Indus Valley Civilization

Initially sites found around Indus River and therefore the civilization named after it. But later the same civilization found in different parts of the country and therefore it named as Harappan Civilization.

More sites are found in indus valley near saraswathy river. John Marshal was the first scholar to use the term ‘Indus Civilization’. The Indus Civilization belongs to Proto-Historic Period (Chalcolithic Age/Bronze Age).

There are 3 other contemporary civilisations, i.e., around 2500BC

  • Sumerian/mespotomian(IRAQ)
  • EGYPT(Nyle river)
  • Chinese civilization (Yangtze river, Yellow river)

IVC  is a cosmopolitan culture it have Mongoloids, Proto Australoids, Alpinoids , Medeterrian.

The Dravidians are belong to Mediterranean  race, the Aryans belong to Nordic race

The extent of IVC


There are about 2,000 Harappan sites in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, with 500 in India and 1,500 in Pakistan. Harappan civilisation flourished over two million square km, from Sutkajendor on the Makran coast of Balochistan to Alamgirpur in Uttar Pradesh, and from Manda in Jammu to Daimabad in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.

The Indus Civilization was spread over Sindh, Baluchistan, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Western U.P. and Northern Maharashtra.

The Northern-most sites of Indus Civilization -> Ropar (Sutlej)/Punjab (Earlier); Manda, (Chenab)/Jammu-Kashmir (Now).

The Southern-most sites of Indus Civilization -> Bhagatravi (Kim)/Gujarat (Earlier); Daimabad (Pravara) / Maharashtra (Now).

The Eastern-most sites of Indus Civilization -> AJamghpur (Qrimdon)/Uttar Pradesh.

The Western-most sites of Indus Civilization -> Sutkagendor (Dashk)/ Makran Coast,  Pakistan-Iran Border.

Craft Centres: Harappa, Mohenjadaro, Chanhudaro, Lothal, Dholavira, Nageshwar, Balakot

Pori Cities: Lothal, Sutkagendor, Allahdino, Balakot, Kuntasi, Nageshwar

Capital Cities: Harappa, Mohenjodaro,

City of Great Bath: Mohenjadaro

Dockyard: Lothal

Signboard: Dholavira

Shatughai and Mundigaq were the Indus sites found in Afghanistan.

Rakhigarhi in Haryana is the largest site.

 Site  Country  State  District River     Excavators 
Harappa Pakistan  Punjab Montgomery  Ravi Daya Ram Sahni (1921),  Madho Swaroop Vatsa (1926),Wheeler (1946)
Mohenjodaro Pakistan Sindh Larkana Indus Rakhal Das Bannerji  (1922), Mackay (1927) Wheeler (1930)
Chanhudaro Pakistan Sindh Nawabshah Indus Mackay (1925), N.G.  Mazumdar (1931)
Lothal  India Gujarat Kathiyawar Bhogava S.R. Rao (1954)
Kalibanga India Rajasthan Hanumangarh Ghaggar Amalanand Ghosh  (1951), B.B. Lai and B.K. Thapar (1961)
Banawali India Haryana Hissar Ghaggar R. S. Bist (1973)
Dholavira India Gujarat Kutchh Luni J.P. Joshi (1967-68)


Archaeological Finds

Harappa  6 Granaries in row, Working floors, Workmen’s quarters, Virgin – Goddess (seal), Cemetery (R-37, H), Stone symbols of Lingam (male sex organ) and Yoni (female sex organ), Painted pottery, Clay figures of Mother Goddess, Wheat and Barley in wooden mortar, Copper scale, Crucible for bronze, Copper-made mirror, Vanity box, Dice.

Great Bath, Great Granery (the largest building of civilization), Assembly hall, Shell strips, Pashupati Mahadeva/Proto- Shiva (seal), Bronze Image of a nude woman dancer, Steatite image of bearded man, Human skeltons huddled together, Painted seal (Demi-God), Clay figures of Mother Goddess, A fragment of woven cotton, Brick Kilns, 2 Mesopotamian seals, 1398 seals (57% of total seals of civilization), Dice.


A unique water harnessing system and its storm water drainage system, a large well and a bath (giant water reservoirs), Only site to be divided into 3 parts, Largest Harappan inscription used for civic purposes, A stadium.


Lack of chess-board or gridiron pattern town planning, Lack of systematic drainage system, Toy plough, Clay figures of Mother Goddess.


Ploughed field surface (Pre-Harappan), 7 Fire altars, Decorated bricks, Wheels of a toy cart, Mesopotamian cylindrical seal.

Lothal Dockyard, Rice husk; Metal-workers’, shell-ornament makers’ and bead-makers’ shopes; Fire altars, Terracotta figurine of a horse, Double burial (burying a male and a female in a single grave), Terracotta model of a ship, Dying vat, Persian / Iranian seal, Baharainean seal, Painted jar (bird and fox).
Chanhudaro City without a citadel, Inkpot, Lipstick; Metal-workers’, shell-ornament makers’ and bead-makers’ shops; Imprint of dog’s paw on a brick, Terracotta model of a bullock cart, Bronze toy cart.
Daimabad Bronze images (Charioteer with chariot, ox, elephant and rhinoceros).
Surkotada Bones of horse, Oval grave, Pot burials.

Common Features of Major Cities :

  • Systematic town-planning on the lines of ‘grid system’
  • Use of burnt bricks in constructions.
  • Underground drainage system (giant water reservoirs in Dholavira)
  • Fortified citadel (exception-Chanhudaro).
  • Surkotada(Kutchh district, Gujarat): The only Indus site where the remains of a horse have actually been found.
  • Main Crops: Wheat and Barely; Evidence of cultivation of rice in Lothal and Rangpur (Gujarat) only.
  • Other Crops: Dates, mustard, sesamum, cotton etc. Indus people were the first too produce cotton in the world.
    Animals: Sheep, goat, humped and humpless bull, buffalo, boar, dog, cat, pig, fowl, deer, tortoise, elephant, camel, rhinoceros, tiger etc.
  • Cow and lion were not known to Indus people. From Amari, a single instance of the Indian rhinoceros has been reported.
  • Exports: Agricultural products, cotton goods, terracotta figurines, pottery, certain beads (from Chanhudaro), conch-shell (from Lothal), ivory products, copper etc.
  • A very interesting feature of this civilization was that Iron was not known to the people. The Sumerian texts refer to trade relations with ‘ Meluha’ which was the name given to the Indus region.
  • The citadel which divides the city into parts. Chahundaro which is divided into 2 and Dholvira is divided into 3 and Banavali(Haryana) is grid pattern.
  • All of the cities have an underground drainage system except banavali
  • Humans are divided based on some category like wealth and gender etc
  • According to the JOHN HYPOTHESIS it is a matriarchal family
  • The Sumerian texts also refer to two intermediate stations – Dilmun(Bahrain) and Makan(Makran coast). Susa and Ur are Mesopotamian places where Harappan seals were found.
  • The Harappans were the earliest people to produce cotton (It was called Sindon by the Greeks).
  • As there is no evidence of coins, barter is assumed to have been the normal method of exchange of goods.
  • The Indus Civilization was primarily urban.
  • There is no clear-cut evidence of the nature of polity, but it seems that the ruling authority of Indus Civilization was a class of merchants.
  • The Harappan people didn’t worship their gods in temple. No temple in fact has been unearthed. An idea of their religion is formed from the statues and figurines found.
  • The most commonly found figurine is that of Mother-Goddess (Matridevi or Shakti). There is evidence of prevalence of Yoni (female sex organ) worship.
  • The chief male deity was the ‘Pasupati Mahadeva’ i.e. the lord of Animals (Proto- Shiva) represented it seals as sitting inyogic posture; he is surrounded by four animals (elephant, tiger, rhino and buffalo) and two deer appear at his feet. There was the prevalence of Phallic (lingam) worship.
  • Thus Shiva-Shakti worship, the oldest form of worship in India, appears to have been part of the religious belief of Harppan people (esp. humped bull).
  • The remains and relics also reveal that zoolatry i.e. animal worship and tree worship (esp. peepal) were in vogue in those days.
  • There is the evidence of pictographic script, found mainly on seals. The script has not been deciphered so far, but overlap of letters on some of the posts herds from Kalibanga show that writing was boustrophedon or from right to left and from left to right in alternate lines. It has been referred to as Proto-Dravidian. Steatite was mainly used in the manufacture of seals.

Details about few important sites


Harappa was an Indus civilization urban center. It lies in Punjab Province, Pakistan, on an old bed of the River Ravi.

The latest research has revealed at least five mounds at Harappa that 3-D renditions of Harappa show to have been surrounded by extensive walls. Two mounds have large walls around them, perhaps as much for trade regulation as defense.

An abundance of terracotta figurines at Harappa provided the first clues in the 19th century to the ancient Indus – often abbreviated as Harappan – civilization.


Mohenjodaro is probably the best known Indus site. Mohenjo Daro is in Sindh, Pakistan, next to the Indus River, not far from the very early human flint mining quarries at Rohri. The Indus may once have flowed to the west of Mohenjo Daro, but it is now located to the east.

Here the Great Bath, uniform buildings and weights, hidden drains and other hallmarks of the civilization were discovered in the 1920’s. This is where the most unicorn seals have been found. Due to a rising water table, most of the site remains unexcavated, and its earliest levels have not been reached.


Dholavira is located on Khadir Belt, an island in the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat State, India. It has only been excavated since 1990. As large as Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, it has some of the best preserved stone architecture.

A tantalizing signboard with Indus script has also been discovered. Dholavira appears to have had several large reservoirs, and an elaborate system of drains to collect water from the city walls and house tops to fill these water tanks.


Lothal is on the top of the Gulf of Khambat in Gujarat, India, near the Sabarmati River and the Arabian Sea. It is the most extensively researched Harappan coastal site.

A bead factory and Persian Gulf seal have been found here suggesting that like many sites on the Gulf of Khambat, it was deeply into trading.


Rakhigarhi is a recently discovered city in Haryana, India. Partial excavations have revealed that it is as large as Harappa, Mohenjo Daro and Ganweriwala.


Ganeriwala is in Punjab, Pakistan near the Indian border. It was first discovered by Sir Aurel Stein and surveyed by Dr. M. R. Mughal in the 1970s. It spreads over 80 hectares and is almost as large as Mohenjo Daro. It is near a dry bed of the former Ghaggar or Sarasvati River, and has not been excavated, yet. Equidistant between Harappa andMohenjo Daro, Ganweriwala may have been a fifth major urban center.

Smaller Settlements

Gola Dhoro (also known as Bagasara) is a site in Gujarat, India, excavated from 1996 to 2004. A distinctive ancient Indus seal was found there, as well as extensive evidence for the sudden evacuation of this tiny town with well stocked manufacturing facilities.

Daimabad is in Maharashtra near Bombay. Discovered in 1958, it is a controversial site. Some suggest that the pottery and single shard with ancient Indus signs on it is definitive of Harappan settlement; others say the evidence is not sufficient. A unique hoard of exquisite bronze chariots and animals that may or may not be of Indus Civilization style was also found here.

Chanhudaro is 80 miles south of Mohenjo Daro in Sindh. It was a manufacturing center. Various tool, shell, bone and seal-making facilities which involved writing were found. Beads were made using efficiently layered floors. Chanhudaro seems also to have been hastily abandoned.

Sutkagen Dor in Baluchistan is the westernmost known Harappan site located on the Pakistani border with Iran. It is thought to have once been on a navigable inlet of the Arabian Sea. The usual citadel and town are present, as well as defensive walls 30 feet wide. Sutkagen Dor would have been on the trade route from Lothal in Gujarat to Mesopotamia and was probably heavily involved in the fishing trade similar to that which exists today in the coast along Baluchistan.

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