Home » History » 20 Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts – Part I

20 Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts – Part I

Of all civilizations of antiquity, the name of Indus Valley Civilization shines bright and bold. The civilization is as old as 5500 BCE when evidences of various religious practices can be found. Somewhere at around 4000 BCE, farming settlements started in the region and by 3000 BCE, urbanization began. Between 2500 and 200o BCE, the civilization reached its peak and one of the most technologically advanced civilizations in the world.

The decline of the Indus Valley Civilization began when the River Saraswati began to dry up and climate changes started happening. However, there are some foolish and utterly stupid people out there who think that the Mythical Aryan Invasion was the cause of decline of the Indus Valley Civilization. In this article, let us learn about 20 interesting Indus Valley Civilization facts. This is just one part of the article as we will create another article rounding up more facts about the great civilization. But before we start…

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Scientists from Archaeological Survey of India and India’s premier technology institute: IIT Kharagpur – have identified that Indus Valley Civilization is way older than what was thought previously. The scientists have noted, through carbon dating of various pottery and animal remains that the Indus Valley Civilization is at least 8,000 years old while the previously held notion is that the civilization was 5,500 years old. This means that Indus Valley Civilization came to existence before the Egyptian Civilization (dated 7,000 ka BP to 3,000 ka BP) and Mesopotamian Civilization (dated 6,500 ka BP to 3,100 ka BP). Also, those scientists have identified a Pre-Harappan Civilization which started 1000 years before Indus Valley Civilization properly started. This means that ‘Cradles of Civilization’ as we have been taught in history has to be rewritten. The whole world owes to Indus Valley Civilization – the oldest and the most ancient and highly advanced civilization of antiquity! In case you are wondering where to find the study, you can head for the renowned journal: Nature, where the study was published on May 25, 2016.

Please note: ka BP stands for Kilo Annum Before Present where Kilo Annum is a period of 1,000 years. So, based on the new findings:

Pre-Harappan period: 9,000 ka BP to 8,000 ka BP (7,000 BCE – 6,000 BCE)

Indus Valley Civilization: 8,000 ka BP to 2,500 ka BP (6,000 BCE – 500 BCE)

Dates are approximate estimates

Learn more about this here, here and here.


Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 1-5

1. Of all the four civilizations, viz. Mesopotamian, Chinese, Egyptian and Indus, Indus Valley Civilization is largest in terms of its area. Its area was 1,260,000 square kilometres. It was spread over India, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc. Current findings by Indian scientists from IIT Kharagpur and Archaeological Survey of India show that the extent of the civilization was even bigger.

2. It had Ghagra-Hakra valley to the east, Makran Coast (Baluchistan) to the west, Afghanistan in northeast and Daimabad (Maharashtra) in south.

3. Owing to its vast area, 1056 cities have been found. Out of these 1056 cities, 96 of them have been excavated. Dholavaria, Rakhigarhi, Lothal, Kalibangan are some of the famous urban cities apart from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.

4. When it was at its highest stage of civilization, it had a population of 5 million. Yes, Indians had big land and big families too!

5. Out of the 5 million people, many of them lived in villages. Unfortunately, archaeologists are having tough time finding the conditions and culture and society in which they lived because of absence of any proper evidence. Their residences, archaeologists assume, were made of mud or wood which gets damaged easily and hence no trace.

Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 6-10

6. Not only that we don’t know much about the civilization, archaeologists are not sure what to call this civilization. Everyone calls it as Indus Valley Civilization but now some archaeologists say that Ghagra-Hakra Valley civilization name is better because around 500 cities are excavated along the banks of Ghagra-Hakra river (Saraswati).

7. However, some archaeologists think that the cities along the banks of Indus river were destroyed by floods and the cities near Ghagra-Hakra river are being excavated more, thanks to the desert climate which helped in preserving these cities.

8. During excavation, archaeologists found more and more of toys and they assumed that most of the inhabitants of this civilization wre children.

9. British people used Indus Valley Civilization’s bricks to construct 150 kilometres or 93 miles long railway track from Karachi to Lahore.

10. Just as any other invention, the first people to plan the cities were the Harappans and the same story, the invention’s credit is given to Hippodamus, a Greek urban planner but not the technologically advanced Indus people. Pity, West, Pity!

Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 11-15

11. Thanks to the planning of the cities, they were heavily populated but weren’t disordered and messy. Cities of Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations were noisy.

12. Harappans are famous for their world-class drainage system. The usage of flush toilets, removal of waste water, channelling fresh water into bathrooms – they were masters in this area. They were exceptionally neat. Same type of sanitation is observed in Crete Island’s Minoan Civilization.

13. Town planning was not limited to cities alone, every town, village and city had the same grid pattern and every house constructed used the same bricks, which were of a particular dimension. The bricks were same for all the houses.

14. It is surprising to many researchers and scientists as for how this was achieved because, till date there is no evidences of any authority or leader ruling this Civilization.

15. Water management system was also thoroughly developed there. There are evidences that tanks were constructed to store water. Canals and bunds were also constructed.

Interesting Indus Valley Civilization Facts: 16-20

16. In Lothal, one of the cities of the Civilization, water transport means were available and Terraquaculture was practised. It is an integrated practice of land and water use. These kinds of systems were followed in ancient civilization but the one that was present in Lothal was pretty ahead of its time.

17. Water conservation through the construction of reservoirs, rooftop rain harvesting was seen in different areas of the Civilization as the water availability was an issue.

18. Cities and towns of Harappa maintained rectangular grid pattern. The main streets followed North-South direction and East-West direction was followed by secondary streets. Forming perfect right angles, intersection of streets took place at junctions. Scientists believe that this was planned because of astronomical beliefs.

19. These cities had spacious roads. Mohenjo-Daro roads were 10 metres wide and the smallest roads width is estimated to be at least 1.5 m-3m.

20. Why so spacious roads? Two reasons. The first one is that the cities had huge population but amazing town planning led to almost no chaos on streets. The second one, the markets were held on the roads so they have to be of that width to accommodate people travelling and markets at the same time.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5