History of the Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus valley civilization or the Harappan civilization was among the four major periods of the History of India. Indus valley civilization was the Bronze Age civilization in the northern regions of South Asia. It was a major period in the ancient history of India. Indus valley civilization lasted from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE and the growth of this civilization was seen between 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE.
The Indus valley civilization was one of three early civilizations of Near East and South Asia. The most widespread civilization of that period was the Indus valley civilization, which cover the areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and western and northwestern India.
Characteristics of the Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus valley civilization is named after the Indus River system. Alluvial plains are found in the Indus River system, where the Indus valley civilization was identified and excavated. Animals like sheep, dogs, goats, humped cattle buffalo, and elephants were domesticated by the people of the Indus valley civilization. The capital cities were Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. The Harappa is the first site to be excavated in the 1920s and after that its types. The civilization was found to be very planned. Some of the findings were-
- Baked brick houses
- Elaborated drainage system
- Water supply system
- Cluster of large non-residential buildings
- New techniques of handicrafts and metallurgy.
Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts
Indus valley civilization has the cities which were the world’s first planned cities. The cities were designed in a gird and rectangular pattern with streets crossing at right angles. The architectural planning of cities in the Indus valley civilization is believed to be older than the period of the Hippodamus of Miletus. The cities have well-planned houses as well as well-planned drainage systems. All the places excavated till now are found to be in this pattern. The bricks that were used to make the houses were baked and of similar dimensions.
The roads found in the cities are 10.5m wide which depicts the presence of marketplaces in the ancient period of the Indus valley civilization. The cities were planned and had channels running through them for the flow of drainage water. The two most prominent cities of the Indus valley civilization are Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Both of these cities are believed to have a population of 40,000-50,000 people. Most ancient cities had a population of 10,000 but this proves that the Indus Valley civilization was huge.
Facts about the Indus valley civilization
- The population was over 5 million in the Indus valley civilization.
- The major population was either traders or artisans. They were mostly involved in Artistic activities.
- In 1999, a board with stone symbols was found which is believed to be the first signboard in the world.
- People of the Indus valley civilization were hygienic. There were well-planned drainage systems, dustbins made of bricks, and a great bath.
- Archaeologists have found that there are no temples in the Indus valley but the people used to worship ox, and trees like peepal.
The Indus Valley Civilization Economy
Indus valley civilization was based on agricultural practices. Trading and commerce flourished in this period. In the Mesopotamian scribes (Sumerian), it frequently refers to a place called Meluhha. They were the prominent trading partners of the Sumerians. Meluhha imported ebony, sesame oil, timber, and luxury items like Lapis Lazuli in huge quantities, it is believed that there is a huge probability that Meluhha is the Indus valley civilization.
The people of the Indus valley civilization were the first cultivators of cotton. The world’s first cotton traces are found here and it is also believed that people here were the first who spun and weaved cotton. The activities like hunting, fishing, clay modeling, and bullfighting existed during the Indus valley civilization. People are food like rice, wheat, barley, milk, fish, meat, and fruits.
Important Indus Valley Civilization Sites
- The Indus Valley Civilization was first discovered by Sir John Hubert Marshall during an excavation campaign in 1921-1922 at Harappa.
- In India, Kalibangan in Rajasthan, Lothal, Dholavira, Rangpur, Surkotda in Gujarat, Banawali in Haryana, and Ropar in Punjab were found during the excavations.
- In Pakistan, Harappa on river Ravi, Mohenjodaro on the Indus River in Sindh, and Chanhudaro in Sindh.
- Harappan ruins were discovered by Marshall, Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, and Madho Sarup Vats.
- Mohenjodaro ruins were discovered for the first time by R.D. Banerjee, E.J.H MacKay, and Marshall.
- Most of the sites have the same pattern, including two parts one citadel and one lower Town.
Great Baths of Indus Valley Civilization
Most of the cities of the Indus Valley Civilization had Great Baths. The Mohenjodaro’s great bath was named the “first public water tank in the ancient world”. It was believed that the great bath found during the excavation of the Indus Valley Civilization was used for religious rituals and bathing.
The Great baths of the Indus valley are one of the most important centers. It is a part of the citadel Complex which was unearthed during the excavations in the 1920s. This great bath had a thick layer of natural tar or bitumen. The bitumen helped to hold the water, and it also had fine-baked waterproof mud bricks.
Indus Valley Civilization, Society, and Political System
There is no certain answer which clarifies the center of power in Harappan civilization. The evidence of pottery, seals, weights, and bricks indicates some authority or Government which instructed the population to work in a certain way. The trades were extensive and well-regulated, which helped in importing raw materials, distribution of goods, and establishment of Harappan Colonies.
Few significant theories have emerged over time through which we understand what power was holding the largest civilization in the world together. The theories suggest that the uniform production and regulations of artifacts were done under planned colonies. There was a single state that included all the communities of the civilization. Several rulers ruled by time in the cities including Mohenjodaro, and Harrapa. Other theories suggest that there were no rulers in the Indus valley civilization and everyone lived with equality and peace.
FAQs related to the Indus valley civilization
1. Which were the seven cities in the Indus valley civilization?
Ans. Seven cities of the Indus valley civilization were Mohenjodaro, Kalibangan, Chanhudaro, Lothal, Surkotada, Banawali, and Dholavira.
2. Where did the Indus valley civilization flourish?
Ans. The Indus valley civilization flourished over the Indus River banks.
3. What was the economy of the Indus valley civilization?
Ans. The economy of the Indus valley civilization depended on trading. Their major business was import and export.
4. What is the present-day Indus valley civilization called?
Ans. The Indus Valley Civilization is known as the Harappan civilization. The Harappa was the first site to be excavated in the early 20th century.
5. Which site got the status of UNESCO World Heritage site related to the Indus valley civilization?
Ans. The ruins of Mohenjo-Daro were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.