Harappan Sites: Important Sites of Indus Valley Civilization, IVC Sites

By K Balaji|Updated : November 17th, 2022

The Harappan sites are an important topic in history that also appear in major exams like UPSC. The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the ‘Indus Civilization,’ lasted from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE in new-age Pakistan, North-West India, and the western part of South Asia. It is counted among the four large ancient civilizations of the world and is considered the largest of them all. The first among all the Indus valley civilization sites was discovered by archaeologists in 1921, known as Harappa, and therefore it is also called the Harappan Sites.

The sites of Indus Valley Civilization first appeared on the river Indus's banks around 3000 BCE. These Harappan sites thrived between 2600 BC and 1900 BC. Due to the extensive usage of bronze, this civilization is called the Bronze Age Civilization.

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Harappan Sites

The Indus Valley Civilization gained popularity due to the exceptional planning and structure that went into its development. The entire infrastructure and system of the Harappan sites or Indus valley civilization sites were exceptionally brilliant, which made this civilization earn its name and fame to date.

Harappan Sites PDF

The town planning and the drainage system in the Harappan sites were extraordinary and set a whole new example for future generations. Seven most important sites of the Indus valley civilization were unearthed and recognized as the main cities. The list of the important sites of the Harappan civilization is given below.

  • Harappa
  • Mohenjodaro
  • Lothal
  • Dholavira
  • Chanhudaru
  • Banawali
  • Kalibangan

Out of these, the major sites of Indus Valley civilization were Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Dholavira, and Banawali. Apart from these Indus valley civilization sites, Surkotada, Dholavira, and Lothal were the main port towns in the valley.

Important Indus Valley Civilization Sites

During archaeological excavations, the ruins of the two old cities & major Indus Valley civilization sites of Mohenjodaro and Harappa were discovered. The remains of the Harappan city were unearthed by Sir John Hubert Marshall, Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, and Madho Sarup Vats. Thereafter, the discovery was announced to the world in 1924, declaring the existence of a new civilization in the Indus valley.

The discovery of these two major Indus Valley Civilization sites was followed by several other important sites. The Indus Valley Civilization thrived upon the basins of the river Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra. A total of 1400 Harappan sites have been excavated, out of which 925 sites are present in India.

The list of all the major Indus Valley civilization sites has been provided in the table below.

Indus Valley Sites

Year of Discovery

Discovered by

Location of Indus Valley Civilization Sites

Details of Findings



Daya Ram Sahni

Banks of river Ravi in Montgomery, Punjab (Pakistan).

Sandstone statues of Human anatomy, Granaries, Bullock cart

Mohenjodaro (Mound of Dead)


R.D Banerjee

Banks of river Indus in the Larkana district of Punjab (Pakistan).

Granary, Bronze dancing girl, Great bath, Seal of Pasupathi Mahadeva, A piece of woven cotton, Steatite statue of beard man




Gujarat on river Bhogva near Gulf of Cambay

First manmade port, Fire altars, Chess playing

Dockyard, Rice husk.



N.G Majumdar

Sindh on the Indus river

Footprint of a dog chasing a cat, Bead makers shop




Southwestern Balochistan province, Pakistan on Dast river

A trading point between Harappa and Babylon



N.G Majumdar in 1935

On the banks of Indus

Antelope evidence



R.S Bisht

Hisar district (Haryana)

Barley, Beads, Evidence of both pre-Harappan and Harappan culture



R.S Bisht

Rann of Kachchh (Gujarat)

Water harnessing system, Water reservoir



J.P Joshi


Bones of horses, Beads

Important Sites of Harappan Civilization: Features

The Harappan Civilization became much more popular since it had adopted quite a modern way of lifestyle and planning. It had a culture of using bronze extensively, which set it apart from other civilizations. Many such features of the major Harappan sites of the Indus Valley Civilization set an example for other civilizations during that time and for future generations. Some of the key popular features of the Indus Valley civilization sites are as follows.

  • Extraordinary town planning of Indus Valley Civilization is famous
  • Grid system that was followed in the arrangement of houses
  • Burnt bricks were brought into use
  • Exceptional drainage system
  • Presence of wells in several houses
  • Wheat, barley, rai, peas, sesame, lentil, chickpea, and mustard were the major productions of the time
  • Cotton production
  • Trade and barter system existed
  • Silver, gold and jewellery items made of precious stones were used
  • Pottery was one of the crafts

Decline of Indus Valley Civilization

Irrespective of the exemplary planning and system of the Indus Valley civilization sites, the civilization had to face a slow decline eventually. It is said that the Indus civilization saw its end around 1800 BCE, though the causes behind it are still not very clear. Several theories are going around the decline of this civilization.

Some experts believed that the invasion by Aryans became the reason for its decline. Still, the appearance of few characteristics of the Harappan sites in other cultures suggested otherwise. Few also believe that certain natural forces, such as climatic and geological, led to the end of the Harappan civilization. Still, nothing concrete could be implied so far.

Largest Site of Indus Valley Civilization

Rakhigarhi, also written as Rakhi Garhi, is considered the largest site of the Indus Valley Civilization. It is an Indian village located in the Hisar district of Haryana. It attained the status of the largest site owing to the discovery of two more mounds in recent excavations in 2014. The excavation of this site was carried out by Amrendra Nath.

Harappan Sites UPSC

For aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam, the topic of Harappan sites holds much importance. The Indus Valley Civilization sites are a very significant aspect of ancient Indian history and therefore need a proper amount of attention from the UPSC aspirants. It is one of the topics related to the glorious past of India, and you can surely expect questions from this part of history.

Important Notes for UPSC
Thermal Power Plant in IndiaSangam Literature
Rabi Crops and Kharif CropsFoundation of Indian National Congress
ISRO UPSCTypes of Rainfall
Integration of Princely StatesNon-Proliferation Treaty
Nicknames of Freedom FightersOctober Revolution


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FAQs on Harappan Sites

  • A total of 1400 Harappan sites have been discovered so far, out of which most of these have been situated on river banks. Out of the total number of Harappan sites discovered by ASI, 925 are in India, and 475 sites are situated in Pakistan.

  • The four important Indus Valley sites are Harappa, Mohanjodaro, Banawali, and Dholavira. There were seven most important and recognized sites of the Indus Valley civilization. All the cities identified there are famous for smart town planning.

  • The remains of the Harappan sites were unearthed by Sir John Hubert Marshall, Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni, and Madho Sarup Vats. The Indus Valley Civilization showed signs of modernism and an advanced lifestyle.

  • The Indus Valley Civilization was discovered in 1921 when Daya Ram Sahni found the ruins of Harappan city. It was a breakthrough then, and a series of excavations unfolded after that.

  • While approaching the Harappan civilization in the later ages, fire altars were spotted in two of the main Indus Valley Civilization sites - Lothal and Kalibangan. These fire altars were a representation of the religious belief systems of the Aryans. These were the signs of religious sacrifices made to the fire.

  • The presence of extraordinary town planning, accompanied by an excellent drainage system and an advanced way of living, trade, and crafts, made the sites of the Indus Valley civilization so famous.

  • Among several important sites of Indus Valley Civilization, Mohenjodaro was discovered by R.D.Banerjee. This discovery was made in 1922 in the Larkana district of Punjab, which is situated in present-day Pakistan.

  • There are several Harappan sites located in India. Out of these sites, the four main Harappan sites present in India are Harappa, Mohanjodaro, Banawali, and Dholavira. All of these sites are situated in India and account for a glorious past of the Indian subcontinent.

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