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The Indus Valley Civilization History, Location, Map, Art, & Facts …

The Indus Valley Civilization History
The Indus Valley Civilization History

The Indus Valley Civilization History, Location, Map, Art, & Facts … 

The Indus Valley Civilisation

Introduction

The Indus Valley Civilisation is one of the oldest civilizations of the world. The Indus civilization stands tall amongst other civilizations of the ancient world such as Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Babylonian.

One of the most advanced civilization, famous for its “Town Planning and Drainage system and the use of Brick kiln”

Historical Research

Sir Alexander Cunningham (First Director General of Archaeological Survey of India) visited the site twice in 1853 and in 1856 and recorded a chain of mounds. Later in early 1920 Sir John Marshal the then Director General of ASI and his team made a great discovery The Indus Valley Civilisation along with its two major cities Harappa and Mohenjodaro in 1921 and 1922 by Daya Ram Sahni and R.D.Banerji. It placed India along with other great civilizations of the world.

Chronology

The dates mentioned by various scholars based on their own research and findings are as follows:

Sir John Marshall are of the view that the occupations at  Mohenjodaro falls between 3250 and 2750 BC.

MS Vats who had excavated Harappa in 1921-31  are of the view that Harappa was before than those were at Mohenjodaro. He suggested the time period of 3500-2500 B.C

JP Joshi’s excavations at Surkotada added new data to the list. He divided the time period into three sub periods: 2480 to 2300 BC; 2290 to 2140 BC; and 2130 to 2020 BC. According to him the Mature period was between 2550 to 2050 BC.

Important Towns and Cities

(1)Major Cities

The biggest settlements were made at Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Dholavira . They were nucleus cities of the Indus valley civilization.

(a)Harappa

It was first discovered by Daya Ram Sahni in 1921. The site has a number of ruined mounds located in south west of the district of Montgomary (modern day Pakistan). Many authors are of the opinion that Harappa was a ‘Gateway City’ marking a meeting point of several routes. The city was a major link between the internal region and external world. Some important findings at Harappa include, a well preserved water reservoir linked with brick , a seal of ivory and a combination of three copper instruments, a sharp pointed awl, a double edged knife and a pair of surgical instruments.

(b)Mohenjodaro

It was first discovered by R.D.Banerji(1922) Sir John Marshall (1922-30)

S.M.Wheeler(1930-47).Mohenjodaro, literally means “mound of the dead” situated in Larkana district of Sind(Modern day Pakistan).It was the largest city of the civilization and along with Harappa have been hailed as the twin capitals of this great state . The most famous building of Mohenjodaro is “The Great Bath” a beautiful example of brickwork.It is a rectangular tank which measures 11.88m from north to south , 7 m broad and 2.43m deep. To the west of the Great Bath, there is a group of several blocks of bricks which is interpreted to be the podium of “Great Granary”. To the north and east of the Great Bath, there existed a long building considered to be” the residence of high officials”. There were a large number of artifacts found from this site. Around 1400 seals were discovered from this site along with copper bronze pottery, bull with elephant’s trunk, ram’s horns, stone lingam, terracotta seated figure of a women, seal of Indian Rhinoceros, etc.

Other important cities were

(1)Dholavira,

(2) Rakhigarhi,

(3) Chanhudaro,

(4)Surkotada,

(5)Kalibangan,

(6)Banawali,

(7)Ropar,

Town Planning

The most important feature of the Indus Valley Civilisation  is its town planning and sanitation. It was made according to a fine architectural plan. All the important cities were divided into two parts- a fortified settlement on the high mounds highlighted as “citadels” and the main residential areas called “Lower towns”. All the important buildings were made of “kiln burnt bricks”. Example, Great Bath ,Great Granary, Assembly Hall etc.

Drainage System

The expanded drainage system is a unique feature of this civilization Down the streets and lanes ran a main drain 1 to 2 feet deep, covered with bricks provided with sumps and traps at regular intervals. Individual house drains opened into the streets drain which opened into great culverts emptying into the river. The extent of the drainage system and the quality of domestic bathing and drains are remarkable.

Life of the people  

Political Life

Many scholars are of the view that the political system might have existed around 2500 BC. The political system of Indus valley is composed of several elite classes who controlled different regions of the Indus valley. It includes vestigial tribal structures, simple technologies, non monetary economies and unspecialized administrative structures. The integration during early Harappan period probably led to political integration. This includes the creation of a script, the introduction of new concept of planning along with the creation of a number of new cities.

Religious Life

The religious life of Indus Valley people was great. There were many artifacts found based on which it can be said that the people were religious and follows religious ceremonies. “Mother Goddess” is an important Female God. Among the male gods were a three faced diety wearing a horned head dress. Animal worship is a part of the religious belief indicated by the representations of animals on seals, terracotta etc. Tree worship was also in vogue.

Economic Life

The economy of Indus Valley people was completely based on agriculture , Cattle rearing, crafts and brisk trade both internal and external. Domestic and Wild animals were used for food. Apat from that cities like Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Lothal were important centers for metallurgy producing tools and weapons.The discovery of Harappan seals in many West Asian countries confirms the commercial contact of the Indus people.

The Decline

The  decline of the Indus Valley Civilization is very controversial and still a great mystery. Many historians are of the view that during its late phase sometimes between 2000 and 1700 BC, the civilization came to an end. There were several causes which were added to its collapse such as climate, disease, invasion, flood etc.  

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