INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION is one of the earliest settlements in the subcontinent. It is one of the three early civilizations apart from Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian.
Since 3300 BCE, they evolved from small clustered villages to cities stretching over 900 miles. As a result, they are in parts of Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan province in Pakistan and parts of North-Western India. Ever since the Harappa’s excavation in 1921, it led to 1056 cities discovered in present-day Pakistan and India. Hence, the site came to be known as Harappan Civilisation.
- The Indus Valley Civilisation consists of three phases
- The Early Harappan (3300BCE-2600BCE),
- Mature Harappan(2600BCE-1900BCE) and
- Also, Late Harappan (1900BCE-1300BCE).
The civilization started from migration to Mehrgarh, a Neolithic site in Kacchi plain, making it one of the most valuable discoveries.
Though the Pre-Harappan period marked the beginning of agricultural development, many migrated to more developed towns over time. In addition to the centralised autocratic system, they mainly profited from raw materials and crops.
The Mature Harappan period marks the start of flood-supported farming by taming the tributaries of the Indus river.
ARCHITECTURE AND TOWN PLANNING OF INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION
Moreover, The Harappan Civilization was a well-planned, luxurious and hygienic town. The area splits into the lower public space and upper acropolis, both with a similar layout. The roads formed a linear grid street layout that intersects at the central fortress. The mound-shaped fort raised to 6m height was a refuge against external attack.
It floods easily as the shore is about 40 feet above the water. In addition to refuge from attack, a defensive wall made of baked bricks also serves as a dam against floods. The houses have a central courtyard with one to two floors, having a wall thickness of 70cm. Hence, Its position aligns with the rising sun or moon, indicating the use of the sun-path method.
In addition, The plumbing and drainage system running along the streets cuts through the rows of multi-storied homes, providing clean water to all. Also, Public baths and private wells were common in the settlement.
DISTRIBUTION OF MAJOR CITIES
Apart from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, other areas include Dholavira, Lothal, Kalibangan, Sutkagendor, Chanhudaro, Amri, Surkotada and Banawali.
1. Dholavira (Gulf of Kutchh): It had effective water management such as dams and reservoirs
2. Lothal (Gulf of Cambay): It was the first artificial port
3. Kalibangan (Rajasthan): It had a provincial capital and was the world’s earliest attested plow field.
4. Sutkagendor (Baluchistan): It was the hub for trade between Harappa and Babylon.
5. Chanhudaro (Sindh): It is the only city in Indus valley without a citadel.
6. Amri (Sindh): It was a Pre-Harappan site with native pottery remains.
7. Surkotada (Gujarat): It had remains of horses, indicating horse taming.
8. Also, Banawali (Haryana): It was an oval-shaped city with radial streets.
Firstly, Harappa is the site that led to discovering over a thousand sites in the Indus Valley. After finding twelve granaries in a row, Harappa got its name “The City of Granaries”. Secondly, mentioned in the Rig Vedas, Harappa comes from Hariyupia, which means “the land of thousand sacrifices”.
After that, The city had active trade with Southern Mesopotamia, which includes terracotta pots, gold, etc. Apart from trade, Harappa also flourished in agricultural production and pottery.
Mohenjo-Daro is one of the largest towns in the Indus Valley and is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is split into the lower town and citadel, similar to Harappa.
The name Mohenjo-Daro means “The Mound of the Dead” is called so due to a large number of mounds. Moreover, the settlement’s main attraction is the Great Bath, a luxurious public bath.
Hence, the Division of power is not evident from the findings and the architecture, which could have put them under the threat of invasion.
CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE
The Indus Civilization is known for being the earliest “urban” settlement rich in art and culture. These include sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewelry, and figurines carved out from terracotta, bronze, and soapstone. Priest-King and Dancing Girl are such figurines that indicate their skill during those times. Furthermore, the female sculptures made in those times indicate the presence of dancers and artists.
Due to the presence of trade and modes of communication, people expressed through the Indus Script. The Vedas, written during the Late Bronze Age period, mentions the Harappans.
However, Mesopotamia and Egypt, the Indus Valley shows no evidence of the presence of religious structures. For instance, figurines and scriptures indicate they worshipped the Mother Goddess of Fertility and different forms of animals.
Though the main reason for the sudden end of civilization is still unknown, archaeologists come up with theories of possibilities from the pieces of evidence. Some speculate climate change or floods as the planning, although efficient, lacked means to resist floods. While others believe the cause could be the drying up of the Saraswati River that happened in 1900BCE. Evidence of earthquake damage in Dholavira indicates another causation.
The invasion of Aryans in the later periods greatly impacted the peaceful regime of the place. Though their end was a drastic one but their contribution to science and technology continues to live.