Etymology of Kalibangan
The name of Kalibangan has been derived from two words: Kali and Bhangan. Kali means black and bhangan means bangle. Kalibangan was, in fact, named after the myriad pieces of terracotta bangles excavated here.
History of Kalibangan
Kalibangan place was discovered by an Italian Ideologist and linguist Luigi Pio Tessitori. It is also recognized as being established in the land of triangle at the joining of Drishadwati and Saraswati Rivers together. It was excavated between 1960-61 and 1968-69. After India's independence, the major Harappan cities together with the Indus became a part of Pakistan and Indian archaeological sites.
Culture of the Indus Valley survived at the site from the proto-Harappan age to the Harappan age. This earlier phase is labelled Kalibangan-I. The correspondence of pottery relates Kalibangan-I with the Sothi culture because a lot of this pottery was later discovered at Sothi village in North Western India.
Location of Kalibangan
Kalibangan is located at Pilibangan, between Suratgarh and Hanumangarh in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan. It is located on the southern banks of the Ghaggar River. It is 205 kilometers away from Bikaner.
Features of Kalibangan
Kalibangan in Rajasthan has given the proof of the earliest (c. 2800 BC) ploughed agricultural field ever revealed through a quarry. Similar ploughing is used for two simultaneous crops in this area even today. The unique mark of this early phase is pottery, characterized by six fabrics labelled A, B, C, D, E and F, which were later identified also at Sothi in North Western India. Small blades of chalcedony and agate, shell, carnelian, terracotta and copper, bangles of copper, terracotta objects like a toy-cart, wheel and a broken bull, a bone point etc. have been found here.
The best terracotta figure from Kalibangan is that a charging bull which is considered to be a sign of the "practical and powerful folk art of Harappan Age". Several seals have been found dating to this period. Most significant is a cylindrical seal, representing a female figure between two male figures, fighting or frightening with spears.
Structures of Kalibangan
Kalibangan comprises of two mounds: a small mound which is located in the western direction and the larger mound which is situated in the east with an open space in between them. The excavations revealed that the western mound was a fortified enclosure with rectangular salient and towers. This was further partitioned into two units by an inner wall with stairways on either side for movement between the two units. The southern unit had a flight of stairs that acted as the passage for movement between the two units. Although these have disappeared but seven fire-altars in a row on the top of one of the platforms have survived the ravages of time.
Five streets in Kalibangan have been excavated. These streets are 1.8 to 7.2 m wide and were paved with terracotta nodules in the late phase and had occasionally street-fenders at the turnings. Most of the houses in this ancient city had fire altars. The dimensions of the rooms in these houses were more or less similar. There were 70-75 cm wide single-leaf doors. Apart from these, five more fire altars were found in an isolated structure, suggesting that the place was probably used for religious purposes.
Three systems of burial have been attested in the burial ground here in which 34 graves have been found:
Burial in rectangular or oval trench. In one pit, a copper mirror was found among these objects. Pits were mud filled after burying. One grave was enclosed with a mud brick wall plastered from inside.
Another one is burial in pot within a spherical pit, with no corpse. 4 to 29 pots and utensils were placed around the foremost pot. In some, graves beads, shell, etc. have been found.
Like the first type, the length of this style of grave was also along with north-south. The concluding two methods were not associated with any skeletal remains and may be related to symbolic burial. The third type of graves contained objects as in the second type, like beads, shells, etc.
Existing Structures of Kalibangan
The surviving structures at Kalibangan demonstrate the use of clay and terracotta cakes associated with ash and charcoal in building them. Besides these, there are few bath-pavements and a well. The presence of such buildings suggests that this place was probably being used for rituals. On the other hand, the buildings inside the northern units indicate that they were possibly used for residential purposes and people living there performed several kinds of rituals. A mud brick wall of 3 to 3.9 meters wide was found in the northern section in a box-like fashion with mud filling inside.
End of Kalibangan
Director General of Archaeological Survey of India Prof. B. B. Lal said, Kalibangan was abandoned because the river dried up. Kalibangan has also shown that an earthquake around 2600 BC brought this city to an end. At least three pre-historic earthquakes affecting the Indus Valley Civilization at Dholavira in Kutch District have been identified in 2900-1800 BC.
In contemporary India, one of the most significant places to visit in Kalibangan is the Kalibangan Archaeological Museum. There are several relics displayed in the museum that narrate the story of this ancient city.
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