The Indus Valley Civilization

Twin capitals - Indus Valley Civilisation

Indus Valley Civilization – It was a great moment in Indian archaeology when in 1922 two cities of great antiquity were spotted in the Indus Valley. One is Mohenjo-daro, meaning the Mound of the Dead, on the Indus in Sind, and the other Harappa on the Ravi in the  Montgomery district of the Punjab.


The civilization revealed by the remains  of these cities, though later than the river valley civilizations of Mesopotamia was for a considerably long period contemporaneous with them. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa are four hundred miles apart, but are identical in their layout, architecture and building techniques. Over forty settlements in an area stretching from the Makran coast to Kathiawar and northwards to the Himalayan foothills show a complete agreement in material culture. This region is an irregular triangle with the sides measuring 950*700*550 miles.

Indus valley - Planning of Harappan was well organised states experts

Dating of the Harappa Culture

Indus valley - Excavations during Kalibangan during early stages of Harappan

At Ur, Kish and other sites in Mesopotamia and Iran some seals of the Harappan type have been found in contexts which suggest the time of Sargon of Agade (Akkad) 2350 B.C. Taking this as a fixed point in chronology, the Harappan culture is provisionally dated 2500-1500 B.C. the radiocarbon date of the Harappan culture-Kalibangan in Rajasthan, site KLB 2 – as measured at the Tata Institute is 4090 +/- 125 years. This gives a range from 3252 B.C. to 3002 B.C. undoubtedly, Harappan culture in all its maturity was in existence at the beginning of the third millennium B.C.

Twin Capitals of Indus Valley Civilization

It is postulated that Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro may have been the twin capitals of an empire. While the punjab is now a great corn-growing area, Sind is a desert region requiring elaborate irrigation works for agriculture. From the types of animals represented on the seals of Mohenjo-Daro and from the city’s ancient prosperity as revealed by the ruins, it must be concluded that Mohenjo-Daro, whose annual temperature ranges now between 120 F in summer and frost in winter with annual rainfall of less than 6 inches, enjoyed in those far off times a milder climate and plenty of rainfall accounting for the presence of thick forests and arable land. The change to arid conditions was due to postglacial effects or to the deflections of the monsoon.

Indus valley - civilization Mature Harappan phase

Indus Valley Civilization – Streets and Houses

What do the excavations show? There was a great wall which girded the city about a square mile in extent. On a platform of earth in the city stood a high solid mass of a citadel. The flat roofs of houses were packed close together for company or protection. The streets were thirty-three feet wide, paved with bricks and with a drain running down the middle. On either side of the street were houses of varying sizes and built of first-rate burnt bricks (11*5.5*2.5 inches) whose strength and durability may be seen from the fact that bricks are stolen from the Harappan site from the ballast of a hundred mile railway line in the Punjab. Unburnt bricks were also used for the foundation.

Wedge-shaped bricks were used in lining the ells. Every house had its bathroom very near the street-side of the building and a drain leading water through a wall into a sewer underneath the street. In the streets to the straight broad thoroughfares ran lanes. The regularity and uniformity of the town planning and the concern shown for sanitation are worthy of admiration.

Indus valley - Indian Harappan Gateway Reconstruction

The Citadel of Indus Valley Civilization

Indus valley - Mahenjodaro, Indus Valley region, Sind Province

Talking of the buildings, we must pay special attention to the citadel. In both the cities the citadel is roughly a parallelogram 400 yards from north to south, 200 yards from east to west. The citadel buildings at Harappa have been ruined beyond recognition but those at Mohenjo-Daro gives a clear picture.

The most notable  buildings of Mohenjo-Daro were found within the citadel. This citadel included, among others, a well- constructed bath, a collegiate building and a pillared hall.

Indus valley - Mohenjo-Daro architecture is well planned and The Great Bath one of the example for their urban planning.

The Great Bath 180*108 feet is an open quadrangle with walls of about eight feet high. Filled from a well nearby and the water was taken off by a large drain with a cor-belled roof. It is high enough to allow a man to walk erect. Surrounding the bath were rows of little cubicles, with steps leading to them. The ‘collegiate building’ measuring some 230*78 feet was a single architectural unit with a ‘cloistered court and a private chapel’. The walls over four feet thick, in some places, show a structure of two or more stories. Nearby there were serried lines of barracks of cooly quarters, working platforms and granaries.

Also Read:

The age of Mauryas – Chandra Gupta Maurya

Effects of Geography on Indian History


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here