Indus Valley Civilization (3500 BC – 2500 BC)

RPSC/RAS/RTS/History/Rajasthan/Ancient/Indus Valley Civilization

What do you mean by Indus Valley civilization?

The Indus Valley Civilization is a Bronze Age civilization that encompassed the area of modern-day Pakistan, as well as parts of southeastern Afghanistan, eastern Iran, and northwestern India. Its mature period is known as the Harappan Civilization, existing from 2600 BC to 1900 BC.

Indus Valley Civilization existed between 3300-1600 BC in three phases namely Early, Mature (Middle) and late phases. It was discovered in 1921 and belonged to Bronze Age. Indus Valley Civilization was located on the banks of the river Indus, Particularly at the bends that provided water, easy means of transportation of produce and other goods and also some protection by way of natural barriers of the River.

  • Sites included Dholavira, Rangpur, Rojdi, Lothal, Surkotada, Kutaisi, Padri (Gujarat) Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Bhagwanpura, Banawali (Haryana), Diamabad (Maharashtra), Alamgirpur (U.P.), and Mauda (Jammu).
  • The most unique feature of the civilization was development of Urban Centers

Architecture: Mohenjo-Daro Site

 The settlement is divided into two sections, one smaller but higher other larger but lower.

  • Upper is called Citadel and the other Lower Town.


  • Citadel has structure most probably used for special public purposes like Warehouse & Great Bath.
  • ‘Granaries’ which were used to store grains which give an idea of an organized collection and distribution system.
  • ‘Great Bath’ – public bathing place shows the importance of ritualistic bathing and cleanliness in this culture. It is still functional and there is no leakage or cracks in the construction.
  • To watertight bricks, mortar made of gypsum was used.
  • Evidence of building of big dimensions which perhaps were public buildings, administrative or business centers, pillared halls and courtyards.

Lower Town

  • It was walled, probably to provide security to the people. The fortifications with gateways enclosing the walled cities, also shows that there may have been a fear of being attacked.
  • Rectangular grid pattern of layout with roads that cut each other at right angles.
  • Used standardized burnt mud-bricks as building material.
  • Most complete ancient system of public drainage system yet discovered. The main channels were made of bricks set in mortar and were covered with loose bricks that could be removed for cleaning. In some cases, limestone was used for covers. 
  • No evidence of temples.

Domestic Architecture

  • Present in Lower Town
  • Most of the houses had private wells and bathrooms.
  • The bathrooms had drains connected through wall to the street drains.
  •  Many of houses were centered on a courtyard with rooms on all sides.
  • The courtyard was probably center of activities.
  • There are also no windows in walls on ground floor.

Indus Valley Sites in Rajasthan

  1. Kalibangan
  2. Baror
  3. Karanpura

1. Kalibangan

Kalibangan is a part of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, located in present Hanumangarh district. The site was discovered by Luigi Pio Tessitori, an Italian Indologist and linguist. After Independence in 1952, Amlānand Ghosh identified the site as part of Harappan Civilization and marked it for excavation. Later, during 1961-69, excavations were carried out by B. B. Lal & Balkrishna Thapar.

Kalibangan has settlements belonging to

  • Pre-Harappan Period from the 3500 BC – 2500 BC.
  • Harrapan Period from the 2500 BC – 1500 BC

Features of Pre-Harappan Settlement: The pre-Harappan settlement was a fortified parallelogram, the fortification wall being made of Mud-bricks.

  • The houses within the walled area were also made of mud-bricks.
  • The distinctive trait of this period was the pottery which was significantly different from that of the succeeding Harappans.
  • An outstanding discovery was a ploughed field, showing a cross-grid of furrows, the southeast of the settlement outside the town-wall. This is perhaps the earliest ploughed field excavated so far.

Features of Harrapan Period

  1. Town Planning: During the Harappan period, the structural pattern of the settlement was changed. There were now two distinct parts: the citadel on the west and the lower city on the east. The citadel was situated on a higher level and looked like fortified parallelogram. It consisted of two equal but separately patterned parts. The fortification was built throughout of mud bricks.

The southern half of the citadel contained some five to six massive platforms, some of which may have been used for religious or ritual purposes.

  • The northern half of the citadel contained residential buildings of the elite.
  • The lower city was also fortified and within the walled city, there was a grid of streets running north-south and east-west, dividing the area into blocks. The houses were built of mud-bricks, baked bricks being confined to drains, wells, sills, etc.
  • Beside the above two principal parts of Kalibangan, there was also a third one, situated 80 m east of the lower city. It consisted of a modest structure, containing four to five ‘fire-altars’ and as such could have been used for ritualistic purposes.
  •  Of the finds obtained from this excavation, a cylindrical seal and an incised terracotta cake are quite significant.
  • Burial: The cemetery of the Harappans was located to the west-southwest of the citadel. Three types of burials are found: Extended inhumation in rectangular or oval grave-pits, Pot-burials in a circular pit and Rectangular or oval grave-pits containing only pottery and other funerary objects.
  • Terracotta: The best terracotta figure from Kalibangan is that a charging bull which is considered to signify the “realistic and powerful folk art of Harappan Age”.
  • Seals: Most noteworthy is a cylindrical seal, depicting a female figure between two male figures, fighting or threatening with spears.

Practice MCQ

Question 1: The excavations of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro were carried out by the then Director General of Archaeological Survey of India, whose name was?

  1. John Hubert Marshall
  2. John Galt
  3. Herbert Simon
  4. Sean Gilbert Marshall

Answer: 1

Question 2: The Indian who was involved in the excavations of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro was?

  1. SD Rathore
  2. KK Menon
  3. RD Banerjee
  4. RD Sharma

Answer: 3

Question 3: Kalibangan is located at?

  1. Gujarat
  2. Rajasthan
  3. Himachal Pradesh
  4. Punjab

Answer: 2

Question 4: Harappa was located on the banks of which river?

  1. Ganga
  2. Sutlej
  3. Ravi
  4. Kosi

Answer: 3

Question 5: The Indus Valley Civilization was initially called

  1. Harappa Civilization
  2. Mohenjo-daro Civilization
  3. Punjab-Sindh Civilization
  4. Lothal Civilization

Answer: 1

Question 6: Which is the biggest Harappan Civilization Site?

  1. Ropar
  2. Lothal
  3. Kalibangan
  4. Rakhigarhi

Answer: Rakhigarhi

Question 7: In Sindhi language, the world ‘Mohenjo-daro’ means

  1. The land of the living
  2. Mount of the Dead
  3. God’s own Land
  4. The people of Sindh

Answer: 2

Question 8: ‘The Great Bath’ & ‘The Great Granary’ belong to which site

  1. Kalibangan
  2. Bhirrana
  3. Mohenjo-daro
  4. Lothal

Answer: 3 (Mohenjo-daro)

Question 9: Which of the following is known as the ‘Lancashire of India?’

  1. Lothal
  2. Ropar
  3. Chanhudaro
  4. Kalibangan

Answer: 3

Question 10: Which of the following is the only Indus city without a citadel?

  1. Chanhudaro
  2. Kalibangan
  3. Ropar
  4. Surkotada

Answer: 1

Question 11: The literal meaning of ‘Kalibangan’ is

  1. Black Bangle
  2. Black Garden
  3. Black Fort
  4. None of the above

Answer: 1

Question 12: First site to be excavated after independence was

  1. Ropar
  2. Mohenjo-daro
  3. Bhirrana
  4. Banawali

Answer: 1

Question 13: Which of the following is the ‘Manchester of Harappan Civilization’ for its cotton trade?

  1. Lothal
  2. Ropar
  3. Banawali
  4. Dholavira

Answer: 1

Question 14: Which of the following is called the ‘Provincial capital’ of Harappan Civilization?

  1. Ropar
  2. Rakhigarhi
  3. Mohenjo-daro
  4. Bhirrana

Answer: 2

Question 15: Which site provides the first actual remains of horse bones?

  1. Surkotada
  2. Ropar
  3. Kalibangan
  4. Bhirrana

Answer: 1

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