Indus Valley Civilization (IVC): Harappan Civilisation

By Shubham Verma|Updated : August 20th, 2020

INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION

John Marshall, the first scholar to use the term “Indus valley civilization”. The civilization flourished between 2500 BC-1750 BC.

Geographical Extent of IVC

1. Extent: The Indus valley civilization extended from Sutkagandor (in Baluchistan) in the West to Alamgirpur (Western UP) in the East; and from Mandu (Jammu) in the North to Daimabad (Ahmednagar, Maharashtra) in the South.

Image source: NCERT

2. Important cities

City

River

Archaeological Importance

Harappa (Pakistan)

Ravi

A row of 6 Granaries, Mother goddess figurines

Mohenjodaro (Pakistan)

Indus

Great Granary, Great bath, Image of Pashupati Mahadeva, Image of Bearded man and Bronze image of a woman dancer

Lothal (Gujarat)

Bhogava

Port city, Double burial, Terracotta horse figurines.

Chanhudaro (Pakistan)

Indus

The city without a citadel

Dholavira (Gujarat)

Indus

City divided into 3 parts.

Kalibangan (Rajasthan)

Ghaggar

Ploughed field

Banawali (Haryana)

Ghaggar

-

Rakhigarhi  (Haryana)

-

-

Ropar (Haryana)

  

Mitathal (Haryana)

-

-

Bhagatrav (Gujarat)

-

-

Rangpur (Gujarat)

-

-

Sutkagandor (Pakistan)    

-

-

Sukotada (Gujarat)

--

Kot Diji (Pakistan)

  

Town planning and Structure of IVC

  • Grid system(Chess-board) of town planning
  • Rectangular houses with brick-lined bathrooms and wells together with stairways are found
  • Use of Burnt bricks
  • Underground drainage system
  • Fortified citadel

Agriculture of Indus Valley Civilisation

  • Hindon – Cotton – Major trade good – earliest people to produce Cotton.
  • Proofs of Rice husk found
  • Wheat and Barley were majorly cultivated
  • Use of wooden ploughshare. They had no idea about Iron implements.

Domestication of animals

  • Ox, Buffalo, Goats, Sheep and Pigs were domesticated
  • Asses and camels were used as Beasts of Burden
  • Elephants and Rhino were known
  • Remains of horse found in Surkotada and evidence of horse in Mohenjodaro and Lothal are also found. But the civilization was not horse-centred.

Technology and crafts

  • Bronze (Copper + tin) tools widely used
  • Stone implements were still in vogue
  • Potter’s wheel was put to full use
  • Bronzesmiths, Goldsmiths, Boat-Making, Brick-laying etc were other occupations commonly found

Trade of Indus Valley Civilisation

  • Presence of granaries, weights and measures, seals and uniform script signifies the importance of trade
  • The barter system was widely prevalent
  • Lothal, Sutkagendor were port cities used for conducting trade
  • Trade destinations – Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia. Contacts with Mesopotamia civilization are also seen

The political organization of IVC

  • Cultural homogeneity achieved through a strong central authority
  • No temples or religious structures found. Harappa was possibly ruled by Merchants class.
  • Weapons are rarely found.

Religious practices of IVC

  • Terracotta figure of Mother Goddess.
  • Phallu and Yoni worship.
  • Pashupati Mahadev seal found with the elephant, tiger, rhino and a bull surrounding him with two deer near his feet.

Tree and animal worship of IVC

  • Pipal tree worship was found.
  • One-horned Unicorn recognized as Rhino and the humped bull was commonly worshipped.
  • Use of Amulets to ward off ghosts and evil spirits.
  • The lion was not known in Harappan culture.

The Harappan script

  • Harappan script Pictographic in nature but not deciphered so far.
  • They are recorded on seals and contains only a few words
  • Harappan Script is the oldest script in Indian Sub-continent

Weights and Measures

  • Use of standardized weights and measures to keep accounts of private property, to indulge in trade and commerce etc.
  • Weights are found in multiples of 16.

Harappan Pottery of IVC

  • Well-developed Pottery techniques with elaborate designs of trees and circles.
  • Redware pottery painted with black designs.

Seals of Indus Valley Civilisation

  • Seals were used for the purpose of trade or worship. Images of animals such as Buffalo, bull, tiger etc were found inscribed in the seals

Statue of IVC

  • Discovery of Bronze statue of a naked woman and bearded man steatite statue

Terracotta figurines of IVC

  • Terracotta – Fire baked earthen clay
  • Used as toys or objects of worship
  • Massive stone works were not found in Harappa which shows the poorly developed artistic works made of stone

Origin, maturity and end of IVC

  • Pre-Harappan Settlements – Lower Sindh, Baluchistan and Kalibangan.
  • Mature Harappa – 1900BC – 2550BC.
  • Causes for the Decline of Civilization.
  • Decreasing fertility due to increasing salinity on the account of the expansion of the nearby desert.
  • Sudden subsidence of uplift of land causing floods.
  • Earthquakes caused changes in the course of Indus.
  • Harappan culture destroyed by invading Aryans.

Post-urban Phase (1900BC – 1200BC)

  • Sub-Indus Culture
  • Primarily chalcolithic
  • Development of Ahar Culture, Malwa Culture and Jorwe Culture at various phases in post-Harappan Civilization. 

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Posted by:

Shubham VermaShubham VermaMember since Jul 2020
Revenue Officer in Bihar Govt. [https://www.quora.com/profile/Shubham-Verma-2888]
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Prashansha Singh
Are these notes sufficient from examination point of view?
Uma Dwivedi

Uma DwivediFeb 23, 2021

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Rupali Thakur
So important for us
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VaishaliJun 10, 2021

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