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Indus valley - Dholavira - 07 The ‘Hemispherical Constructions’



Type of Spiritual Experience



The Shulba Sutras or Śulbasūtras mentioned in the text below,  (Sanskrit śulba: "string, cord, rope") are sutra texts belonging to the Śrauta ritual and containing geometry related to fire-altar construction. 

The oldest is the sutra attributed to Baudhayana, possibly compiled around 800 BCE to 600 BCE. while the youngest content may date to about 200 CE.  The Shatapatha Brahmana (Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, "Brāhmaṇa of one hundred parts") is a prose text describing Vedic rituals, history and mythology associated with the Śukla Yajurveda.  The text describes in great detail the preparation of altars, ceremonial objects, ritual recitations, and the Soma libation, along with the symbolic attributes of every aspect of the rituals.  Linguistically, the Shatapatha Brahmana belongs to the later part of the Brāhmaṇa period of Vedic Sanskrit i.e. roughly the 8th to 6th centuries BCE, Iron Age India.

But Dholavira was occupied from c.2650 BCE and by the time of the sutras had been overrun by Scythians.  So there is the possibility they were a much much later addition, or that the symbolism and use is much earlier and different.

There are seven – the symbolic planets – in other words the Intelligences or the Gods that were derived from the Ultimate Intelligence Shiva.  One needs to understand the Intelligence hierarchy to understand how this worked. 

Going down into a symbolic cave’ is yet another means of provoking an experience via sensory deprivation.  Hypothetically, one figuratively speaking ascended through the planets via each chamber.  One of the main means of spiritual experience was via underground chambers, but it was also via sound, although nothing has been yet examined of the Dholavira chambers and their acoustic properties.


A description of the experience


Seven Hemispherical constructions were found at Dholavira, of which two were excavated in detail, which were constructed over large rock cut chambers. Having a circular plan, these were big hemispherical elevated mud brick constructions. One of the excavated structures was designed in the form of a spoked wheel. The other was also designed in same fashion, but as a wheel without spokes. Although they contained burial goods of pottery, no skeletons were found except for one grave, where a skeleton and a copper mirror were found. A necklace of steatite beads strung to a copper wire with hooks at both ends, a gold bangle, gold and other beads were also found in one of the hemispherical structures.

These hemispherical structures bear similarity to early Buddhist stupas. The Archaeological Survey of India, which conducted the excavation, was of the opinion that "the kind of design that is of spoked wheel and unspoked wheel also remind one of the Sararata-chakra-citi and sapradhi-rata-chakra-citi mentioned in the Satapatha Brahmana and Sulba-sutras".

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps