What were the main features of the Harappan religion?

By Ritesh|Updated : September 5th, 2022

Due to the absence of information and the difficulty in deciphering the Indus valley script, theories surrounding the religious practices of the Harappan civilization remained undiscovered. However, the following key characteristics of the Harappan religion have been validated by the evidence discovered thus far.

Features of the Harappan Religion

  • Worship of the goddess, the mother
  • Worship for a male deity, perhaps Lord Shiva;
  • Worshiping animals, nature, and half-humans
  • Worship of natural trees or the spirits who reside within them
  • Worshipping inanimate items such as stones or Lingas and yonis
  • These traits imply that the religion was primarily an indigenous development and "the linear parent of Hinduism," represented by most attributes.
  • Many clay female figurines have been discovered, all of which depict the Great Mother Goddess.
  • The Earth, or Mother Goddess, is shown in an excellent rectangle sealing discovered at Harappa, with a plant emerging from her womb.
  • A male deity, who represents Siva as Pasupati (i.e., the model for the historical Siva), is shown on a seal with three faces sitting on a low throne in the typical Yogi position with two animals on either side: an elephant and a tiger on the right and a rhinoceros and a buffalo on the left, as well as two deer standing beneath the throne.


What were the main features of the Harappan religion?

The main features of the Harappan religion include worshiping the goddess, Lord Shiva, animals, nature, half-humans, natural trees, and more. The religious practices of the Harappan civilization are the subject of ideas and debate due to the lack of knowledge and the challenges associated with understanding the Indus valley script.


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