Indus Valley Civilization Notes

Indus valley civilization Notes for upsc mppsc.
Harappan civilization archaeological excavations conducted under the directions of sir John Marshal at mohenjo daro in larkana district Sindh and at Harappa in Montgomery district (Punjab) revealed the existence of a great civilization commonly known as Harappan Civilization in the Indus valley. Excavations of other sites in Sindh the Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Northern Rajasthan, and North Western Uttar Pradesh gives more details about Harappan Civilization. Among the sites excavated in recent year are dholavira, Ropar, kalibangan, Banshawali and lothal.

Origin of Indus Valley

This civilization existed between (2300 to 1750 B.C.)
It is called Harappan because this civilization was discovered first in 1921 ad at modern site of Harappa situated in province of Western Punjab in Pakistan by dayaram Sahni.
The Harappan mounds were first noticed in 1826 A.D. by an Englishman Charles mason. In 1872 AD a famous archaeologist at Alexander Cunningham came to this place and concurred that the city was probably thousand years old. However, in 1924 A.D. another archaeologist John Marshal reported about Harappan being as old as civilization of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The Indus or Harappan culture is older than the chalcolithic cultures that have been examined earlier but as a bronze using culture it is far more developed then the latter. It developed in the North Western part of Indian subcontinent.

Extension of Harappan civilization

It extended from Manda in North (Jammu) to Narmada estuary (dhaimabad) in South from sutkagendor (Baluchistan) in west to Meerut (alamgirpur) in the east. The area formed a triangle and accounted for about 129960 square kilometre. 
The geographical extension of Indus Valley Civilization from sivaliks in North to Arabian sea in South from makran coast of baluchintan in west to Meruth in North East.

Sites of Indus valley civilization
Early 2800 Harappan sites have so far when identified in the subcontinent they relate to early mature and late phases of Harappan culture. On the mature phases two most important sites were Harappa in Punjab and mohenjo daro (literary the mound of dead) in Sindh Pakistan. Situated at a distance of 483 km they were linked by the Indus.

Sites of IVC


Founded in 1921 by dayaram shahani located near Ravi river.


Founded in 1923 Rakhaldas Banerjee, located near Sindhu (Indus) river.


Founded in 1927 by RL stine, located near dask river.


Founded in 1931 by N.G. Mujumdar located near Indus river.


Founded in 1929 N.G. Mujumdar, located near Indus river.


Founded in 1955 by Amla nand Ghosh, located near ghaggar river in Rajasthan.


Founded in 1985 by MS vatsa and BB lal, located near Mahar river in Rangpur.


Founded in 1953 by Y.D. Sharma, located near Satluj river in Punjab.


Founded in 1955 by S.R. Rao, located near Bhogwa river.


Founded in 1974 by RS visht, located near Saraswati river.

Characteristic of Harappan civilization 

The Harappan civilization was fully planned and urbanised society and town planning of Harappan civilization was most important characteristic feature of this civilization 

Town planning of Indus Valley

Huge settlements we are found in grid pattern the town had well planned drainage system.
The town's were divided into two parts Upper citadel and Lower citadel.
The houses had their private wells, toilets, Bathrooms, which were connected to drains.
The entrance doors were not on the main road.

Drainage system

Lambpost covered drainage the drainages have circular bending and linings.
The bricks where closely fitted and sealed with mud morter. The drains were mostly covered by layer of baked bricks. Wider drains were covered with limestone blocks.

Economic life of harappans

Agriculture was the major occupation of the people the Indus people produce rice wheat Barley peas seasum mustard and cotton. Remnants of woven clothes were found.
The harappan's head trade links with the cities of Mesopotamia. This is borne out by similarities between the seals found in Indus region and those discovered in Mesopotamia. The main article of trade was cotton. The important port have been lothal in Gujarat. A dockyard of this place has been unearthed. The harappans used weights and measures for trade and other transactions.

Domestication of Animals

They domesticated buffaloes, sheep 🐏, oxes, donkey, dogs, goats, pigs, and horses 🐎.


The Trade was divided into two parts Internal and External parts.
Internal trade - Agriculture Industry and forest produce provide the base for trade.
Weights and measures were in multiple of 16.
IVC is mentioned as meluha in Sumerian text. Seldon Cotton is mentioned as sindon.
External trade - Major imports Gold from Kolar (Karnataka)
Tin from Afghanistan and Eran.
Steatite from Iran and south Rajasthan.
Copper from khetdi mines Rajasthan.

Art and architecture of Harappan civilization

Pottery it is bright and dark in red and black colour. there were different types of designs on potteries, designed uniformly and well baked wheel is majorly used to make pots.
Harappan seals majorly made up of steatite and epicted with different images.
Unicorn bull mostly depicted on seals. 
Peepal tree found depicted on seals. 
The greatest artistic creation of harappan culture are seals. Short inscriptions were depicted on harappan seals such as unicorn, buffaloes, tigers, rhinoceros, goats, elephants, antelop, and crocodiles. Seals were made of steatite or faience and served as symbol of authority and stamping.

Terracotta figurines made of fire baked earthen clay and these were used as toys or objects of worship.

Script and language

Harappan script still undecoded pictographic representation total alphabets ranging between 250 to 400.
Fish was the most used symbol.
Style of language, boostropheadan style was used in Harappan script. I.e. from right to left and left to right.

Polity of this civilization

There was no clear evidence of any ruling class. But business or merchant class rules the society.

Religious worship of IVC

They worship to proto Shiva, mother goddess.
Evidences of fire alters were found. No religious scriptures found, but great bath as evidence considered as holy water tank.

Decline of Harappan Civilization or IVC

There are different theories behind the decline of Indus Valley Civilization such as
External aggression theory by wheeler
Epidemic theory by KVR kennedi
Tectonic disturbance
Climate change 
Sudden decline
Aryans invasion theory discarded in modern theories. 
Different phases of this civilization have been found and evidences of decline still in progress. Emergence of Aryans after IVC.

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