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HARAPPAN CULTURE

Important Sites of Indus valley civilisation

  • Kot Diji in Sind, Kalibangan in Rajasthan, Rupar in the Punjab,
  • Banawali in Haryana, Lothal, Surkotada and Dholavira, all the three in Gujarat

 

  • Mohenjodara is the largest of all the Indus cities and it is estimated to have spread over an area of 200 hectares

Origin and Evolution of Indus valley civilisation

  • four important stages or phases of evolution
  • pre-Harappan, early-Harappan, mature-Harappan and late Harappan.
  • pre-Harappan stage is located in eastern Baluchistan
    • In this stage, the nomadic people began to lead a settled agricultural life
  • early-Harappan stage, the people lived in large villages in the plains.
    • gradual growth of towns in the Indus valley.
    • transition from rural to urban life
    • sites of Amri and Kot Diji remain the evidence for early-Harappan stage
  • mature-Harappan stage, great cities emerged
    • excavations at Kalibangan with its elaborate town planning and urban features prove this phase of evolution.
  • late-Harappan stage, the decline of the Indus culture started
    • excavations at Lothal reveal this stage of evolution.
    • It was surrounded by a massive brick wall as flood protection.
    • Lothal remained an emporium of trade between the Harappan civilization and the remaining part of India as well as Mesopotamia.
  • Salient Features of the Harappan Culture

    • Town Planning

      • grid system – that is streets and lanes cutting across one another almost at right angles thus dividing the city into several rectangular blocks
      • Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Kalibangan each had its own citadel built on a high podium of mud brick
      • Below the citadel in each city lay a lower town containing brick houses, which were inhabited by the common people.
      • large-scale use of burnt bricks in almost all kinds of constructions and
      • the absence of stone buildings are the important characteristics of the Harappan culture.
      • underground drainage system connecting all houses to the street drains which were covered by stone slabs or bricks.
      • public place of Mohenjodaro is the Great Bath
        • Flights of steps at either end lead to the surface
        • side rooms for changing clothes
        • floor of the Bath was made of burnt bricks.
        • Water was drawn from a large well in an adjacent room, and an outlet from one corner of the Bath led to a drain.
        • must have served as a ritual bathing site.
      • largest building in Mohenjodaro is a granary
      • in the citadel of Harappa we find as many as six granaries.
    • Economic life

      • great progress in all spheres of economic activity such as agriculture, industry and crafts and trade.
      • Wheat and barley were the main crops grown besides sesame, mustard and cotton
      • Surplus grain is stored in granaries
      • sheep, goats and buffalo were domesticated.
      • use of horse is not yet firmly established
      • artisans include goldsmiths, brick makers, stone cutters, weavers, boat-builders and terracotta manufacturers
        • Bronze and copper vessels are the outstanding examples of the Harappan metal craft
        • Gold and silver ornaments are found in many places
      • Pottery remains plain and in some places red and black painted pottery is found.
      • Beads were manufactured from a wide variety of semi-precious stones
      • Internal trade was extensive with other parts of India
      • Foreign trade was mainly conducted with Mesopotamia, Afghanistan Iran
      • Gold, copper, tin and several semi-precious stones were imported
      • exports were several agricultural products such as wheat, barely, peas, oil seeds and a variety of finished products including cotton goods, pottery, beads, terracotta figures and ivory products.
      • much evidence to prove the trade links between the Indus and Sumerian people.
      • seals of Indus valley have been found in Mesopotamia.
      • Trade was of the barter type
      • The seals and the terracotta models of the Indus valley reveal the use of bullock carts and oxen for land transport and boats and ships for river and sea transport.
    • Social Life

      • The dress of both men and women consisted of two pieces of cloth, one upper garment and the other lower garment.
      • Beads were worn by men and women.
      • Jewelleries such as bangles, bracelets, fillets, girdles, anklets, ear-rings and finger rings were worn by women.
      • These ornaments were made of gold, silver, copper, bronze and semi precious stones.
      • use of cosmetics was common
      • Various household articles made of pottery, stone, shells, ivory and metal have been found at Mohenjodaro. Spindles, needles, combs, fishhooks, knives are made of copper.
      • Children’s toys include little clay carts
      • Marbles, balls and dice were used for games
      • Fishing was a regular occupation while hunting and bull fighting were other pastimes.
      • There were numerous specimens of weapons of war such as axes, spearheads, daggers, bows, arrows made of copper and bronze
    • Arts

      • revealed a high degree of workmanship
      • Figures of men and women, animals and birds made of terracotta and the carvings on the seals show the degree of proficiency attained by the sculptor.
      • figure of a dancing girl from Mohenjodaro made of bronze is remarkable for its workmanship
      • right hand rests on the hip, while the left arm, covered with bangles, hangs loosely in a relaxed posture.
      • Two stone statues from Harappa, one representing the back view of a man and the other of a dancer are also specimens of their sculpture
    • pottery

      • pots and jars were painted with various designs and colours
      • pictorial motifs consisted of geometrical patterns like horizontal lines, circles, leaves, plants and trees.
    • Script
      • still to be fully deciphered.
      • The script was mostly written from right to left.
      • In a few long seals the boustrophedon method – writing in the reverse direction in alternative lines – was adopted.
    • Religion
      • The chief male deity was Pasupati, (proto-Siva) represented in seals as sitting in a yogic posture with three faces and two horns.
        • surrounded by four animals (elephant, tiger, rhino, and buffalo each facing a different direction).
        • Two deer appear on his feet
      • . The chief female deity was the Mother Goddess represented in terracotta figurines
      • In latter times, Linga worship was prevalent.
      • Trees and animals were also worshipped by the Harappans.
      • They believed in ghosts and evil forces and used amulets as protection against them.
    • Burial Methods
      • cemeteries discovered around the cities like Mohenjodaro, Harappa, Kalibangan, Lothal and Rupar
      • Complete burial and post-cremation burial were popular at Mohenjodaro
      • At Lothal the burial pit was lined with burnt bricks indicating the use of coffins
      • Wooden coffins were also found at Harappa.
      • practice of pot burials is found at Lothal sometimes with pairs of skeletons.
      • there is no clear evidence for the practice of Sati
    • Decline of the Harappan Culture

      • Natural calamities like recurring floods, drying up of rivers, decreasing fertility of the soil due to excessive exploitation and occasional earthquakes might have caused the decline of the Harappan cities.