A mysterious part of Udaipur very few people know about-Ahad
I visited this mysterious part of Udaipur when I was ten years of age. The next time Ahad called me out was when I was in my early twenties. This haunted part of Udaipur still calls me silently to visit it. Dear reader, this post is about the ghost town of Udaipur, Ahad.
The Ghost Town of Udaipur
Many tourist guidebooks do not talk about the mysterious town of Udaipur which is a pity. Probably the main reason behind this omission is that Ahad is quite remote and does not fall on the regular tourist circuit of the city.
You will have to enter the city of Udaipur from its eastern side in order to discover this 4,500-year-old ghost town.
The area of this colony is quite small; just 500 square meters.In the earlier days this settlement was fortified by walls. Even today, we can still see those crumbling walls.
The appropriate name of this colony is Balathal so if you want to explore this place, just refer to the word Balathal.
The walls of this dead ‘city’ are made of mud and bricks and if you know a little bit of the Harappan history, you will remember that the Harappans also made walls like these.
The Ahad settlement of Udaipur is not an isolated one. There are similar settlements in other parts of Rajasthan. Those are primarily located in the south-eastern part of the state. So we can conclude that this Udaipur ghost colony was just a part of a ‘pearl of settlements’ that strung out in Udaipur, Chittor, Bhilwara, Bundi etc. If you like Geography, you will realize that all these Ahad settlements lie in the Banas river valley.
There are 90 such settlements of the same age.
When the Balathal settlement was first discovered in the early 1950s, scientists found that it was covered by ash and cow dung. Nobody knew the reason for that.
The scientists also uncovered some very interesting materials- skeletons! The ashes and cow dung had hidden remains of 5 people all these years and nobody knew who were these five people!
They did not know the age of these materials but after testing them, the scientists found out the earliest age of this settlement to be 3,500 BC! On carrying more tests, the scientists concluded that people had been living here until 3,700 years ago! Isn’t it amazing?
The skeletons were at least 4,00 years old but their presence was a mystery to the archaeologists. Before this discovery, it was thought that the people of Ahad used to cremate their dead. But after this find, the scientists had to revise their opinions. Perhaps, the Ahads followed the Harappans in burying their dead.
Stone and Copper
The people of Ahad used stone and copper in their day to day lives. That period in history is called the Chalcolithic age.
Some researchers say that the Ahad settlements are the missing links between the Harappan era and the later part of Indian history.
Who were those dead people?
After a lot of hard work, the scientists have been able to identify four out of the five skeletons.
There are two women in those skeletons and their ages are 35 years. The third skeleton belongs to a man who was 50 when he died.Probably he died because of some joint injury or disease.
The age and sex of the fourth skeleton have not been found out yet.
The last skeleton is that of an adult male who died when he was in his 40s. His body was found in a seated position. Was he a sanyasi in his living days? This question is important because many Hindus cremate their sadhus and sanyasis in a seated position.
But let’s come back to one of the ladies who was discovered in this pile of ashes. She was found buried with an earthen pot placed near her head. Why was this vessel placed near her head?
The scientists who excavated this site think that this place was meant for cremation and other rituals only. They haven’t found similar burial or cremation sites in other Ahad settlements.
I am sure that after reading all this you will plan your visit to this mysterious part of Udaipur. There is no greater fun than seeing this ancient town with your own eyes.