Lothal - Civilization - Religion and Disposal of The Dead

Religion and Disposal of The Dead

The people of Lothal worshipped a fire god, speculated to be the horned deity depicted on seals, which is also evidenced by the presence of private and public fire-altars where sacrifices of animals and cattle were apparently conducted. Archaeologists have discovered gold pendants, charred ashes of terra-cotta cakes and pottery, bovine remains, beads and other signs that may indicate the practice of the Gavamayana sacrifice, associated with the ancient Vedic religion. Animal worship is also evidenced, but not the worship of the Mother Goddess that is evidenced in other Harappan cities—experts consider this a sign of the existence of diversity in religious traditions. However, it is believed that a sea goddess, perhaps cognate with the general Indus-era Mother Goddess, was worshipped. Today, the local villagers likewise worship a sea goddess, Vanuvati Sikotarimata, suggesting a connection with the ancient port's traditions and historical past as an access to the sea. But the archaeologists also discovered that the practice had been given up by 2000 BCE (determined by the difference in burial times of the carbon-dated remains). It is suggested that the practice occurred only on occasion. It is also considered that given the small number of graves discovered—only 17 in an estimated population of 15,000—the citizens of Lothal also practised cremation of the dead. Post-cremation burials have been noted in other Indus sites like Harappa, Mehi and Damb-Bhuti.

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