top of page

The Architecture of Indus Valley Civilisation

The architectural achievement of Mohenjodaro speaks eloquently about the architecture of the Indus Valley Civilisation in general. The architecture of the Indus valley contained almost all modern comforts and the basis for city planning was a rectangular grid form.

The beautiful masonry and meticulously constructed homes indicate that the residents were extremely wealthy. The most common construction material was uniform brick. A significant portion of the population lived in well-drained courtyard homes.

The Great Bath

The Great Bath is the most impressive structure discovered at Mohenjodaro. It is entirely made of kiln-fired bricks. This amazing bath had a length of 12 metres, a width of 7 metres, and a depth of 2.5 metres. The pool's floor and walls were waterproofed with gypsum and cement.

The pool lies in the centre of a large open quadrangle with rooms and galleries on all sides. It has steps on both ends that lead to the rooms. The rooms may have been utilised by the locals to change their clothes.

The bath was fed by a nearby well, and the sewage was dumped into the city's sewage system through a large corbelled drain that stood 1.83 metres tall. It is still in good operating condition and has no cracks or leaks.

The Granary at Harappa

The entire structure of Harappa's Granary is made of burnt brick. To simplify traffic, it is divided into two blocks and placed near the Ravi river. Massive granaries indicate a well-organized system of collecting and distribution.

Each building has six storage rooms that are 15 metres long and 6 metres broad. The two blocks are connected by a tunnel. There are air ducts beneath the wooden floor. The row of triangular apertures could have been for ventilation. The granary construction measures 55 metres by 43 metres.

The Pillared Hall of Mohenjodaro

The pillared hall at Mohenjodaro was a large space with a high ceiling and twenty rectangular pillars measuring 5 feet by 3 feet and 4 inches thick. Although not all of the pillars can be traced in their current configuration, there is enough evidence to believe that each row had five pillars at one time.

The overall architecture displays a greater level of knowledge, even though there was no notable accuracy in terms of pillar spacing. Gypsum and mud-mortar were used to build the columns. The entire purpose of the structure is unknown.

The Dockyard at Lothal

Lothal is a noteworthy archaeological site because of its dockyard. It is 37 metres east-west and nearly 22 metres north-south in length. Archaeologists believe the site was used as a reservoir. The dockyard was built away from the major currents to reduce salt buildup.

Because the walls are composed of kiln-burnt bricks, engineers are reported to have planned the building to account for tidal fluctuations and their influence on brick-built structures.

The location of the Dockyard was chosen to take advantage of the Gulf of Khambat's highest tidal amplitude, which allows ships to navigate the river estuary's tides with ease. As a result, trapezoidal structures were developed with an average north-south length of 21.8 metres (72 feet) and an east-west length of 37 metres (121 feet). The dock also included a lock gate system, which consisted of a wooden door that could be lowered at the outlet's mouth to keep the water column in the basin at a minimum, ensuring buoyancy during low tides.

Citadel of Harappa

A citadel is the fortified heart of a town or city in general. Harappa's stronghold was 12 metres tall and positioned on the site's western margin. It was a rectangular rectangle that measured 420 metres north to south and 196 metres east to west.

A huge staircase led up the edge of the mound. The citadel mound's numerous massive structures and buildings suggest that this area was likely used for large meetings, religious activities, or important administrative tasks.

Key Features of Indus Valley Civilisation Architecture

  • The cities feature a grid structure and were designed following town planning principles.

  • The roads were built at exact right angles.

  • Baked bricks were used to build the houses.

  • All of the bricks were the same size. The majority of structures are more functional than aesthetic.

Continuity and the Indus Valley Civilization

The Indus Valley civilisation demonstrated a remarkable level of adaptability. It kept and expanded on its established customs. Unlike ancient Egypt, Greece, and Mesopotamia, which were unable to copy or perpetuate their cultural trends, Indian civilisations, particularly the Indus Valley and Vedic cultures were able to retain their unique traits.

  • The worship of the mother goddess, Pashupati (Shiva), fire altars, and tree and animal worship is still practised by the Indus valley civilisation today.

  • The Indus Valley Civilisation paved the way for colourful ceramics, bangles, and saree-style complete garments to continue.

  • Weights and measures, as well as a drainage system, were used by the Indus valley civilisation for a long time.

  • Wheeled bullock carts, identical to those used during the Harappa era, are still in use today.

  • The Vedic period's organisation of society into various varnas, as well as certain practises mentioned in the Vedas and Upanishads, are still practised today.

  • The holy plunge, which is still practised in many parts of India, is reminiscent of the Harappa bath.


bottom of page