[ Best ] Indus Valley Civilization Study Notes

by Mr. DJ

Indus Valley Civilization Study Notes

Indus Valley Civilization Study Notes :- Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) flourished around 2500 BC, which is often called the age of matured IVC. It forms the backbone of India as it is one of the major civilizations of the world. An important topic for IAS Exam, Indus Valley Civilization should be well-read by the aspirants. This article will provide you NCERT notes on IVC.

Indus Valley Civilization Study Notes


  • The history of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), also known as Harappan Civilization.
  • It flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia, in contemporary Pakistan and Western India.
  • The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China.
  • In 1920s, the Archaeological Department of India carried out excavations in the Indus valley wherein the ruins of the two old cities, viz. Mohenjodaro and Harappa were unearthed.
  • In 1924, John Marshall, Director-General of the ASI, announced the discovery of a new civilisation in the Indus valley to the world.
  • The Indus Valley Civilization was established around 3300 BC. It flourished between 2600 BC and 1900 BC (Mature Indus Valley Civilization). It started declining around 1900 BC and disappeared around 1400 BC.
  • This is also called Harappan Civilization after the first city to be excavated, Harappa (Punjab, Pakistan).
  • Pre-Harappan civilization has been found at Mehrgarh, Pakistan which shows the first evidence of cotton cultivation.
  • Geographically, this civilization covered Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Western Uttar Pradesh. It extended from Sutkagengor (in Baluchistan) in the West to Alamgirpur (Western UP) in the East; and from Mandu (Jammu) in the North to Daimabad (Ahmednagar, Maharashtra) in the South. Some Indus Valley sites have also been found in as far away as Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
Important Sites of IVC
Site Excavated by Location Important Findings
Harappa Daya Ram Sahini in 1921 Situated on the bank of river Ravi in Montgomery district of Punjab (Pakistan).
  • Sandstone statues of Human anatomy
  • Granaries
  • Bullock carts
Mohenjodaro (Mound of Dead) R.D Banerjee in 1922 Situated on the Bank of river Indus in Larkana district of Punjab (Pakistan).
  • Great bath
  • Granary
  • Bronze dancing girl
  • Seal of Pasupathi Mahadeva
  • Steatite statue of beard man
  • A piece of woven cotton
Sutkagendor Stein in 1929 In southwestern Balochistan province, Pakistan on Dast river
  • A trade point between Harappa and Babylon
Chanhudaro N.G Majumdar in 1931 Sindh on the Indus river
  • Bead makers shop
  • Footprint of a dog chasing a cat
Amri N.G Majumdar in 1935 On the bank of Indus river
  • Antelope evidence
Kalibangan Ghose in 1953 Rajasthan on the bank of Ghaggar river
  • Fire altar
  • Camel bones
  • Wooden plough
Lothal R.Rao in 1953 Gujarat on Bhogva river near Gulf of Cambay
  • First manmade port
  • Dockyard
  • Rice husk
  • Fire altars
  • Chess playing
Surkotada J.P Joshi in 1964 Gujarat
  • Bones of horses
  • Beads
Banawali R.S Bisht in 1974 Hisar district of Haryana
  • Beads
  • Barley
  • Evidence of both pre-Harappan and Harappan culture
Dholavira R.S Bisht in 1985 Gujarat in Rann of Kachchh
  • Water harnessing system
  • Water reservoir

Phases of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Three phases of IVC are:
    • the Early Harappan Phase from 3300 to 2600 BCE,
    • the Mature Harappan Phase from 2600 to 1900 BCE, and
    • the Late Harappan Phase from 1900 to 1300 BCE.
  • The Early Harappan Phase is related to the Hakra Phase, identified in the Ghaggar-Hakra River Valley.
  • The earliest examples of the Indus script date back to 3000 BC.
  • This phase stands characterized by centralized authority and an increasingly urban quality of life.
  • Trade networks had been established and there are also evidences of the cultivation of crops. Peas, sesame seeds, dates, cotton, etc, were grown during that time.
  • Kot Diji represents the phase leading up to Mature Harappan Phase.
  • By 2600 BC, the Indus Valley Civilization had entered into a mature stage.
  • The early Harappan communities were turning into large urban centers, like Harappa and Mohenjodaro in Pakistan and Lothal in India.
  • The signs of a gradual decline of the Indus River Valley Civilization are believed to have started around 1800 BC and by 1700 BC, most of the cities were abandoned.
  • However, one can see the various elements of the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization in later cultures.
  • Archaeological data indicates the persistence of the Late Harappan culture till 1000-900 BC.


  • The Harappan villages, mostly situated near the flood plains, produced sufficient foodgrains.
  • Wheat, barley, rai, peas, sesame, lentil, chickpea and mustard were produced. Millets are also found from sites in Gujarat. While rice uses were relatively rare.
  • The Indus people were the earliest people to produce cotton.
  • While the prevalence of agriculture is indicated by finds of grain, it is more difficult to reconstruct actual agricultural practices.
  • Representations on seals and terracotta sculpture indicate that the bull was known, and archaeologists extrapolate shows oxen were also used for ploughing.
  • Most Harappan sites are located in semi-arid lands, where irrigation was probably required for agriculture.
  • Traces of canals have been found at the Harappan site of Shortughai in Afghanistan, but not in Punjab or Sindh.
  • Although the Harappans practised agriculture, animals were also reared on a large scale.
  • Evidence of the horse comes from a superficial level of Mohenjodaro and from a doubtful terracotta figurine from Lothal. In any case the Harappan culture was not horse centred.

Join Our Telegram Channel For More Updates


  • The importance of trade in the life of the Indus people is witnessed by the presence of numerous seals, uniform script and regulated weights and measures in a wide area.
  • The Harappans carried on considerable trade in stone, metal, shell, etc.
  • Metal money was not used and trade was carried by barter system.
  • They practised navigation on the coast of the Arabian Sea.
  • They had set up a trading colony in northern Afghanistan which evidently facilitated trade with Central Asia.
  • They also carried commerce with those in the land of the Tigris and the Euphrates.
  • The Harappans carried on long distance trade in lapis lazuli; which may have contributed to the social prestige of the ruling class.


  • The Harappans were very well acquainted with the manufacturing and use of Bronze.
  • Copper was obtained from the Khetri copper mines of Rajasthan and Tin was possibly brought from Afghanistan.
  • Textile impressions have also been found on several objects.
  • Huge brick structure suggest that brick-laying was an important craft. This also attests the existence of a class of masons.
  • The Harappans practised boat-making, bead making and seal-making. Terracotta manufacture was also an important craft.
  • The goldsmiths made jewellery of silver, gold and precious stones.
  • The potter’s wheel was in full use, and the Harappans produced their own characteristic pottery, which was glossy and shining.


  • Very few written materials have been discovered in the Indus valley and the scholars have not been able to decipher the Indus script so far.
  • As a result, there is difficulty in understanding the nature of the state and institutions of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • No temples have been found at any Harappan sites. Therefore the possibility of priests ruling Harappa can be eliminated.
  • Harappa was possibly ruled by a class of merchants.
  • If we look for a centre of power or for depictions of people in power, archaeological records provide no immediate answers.
    • Some archaeologists are of the opinion that Harappan society had no rulers, and that everybody enjoyed equal status.
    • Another theory argues that there was no single ruler, but a number of rulers representing each of the urban centers.


  • In Harappa numerous terracotta figurines of women have been found. In one figurine a plant is shown growing out of the embryo of a woman.
    • The Harappans, therefore, looked upon the earth as a fertility goddess and worshipped her in the same manner as the Egyptians worshipped the Nile goddess Isis.
  • The male deity is represented on a seal with three horned heads, represented in the sitting posture of a yogi.
    • This god is surrounded by an elephant, a tiger, a rhinoceros, and has a buffalo below his throne. At his feet appear two deer.The depicted god is identified as Pushupati Mahadeva.
  • Numerous symbols of the phallus and female sex organs made of stone have been found.
  • The people of the Indus region also worshipped trees and Animals.
  • The most important of them is the one horned unicorn which may be identified with the rhinoceros and the next important was the humped bull.
  • Amulets have also been found in large numbers.

The Decline of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Causes of the decline of this civilization have not been firmly established. Archaeologists now believe that the civilization did not come to an abrupt end but gradually declined. People moved eastwards and cities were abandoned. Writing and trade declined.
  • Mortimer Wheeler suggested that the Aryan invasion led to the decline of the Indus Valley. This theory has now been debunked.
  • Robert Raikes suggests that tectonic movements and floods caused the decline.
  • Other causes cited include a drying up of the rivers, deforestation, and destruction of the green cover. It is possible that some cities were destroyed by floods but not all. It is now accepted that several factors could have led to the decline of the Indus Valley civilization.
  • New cities emerged only about 1400 years later.

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”What is the Indus Valley civilization known for?” answer-0=”The Indus cities are noted for their urban planning, a technical and political process concerned with the use of land and design of the urban environment. They are also noted for their baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and clusters of large, nonresidential buildings.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”What is Indus Valley civilization history?” answer-1=”Indus civilization, also called Indus valley civilization or Harappan civilization, the earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent. The nuclear dates of the civilization appear to be about 2500–1700 bce, though the southern sites may have lasted later into the 2nd millennium bce.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”Who lived in Indus Valley Civilization?” answer-2=”There were more than 1,400 towns and cities in the Indus Valley. The biggest were Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Around 80,000 people lived in these cities. The names Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were given to the cities in later times.” image-2=”” headline-3=”h2″ question-3=”What is Indus Valley Civilization in simple words?” answer-3=”The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE.” image-3=”” headline-4=”h2″ question-4=”How did Indus Valley Civilization start?” answer-4=”The roots of the Indus Valley civilization can be traced back to the site of Mehrgarh in Pakistan dated to about 7000 BC. The civilization reached its peak around 2600 BC and it went into decline around 1900 BC. It depends on what you mean. Kot Diji civilization as the start? in this case around 3000 cal BCE.” image-4=”” headline-5=”h2″ question-5=”What is the religion of Indus Valley civilization?” answer-5=”The Indus Valley religion is polytheistic and is made up of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. There are many seals to support the evidence of the Indus Valley Gods. Some seals show animals which resemble the two gods, Shiva and Rudra. Other seals depict a tree which the Indus Valley believed to be the tree of life.” image-5=”” headline-6=”h2″ question-6=”What are 4 symptoms of civilization?” answer-6=”Historians have identified the basic characteristics of civilizations. Six of the most important characteristics are: cities, government, religion, social structure, writing and art.” image-6=”” headline-7=”h2″ question-7=”Which is the oldest civilization?” answer-7=”Sumerian civilization The Sumerian civilization is the oldest civilization known to mankind. The term Sumer is today used to designate southern Mesopotamia. In 3000 BC, a flourishing urban civilization existed. The Sumerian civilization was predominantly agricultural and had community life.” image-7=”” headline-8=”h2″ question-8=”How was Mohenjo-Daro destroyed?” answer-8=”Apparently the Indus civillization was likely destroyed by the Indo-European migrants from Iran, the Aryans. The cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa were built of fire-baked bricks. Over the centuries the need for wood for brick-making denuded the country side and this may have contributed to the downfall.” image-8=”” count=”9″ html=”true” css_class=””]

You may also like

Leave a Comment