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Indus Valley Civilization (2900 – 1700 BC)

  • Indus valley civilization is older than chalcolithic culture but was far more developed
  • Marked the beginning of Bronze age civilization


Sights 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)


Developments in Indus Valley Civilization

  • Citadel / Acropolis at cities for member of ruling class (west side) & brick houses below citadel in town for commoners
  • Remarkable grid system of roads  Roads cutting at right angle to each other
  • Large scale use of burnt bricks & total absence of stone buildings
  • Remarkable underground drainage system connecting all houses & streets covered by bricks / stone slabs
  • Agriculture technology was well developed (But no use of ploughshare) : Wheat, Rice, Barley, Peas etc. + Domesticated large scale of animals
  • Cotton was 1st produced by Indus people hence Greeks called it Sindon which is derived from Sindh
  • Harappan were 1st to produce silver in the world + wore gold, silver & beads Jewelry
  • Practiced boat making, seal making, Bronze smith, Weavers etc.
  • Granaries & seals show Harappan carried on considerable trade but only through Barter system
  • No temples has been found at any of the site hence can be said that it was ruled by merchants not priests
  • Worshiped Goddess Earth, Pipal Tree, Pashupati Mahadeva & Animals (Bull / Unicorn Rhino)
  • 1st to invent the art of writing – Right to left – (Pictographic only  Not deciphered so far)
  • Used weights for trade (Mostly in multiple of 16) & Bronze made marked sticks for measurements
  • Were expert in Potter’s wheel & pottery making
  • Their greatest artistic creation was ” Seals”
  • Mostly limestone was used for sculptures.


Indus Valley Civilization Site
Remarkable Feature
  • Great Bath (Largest Brick Work)
  • Great Granary (Largest Building)
  • Impressive drainage system
  • Bronze image of dancing girl
  • Image of steatite bearded man
  • Piece of woven cotton
  • Seal of pashupati
  • Prepared Garments
  • Skeletons on stairs of well (Mount of the dead)
  • Artificial Dock (Manchester of Harappan civilization)
  • Art of double burial
  • Cotton cultivation
  • Granary & Wooden plough
  • Wells in every house
  • Camels Bone
  • 2 rows of 6 granaries
  • Lancashire of India
  • Only city without citadel
  • Bangles Factory
  • Beads Factory
  • Biggest Site


Theory of Decline of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Natural Calamities such as floods, Earthquakes etc.
  • Decrease in Land fertility
  • Outbreak of an epidemic
  • Decline of trade & Invasion of Aryans


Notable Points

By the fragmentary remains of the buildings constructed by these people it is not yet possible to know enough about the architectural skill and tastes of the people. However, one thing is clear, the extant buildings do not give us any clue as to aesthetic considerations and there is a certain dull plainness about the architecture which may be due to their ruined and fragmentary condition.

There does not appear to be any connection between the cities built in the 3rd millennium BC, with an astonishing civic sense, of first rate well-fired brick structures, and the architecture of subsequent thousand years or so, of Indian art history, after the decline and decay of the Harappan civilization and the beginning of the historic period of Indian history, mainly the time of the great Mauryas of Magadha.

These thousands years or so were a period of tremendous, intellectual and sociological activity and could not be barren of any artistic creations. However, due to the fact that during this time sculpture and architecture was utilising organic and perishable materials such as mud, mud brick, bamboo, timber, leaves, straw and thatch, these have not survived the ravages of time.

Two important remains of the oldest times are fortifications of the old Rajagriha town, in Bihar and the fortified capital of Sisupalgarh, perhaps the ancient Kalinganagar, near Bhubaneswar.

Rajagriha fortification wall is made in the roughest possible manner, unhewn stones being piled one on top of the other; belongs to the 6th -5th century BC. However at Sisupalgarh in the 2nd -1st  century BC, stone masons were at work using large blocks of stones to make a very well-made fort entrance that could be closed with huge doors turning on hinges.

We know it for a fact that stone masonry and stone carving were imported in Ashoka’s times from Persia. There is abundant evidence of stone masons mark similar to those at Persepolis (Persia).


Previous – Paleolithic age, Mesolithic Age, Neolithic Age, Chalcolithic Age

Next – Early Vedic Period

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