Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization was the most important and very powerful Civilization. It was established near the Indus (Sindhu) river.

indus valley civilization

Ancient Civilization in India 

  • The Indus valley civilization was an ancient civilization thriving along the Indus River and the Ghaggar-Hakra River in what is now Pakistan and north-western India. Among other names for this civilization is the Harappan Civilization, in reference to its first excavated city of Harappa.
  • An alternative term for the culture is Saraswati-Sindhu Civilization, based on the fact that most of Indus Valley sites have been found at the Hakra-Ghaggar River.
  • R. B. Dayaram Sahni first discovered Harappa (on Ravi) in 1921. R.D. Banerjee discovered Mohenjodaro or ‘Mound of the Dead’ (on Indus) in 1922. Sir John Marshal played a crucial role in both these.
  • Harappan Civilization forms part of the proto-history of India and belongs to the Bronze Age.
  • Mediterranean, Proto-Australoid, Mongoloids, and Alpines formed the bulk of the population, though the first two were more numerous.
  • More than 100 sites belonging to this civilization have been excavated.
  • According to radio-carbon dating, it spread from the year 2500 – 1750 BC.
  • Copper, bronze, silver, gold were known but not iron.
  • Geographical Extent Covered parts of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Gujarat, Rajasthan and some parts of Western UP. It extended from Manda in Jammu in the north to Daimabad in the south and from Alamgirpur in West UP to Sutkagendor in Baluchistan in the west.\

Indus Valley Civilization Town Planning

indus valley civilization town planning images

  • Elaborate town-planning. It followed the Grid System. Roads were well cut, dividing the town into large rectangular or square blocks. Lamp posts at intervals indicate the existence of street lighting. Flanking the streets, lanes and by-lanes were well-planned houses. 
  • Used burnt bricks of good quality as the building material. Elsewhere in the contemporary world, mud-bricks were used.
  • Houses, often of two or more story, varied in size. but were quite monotonous a square courtyard, a number of rooms. No window around which were a nun faced the streets. The houses had tiled bathrooms.
  • Good drainage system. Drains were made of mortar, lime, and gypsum and covered with large brick slabs for easy cleaning. Shows developed a sense of health and sanitation.
  • The towns were divided into 2 parts: Upper part or Citadel and Lower Part. The Citadel was an oblong artificial platform some 30-50 feet high and about 400-200 yards in the area It was enclosed by a thick (13 mat Harappa) crenelated mud-brick wall. In Citadel public buildings, granaries, important workshops, and religious buildings were there. In the lower part, people used to live.
  • In Mohenjodaro, a big public bath (Great Bath). It was probably used for ritual bathing.

Indus Valley Civilization Economic Life

Indus Valley Civilization Agriculture

Indus Valley agreeculture

  • The Indus people sowed seeds in the flood plains in November, when the flood water receded, and reaped their harvests of wheat and barley in April, before the advent of the next flood. 
  • Grew wheat, barley, rai, peas, sesamum, mustard, rice (in Lothal), cotton, dates, melon, etc. The Indus people were the first to produce cotton.
  • In Kalibangan, fields were ploughed with wooden ploughs.
  • Domesticated animals on large scale. Besides the cattle, cats and dogs were domesticated. The horse wasn’t in regular use but the elephant was. Remains of the horse at Surkotda and dogs with men in the grave at Ropar have been discovered.
  • Produced sufficient to feed themselves.
  • Food grains were stored in granaries.

Also Read: Geography GK

Trade and Commerce in Ancient India

  • Well-knit external and internal trade. There was no metallic money in circulation and trade was carried through the Barter System.
  • Weights and measures of accuracy existed in Harappan culture (found at Lothal). The weights were made of limestone, steatite, etc and were generally cubical in shape.
  • 16 was the unit of measurement (16, 64,160, 320).
  • Flint tool-work, shell-work, bangle making, pottery making, etc were practiced.  The raw material for these came from different sources: gold from N. Karnataka, silver and lapis lazuli from Afganistan and Iran, copper from Khetri and Baluchistan, etc.
  • Bead making factory existed in Chanhudaro and Lothal. They were items of export.
  • A dockyard has been discovered at Lothal. Rangpur, Somnath, and Balakot functioned as seaports. Sutkagendor and Sutkakoh functioned as outlets.
  • The inland transport was done with bullock carts.
  • Every merchant or mercantile family probably had a seal bearing an emblem, often of a religious character and a name or brief description, on one side. standard Harappa seal was a square or oblong plaque made of steatite stone. The primary purpose of these probably to mark the ownership of property but, they may have also served as amulets.
  • The Mesopotamian records from about 2350 B
    onwards refer to trade relations with Meluha, the ancient name of the Indus region. Harappan seas and other material have been found at Mesopotamia Also traded with Sumer.

Indus Valley Civilization Arts and Craft

The Harappan culture belongs to the Bronze Age

Harappan culture belongs to the Bronze Age

  • Bronze was made by mixing tin and copper. Tools were mostly made of copper and bronze. For making bronze, copper was obtained from Khetri in Rajasthan and from Baluchistan, and tin from Afghanistan
  • Cotton fabrics were quite common. Woolen clothes were worn in winter.
  • Very fond of ornaments (of gold, silver, ivory, copper, bronze, precious stones) and dressing up. Ornaments were worn by both men and women. Women wore heavy bangles in profusion, large necklaces, earrings, bracelets, figure-rings, girdles, nose studs, and anklets. The Harappans were also an expert bead makers
  • Potter’s wheel was in use. Their pottery was black pottery. Played dice games. Their fave pastime was Gambling.
  • The Harappans most notable artistic achieve was their seal gravings, esp. those of animals. The red sandstone torso of a man is particularly impressive for its realism. realism. However, the most impressive of the figurines is perhaps the bronze image of the famous dancing girl (identified devadasi), found at Mohenjodaro.
  • For their children, they made cattle-toys with movable heads, model monkeys which could slide down a string, little toy-carts, and whistles shaped like birds, all of the terracotta.

The Indus Valley Civilization Religious Life

  • The main object of worship was the Mother Goddess. But the upper classes preferred a god, nude with two horns, much similar to Pasupati Siva. Represented on the seal is a figure with three horned heads in posture. He is surrounded by an elephant, a tiger, and rhinoceros, and below his throne is a Near his feet are two deer. a yogic buffalo. Pashupatinath represented a male deity.
  • phallus (lingam) and yoni worship was also prevalent
  • Many trees (pipal), animals (bull), birds (dove, pigeon) and stones were worshipped. The unicorn was also worshipped. However, no temple has been found, though idolatry was practiced.
  • At Kalibangan and Lothal fire altars have been found.
  • Although no definitive proof is available with regard to the disposal of the dead, a broad view is that probably there were three methods of disposing of the dead complete burial, burial after exposure of the body to birds and beasts, and cremation followed by burial of the ashes.
  • The discovery of cinerary urns and jars, goblets or vessels with ashes, bones, and charcoal may, however, suggest that during the flourishing period of the Indus Valley culture the third method was generally practiced. In Harappa, there is one place where evidence of coffin burial is there. The people probably believed in ghosts and evil spirits, as amulets were worn.
  • Dead bodies were placed in the north-south orientation.

Indus Valley Civilization Script:

  • The script is not alphabetical but pictographic about 600 undeciphered pictographs).
  • The script has not been deciphered so far, but Overlaps of letters show that it was written from right to left in the first line and left to right in the second line. This style is called ‘Boustrophedonn’.

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Indus Valley Civilization Political Organization

  • There is no clear idea of the political organization of the Indus Valley people. Perhaps they were more concerned with commerce and they were possibly ruled by a class of merchants.
  • Also, there was an organization like a municipal corporation to look after the civic amenities of the people.


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