History: The Harappan Civilization: Origin and Extent and Town Planning: Streets

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The Indus Valley civilization may be even older than initially thought. Groups of researchers in India have used carbon dating techniques on animal remains and pottery fragments to conclude that the Indus Valley settlements could be 8,000 years old—2,500 years older than previously believed. This culture existed along the Indus River in present day Pakistan. It was named after the city of Harappa, which it was centred around. Harappa and the city of Mohenjo-Daro were the greatest achievements of the Indus valley civilization. These cities are well known for their impressive, organized and regular layout. Alexander Cunningham, the first director general of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), interpreted a Harappan stamp seal in 1875.

Origin and Extent

  • The archaeologists had to depend on various stray materials and evidences to determine the origin of Harappan Civilization.

  • The comparative analysis of the ruins found at different places of the Indus valley and Mesopotamia gives us an account of origin and Extent of Harappa Civilization.

  • Some archaeologists are of opinion that the date of Indus Valley Civilization was between 3250 B.C. and 2750 B.C. But some recent discoveries have led the archaeologists and the historians to advance the timeline of Indus Valley civilization. In their opinion, it was not prior to the period between 2400 B.C. and 1800 B.C. that India and Mesopotamia did come in contact with each other.

  • Further, documents found at Akkad, (situated in the northeast of ancient Mesopotamia) point to the commercial relations they established With the Indus people. The Indus cities had their highest development in the period between the third and second millennia B.C. India had at that time carried on efficient trade with foreign lands.

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Image of Harppan Civilization

  • Archaeological excavation of excavation of an ancient Buddhist temple was conducted at Larkana district in Sind. During excavation, archaeologists discovered pre-historic clay-pots and a few pieces of artistic works made of stone. The ruins of a very old civilisation were beneath the ground wherein the actual excavation was being carried on. The name of the place was ‘Mohenjo-Daro’.

  • Archaeologists further discovered in Harappa the same ruins of the civilisation as were found at Mohenjodaro. Harappa was in the Montgomery district of the Punjab and was 650 kilometres away from Mohenjodaro.

  • After 1947, governments of India and Pakistan took initiative to conduct excavations in more other places and discovered relics of the Indus Civilization. It is found that the circumferential extension of the civilisation over the area was 1550 kilometres.

  • Even special and important ruins similar to those found at the Indus valley have been discovered in places far away from the areas near the river, Indus.

  • At Rangur, Lothal in Gujarat, and in some other places near the Nerboda, same traces as those at Harappa have been found. It is as if these areas bore witness to the transformation of Harappan civilization. At Lothal, houses, streets and thorough fares, public baths, sewer systems, harbors far small ships, docks etc. have been unearthed in copies number. These deserve mention along with the relics of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.

  • Recent discovery made at Alamgirhpur near Meerut following excavation is of great significance. Both Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa are now in Pakistan. It is certain that intensive excavations will result in the collection of more materials.

Image of Harrapan civilization

Image of Harrapan Civilization

Town Planning

Their town planning proves that they lived a highly civilized and developed life. Indus people were the first to build planned cities with scientific drainage system. The Indus cities were built on a uniform plan. Town planning was amazing in nature.


The streets were straight and cut each other at right angles. They were 13 to 34 feet wide and were well lined. The streets and roads divided the city into rectangular blocks. Archaeologists have discovered the lampposts at intervals. This suggests the existence of streetlights. Dustbins were also provided on the streets. These prove the presence of good municipal administration.

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