a major trading centre of the Indus Valley Civilisation, but it was also a symbol of India’s maritime power and prosperity. Development of this project will bolster the recognition of  India’s rich cultural diversity.