(Last Updated on : 17/08/2012)
Harappa was one of the two most significant cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation. During the 1920s, Indus Valley Civilisation
was rediscovered after excavations at Harappa, in west Punjab
south of Lahore and Mohenjodaro
in Sindh near Sukkur. From 3300 BC till 1600 BC, Indus Valley Civilisation was also known as the Harappan culture and it had as many as 40,000 residents. The origin and the race of the people of Harappa are not known accurately. The territory comprises of ruins of a fortified city from the Bronze Age. The city of Harappa is assumed to consist of around 23,500 occupants, which was pretty large at that time. The ancient city was extensively damaged under the Colonial rule as bricks from the site were utilised in the construction of Lahore-Multan Railroad.
Culture of Harappa
The civilisation of Harappa was mostly an urban culture maintained by additional agricultural production, trade and commerce. Harappa had a proper town planning with well laid out streets, separate living quarters, flat-roofed brick houses, and efficient drainage system and ventilation. Craft of the Harappan civilisation was very advanced. Iron as a metal was unknown to the Harappan people but copper and bronze were used in making statues. Music and dance appear to be the main sources of entertainment. Agriculture was their main occupation. There has been enough evidence of the cultivation of wheat, barley, peas, mustard, cotton and rice. Enough evidence of religious practices was not found as no temples have yet been discovered. From the Pashupati seal, it appears that they worshipped Lord Shiva
. Several earthenware figurines of Mother Goddesses have also been found. It is also said that nature worship had been a significant part of their ritual as discovered in the seals.
Crafts of Harappa
Further excavations at Harappa have yielded a prosperous group of objects in terracotta, stone and bronze. One of the most identified figurines is probably the Dancing Girl in bronze metal. The figure of Mother Goddess found from excavation is also an exemplary piece of craft form. The stone figures of torso in red sandstone and the other of a bust of a bearded man bear ample testimony to the exquisite art form of the civilization. The people also made rough terracotta statuettes of men and women. Further more, a terracotta mask of a horned deity has also been found after excavations. Thousands of seals with stunning figures of animals, such as rhinoceros
, tiger, elephant
, unicorn bull, bison
, goat, buffalo etc have also been discovered by the archaeologists. The most amazing seal is Pashupati Seal. Some seals have also been found in blue or ivory, gold or white. The seals also carry figures of animals including bull, elephant, tiger, with or without hump, goat and also monsters. They also made several terracotta toys with variations.
Jewelleries of Harappa
Jewelleries of Harappan civilisation were mostly constructed in gold and silver. It included different types of jewelleries such as bangles, necklaces and other ornaments, and all were well crafted. Ornaments were worn by both men and women. Earrings, anklets, fillets, armlets, necklaces and finger-rings were common. Ornaments were made of copper, ivory, gold, silver, bones and shells, precious and semi-precious stones, etc. It is clear from the archaeological findings that the Harappans were aware of fashion. Different types of hairstyles and beards were in trend. Cosmetic and face-paints, lipsticks and eye liners were also known to them.
Lifestyle of Harappa
Tools of stone, copper
and bronze have also been found from excavation. The Harappans used chisels, pickaxes, and saws. They used saws with undulating edges. The main diet consisted of wheat, barley and milk products. Fruits, vegetables, fish and meat were also consumed.
The reason for the decline of the ancient civilization is yet to be discovered. Scholars believe that the city might have been washed away in flood or destroyed in earthquake. Some scholars also believe that incursion of refugees from nearby villages could also have outnumbered the Harappans, which resulted in their decline.