12Mohenjo-Daro is the largest site, and Allahdino is the smallest site
Mohenjo-Daro, with an area of around 300 hectares, was the largest city of the civilization. At its peak, it may had accommodated a population of about 40,000, which is huge regarding ancient standards.
13Oldest known settlement was Mehrgarh, established around 7000 BC
Mehrgarh was a small farming village that began during the Pre-Harappan period. It is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia.
14Harappan towns and cities showed extraordinary levels of standardization
Not only the Harappan cities were well-planned, but also they followed a level of standardization that no other ancient culture could achieve at that time. Nearly all the cities that are discovered were constructed in a similar pattern. Houses were made of bricks that are precisely of the same standard dimensions. They all had sophisticated water management systems.
This particularly astonishes researchers because till now no evidence of any central ruler or authority has been found. Without any central power to impose these standards, how did they achieve this level of standardization!
15Harappan towns and cities were laid down in a rectangular grid pattern
Harappan towns and cities were designed in a rectangular grid pattern. The main streets ran along North-South direction and secondary streets along East-West direction. They intersected at junctions making perfect right angles. Many scholars believe this is the result of religious or astronomical beliefs.
16The cities had wide streets
Roads, especially in Mohenjo-Daro, were as wide as 10.5 m. Harappa also had wide roads having a similar width. The smallest roads were at least of 1.5m – 3m wide. It is believed that most of the activities like market etc. were held along these streets which justify the widths very appropriately.
17Harappan streets were paved and graded with drainage systems
At Mohenjo-Daro, as well as in other cities, the streets were very carefully constructed keeping in mind the grading for the disposal of stormwater with channels running along the streets as well as underground pipes.
The streets were also paved with sundried or burnt bricks for convenient movement of ox-driven carts.
18Cities were constructed several times and every time along the same pattern
Over the period of 800-1000 years, many Harappan cities were constructed several times owing to destruction by floods, deposition of silts, etc. Every time a new construction was made they were done on top the original grid. For example, archaeologists have found that Mohenjo-Daro was constructed at least 9 times and each time on top of the earlier levels.
This proves their understanding of the importance of the grid pattern and also the degree of their standardization in planning.
19Cities had distinct neighborhoods, specialized in various occupations
The Indus Valley cities can be divided into distinct neighborhood blocks with specific characteristics identified from the professions of the inhabitants. Occupants of different parts of the city were involved in different crafts and professions. One cluster may be involved in the manufacture of shell products, another may produce copper products, while some clusters may be involved with cotton or dyeing.
20There were well-built granaries, citadels, burial grounds and bathing platforms.
All the Indus Valley sites have been found to have granaries, citadels, burial grounds and bathing platforms. The granaries were huge in size and were very sophisticatedly designed. There were air passages to remove any moisture and keep the grains dry. This kind of advanced granaries was found only after 2800 years in Roman brick granaries.
21All the structures were built of Burnt bricks of standard sizes
Bricks used in construction during the Mature Harappa Period were all manufactured in two basic sizes- 7 x 14 x 28 cms and 10 x 20 x 40 cms. The smaller bricks were used for the construction of residences and other smaller houses while the larger ones were used for public buildings, walls, etc. Both the types of bricks followed a ratio of 1 : 2 : 4.
There are also rock-cut structures found in Dholavira which shows they were not limited to bricks as a building material.
22The ratio 1 : 2 : 4 was maintained everywhere
Not only the bricks but this ratio was observed everywhere. For example, in the dimensions of houses, public structures, neighborhood blocks and even the entire region of the city. The scholars find it difficult to understand whether this level of standardization is enforced or deliberate, or whether it is related to religious beliefs or just a convention among the builders.
23Most of the houses were two-storeyed and even three-storeyed with ample space within.
The Indus Valley civilization had excellent masons who were able to construct load-bearing brick structures up to two stories effortlessly. These houses had a central courtyard and a flat accessible terrace.
24The houses in Indus Valley Civilization were strategically designed to prevent dust and noise.
The houses had only one door and no windows towards the main streets. The door would open into a central courtyard which would have access to multiple rooms. All the windows and ventilators of the houses opened towards this courtyard and saved the house from pollution and noise.
25Harappan houses were the first to have the luxury of attached bathrooms with flush toilets
Almost all the houses in Indus Valley Civilization had bathrooms with access to running water and toilets with sophisticated drainage facilities. This technology is way ahead of its time and is first seen in this civilization.
26They were experts in creating complex water management system
In Mohenjo-Daro, archeologist found a very advanced water management system with 80 public toilets and more than 700 wells. Every house had its own bathroom and wells were strategically located to supply water to every neighborhood. There was also a system to store rainwater. The discovery of earliest public water tank which is now known as Great Bath shows their skills in architecture.
27At least one Great Bath in every city
The towns used to have Great Baths. Though the exact purpose of baths is not clear, it is believed that these might be used for religious bathing.
28Awareness of hygiene
It is very clear that the Indus Valley people were well-aware of the importance of living and maintaining a hygienic life. They had put so much effort to provide personal and public baths for everyone, stormwater runoff channels, underground wastewater systems and even garbage disposal. These facts make their attempts to make a healthy and hygienic life quite obvious.
29In Mohenjo-Daro, there were dustbins along the streets
Archaeologists have found several brick containers that were strategically located along the street junctions of Mohenjo-Daro specifically for garbage disposal.
30Underground wastewater system
There is little doubt that the Harappan were experts in managing water systems. There were separate water channels for stormwater and foul water running along the streets. Foul water drains were underground and were covered with terracotta lids. There were even chambers with openable lids for cleaning purposes.
31Presence of several major port cities proves the large-scale Maritime trade
Lothal is believed to be the world’s first dockyard. Balakot, Suktagendor, and Allahdin are other major port cities that give us an idea of the magnitude of the Maritime trade that existed with other civilizations.
32At Dholavira there was a complex water management system to store water for the dry seasons
Cities like Dholavira build dams to control the flow of water so that they can store water in gigantic reservoirs. They used to store water for irrigation and for domestic supplies throughout the year. At Dholavira there were 16 reservoirs around the city.
These dams and reservoirs solved two purposes- first, they protected the city from floods; second, they ensured water supply throughout the year.