Indus Valley Civilization

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Indus Valley Civilization, Mature Phase (2600-1900 BCE)

Remainings of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Indus Valley Civilization is the one of the oldest ancient civilizations of the world. Indus River Valley Civilization was discovered by the archaeologists in the 1920s.
  • It flourished in the Bronze Age (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE, pre-Harappan cultures starting c.7500 BCE) along the Indus River (hence called Indus Valley Civilization) and the Ghaggar-Hakra River, which now lies in the area of modern Pakistan, North-West India and Afghanistan (covering an area of 1.25 million km2).
  • The Indus Valley Civilization was spread from Balochistan in Pakistan to Gujarat in India.
  • The first city to be discovered by excavation was Harappa and Mohenjo Daro soon afterwards was also discovered. Indus Valley Civilization is also known as ‘Harappan Civilization‘.[i] [ii]

Discovery of Indus Valley Civilization:

Remainings of Harappa

  • The ruins of Indus Civilization city, Harappa came into light in 1842 in “Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, and the Punjab”, by Charles Masson where locals talked of an ancient city extending “thirteen cosses” (about 25 miles), but for nearly a century no archaeological interest would attach to this.
  • Under the British Rule in 1856, General Alexander Cunningham, later Director General of the Archaeological Survey of Northern India, visited Harappa.
  • Dancing_Girl_of_Mohenjo-daroJohn Brunton and William Brunton, the two British Engineers were laying the East Indian Railway Company line connecting the Karachi and Lahore. They were informed of a ruined ancient city, Brahminabad near the lines full of hard well burnt bricks which would serve as ballast for the line of the railway.
  • Further north, a few months later John Brunton’s brother William Brunton’s section of the railway line ran near another ruined city, bricks from which had already been used by villagers in the nearby village of Harappa at the same site. These bricks now provided ballast along 93 miles (150 km) of the railroad track running from Karachi to Lahore.

Important Sites:

1.     Harappa:

  • Situated on River Ravi, in Montgomery District of Punjab (Pakistan).
  • Stone Dancing Nataraja and Cemetry-37 have been found here.
  • Excavated by Daya Ram Sahni in 1921-23.

2.     Mohenjo Daro:

The Great Bath, Mohenjo-daro

  • Situated on River Indus, in Larkana District of Sind (Pakistan).
  • It Includes The Great Bath, The Great Granary, The Collegiate Building and The Assembly Hall.
  • Excavated by R.D. Bannerjee in 1922.

3.     Chanhu Daro:

  • Situated on River Indus, 130 kms South of Mohenjo Daro, in Sind (Pakistan).
  • Only Indus Valley Civilization site without citadel.
  • Excavated by N.G.Mazumdar in 1931.

4.     Kalibangan:

Sculpture from Mohenjo-daro

  • Situated on Ghaggar River, in Rajasthan.
  • Evidence of two types of burials, namely – Circular Grave and Rectangular Grave found here
  • Discovered by B.B. Lal in 1961.

5.     Banawali:

  • Situated on River Saraswati, in Haryana
  • Lacked Systematic Drainage System.
  • Evidence of Good Quality Barley found here.
  • Discovered by R.S. Bisht in 1973.

6.     Lothal:

  • Situated on River Bhogava, in Gujarat.
  • A part town was divided into Citadel, Lower Town and Dockyard.
  • Discovered by S.R. Rao in 1954.

7.     Surkotada:

  • It is located in the Kutch District of Gujarat.
  • Evidence of horse, oral grave, pit burials found
  • Seemingly a port city.
  • Discovered by J.P. Joshi in 1972.

8.     Dholavira:

  • Situated on River Luni, in the Kutch District of Gujarat.
  • It has a unique water management system.
  • Largest Happan Inscription and a Stadium is found there.
  • Discovered by J.P. Joshi in 1967-68.

9.     Kot Diji:

  • It is located in the 25 Kms (15 miles) south of the City of Khairpur in Sindh, Pakistan.
  • Between 1785 to 1795 the Talpurs constructed a fort atop a hill at the edge of a desert in Khairpur District, Sindh, Pakistan, which came to be known as Kot Diji Fort.
  • It consists of a stone rubble wall, dating to about 3000 BCE, that surrounds a citadel and numerous residences, all of which were first excavated in the 1950s

10.   Ropar:

  • Lying on the left bank of the Sutlej.
  • The excavations yielded a sequence of six Periods: I (Harappa, c. 2100 to 14OOB.C,); II (PGW, c. 1000 to 600 B.C.); III (NBPW or early historical, c. 600 to 200B.C.); IV (middle to late historical, c. 200 B.C. to A.D. 700); V (late historical, c. 700-1200); and VI (medieval, c.1200-1700)

Features of Indus Valley Civilization:

Seal of Indus Valley Civilization showing Pashupati (Shiva)

  • The towns of Indus Valley Civilization were systematically planned based on Grid System. The Houses were made of Burnt Bricks and the Drainage System was well managed.
  • The Great Bath (Mohenjo Daro) was used for religious bathing.
  • Harappans were ruled by a class of merchants as no evidence of weapons is found there.
  • Indus Valley people sowed seeds in November and reaped their harvest in April because of danger of flood. They produced wheat, barley, rai, peas, sesamum, rice and mustard.
  • Indus Valley people first produced Cotton as Greeks called it Sindon (derived from Sindh).

Earthen Pottery of Indus Valley Civilization

  • A very interesting fact about the Indus Valley people is that they did not have any knowledge about Iron.
  • Harappa People considered Earth as the Fertility Goddess and Phallic (Lingam) and Yoni worship was performed.
  • Indus Valley Civilization shows no evidence of temples. But the Indus people did worshipped animals such as Unicorn, bull among animals, pipal tree, dove and pigeon among birds and also they worshipped stones.
  • The seals of Pashupati depicts elephant, tiger, rhinoceros and buffalo and also two deers appear at the feet of Pashupati.
  • The seals made of Stealite were the Greatest artistic creation of the Harappan Cuture.
  • Harappan Script is Pictographic but its not deciphered yet.
  • The Script is written from right to left in the first line and from left to right in the second line. This style is called Boustrophedon.

Boundaries within Indian subcontinent:

  • North – Manda (Jammu & Kashmir, India)
  • South – Daimabad (Maharashtra, India)
  • East – Alamgirpur (Uttar Pradesh, India)
  • West – Sutkagen Dor (Baluchistan, Pakistan)

Decline of Indus Valley Civilization:

  • The possible reasons for the decline of Indus Valley Civilization at a glance:

One reason may be the Invasion of Aryans, or recurrent floods, or social break up of Harappas and also earthquake may be one possible reason.


[i] https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_Valley_civilization
[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_Valley_Civilization
[iii] Manohar Pandey (2015). General Knowledge 2016. Meerut: Arihant Publications (India) Limited. Indian History Page 2.
[iv] http://www.britannica.com/place/Kot-Diji
[v] http://www.dawn.com/news/1177325
[vi] http://asi.nic.in/asi_exca_imp_punjab.asp

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