Published on August 31, 2020

The Indus Valley Civilisation (2300-1750 BC)


Indus Valley Civilisation(IVC) was one of the oldest civilisation in the world. It was contemporary to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. This a Bronze Age urban civilisation was located in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. It was flourished on the back on river Indus.

Important Features of Indus Valley Civilisation


sites-Indus-civilization.webp
CC BY-SA 3.0, 2014

Town Planning

  • The Towns are generally divided into two parts: the upper part – or citadel – which was occupied by the ruling class and the lower part, occupied by the common inhabited. The dwellings are either made of mud brick or baked bricks.
  • Grid System can be seen.
  • Roads cut across one another almost right angles and the city was divided into many blocks- regular and square shapes.
  • The underground drainage system can be seen in almost every big and small houses had its own courtyard and bathroom. Drains were covered with bricks and sometimes with stone slabs. Manholes also found on the streets.
  • The underground drainage system was first introduced by the Harappans in the world.
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Fig.1 -Town Planning

Political Life

  • Although there was no clear evidence of the political system it is assumed that the society was ruled by the merchant classes.

Agriculture

  • Agriculture was the prime occupation of Harappans.
  • Crops produced- wheat, barley, dates, peas, sesame, mustard, millet, ragi, bajra and jowar.
  • Wheat and barley were the staple food.
  • They were the first in the world to produce cotton.
  • Sugarcane cultivation was unknown to them.

Trade

  • They had a trade relationship with Egypt, Mesopotamia, Dilmun (Modern Bahrain), and Aryans.
  • Cotton goods, agricultural products, pottery, terracotta figure, certain beads( from Chanhudaro), Conch-shell (from Lothal) were exported.

Religious Practice

  • The most commonly found figure of Mother Goddess( Matridevi or Shakti).
  • Shiva-Shakti worships the oldest form of worship in India was found.
  • Trees (pipal), animals (bull), birds (dove, pigeon) and stones were worshipped.

Script

  • The scripts were mainly photographic on seals, has not been deciphered so far.
  • There are 400 symbols used in Harappan script and the fish symbol was mostly represented.

Important Centres Of the Indus Valley Civilization

Place/River/Location Important Feature / Findings
Harappa/ Ravi River/ Montgomery, Sahiwal Dist, Western Punjab, Pakistan 1. In 1921, Harappa was discovered by Dayaram Sahni. It was first discovered site of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

2. Great Granary – Two rows of six granaries.

3. Single room Barracks(labour quarter).

4. A male statue in dancing pose (Nataraj Siva).

5. Direct trade relationship with Mesopotamia.

6. Other Findings – Wooden coffin, a painting showing two antelopes and a hunter, model of bullock cart, bronze mirror.
Mohenjodaro/ Indus River/ Larkana Dist, Sindh, Pakistan 1. In 1922, Mohenjodaro was discovered by Rakhaldas Banarjee. It was the second discovered site of Indus Valley Civilisation.

2. The local name of Mohenjodaro was ” The Mount of Dead”.

3. One of the largest Indus Centre.

4. Bronze Statue of dancing girl.

5. Great bath for ritual bathing ( stone was not used to make the great Bath).

6. Direct trade contact with Mesopotamia.

7. Multi-pillar Assembly Hall.

8. Temple like structure.

9. Largest number of wells.

10. Image of Unicorn.

11. Mohammedan was destroyed by drawn.

12. Great Granary- considered as the largest building of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

13. Image of Pashupati or Adi Shiva.

14. Statue of a bearded man (Priest king).

Chanhudaro
(Industrial Town)/ Indus River/ Sindh, Pakistan
1. In 1930-31, it was first excavated by N. G. Majumdar, later it was further excavated by Ernest Jhon Henry Mackay.

2. Only Indus city with no Citadel excavated.

3. An Ink pot was found.

4. Evidence of lipstick.

5. Evidence of human sacrifice.

6. Other findings – seeds of mustard, foot print of Elephant, Bronze Chariot.
Mehrgarh (Neolithic Period)/ Kchhi Plain, near Bolan pass/ Baluchistan, Pakistan 1. In 1973-74, it was excavated by jean Francois Jarrige and Catherine Jarrige.

2. Oldest Civilisation of Indian continent.

3. Precursor to the Indus Valley Civilisation.

4. Evidence of Agriculture.
Sutkagan Dor/ Dasht River/ Baluchistan, Pakistan 1. Westernmost site of Indus Valley Civilisation.
Lothal/ Bhogavor, Sabarmati River/ Gujarat, India 1. In 1954, it was discovered by S R Rao.

2. Port City/ Manchester city.

3. It was a important trade centre of Indus Valley Civilisation.

4. Artificial Dockyard.

5. Model of ship.

6. Evidence of rice cultivation.

7. Evidence of double burial- burying a male and female in a single grave.

8. Houses with front entry (houses of all the other cities had back side entry).

9. City was divided into six centres and each of these sectors were raised on a high platform.

10. Scale of measuring 180, 90 and 45 degree angles found.

11. A game similar to the modern day chess , painting of cunning fox, fire alters are found.

12. Evidence of surgery.


Surkatada / Kutch Region, Gujarat, India 1.This side was discovered by J. P. Joshi.

2. Provided first actual remains of house bones.
Dholavira/ Khadirbet, Kutch Region, Gujarat, India 1. This site was discovered by S. P. Joshi and R. S Bisht.

2. Figure of chariot tied to a pair of bullocks and driven by nude human.

3. use of rocks of construction.

4. A stadium was found.

5. Evidence of signboard inscription.

4. Only Indus Valley Civilisation divided into 3 parts.

5. Evidence of giant water reservoir ( highly developed water management system), step well ( larger than the Great Bath of Mohenjodaro).

6. Astronomical Observatory was found.
Kalibangan/ Ghaggar River/Ganganagar Dist, Rajasthan 1. The site was discovered by B. B. Lal.

2. Kalibangan means Black Bangles.

3. Remains of a massive brick wall surrounded both the Citadel and the lower town.

4. Bones of Camel.

5. Plough field( oldest plough field in India).

6. Wooden plough, fire alter was found.

7. Evidence of earthquake and evidence of surgery.
Manda/ Jammu & Kashmir 1. The side was discovered by J. P Joshi.

2. Northernmost site of Indus Valley Civilisation.
Algmgirpur/ Hindon River/ Uttar Pradesh 1. Easternmost side of Indus Valley Civilisation.
Ropar/ Sutlej River/ Punjab, India 1. After Independence first discovered site of Indus Valley Civilisation in India.

2. Double burial of a man and a dog.
Daimabad/ Godavari River/Maharashtra 1. Southernmost side of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

2. Four unique Bronze statue of Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Chariot.
Kotdigi/ Sindh Province, Pakistan Destroyed by fire.
Amri/ Sindh Province, Pakistan 1. Remains of Rhino, fire alter.
Allahdino/ Sindh Province, Pakistan 1. Small terracotta jar with gold, silver and bronze ornament.
Rakhigarhi/ Saraswati River/ Hariyana, India 1. Largest Indus city.

2. A female figure witha pose similar to Bronze Statue of Dancing Girl and double burial of a man and a woman.
Banawali/ Rangoi and Sutlej River/ Hariyana, India 1. Terracotta plough and a jeweller’s workshop.

Important Notes on Indus Valley Civilisation :

  • Metals know to them: Copper, Bronze, Gold, Silver, tin, Lead, Jade, Steatite, Amethyst etc.
  • Iron was unknown to them.
  • Steatite was used to make seals.
  • The humpless bull was most represented symbol on the Indus seals.
  • 3 forms of burial system were present – complete burial( dead body placed in North-South axis), Partial Burial, Pot burial.
  • A Harappan seal was consists of three-faced deity seated in a yogic posture with a two-horned head surrounded by several animals- Rhino. Elephant, Bison, Humpbull, Tiger, Buffalo, Deer.
  • According to the Anthropological survey, author of the Indus population was of four types- Proto-Australoid, Mediterranean, Alpine, Mongoloid.


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