The Indus Valley Civilization(IVC) is renowned as the first urban civilization of India. It is called so because most of the sites excavated are located near the Indus River. Later on, more sites in different places were discovered and hence it was named Harappan Civilisation. It is quoted so because Harappa was the first site that was discovered among all the sites. The reason for it being the first urban civilisation is very common, that is it had well-planned structures and infrastructure that was unique considering the time frame. 

The extent of the IVC varied from the Northernmost site of Manda (in present-day, Jammu and Kashmir), to the southernmost site of Daimabad (Maharashtra) to the easternmost site of Alamgirpur (Uttar Pradesh) and the westernmost site of Sutkagen Dor(Pakistan- Iran). The oldest site in the Harappan civilization is Bhirrana of Haryana and the largest one is also in the state of Haryana I.e. Rakhigari. 

The Indus Valley Civilization was primarily an agrarian economy. Crops like Barley, Wheat, Ruce, Cotton, Chickpea, Bajra, Jowar, and Ragi among others were produced. The residents are doing Multiple cropping as well. The use of a plow was also evident in some of the sites. It was made of both wood and terracotta. Surplus agriculture was noticeable at the sites. Animal husbandry was also prevalent. There was evidence of animals like sheep, cattle, goats, Buffalo, tigers, rhinos, bulls, elephants, etc. However, according to some sources, horses were not well known to the Indus Valley civilization people. 

The non-agrarian economy was overlooked by craft work. Black and Red ware pottery was a visible form of pottery as per some excavations. Metals such as Bronze(Combination of copper and Tin), Gold, and silver were in use. However, till this time Iron was not in use. Textiles such as cotton were in use at that point in time. According to some sources, it is believed that the Harappans didn’t know about silk. Ornaments made of Gold and silver were also present. Bead making, shipbuilding, bricklaying, and stone cutting were some of the other activities that were seen greatly. 

Prevalence of both internal and external trade was there. Internal trade would have been done through the use of bullock carts. For trading with other countries, both land and sea routes were used. Mesopotamian traders were believed to be the contemporary of the Harappans. There are certain proofs of external trade as well. For example, the Mesopotamian script lists traders coming from three places and one of them was Melhua. It is considered that the term Melhua meant people coming from the Indus Valley Civilization. 

The exemplary architecture was one of the remarkable features of the IVC sites. The town planning was based on rectangular grid patterns. The roads hit each other at the right angles. The city was divided into two sections- the western side had an upraised citadel and the other side was called Lower City. Citadel-hosted buildings such as granaries, courtyards, etc. Harappan sites also had public baths. There is a famous Great Bath in the city of Mohenjo Daro. The lower side of town might be the set said for the working class people. The cities had advanced drainage systems and houses had doors at the back to maintain hygiene I.e. averting

dust coming from the front. The seals in use were of square or quadrilateral shape. They were pictographic as well. For example, they had animal figures and scripts written over them. The primary use was to imprint the ownership of goods. 

The weights and measures were uniform and had a sort of doubling pattern. The people of IVC seemed to be religious as well. The presence of the Mother Goddess as the primary female deity points towards the same fact. It was made of red sandstone and reflects fertility and prosperity. It is found in almost all sites batting the site at Kalibangan. Pashupati Mahadev sculpture is also found and is considered as the worshipping of a primary male deity. The seal had three faces, two horns, and 4 animals (Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, and Tiger) along with two deers. Nature worship was also practiced and is noticed with the presence of peepal trees, snakes, etc. for the said purposes. The sacrificial cults were prevalent in the sites of Kalibangan and Lothal. The mentioned sites had fire altars. The phallus worshipping practice was so there. 

There were several types of burial practices such as Complete burial, fractional burial, and post-cremation. The most ordinary was the practice of complete burial. 

Some prominent sites unearthed during the IVC age and their brief description are as follows – 

1. Harappa  ● It is situated on the banks of river Ravi. 

● Two rows of 6 granaries are situated in the citadel. ● Red Sandstone torso 

● Coffin burial with a red shroud.

2. Mohenjo Daro 

3. Kalibangan 

● Situated on the banks of the River Indus in the Sindh area. 

● Great granary here is the largest building 

● Pashupati seal 

● Bronze image of a dancing girl (lost wax technique) ● Satellite image of the bearded man 

● The Great Bath 

● It is called the Mound of Dead in Sindhi. 

● Presence of fire altars 

● Earliest ploughed agricultural land(some claims) ● The dearth of Mother Goddess image

4. Lothal

  • An artificial dockyard is there.
  • The government has planned to build a National Maritime Heritage Museum here.
  • Cultivation of rice is witnessed 
  • Beadmaking as an activity was prevalent. 
  • A Rudimentary compass for appropriate directions was also discovered.
5. Chanhudaro  ● Bead making factory 

● It has the distinction of being the only IVC site without any Citadel. 

● Discovery of a small inkpot and lipstick.

6. Dholavira  ● It is featured in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. ● The only site has a middle town. 

● A burial style similar to megaliths. 

● Water reservoirs are the prominent features of Dholavira.

7. Ropar  ● Situated on the banks of River Sutlej 

● 1st site was to be dug up after the independence of India.

8. Banawali  ● Located in Haryana 

● On the banks of the Saraswati river 

● The only site with the radial sites 

● Had oval shape settlements

The broad list of important Harappan sites as per their location in different countries is as follows 

India- Kalibangan(Rajasthan), Bhirrana (Haryana), Banawari (Haryana), Rakhigari (Haryana), Dholavira (Gujarat), Sutkatoda (Gujarat), Ropar (Punjab), Manda (J and k), Alamgurpur (Uttar Pradesh), Lothal (Gujarat), Desalpur (Gujarat), Rangpur (Gujarat) among some others. 

Pakistan- Mehrgarh, Harappa, Mohenjo Daro, Chanhudaro, Kot Diji etc. 

Afghanistan- Mundigak, and Shortugai 

The IVC sites are a true reflection of the culture, tradition, customs, economy and political situation present in those times. Hence, it is of critical importance to conserve them as the remarkable heritage of India.

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