Indus Valley Civilization (2350-1750 BC)

  • This Bronze Age Civilization is also called Harappan because it was discovered in 1921 at the modern site of Harappa situated in the province of West Punjab in Pakistan. The discovery was made by Sir John Marshall, Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni and Madho Sarup Vats.
  • It extended from Jammu in the north to the Naramada estuary in the south, and from the Makran coast of Baluchistan in the west to Meerut in the north-east. The area formed a triangle and accounted for about 1,299,600 square kilometres.     
  • Nearly 1500 Harappan sites are known so far in the Indian sub-continent. Of these, the two most important cities were Harappa in Punjab and Mohenjo-daro (literally the mound of the dead) in Sindh, both forming parts of Pakistan. Situated at a distance of 483 kilometres, they were linked together by the Indus.
  • Other cities are Chanhudaro, about 130 km south of Mohenjo-daro in Sindh, Lothal in Gujarat at the head of the Gulf of Cambay, Kalibangan, which means black bangles, innorthern Rajasthan, and Banawali, which is situated in Hissardistrict in Haryana.
  • Modern technique of Carbon-14 dating has been employed to calculate the date o fthe Indus Valley Civilization. Har appan seal s, whi ch have been obt ai ned from  Mesopotamia, provide additional help.
  • The largest Indus Valley Civilization site is Mohenjodaro. The smallest site is Allahdino. The largest sites in Indiaare  Dholavira and Rakhigarhi. The three  nucleus sites are Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Dholavira. The number of sites which areconsidered as cities is six. 
  • The Indus Valley Civilization was probably ruled by the merchant class.Note: The maximum number of sites were explored by SR Rao in Gujarat (190 sites). At present there are over 350 sites which have been excavat
  • In the citadel of Harappa, six granaries were found.
  • Each granary measured 15.23 × 6.03 metres and lay within a few metres of the river bank.
  • Harappa also shows two-roomed barracks.
  • The cemetery R37, containing 57 burials, is located at Harappa.
  • The most important public place of Mohenjo-daro seems to be the Great Bath, comprising the tank which situated in the citadel mound. It measures 11.88 × 7.01
    metres and 2.43 metres deep.
  • In Mohenjo-daro the largest building is the Great Granary, which is 45.71 metres long and 15.23 metres wide.
  • A stupa, a college hall, a hammam, assembly halls, a bronze statue of dancing girl and two bronze swords were the other structures found at Mohenjo-daro.
  • The maximum number of bronze figures have been found in Mohenjo-daro.
  • The limestone sculpture of a seated male priest was found at Mohenjo-daro.
  • Note: Maximum number of seals have been found in Mohenjo-daro (57%). The second maximum is at Harappa (36%
  • Pottery inkpots and writing tablets (leafs) were found at Chanhudaro.
  • Chanhudaro had no citadel.
  • Fire altars have been discovered at Kalibangan.
  • Black bangles were found here.
  • A house floor containing the design of intersecting circles was found at Kalibangan.
  • Ploughed fields were found in Kalibangan.
  • The lower city has been laid out in a grid pattern of streets at Kalibangan.
  • An atta chakki (grinding stone) was discovered at Lothal.
  • Rice husk was discovered in Lothal and Rangpur.
  • A terracotta figure of a horse has been found in Lothal.
  • Houses in Indus Valley civilization never opened towards the main roads. They opened towards the inside lanes. Lothal, however, was an exception.
  • Lothal was a major port of exit and entry.
  • A tiger seal was found at Banawali.
  • The most extensively used metal in Indus Valley Civilization was pure copper (unalloyed copper).
  • Amri: Situated in the Sindh region on the banks of he river
  • Indus; founded by MG Majumdar in 1929.
  • Surakotada: Situated in Gujarat; founded by Jagat Pati Joshi in 1964.
  • Sutkagendor: Situated along the Makran coast in Baluchistan. Founded by Aurel Stein in 1927.
  • Kot Diji: Situated in the Sindh region along the banks of the river Indus.
  • Rangpur: Situated in Gujarat along the river Madar. Founded in 1931 by MS Vats.

1.Sind: Mohenjo-daro, Amri, Kot Diji, Tarkai, Quila, Sukkur, Allahdino, Chanhudaro, Rohri, Ali Murad, Jhukar.

2.Baluchistan: Mehragarh, Kulli, Levan, Dabarkot, Balakot.

3.Afghanistan: Mundigak, Shortugai

4.West Punjab: Harappa, Ganeriwala

5.Gujarat: Dholavira, Lothal, Surkotada, Bhagalrav, Rangpur, Rojadi, Desalpur

6.Rajasthan: Kalibangan, Siswal, Bara, Hulas, Bhagwanpura

7.Uttar Pradesh: Alamgirpur, Hulas, Mandi 8.Punjab: Ropar, Sarai Khola

  • Wheat and barley were the most important crops of Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Other crops: Peas, linseed, mustard, cotton, dates. There is no evidence of sugarcane. Rice was produced only in Gujarat.
  • The towns were based on grid pattern. Streets and lanes cutting across one another at right angles divide the city into a number of rectangular blocks.
  • The city was divided into two parts. One part was the citadel, a fortified area which housed important civic and religious public buildings, including granaries and residences. The other part was lower town, somewhat bigger in area and located to the east of the citadel. It was meant for common people.
  • At some places like Surkotada and Kalibanga, there is also evidence of division of city into three parts instead of two.
  • Burnt bricks were basically used for construction.
  • Circular stones were used at Dholavira.
  • Bricks were made in the ratio of 1 : 2 : 4.
  • The seals were basically made up of steatite (soft stones) and had signs, symbols and animal pictures on it. They were generally square and rectangular in shape. The most frequently depicted animal on the Harappan seal is the unicorn and the most famous seal is the Pashupati seal discovered from Mohenjo-daro.
  • The Indus Valley civilization exhibits a wide range of crafts and technical skills.
  • Copper and bronze were the principal metals used for making tools and implements — flat oblong axes, knives, spears, arrowheads and razors. Bronze was less common than copper.
  • Other metals used by the Harappans were gold, silver and lead.
  • The Harappans were expert bead makers. They used soft steatite and carnelian for making beads.
  • The Harappan script is regarded as pictographic (based on symbols). It has more than 600 letters, of which 60 are basic while the rest are variants. The writing style of Harappan
    people was Bestrophedon, i.e. right to left in the first line,again left to right in the second line, and so on. The language of the Harappan people is still unknown and undeciphered.
  • Trading was both internal and external, i.e. inside as well as outside the country.
  • Urban craftsmen needed markets to sell their goods in other areas. The traders established contacts with urbanlands, particularly Mesopotamia.
  • The presence of raw materials found at sites away from the place of their origin indicates that it reached there through exchange activities. For example, copper was generally acquired from Khetri mines located in Rajasthan.
  • Kolar gold mines of Karnataka and river beds of Himalayan rivers might have supplied gold. It might also have come from Mesopotamia in exchange of Harappan goods.
  • Turquoise and jade might have been brought from Central Asia. Western India supplied agate, chalcedony and carnelian.
  • The sea-shells must have come from Gujarat and adjoining coastal areas.
  • The trading with Mesopotamia was basically through Oman and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.
  • Mesopotamian cities like Susa have accounted for about two dozen Harappan seals.
  • The Mesopotamian people were in trade with Dilmun, Magan and Meluhha. Scholars found Meluhha in Harappan region, Magan in Makran Coast, and Dilmun in Bahrain. The Mesopotamian people imported copper,carnelian, shell, pearls and ebony from Meluhha.
  • Exports from Mesopotamia to Harappa included items such as garments, wool, perfumes, leather and silver
  • The Harappan religion is normally termed as animism,i.e. worship of trees, stones, etc.
  • A large number of terracotta figurines are evidence to the worship of Mother Goddess.
  • In some cases a female is shown with an infant. In anothercase, a plant is shown growing out of the uterus of a female.
  • Many scholars say that the Harappans worshipped a male deity, i.e. Pashupati Mahadev.
  • Evidence of fire worship has also been found at Kalibangan and Lothal.
  • The Harappans basically disposed their dead bodies by burying them in pit graves. They generally  lay the dead  body in North–South direction  with head in north  and legs in south. A number of ornaments and other items like clay pots, which originally might have contained food and drink, were buried with the dead bodies.