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The Indus Valley Civilisation

The Indus valley civilisation was first discovered in 1921 in Harappa, Punjab, and again in 1922 in Mohenjodaro, Sindh, near the Indus river, both of which are now in Pakistan.

Subsequently, artefacts of the civilisation have been discovered near Sutkagen Dor, in the Arabian Sea, near Rupnagar, at the foot of the Shimla highlands, nearly 1,600 kilometres to the northeast.

Later exploration showed its existence southward along India's west coast, all the way to the Gulf of Khambhat, and eastward all the way to the Yamuna basin. It is one of the earliest civilisation of the world; the other two are Mesopotamia and Egypt.

What are the key features of the 'Indus Valley Civilisation?

The Indus or Harappan culture predates the Chalcolithic culture and it is the most evolved culture of ancient India. Charles Mason discovered the Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in 1823.

Three stages of IVC development may be distinguished:

  • P B.C. re-Harappan (4500-3500 B.C. )

  • Proto-Harappan (3500- 2500 B. .C. )

  • Harappan (c. 3500 B.C.) (2500-1750 B.C.).

The Village culture was first discovered in Baluchistan Kuli, Quetta, Zhob, Nul, Ranaghundei, Zalilpur, Rehman Dehri, and Sarai Kola.

The Baluchi cultures arrived in Sindh in the second stage, resulting in widespread cultivation. As a result of this economic growth, more people moved into cities. Kot Diji, Amri, Kalibangan, and Banwali were all representative cities during this stage of development.

Geographical Extent

The civilisation achieved its peak during the third stage. It extends from Sutkagendor in the west to Alamgirpur in Uttar Pradesh in the east, and from Manda in Kashmir in the north to Daimabad in the south.

The Harappan civilization is another name for IVC because it had been discovered at the Harappan site in Pakistan's west Punjab area.

From its central area in Sind and Punjab, the Harappan civilisation expanded south and east, covering Punjab, Haryana, Sindh, Baluchistan, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and western Uttar Pradesh.

Important Sites


Harappa was located on the banks of the Ravi river in west Punjab's Montogomery district. It was discovered in 1921 by Dayaram Sahani.

It is referred to as the 'city of granaries.' There were twelve granaries in a row.

Outside the fort, an 'H' style cemetery was discovered, indicating the presence of a foreign race.

The Rig Veda refers to it as the city of a thousand sacrifices (Hariyupia). According to the same Veda, it was destroyed by Lord Indra.


Discovered By R.D. Banerjee

Mohenjo-daro was located on the banks of the Indus River in Sindh's Larkana district.

It is the largest Indus Valley site, the most populated, and provides a model for all other sites.

A swimming pool-like building, the Great Bath, the Great Granary, a temple-like structure, and an assembly hall were all included in the site's structural systems.

Several antiques were discovered including a piece of fabric, a scale for calculating distance, a Pashupati seal, a bronze figure of a dancing girl, and a steatite image of a priest.

Some pictures depicts the scene where, Pashupati sits in deep meditation positions with three faces and two horns, surrounded by four creatures, a buffalo, tiger, elephant, and rhino in four separate directions, and two deer at his feet. It is the first representation of Lord Shiva.

The City was flooded at least 'Seven Times'.

Mohenjodaro's monuments were included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.


Discovered By: M.J. Majumdar

The Site is located to the south of Mohenjo-daro, on the banks of the Indus river in 'Sindh' province.

This was the only location without a fort.

An inkpot used to store writing ink was discovered here. The site is also considered as a major bead-making centre.

It had been flooded 2 - 3 times


Discovered By: A Ghosh

The ASI discovered Kalibangan, a site in Rajasthan on the banks of the river Ghaggar. It explored both stages of development, namely the Proto and Harappan periods.

The largest piece of land suitable for agriculture in the prehistoric world was discovered here. Numerous fire temples indicating worship 'Agni' were also discovered.

Unique Characteristics: The Bathroom and the toilet remains.


Banawali was located in Haryana on the banks of the Saraswati river. It is renowned for its large barley farming.


Lothal was located on the Cambay River's banks (Gujarat). A man-made naval dockyard, residences with side entrances, and the city's eastern entrance are all distinctive features of Lothal.

Around 1800 B.C., the people of Lothal were the first to produce rice.


A skeleton of a horse was discovered as definite proof of the IVC people's knowledge and use of the horse.


Rangpur is an ancient archaeological site in Gujarat, India, near Vanala on the Saurashtra peninsula. It dates from the Indus Valley Civilization period and is located to the northwest of the larger Lothal site.

Rice Production was also exercised at Rangpur.


Dholavira was the most recent discovery, occurring in 1992. It is the largest IVC site inside the current boundaries of India.

The world's first stadium, going back at least to prehistoric times, was discovered here. This is the biggest inscription containing ten pictographs in a single sentence.

Dholavira, a Harappan city in Gujarat's Kutch district, was named the 40th Indian site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 27, 2021.