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Harappan Civilization

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  • Last Updated : 23 Sep, 2022
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SSC stands for Staff Selection Commission. Through this examination, selection is being done for Group B and C in the Ministries of Central Government and other Central Departments. For this task, commission conducts various examinations, such as CGL, CHSL, Stenographer, JE, GD, MTS, CPO, etc. However, SSC CGL and CHSL exams are the most popular among youths.

Importance of Indus Valley Civilization in SSC Examination!!
Every year some 4-to 5 questions are asked from this section, so one should not take the risk of skipping the area.


  • Harappan Civilization is a synonym for Indus Valley Civilization, which arose in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is called Harappa because this civilization was first discovered in 1921 at the modern site of Harappa situated in the West Punjab (Pakistan).
  • Harappa was excavated in 1921, by Dayaram Sahni while Mohenjo-Daro was discovered by R. Das Banerji in 1922 in the Larkana district of Sindh. It is being said that the shape of the civilization was triangular being spread over 12,99,600 sq. km.

Geographical Expansion 

  • It covers parts of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and the fringes of western Uttar Pradesh.
    Western boundary:  Sotka-koh and Sutkagen-Dor on the Makran coast.
    Eastern boundary: Bargaon, Manpur and Alamgirpur in U.P.
    Northern Boundary: Manda in Jammu and Ropar in Punjab.
    Southern Boundary: Daimabad in Maharashtra and Bhagatrav in Gujarat.
  • Of the 250 Harappan sites only six Harappan sites are regarded as cities. 
  1. Harappa  –Punjab
  2. Mohenjo-Daro -Sindh
  3. Chanhu-Daro ( 130Km south of Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh). 
  4. Lothal –Gujarat
  5. Kalibangan (northern Rajasthan) and 
  6. Banawali -(Hisar, Haryana)

Note: Banawali and Kalibangan saw two cultural phases pre-Harappan and Harappan.

  • The Capital City of the civilization was Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro
  • Port Cities were Lothal, Sutkagendor, Allahdino, Balakot and Kuntasi.

Phases of Harappan Civilization:

The civilization is basically separated into three phases:

  • Early Harappan Phase (3300 BCE to 2600 BCE)
  • Mature Harappan Phase (2600 BCE to 1900 BCE)
  • Late Harappan Phase (1900 BCE to 1300 BCE)
  • Later Harappan phase is found in Rangpur and Rojdi in the Kathiawar Peninsula (Gujarat)

Basic Features of the Harappan Civilization

Town Planning:

  •  The town was divided into two parts. 
    One part, raised citadel where the rulers were staying, in the other part of the town lived the ruled and the poor
    • Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa had their own citadel.
  • Houses in the cities followed the grid pattern.
  • Burnt bricks were used in the construction.
  • Underground drainage system (giant water reservoirs were found in Dholavira)


  • According to the findings, agriculture was the backbone of the Harappan Civilization.
  •  Sowing used to happen during the time of November.
  • No hoe or ploughshare has been discovered but furrows were discovered at the Kalibangan.
  •  wooden ploughshare is used by Harappans.
  • Gobarbands or nalas enclosed by dams were present in the parts of Baluchistan and Afghanistan.
  • Canal Irrigation seems to be absent.
  • Harappan people used to grow wheat, barley, peas, sesamum and mustard.
  • Lothal people used to grow rice.
  • Huge granaries were found in both Mohenjodaro and Harappa and possibly in Kalibangan.
  • It has been regarded that the Indus people were the earliest people to produce cotton.

Domestication of Animals:

  • The presence of animal domestication was there. Oxen, buffaloes, goats, sheep and pigs were animals that used to be domesticated.
  • Harappans favoured humped bulls.
  • Dogs and Cats were domesticated.
  • Asses and camels were animals that were used as beasts of burden.
  • Horse domestication evidence comes superficially from Mohenjo-daro and from Lothal. Remains of the horse have been found from the Surkotada. But the horse was not in regular use among Harappans.
  • Elephants and rhinoceros were also known by the Harappans.

Note: Harappan people in Gujarat produced rice and domesticated elephants.

Technology and Crafts:

  • The Harappan culture was from the Bronze Age.
  • Harappans knew about Copper and it was brought by the Khetri copper mines of the Rajasthan.
  • Bronze smiths constituted an important group of artisans in the Harappan society.
  • Utensils and images were produced.
  • Tools and weapons such as axes, saws, knives and spears were produced.
  • A piece of woven cotton was recovered from the Mohenjo-Daro and textile impressions were also found on several objects.
  • Spindle whorls were used for spinning.
  • Huge brick structures were found that suggest bricklaying was an important craft.
  • Boat making was also practised.
  • Seal Making and terracotta manufacturing were important to craft.
  • Silver, gold and precious were used for jewellery making, Bead making was also present there.
  •  pottery made by potter’s wheel 

Trade and Commerce:

  • Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and Lothal were the important centres for metallurgy and tools and weapons production as well as kitchenware.
  • Navigation was practised on the coast of the Arabian sea.
  • Good commercial links of Harappans with Rajasthan, Afghanistan and Iran have been found
  • Foreign trade was flourishing in Mesopotamia.

Political and Religious Practices:

  • No signs of temples have been found at the Harappan site. Except for the Great Bath, no religious structure has been found.
  • Fire cult practices indication has been found in Lothal Gujarat.
  • Numerous terracotta figurines have been found. (In one figurine plant is shown growing out of the embryo of a woman, which was assumed as the goddess of the earth.)
  • The male deity was represented on a seal. This god has three hands and horns. This god has been represented in the sitting posture of a yogi, placing one foot on the other.
  • He is surrounded by an elephant, a tiger, a rhinoceros and a buffalo below his throne. At his feet appear two deer. it has a resemblance to Pashupati Mahadev.
  • Numerous symbols of the phallus and female sex organs made of stone relate to worship have been found in Harappa.
  • Tree (Pipal Tree) worshipping was also there. 
  • Humped bull and the animals surrounding the Pashupati Mahadeva were worshipped
  • In Harappan culture, no temple practice was there.
  • The founding of a large number of amulets indicates that Harappans believed in ghosts and evil forces.

Harappan Seals, Script and Weights: 

  • Like ancient Mesopotamia, Harappan knew the art of writing.
  • The earliest script was noticed in 1853 and the complete script was discovered in 1923.
  • It has not been deciphered yet.
  • Harappans followed the pictographic script, their script was not alphabetical. This script was written from right to left
    Weights and Measures:
  • Various articles of weight have been found.
  •  Weighing mostly happened in 16 or its multiples.
  • Sticks have been found, which were inscribed with measures marks.
  • To facilitate long-distance communication seals and sealings were used.

Major Cities


                         Archaeological Findings

  • 6 granaries
  • Seal (figure of a goddess on it)
  • Stone symbols of male and female sex organs.
  • Painted Pottery
  • Vanity Box
  • Copper made Mirror
  • Dice
  • Clay figure of Mother Goddess
  • Wheat and barley in a wooden mortar
  •  Great Granary
  • Great bath (largest building of Harappa civilization)
  • Assembly Hall
  • Pashupati Mahadev
  • Bronze Image of women dancer
  • Steatite image of a bearded man
  • Human Skeletons huddled together
  • Clay figured Mother Goddess
  • Painted Seal
  • Fragment of woven cotton
  • Brick Kilns
  • 2 Mesopotamian Seals
  • Dice
  • Seals (more than 50% of the seals have been found from here)
  • Dockyard
  • Rice Husk
  • Shell ornament maker
  • Bead makers’ shop
  • Fire altars
  • Terracotta figurine of a horse
  • Double burial
  • Terracotta model of ship Iranian and Bahranian seal
  • Metal Workers
  • Painted Jar
  • Ploughed field
  • 7 fire altars
  • Decorated bricks
  • Wheels of a Toy Cart
  • Mesopotamian cylindrical seal
  • No citadel
  • Inkpot
  • Lipstick
  • Metal workers
  • Shell ornament makers
  • Bead makers
  • Imprint of dog’s paw on the brick
  • Terracotta model of a bullock
  • Bronze toy cart
  • Grid pattern town planning
  • Toy plough
  • Clay figures of Mother Goddess.
  • Lack of systematic drainage pattern
  • Water harnessing system
  • Water drainage system
  • A large well and a bath
  • Only site to be divided into 3 parts
  • Largest Harappan inscription
  • A Stadium
  • Bone of horse
  • Oval grave
  • Pot burials
  • Bronze images with a charioteer with a chariot, ox, elephant and rhinoceros.


Main Sites

Related Rivers

Mohenjo-DaroDaro Sindhu
Kalibanga Ghaghara
Lothal  Bhogva
Ropar Sutlej
Manda Chenab
Daimabad Pravara
Alamgirpur Hindon
Bhagavanpura Saraswati

Questions for Practice:

Q 1. Which of the following is the westernmost site of the Indus Valley Civilization?
a) Mohenjo-Daro
b) Daimabad
c) Sutkagen-Dor
d) Alamgirpur
Ans: c

Q.2 Mohenjo-Daro was discovered in the year:
a) 1921
Ans:  b

Q.3 The expansion of the Indus Valley Civilization does not cover which of the following state?
a) Madhya Pradesh
b) Gujarat
c) Maharashtra
d) Uttar Pradesh
Ans: a

Q.4 Which of the following was the port city of the Indus Civilization?
a) Daimabad
b) Chanhudaro
c) Sutkagendor
Ans: c

Q.5 Which of the following pair is correctly matched?

City       River
a) Harappa    Sutlej
b) Roper    Bhogya
c) Alamgirpur        Hindon
d) Lothal         Saraswati

Ans: c

Q.6 Harappans do not know which of the following animal?
a) Rhinoceros
b) Lion
c) Elephant
d) Sheep
 Ans: a

Q.7 Giant water reservoir has been found from which of the following place?
a) Dholavira
b) Daimabad
c) Alamgirpur
d) Lothal
Ans: a

Q.8 Which of the following is the feature of the Harappan script?
a) Left to right
b) alphabetical
c) pictorial
d) None of the above
Ans: c

Q.9 “A piece of cotton” was discovered from which of the following place?
a) Mohenjo-Daro
b) Harappa
c) Lothal
d) Manda
Ans: a

Q.10 Remains of Horse has been found from which of the following place?
a) Daimabad
b) Lothal
d) Surkotada
 Ans: d

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