Indus Valley Civilization (2900 – 1700 BC)

Also known as Bronze Age Civilization. Flourished on the basin of the Indus River & Ghaggar – Hakra River. Flourished particularly at the river bends that provided water, an easy means of transportation & also protection by way of natural barriers of the river. Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of the three early civilizations of the world

Sites of Indus Valley Civilization

Early (Pre Harappan) Mature (Harappan) Late Phase (Post Harappan)
  Harappa (Pakistan @ Ravi)  
  Mohenjodaro (Pakistan @ Indus)  
  Chanhudaro (Pakistan @ Indus)  
  Sutkagendor (Pakistan)  
  Sukotada (Gujrat)  
  Lothal (Gujrat @ Bhogava)  
Kalibangan Kalibangan (Rajasthan @ Ghaggar)  
Banawali Banawali (Hissar @Ghaggar)  
Rakhigarhi Rakhigarhi (Hissar @Ghaggar) Rakhigarhi
Dholavira Dholavira (Kutch) Dholavira
  Manda (Jammu), Chandigarh,Shangol (Punjab), Daulatpur,Mitthal (Haryana), AlamgirpurHulas (West UP)

Seals – Indus Valley Civilization

  • Engraved in pictographic script – writing is right to left – yet to be deciphered
  • Used on soft river stone, steatite, gold & ivory mainly for trade and commerce
  • Used as an amulet to ward off the evilindus-valley-seals
  • Use as an educational tool presence of pie sign
  • Prominent Seals Pashupati, humped bull, elephant and rhinoceros
  • Indus seals found in Mesopotamia Sign of possible trade


Sculpture – Indus Valley Civilization

  • 2 Stone male figures Torso in red sandstone + Bust of a bearded man in steatite
  • Bronze casting was widely used following lost wax technique
Indus Valley Torso Red sandstone

Torso Red sandstone

Indus Beard Man

Bust of a bearded man

Indus Valley dancing girl

Indus Valley dancing girl

Lost Wax Technique 

  • wax figures are covered with a coating of clay and allowed to dry
  • Then it is heated and the molten wax is allowed to drain out through a tiny hole at the bottom of the clay
  • The hollow mould is then filled with bronze or any other metal
  • Once the metal is cooled, the clay is removed
  • Examples statue of a ‘Dancing Girl’ + buffalo with its uplifted head, back & horns

Indus valley Bull

Terracotta – Indus Valley Civilization

  • Terracotta is a fire baked clay and is handmade using pinching method
  • Examples include Mother Goddess, Toy carts with wheels etc.
  • Compared to stone and bronze statues the terracotta representations of human form are crude
Indus Mother Goddess

Mother Goddess

Indus Toy carts

Toy carts with wheels

Pottery – Indus Valley Civilization

  • Mainly plain, red and black painted – Plain pottery is more common than painted
  • Consists chiefly of very fine wheel- made wares, & very few being hand-made
  • Used for household purpose (storage of water, food grains etc.)
  • Used For decoration- Miniature vessels used for decoration (Less than 1/2 inch)
  • Used as perforated pottery (large hole at the bottom and small holes all over the wall, and probably was used for straining liquor)

Indus Valley Pottery

Beads and Ornaments

  • Made of precious metals, gemstones, bone and even baked clay
  • Necklaces, armlets and finger rings were common
  • Evidences of dead bodies buried along with ornaments have also been found
  • Cinnabar was used as cosmetic, Lipstick, & face-paint
  • Even eyeliner’s were all known to them

Indus Valley jewellary

Extensive Town Planning

  • Citadel / Acropolis at cities for member of ruling class (west side) & brick houses below citadel in town for commoners
  • Evidence of public buildings, administrative or business centres, pillared halls and courtyards.
  • Fortifications with gateways enclosing the walled cities shows that there may have been a fear of being attacked
  • The concept of two-storied houses was also present
  • Large scale use of baked bricks as building material
  • Granaries in Citadels with strategic air-ducts gives an idea of an organised collection and distribution system
  • Remarkable grid system of roads Roads cutting at right angle to each other
  • Remarkable underground drainage system connecting all houses & streets covered by bricks / stone slabs
  • No temples has been found at any of the site hence can be said that it was ruled by merchants not priests
  • Used weights for trade (Mostly in multiple of 16) & Bronze made marked sticks for measurements
  • Great Bath public bathing place shows the importance of ritualistic bathing and cleanliness in this culture.
Harappa Granaries


Indus valley wells

Harappa Great Bath

Great Bath

India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017


  1. nice post …thank you for sharing this information

  2. please make pdf also available….it would be really helpful

  3. please correct it , there are some mistake

    • Dear,

      Can you mention the mistakes , so that the content writer can make necessary changes wherever applicable.

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