(Last Updated on : 19/07/2013)
Mohenjodaro or the 'mound of the dead' was one the significant city settlements in Indus Valley Civilisation. This ancient city was first excavated in 1920-21, and then between 1922 and 1931. Built around 2600 BC, the site of Mohenjodaro was rediscovered by Rakhladas Bandopadhyay, an officer at Archaeological Survey of India. The excavations have established this Indus valley city as well planned and a significant center for trade and farming.
Two open mounds have been found at the site of Mohenjodaro. In addition to this artifacts have been found at a depth of 12 m below the present ground level. An interesting argument has been offered to explain this phenomenon. It has been suggested that the two mounds at Mohenjodaro were built on huge manmade platforms of mud and brick. In order to get clay for these bricks, the builders of Mohenjodaro must have dug in the immediate area, and thus created a wide and deep ditch around it.
A Buddhist stupa of the early centuries AD was found at Mohenjodaro. This was built on top of an artificially constructed mud and mud-brick platform which measured approximately 400 x 200 m. in addition to these there are traces of salient or projections on the wall situated on the south-west and the west units. The area where the stupa had been constructed is considered the most sacred part of Mohenjodaro. A road named 'Divinity Street' runs in front of this stupa.
The site of Mohenjodaro is important as several interesting complexes have been discovered here. The Great Bath, built of burnt brick and surrounded by an open brick-paved courtyard, is one of the most significant buildings to be excavated at Mohenjodaro. Its access was made easy by a flight of stairs. These steps had wooden covers fixed by bitumen or asphalt. The sides of the pool had another set of walls surrounding them, with the intervening space between the two being filled with a bitumen coating and earth. Water was drained into it by a large corbelled drain and this water was probably drawn from the well that was found in a room at the open courtyard.
Another important unit discovered at Mohenjodaro is the granary that is located in the south-west direction of the Great Bath. This complex was made of 27 mud-brick blocks with passages between them for smooth air-flow. Built integrally with it in the north was a loading platform made of burnt-bricks. In the southern sector of the western mound is the Assembly Hall. Almost square in shape, this hall has 20 rectangular brick piers arranged in rows of five each and dividing the hall from east to west into five aisles or corridors. This Indus valley city stands out amongst the other cities because of such non-residential buildings that also include the 'collegiate building' and the complex with eight bathrooms besides the residential complexes.
Mohenjodaro is also well known for its well planned roads. In the eastern section of the city one main north-south street has been discovered. Excavations at the western edge of the HR area in 1964-65 revealed massive and solid mud-brick embankments with a series of at least 6 m high retaining walls of burnt-brick. This indicates the possibility of such surrounding walls around the entire periphery of the eastern mound. Besides these, drains made of burnt-bricks and covered with stone slabs or burnt-bricks are fairly common in this area as elsewhere in the excavated parts of the city. Interestingly, two brick-built cess-pits in the First Street had a connecting brick drain between them to carry the surplus water of the northern pit to the southern one, which had in addition a series of brick-steps on one side so that somebody could go down and clean it. This regular cleaning arrangement of drains (general width 23 cm and depth 45-60 cm) is also clear from the little deposits of sand found along them.
A row of sixteen houses at this site throws ample light on the kinds of houses that were built in those days. These houses have single rooms in front and one or two smaller rooms at the back. The latter were probably used as shops or working-men's quarters. The houses at Mohenjodaro are standardized. Apart from these several artifacts have been excavated from this ancient site. The Dancing Girl is a bronze statue that was discovered at Mohenjodaro. This statue speaks volumes about the artistry of the bygone days. Several statues like that of the 'Priest King' also suggest a lot about the appearance of the Indus Valley people.
Mohenjodaro remains one of the noteworthy ancient cities of Indus Valley Civilisation that mirrors the culture, administration and ways of life of one of the world's oldest civilisations.