Features of Indus Valley Civilization | Ancient History


Indus Valley Civilization was the greatest civilization in ancient times. Earlier it was assumed that Mesopotamian culture was the greatest and oldest culture. But after evidence found it was depicted that the Indus valley civilization trade with Mesopotamians. This braked the illusion that Mesopotamians is the oldest. Indus valley is well known for its architecture skills and trade. It was a great civilization was the first to give so much importance to health and sanitization.

There are many questions in your mind, you would surely clear with your doubt by end of this article.

How Indus Valley Civilization was discovered:

The first modern accounts of the Indus Valley civilization ruins are those of Charles Massons, a deserter from the East India Company Army (1829). 

Alexander Cunningham was the first director-general who had visited Harappa in 1853 and noted the imposing brick walls. Alexander Cunningham was also the founder of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). 

Under the leadership of John Marshall and archaeologist Daya Ram Sahani was appointed to excavate the sites to mounts (1920). Marshal deputed D.R. Bhandarkar, RD Banerjee (1919, 1922-23), and M.S.Vats ( Seal And script both were found at that time at the sides of Mohenjodaro. 

Sites Discovered ByYears
HarappaDaya Ram Sahni1921
MohenjodaroR.D Banerjee1922
Chanhudaro N.G Majumdar1931
LothalR. Rao1953
Bhansali R. S Bisht1974 & 85
SurkotadaJ.P Joshi1964

Both the sites Mohenjodaro and Harappa have among the earliest finest examples of urban Civic planning, Also planned Road Network and crossing at 90-degree angle, Double-story building with proper drainage system and Drainage at the sides of the Wide Road. There were houses with ventilation.

View on the years

  • John Marshell ( 3250 B.C – 2750 B.C)
  • Whiller, Phiget ( Early 2500 A.D)
  • H.B Sankhalya ( 3000 A.D – 2500 A.D
  • According to the carbon dating method ( 2500 – 2400 B.C )

Where was Indus valley civilization has situated:-

  • It arises in the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent. It has from here that it have spread southward to eastward. Harappa culture covers Punjab, Haryana, Sindh, Baluchistan, Gujrat, Rajasthan, and fridges of western UP.
  • The modern site of Harappa had situated in the province of West Punjab in Pakistan.
  • LOTHAL in Gujrat, Banawali in Haryana, Kalibangan in northern Rajasthan, Rangpur and Randi in Gujrat, Dholavira in Kutch, and Rakhigarhi in Haryana. 
  • The area formed a triangular and accounted for about 12,99,600 sq. Km which is bigger than ancient and Mesopotamia.

Indus valley architecture and town planning:- 

  • Harappa and Mohenjodaro each had their citadel or acropolis which were occupied by the ruling class.
  • Lower the citadel which has built by brick houses was occupied by the common people.
  • Cities have followed by a Grid system. According to this system, roads had built that crosses other roads at 90° angle, and houses have built adjacent to roads included in many blocks.
  • The big building of the ruling mobilizes the labour and collects taxes. It shows the prestige and influence of rulers.
  • The most important public place of Mohenjodaro seems to be the Great bath, it was beautiful brickwork. Its measurement was 11.88 × 7.0 meters and 2.43m deep. The great bath has used as ritual bathing which has been so vital to any religious ceremony. The floor of the bath has made up of burnt bricks and side rooms have built as a changing room.
  • Mohenjodaro had the largest building of Granary. The Citadel of Harappa also had as many as six granaries. Wheat and barley remains had found here as evidence. Therefore this building has predicted as granaries. Granaries had made so that the stored grains were helpful while emergencies.
  • The drainage system of Mohenjo-days was very impressive. Water flowed from houses to the street which had drained. The street drains has equipped with manholes. This has also found in Banawali. No other Bronze age civilization gave so much attention to health and cleanliness. Most of all cities were having their courtyard and bathroom in each house.


In ancient times, Sindh was having more attractive rainfall and hence the land was fertile. Indus people sowed seeds in the floodplains when floodwater receded and reaped their harvest wheat and barley. The place carried for more alluvials slit than the Nile. Indus people produced wheat, barley, rai, peas, etc. A good quantity of Barley has discovered in Banawali. Foodgrains had stored in huge granaries in Both Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The Indus people were the earliest to produce cotton too.

Trade in the civilization:-

  • There was the presence of numerous seals, informed Script, and regulated weights and measures in a wide area.
  • Harappans carried on a considerable trade in stone, metal, shells, etc. within the Indus culture.
  • They did not use metal money. Most probably they carried on all exchanges through the barter system.
  • For transport purposes, they used solid wheels (IKKA). They practiced navigation on the coast of the Arabian seas.
  • They trade with other lands on the Tigris. And the Euphrates. The evidence of seals indicates they commerce with Mesopotamia (2350 BC). They carried trade with lapis and lazuli.

Religious Practices in Indus Valley Civilization:-

  • In Harappa numerous terracotta figurines of women have. Been found and in one figurine a plant is growing out of the embryo of a woman which probably represents the mother goddess.
  • They look at the earth as the fertility goddess because the land is the asset that feeds them and hence they worship land as the mother goddess.
  • A male deity has represented on a seal. He had represented in a sitting position and has a horned head. This god has surrounded by elephants, a tiger, a rhinoceros, and buffaloes below. This god had depicted as Pashupatinath. The god has identified as Mahadev/ Lord Shiva by many historians.

Tree and Animals Worship:-

  • The picture of the deity represented on the seal is the midst of the branches of the pipal. This indicates trees continue to be worshipped these days.
  • The animals surrounding Pashupati Mahadev indicate that these have worshipped. The most important of them are one-horned animal unicorns which may be identified with a rhinoceros. The next important is the humped bull.
  • The inhabitants of Indus. Region worshipped gods in the form of trees, animals, and human beings. But no evidence of temples has found. Amulets were found in large numbers, probably the Harappan believe in ghosts and evil spirits.

Harappan scripts & Seals:-

  • There are nearly 4000 specimens of Harappan writing on stone seals and other objects that have been found. They do not write long inscriptions, most of them are of few words
  • The Harappan scripts are not alphabetical but mainly pictographic.
  • About 2000 seals have found and of these, a great majority carry short inscriptions with pictures.

Disposal of the dead:-

It is very difficult to form definite ideas about how the people of India used to affect the disposal of their dead. But historians have predicted the following points to justify how dead bodies were disposed of at that time.

  • The dead body has buried underground.
  • The body had burnt and its remains were collected and burried under the earth in an urn.
  • The dead body has left in the open plains for wild animals and birds to eat the flesh and the remaining bones are buried in the earth.

Most of the historians who concluded this have made emphasis on the second opinion. They were burnt and ashes are collected and kept under the urn.

The social life of Indus People:-

From the various articles found in the remains of Mohenjodaro and Harappa, we can draw a picture of the social life of the Indus valley people. Actually, there were four classes.

  1. Learned person
  2. Warriors 
  3. Businessman
  4. Working-class or labour.

Economic conditions during Indus Civilization:-

The big and planned Cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro point to the good economic conditions of people. They were not only agriculturists but also have a source of knowledge of trade and commerce. People at that time trade with Mesopotamia as depicted by many historians. They had a barter system while doing trade and commerce. Seals were also famous among these trading systems.

Destruction of Indus Valley Civilization:-

Since there has no written material or historical evidence, it is quite difficult to say anything definite about the destruction of the Indus Valley civilization. Yet there might be the reasons given below by prediction of some historians.

  1. According to some scholars, the decrease in rainfall might have turned Sindh into a desert. This climate change might have compelled the Indus Valley people to migrate from there.
  2. Some scholars are of the view that the flood in the Indus river might have destroyed the culture of the Indus valley people.
  3. A few others are of the opinion that the gradual drift of the Indus from the city might have rendered the land unfertile.
  4. Some scholars hold the view that there were earthquakes or cyclones which might have caused destruction.
  5. It has also said that the wealthy people of the Indus Valley civilization might have invaded by the tribes from the hills.
  6. Moreover, the Aryans who has better equipped might have conquered the Indus Valley people.

2 thoughts on “Features of Indus Valley Civilization | Ancient History

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: