The notes on the Indus valley civilization include the most relevant things, which could help you to know more about the Indus Civilization in less time in UPSC and other examinations.

the Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization

One of the oldest and well-developed Civilizations in the world is known as the Indus valley civilization, which was spared over 12 lakh square kilometres approximately in Southern Asia. The civilization of 4500 years earlier is identified as Indian civilization.

History of India mainly begins with Indus Civilization. It is one of the most important topics of Ancient History of India and as well as it is also helpful for knowing India's society, religions and their cultures to compare with past and the present.

    A Brief Introduction to Indus Valley Civilisation

    Before the 20th century, It was considered to be the Vaidik Civilization is the oldest Civilization of India but early in the 20th century, discovered the first sites of the Indus Civilizations and declared on the basis of many evidences the Indus valley civilization was the oldest Civilization of India.

    Indus Civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization due to the 'Harappan' that situated on the bank of the Ravi river, was the first site of this civilization, which was discovered by Raibahadur Dayaram Sahni in 1921 under the guidance of archaeological director Sir Jon Marshall. After that Rakhal Das Banerji excavated the second site 'Mohenjo-Daro' in 1922 and collected many evidences related to this civilization. 

    Some Major Sites of Indus Civilization

    Name of Sites


    Year of Discover


    Dayaram Sahni and Madho Sarup Vats



    Rakhal Das Banerji



    Gopal Majumdar



    Fazal Ahamed



    B. K. Thapar and B. B. Lal



    Rangnath Rav



    Yagya Dutt Sharma



    Rangnath Rav

    1955 & 1962


    Orange Style & Jorge Dels

    1927 & 1962


    Yagya Dutt Sharma



    Ravindra Singh Visit



    J. P. Joshi & Madhubala



    Ravindra Singh Visit


    Till now, there have been thousands of places of the Indus Civilization excavated and a lot of archaeological evidence has been collected from those places. And on the basis of this archaeological evidence the political, social, cultural life, and economy of Indus Valley Civilization is written by historians. 

    the Indus Valley Civilization
    The Indus Valley Civilization

    Although, writing skill was developed in the Harappan Civilization. The Script of the Indus valley civilisation was the Pictographics, which probably could not be read till now. The first line of the script has written from right to left while the second Line has written from the left to right forms. 

    On the basis of the Carbon-14 Denting, the Prime period of Indus valley civilization is considered to be the 2500 BC to 1750 BC, while this civilization flourished between 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE.  The development patterns, social, cultures and economy of this civilization prove that the Indus Civilization was an urban civilization. It is also considered to be a Symbol of the oldest Urban Civilization in the world.

    The geographical location of the Indus/Harappan Civilization 

    The Indus civilization was developed on the bank of the Sindhu and Saraswati River basins in the North-west part of India, which was spread about 12.5 lakhs square km between India and Pakistan.

    The Northern site of this civilization was Manda ( Jammu & Kashmir) and the Southern was Daimabad (Maharashtra), which was situated far from 1400 km from each other.

    The Eastern site of the civilization was Alamgirpur (Uttar Pradesh) while the Westernmost site was Sutkagendor (Balochistan, Makran Coast of Pakistan), the distance between the eastern and western sites was 1600 km. 


    Sites of the Indus Civilization

    During the discovering and digging of the Indus Civilization there are many sites found there, in which six towns Harappan, Mohenjo-Daro, Ganvariwala, Rakhigadhi, Kalibanga, and Dholavira are marked as the major towns of the Indus Civilization. While the Lothal and Sutkotda are marked as the Port towns of this civilization.

    Major Sites and their Location

    Name of Sites

    Related Rivers




    Montgomery District of Pakistan



    Larkana District of Sindh state in Pakistan



    Sindh state of Pakistan



    Khairpur of Sindh in Pakistan



    Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan in India



    Kathiyawadi District of Gujarat in India



    Ropar district of Punjab in India



    Ahmedabad of Gujarat in India



    Balochistan Makran coast of Pakistan



    Meerut District of Uttar Pradesh in India



    Hisar District of Haryana in India



    Catch District of Gujarat in India



    J&K of India



    Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra in India

    Town Planning of Indus Valley Civilization 

    Town Planning of Indus Valley Civilization was a high category, Harappan, Mohenjo-Daro, and Dholavira were the well-developed towns which indicate that the civilization was urban. Towns were developed in well-planned ways. Citadel, Paved roads, Drainage systems, building constructions, The Great bath, etc are the main features of the towns of Indus Civilization. 

    The towns of the Harappan Civilization were developed under Grid Methods. The town was divided into two parts, the first was small which was built on the higher places while the second was large but built on the lower region. Which was respectively known as the Citadel and lower town. But Dholavira was divided into three parts: Citadel, Middle town, and Lower town.

    Buildings were constructed from hard bricks or terracotta in which many rooms, kitchen, bathroom and wells, etc were available into single houses. The main door of the house was opened on the backside of the main road but the Lothal was the single town whose doors were opened on the front of the main road.

    Roads were paved and wide, which was made from hard bricks. All roads were met with each other on the right-angle.


    Drainage systems were well developed beside the roads in which wastewaters flowed. Drains are made of hard bricks and wood. Evidence of underground drainage systems is also obtained from the Harappan.

    the Indus Valley Civilization

    The social and economic development of the Harappan Civilization

    Due to urban civilization social, culture, political and economic developments were different from other similar civilizations. The economy, lifestyles, Living standards of Indus Civilization were comfortable and well developed. 

    The social and cultural life of Indus Civilization

    There are many female sculptures obtained from the Harappan and Mohenjo-Daro and archaeological surveys and evidence of mother goddess worship proves that the civilization of Indus valley was Matriarchal. Females were venerable in Indus societies.

    Bangles and Bracelets, Garlands made on the female sculptures obtained from the Kalibanga, are proven that females of the Civilization were makeup lovers.

    Indusians knew about clothes, they used cotton and woollen clothes. Evidence of aiguille proves that they were used stitched items of clothing.

    Trande of Curtain system and Prostitution were in this civilization.

    The painting was developed as the arts in this Civilization.

    Various evidence indicates that Playing Dice, Fishing, Hunting, Fighting animals and birds, dancing, etc were the resources of internment. 

    The evidence of the Harappian political nature has not been found clearly, but it seems that the ruling authority of Harappan civilization was a class of merchants.

    The religion of the Indus Valley Civilization

    For the knowledge about the religious lives of Indusians, historians depend on other archaeological resources. The Earth was worshipped as a goddess of fertility by Indusians. Evidence of tree worship and Siva (Pasupati) worship are obtained from the Harappan, but the evidence of temples are not obtained anywhere in the Indus valley civilization.

    Worship of Mother goddess was very popular in the Harappan Civilization but the sign of the Swastika indicates that the Sun worship was also done in this civilization. Apart from these animals, birds and trees were also venerable. Humped bulls were more venerables in all animals.

    According to religious tradition Evidence of burial and burning of dead bodies has been obtained respectively from the Harappan and Mohenjo-Daro towns of Indus civilization. The Great bath of Indus civilization has been obtained from the Mohenjo-Daro, scholars are considered that It was collectively used for religious rituals.

    The Economy of the Indus Civilization

    Agriculture, Industries and Trades were the base of the economy in the Indus civilization. Contributions of all bases were more valuable for their economy.

    Agriculture and Animal husbandry

    Agriculture was the main base of the Indus economy. There is much evidence that agriculture was well developed. Irrigation systems were used for agriculture. Made by woods and stones weapons were used as farming equipment. Evidence of the ploughing field is obtained from Kalibanga that proves they were using Plow as equipment.

    Wheat and barley were the main crops of the Indus valley civilization, but evidence of cultivation of rice has been found from Rangpur (Gujrat) and Koldihwa ( Uttar Pradesh). Uses of cotton clothes in this civilization also proves that they were known about growing cotton. Possibly the Harappians people firstly produced cotton in the world.

    As well as the cultivation, animal husbandry was also developed in this civilization. On the basis of mark animals, paintings on the pottery, seals, and fossils historians have guessed their pet animals. Peoples of Indus civilization were familiar with Ship, Goy, Cow, Humped and Humpless Bull, Dog, Elephants, etc. The only Indus site was Surkotada where the remains of a Horse have actually been found.

    Craft and Industry

    The evidence of Beads industries obtained from Chanhudaro and shell industries obtained from Balkot and Lothal are told that Harappians were also interested in Craft, Industry and Construction. 

    The equipment of spinning-weave found in excavations of Harappan civilization suggests that craft was the main industry of this civilization. Dyed pots have also been obtained from various places that suggested they were known about painting works.

    Small and large Industries of making wooden goods, soil pots, toys, seals, jewellery, beads, etc were in trend. They were also familiar with gold, silver, copper, tin, bronze, etc. There are many bronze sculptures found in the excavation. But a very interesting feature of this civilization was that Iron was not known to the people. 


    Business Relationship with other contemporary civilizations has indicated that the trading was developed in Harappan civilization.

     The extensive trade of Harappians was inland and foreign both. Foreign trade with Sumeria or Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Bahrain etc flourished. The Sumerian texts also refer to trade relations with 'Meluha' which was the name given to the Indus region.

    Indusian were exports agricultural products, cotton goods, terracotta figurines, certain beads, conch-shell, copper, ivory products, etc, while they were imports gold, silver, tin, jade, steatite, copper, etc from various places like:

    • Gold - Afghanistan, Persia (Iran), Kolar ( Karnataka)

    • Silver - Afghanistan, Iran

    • Copper - Khetri ( Rajasthan)

    • Tin - Afghanistan

    • Jade - Central Asia

    Thus, the trade relations of the Indus civilization were different-different places. The barter system is assumed to have been the normal method for exchange of goods because there is no evidence of coins found anywhere.

    The decline of Indus Valley Civilization

    Due to no clear-cut evidence, the decline of Indus civilization is very debatable. One of the major reasons for the decline of Indus civilization has been considered to be the floods, but all scholars have not agreed with this cause.

    R. L. Stine and A. N. Ghosh considered the climate changes were the cause of decline, while K. U. R. Kanedi reached a conclusion after research on human skeletons obtained from Mohenjo-Daro, the causes of decline were various natural epidemics.

    Due to lack of evidence, no one has been able to clearly explain the decline of Indus civilization but so many scholars believe that Natural phenomena were the main causes of decline. 


    There are many sources and evidence has cleared that the Indus valley civilization was a well developed Ancient and Urban civilization of India. Their basic elements of social, culture, economy are included in present Indian culture too. 


    Urbanization was the main contribution of this civilization, but contributions in Town Planning, Industries, Art & Craft, etc are also remarkable. Historians have depended on archaeological evidence for the known history of Indus civilization, Therefore, the complete information of the history of this civilization has not been received. Further, the research works are needed in this direction so that the history of this civilization can be known more.

    Disclaimer: The notes on the Indus valley civilization is written by self with the help of various sources like books, class notes, and the Internet. I hope that you like it if any queries or suggestions please comment in the box.

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