Advertisement

Indus Valley Civilization

The Indus Valley Civilization or Harappan Civilization is one of the earliest civilizations of the world. It was situated on the North-Western part of the Indian subcontinent. It is also known as Harrapan civilization because the first excavation took place in Harappa.

  • Charles Merson was the first man to find Harappa-bricks in 1826. Alexander Cunningham excavated the ruins of Harappa in 1875.
  • The was excavated in the year 1921 under the supervision of Daya Ram Sahni and Madhav Swarup Vats in Harrapa.
  • R. D. Banerji led the team which excavated Mohenjo-daro in 1922.
  • The time period of Indus Valley Civilization is estimated to be around 2350 – 1750 bce.
  • It was spread across a vast area of 1299600 sq. km.
  • It covered Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Western UP, Jammu and Afghanistan.
  • The Harappan Civilization was spread on a triangular shaped area.

TOWN PLANNING :

  • The best feature of the Indus Valley Civilization is its Town Planning.
  • All the cities have similar pattern/town planning.
  • Roads cross each other at a right angle.
  • This divides the city into many blocks of similar size and shape.
  • Extensive use of red bricks in buildings.
  • Multi-storey buildings.
  • Each house had a courtyard and a bath.
  • The houses were of all sizes.
  • The doors and windows of the houses were not open to the front road and opened in the back alleys.
  • The windows were at the height. Probably this was done to avoid pollution (dust, noise etc.) or for security reasons.
  • But the doors in Lothal opens to the main road.
  • The utility and robustness of the houses are preferred to the beauty and decoration.
Indus Valley Civilization
Source: Wikipedia

DRAINAGE SYSTEM:

  • Mohenjodaro’s drainage system was remarkable.
  • There were wells in the houses.
  • The water of the houses fell out through the small drains in the big drains beside the roads.
  • Many times these drains were covered. Manholes were also made in the drains of the roads so that the collected dirt could be cleared.

GRANARY:

  • Granary is the biggest building of Mohenjo-daro.
  • It is 45.71 meters long and 15.23 meters wide.
  • While in the fort of Harappa, there are 12 granaries in the number of 6 + 6 in two queues. Their inclusive area is equal to the area of the single large granary of the Mohenjo-daro.
  • In the open floor of the Harappan granary, there is a rounded platform made from stone which might have been used for thrashing the grain from the crop, as grains of wheat and barley have been found in the cracks of the floor.

AGRICULTURE:

  • Barley and wheat were the main crops of Harappan civilization.
  • Paddy was also produced but only in the Gujarat region. Rice residues have been found in Rangpur and Lothal.
  • People of Indus Civilization are the earliest people to produce cotton.
  • Datepalm, watermelons, peas, sesame, mustard, rye (Brassica juncear) were other crops.
  • Ploughing of the land or fields was done by wood ploughs. Tollage marks are found in Kalibanga. Stone sickles were used for harvesting.
  • Cattle breeding was yet another occupation.
  • Evidence of animals like humped bulls, ox, buffaloes, sheep and goats, pigs, dogs, cats, donkeys, camels, elephants etc. are found. The remains of horses are found only in Surakotada.

TECHNOLOGY:

  • Stone technology was in vogue and well developed.
  • Beads production had developed into fine art.
  • Seals, mostly of soapstones were produced.
  • Textile manufacturing was in vogue. A piece of woven cloth was found in Mohenjo-daro.
  • Woven cloths were of wools as well as cotton.
  • Brick manufacturing, masonry, pottery manufacturing and the making of boats were other important crafts prevalent at the time.
  • Harappan people were familiar with metals like gold, silver, tin, lead, copper etc.
  • Harrapan people had no knowledge of iron. Harappa civilization was prehistoric bronze-age civilization.
  • The copper-bronze articles such as dancing girl and toy-chariot prove that metal work-technique was in a developed stage.
  • The bead making industry was prevalent in Lothal and Chandhardo.
  • During the Harappan period, pottery with red and black coloured designs was used.

ARMS AND WEAPONS:

  • People of this civilization were peaceful. Remnants of their tools have been found in sufficient numbers.
  • But very few weapons are found.
  • Arms and weapons of Harappan People were made of copper and brass.
  • Axe, blades, sting (Gophan) and dagger were the main weapons.
  • There were three kinds of missiles made of backed clay. Their shape, material and the spot where they were found certainly lead one to regard them as weapons of the offence rather of defence.
  • The tools consisted mostly of blades, chisel, hook for fishing.
  • The Harappan people had knowledge of the use of bows and arrows.
  • No helmet or shields are found.

SCRIPT:

There are approximately 400 symbols in the Indus script, which are pictographic in nature. The script was written from right to left. Indus Valley Civilization scripts are yet to be deciphered.

Advertisement

RELIGION:

Idol worship was prevalent in the Indus valley civilization. Evidence of Mother Goddess, Pashupati, Phallus worship and fire worship have been found. Humped bulls/bulls were also considered sacred. But there is no information about temples.

Peepal’s tree was considered sacred. Yoga was practised. Phallus worship was done but male and female phallus was not placed together. The remains of Agniikund (firepit) or Havanakund have been found in Kalibanga (Rajasthan) and Lothal (Gujarat). The arrangement of ceremonial (religious or ritual) bathing has been found in Kalibanga. The huge bathhouse of Mohenjo-daro was also probably for the ritual bath.

A sufficient number of Swastika marks are found from Mohenjo-daro. Which are of both right or left orientation. No Indus Valley Civilization seals have been found bearing the pictures of the cow. The seals were used for both Rituals as well as for the Commercial purpose.

MAIN SITES OF INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION

Harappa

Harappa is situated on the banks of river Ravi at a distance of 25 KM southwest of city Montgomery in Pakistan. It was the first site of Harappan Civilization to be excavated, by the D. R. Sahani in 1921.

The Harappa town was divided into two sectors – Eastern and Western sectors. The Western Sector was fortified, erected on a manmade platform. The main gate for entry and exit was in the North. The wall of the fort has tower-like structures, probably for defence purposes.

Discoveries:

  • Cemetery H & R37
  • Coffin burial
  • Granary outside the fort
  • Phallus worship
  • Graveyard
  • Statue of the mother goddess.

Mohenjo-daro

The literal meaning of Mohenjo-daro in the Sindhi language is the mound of the dead. It is situated on the bank of Indus in Larkana (Pak). The place was first excavated in 1922 under the supervision of R. D. Banerji. The further excavation took place in the 1930s. This time the team of prominent archaeologists E. Makay, Kashinath Dixit, Hargrieves etc. was led by Sir John Marshall.

Mohenjo-daro was a well planned and developed urban centre. The urban centre is spread in the area of one sq. mile. It is divided into two sectors – the eastern and the western. The Western Sector has a Fort. 

Discoveries:

  • Priest-King Statue
  • Shroud
  • Statue of Mother Goddess
  • Bronze Dancing girl
  • One wheeled copper toy
  • Prepared Cotton Clothes
  • Great Granary
  • Double-Edged Sword
  • Scale made of shell
  • Temple-like Palace
  • Pashupati Seal
  • Ivory weight balance.

THE GREAT BATH:

The main public place of Mohenjo-daro is the large bathhouse located in the fort. It is 11.88 meters long, 7.01 meters wide and 2.43 meters deep. This giant bathhouse was probably used for ritual baths.

Lothal

  • Ivory weight balance
  • Harbour/Port town
  • Harbour of the size of 216m×36m×3m.
  • Fire Altar
  • Copper Dog
  • Graveyard
  • Evidence of Rice
  • Sewing Needle with a hole in the point.

Kalibangan

It is situated on the banks of the Ghaggar river. The literal meaning of the Kalibanagan is black bangles.

Discoveries:

  • Wool Clothes
  • Earliest ploughed field
  • Black bangles
  • Granary
  • Fire Altar
  • Evidence of Earthquake
  • Wooden Plough
  • Plough burrows
  • Camel’s bone
  • Copper Ox.

Chanhudaro

Situated on the banks of Indus river in the Sindh province of Pakistan. It was a centre for manufacturing carnelian beads.

Ropar

In Punjab province of India. Pre Harrapan, as well as Harrapan era archaeological remains, are found.

Banawali

Hissar dist. of Haryana. Better variety of Barley was found here. Pre Harrapan, as well as Harrapan era archaeological remains, are found.

Site River Present day Province
Harrapa Ravi Punjab (Pak)
Mohenjo-daro Indus Sindh (Pak)
Chahundaro Indus Sindh (Pak)
Kotdiji Indus Sindh (Pak)
Rangpur Bhogwa Gujarat
Lothal Bhogwa Gujarat
Dholavira Gujarat
Banawali Rangoi Haryana
Kalibanagan Ghaggar Rajasthan
Ropar Satluj Punjab
Dabarkot Sindh (Pak)
Sutkagen Dor Dasht Baluchistan
Alamgirpur Hindon Uttar Pradesh
Surkotda Gujarat

 

IMPORTANT FACTS

  • Harrapan Civilization was spread on a wheat-producing area.
  • The largest Indus Valley Civilization site is Dholavira (Gujarat) while Harrapa and Mohenjo-daro were most populated cities.
  • The Harrapan people had very close ties with Mesopotamian people. Seals of Indus Valley Civilization have been found in Mesopotamia.
  • The Greek translation of Mesopotamia is “The area between two rivers”. Mesopotamia was situated between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Present Iraq, North-East Syria, South-Eastern Turkey, Iran and Kazakhstan came under Mesopotamia.
  • Mesopotamians called Indus Valley Civilization “Meluha”. Harrapan People and Mesopotamians had trading relations.
  • The weighing system was in multiples of 16. Later with the increasing weight, it was in the multiples of 10. Thus, Harrapan people had knowledge of the decimal system.
  • Both male and female adorned ornaments. Women wore ear-rings, necklace, bangles etc.
  • Most of the seals are square in shape and have unicorn (single-horned animal) engraved in them.
  • Harrapan people are said to be Dravidians and Mediterranean.
Advertisement

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here