Mandala Of Indic Traditions
Infinity Foundation sponsored new book project titled:
"Harappan Architecture and Civil Engineering"
by Jagat Pati Joshi, PhD
In the field of traditional knowledge systems, the Harappan civilization which
flourished during the 3rd-2nd millennia BC ranks amongst the four widely known
civilizations of the Old World and covers appreciably larger area than in the
early Dynastic Egypt-or Sumer. Like the other Old World Civilizations, the Harappan
civilization seems to have grown from the skilful utilisation of the fertile
river systems and their valleys in the north-western region of Indo-Pakistan
sub-continent. The Harappans have given systematic town planning, fortification
of citadel, elaborate drainage system the idea of establishing of granaries
and surplus economy, standardization of brick sizes, weights and measures, geometric
instruments e.g. right angles, linear scale and plumb bob are the principal
gifts of the Harappans to the succeeding cultures through the ages. It was the
Harappans who gave the idea of welfare of the workers for the first time by
establishing workmen's quarters and now it has become a necessity. Different
types of hydraulic architecture is another legacy of the Harappans besides many
other in social, economic and religious fields.
Aims and Objectives of the Book
The book aims to bring out the aspects of Harappan architecture and civil engineering
with a suitable background introducing the Harappan civilization, its different
nomenclatures, distribution in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent and possible origins,
forms and chronology. The planned architecture of the cities of mature Harappan
people catered the needs of all classes of society a factor which distinguishes
it from the contemporary Mesopotamia and Egypt. So far, the development of architecture
of citadel and residential areas is concerned there are sites wherein the development
from rural to urbanized architecture could be gleaned. Besides religious and
burial architecture, hydraulic architecture is an other distinctive features
of the civilization. The text is fully illustrated with maps, charts, drawings,
The Work Plan
1. Shape of the Book
The final shape of the book will consists of 9 chapters as summarised below
with a suitable bibliography. The text will be of 250-300 pages. Each chapter
will be illustrated by maps, charts, drawings and photographs.
The work plan consists of library study, visits to some sites, discussions
with some of the excavations preparation of illustrations photographs, drawings
and charts and the complete typing of the manuscript.
The work will be completed within 18 months or may be earlier from the date
of the receipt of the approval of the proposal for the book and signing of
Chapter I Introductory
(i) History of Discovery
(iii) Distribution of sites
Chapter II Origin, Form and Chronology
Chapter III Settlement Patterns
Chapter IV Settlement Types
(i) Harappa and Mohenjodaro
(iii) Rehman dheri
Chapter V Evidence of Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering for
Town Planning, Agriculture, Etc.
Chapter VI Analysis of the Data Regarding Town Planning, Drainage System,
Etc. Dealt with in Chapter III, IV and V.
Chapter VII Religious Architecture
Chapter VIII Burial Architecture
Chapter IX Post Urban Harappans and Their Settlements
Chapter 1 History of Discovery
On the trade route from Lahore to Multan, when Charles Masson first saw the
mounds at Harappa in 1826 he hardly realized that the ancient mound contains
remains of one of the earliest civilizations of the world. Lt. Alexanader Burns,
the British King's emissary to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1831 stopped for a while
at Harappa, gazed at the ruins, and went away to Lahore. It was in 1862, that
Alexander Cunningham, the first Director General of the Archaeological Survey
of India, during his excavations, found pottery and seals at Harappa. It was
Major Clark who found a seal with a humpless bull and the engreved letters on
it which Cunningham at that point of time, called foreign to India. Thus, the
discovery of this great civilization began. Actual excavations were started
in 1920-22 by Daya Ram Sahni under John Marshall at Mohenjodaro and by R.D.
Banerjee at Harappa. N.G. Majumdar had made a survey of the Sind region. He
explored and excavated many sites in the Indus Basin. In the succeeding decades
after 1922, a large number of sites were discovered in the Indus Valley. The
main centres of this civilization, that were found, at Mohenjodaro, District
Larkana (Sind, Pakistan) and Harappa, District Montgomory (Panjab, Pakistan).
Besides these, Dabarkot, Nokjoshahdinjai, Chanhudaro, Lohumjodaro, Amri, Pandiwahi,
Aliumurad and Ghazi Shah in Pakistan yielded remains of similar culture. Since
many of these sites were located in the Indus Basin, scholars named this civilization
as Indus Valley Citilization. This was due to the fact that civilization was
then limited to the Indus Valley proper.
Before the partition of India (1947), comparatively few sites of Harappan civilization
(named after Harappa, the first discovered type-site), more popularly known
as Indus Civilization, had been discovered. However, by that time the results
of excavations at Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Chanhudaro were already published
and the explorations carried out in Punjab, Sind and Baluchistan by Stein and
Mazumdar were also available in the Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey
of India. Thus, the civilization was confined more or less to the limits
of Indus Basin and was considered to have 'stagnating' cultural traits.
Research after Independence, changed the position regarding the extent, culture-contents,
regional variations etc. of the Indus Civilization. The evidence gives a plethora
of information regarding environmental factors, regional adaptations and variability
in settlement patterns and social and religious fabric of the civilization.
The entire scenario is based on material evidence which tends to give new insights
for understanding the Harappan Citilization, its settlement types, planning
and architecture. During the last eight decades, due to the consistent efforts
of archaeologists, more than 862 pre-Harappan, Harappan and the Late Harappans
sites have been discovered in India and most of these newly discovered sites
are in the Sarasvati basin. Some archaeologists have now come out with such
nomenclatures as 'Indus-Sarasvati Citilization' or 'Sarasvati-Hakra Civilization'.
The area of distribution of Harappan settlements runs (about 1100 sites) broadly
from Sutkagendor in Makran (Pakistan) and Desaipur and Dholavira in Kachchha
in the west, Manda in southern Jammu (J&K) Rehman Dheri in the north Pakistan
Daimabad in Maharashtra in the south and Hulas in Saharanpur District in U.P.,
India in the east. If Pakistan sites are also included it covers an area of
2.5 million km.
It will not be out of place to mention here that the extent of this culture
in the subcontinent was far greater than the contemporary civilizations of the
Nile in Egypt, Euphrates and Tigris in Syria and Iraq. The excavated sites of
Harappan Culture have yielded a substantial number of radiocarbon dates. As
a result, the age range for the Harappan culture is between c. 2600 and 2000
By and large, Pre-Harappan/Early Harappan and Harappan sites are located along
major rivers. Contrary to this. Late Harappan sites are found along tributaries,
and in the upper reaches of these rivers. For convenience sake, the area covered
by Indus Civilization can now be divided into six zones:
(1) Punjab (type site: Harappa); (2) Rajasthan, Haryana (type site: Kalibangan)
(3) Bahawalpur (type site: Ganweriwala) (4) Sind (type site: Mohenjo-daro);
(5) Baluchistan (type site: Kulli Harappan phase) ; (6) Gujarat (type sites:
In India excavated sites in the eastern region are Ropar and Bara (1953-55).
Kalibangan (1960-69), Mitathal(1968-73 and 1980-86), Siswal (1970), Banawali
(1975-83), Bhagwanpura (1975-76), Manda (1976-77), Hulas (1978-83), Rohira (1982-83),
Rakhigarhi (1997-98) and Dhalewan 2000 & 2001. The southern region sites
are Rangpur (1935, 1937, 1947 and 1953-56), Rojdi (1951-52, 1977-78, and 1983-84),
Bhagatrav (1953-55), Lothal (1955-62), Prabhas (1972-75), and Daimabad (1974-78),
Dholavira (1990-98), Kuntasi (1988-90), Padri (1991-93).
Of the six zones, the first four have a number of sites where the Harappan
Culture is found stratigraphically late; than a variety ofChalcolithic cultures.
These have been termed as Pre-Harappan/Early Harappan sites of formative stage
or of antecedent culture. Practically in every zone there are three kinds of
(a) where there is a clear stratigraphic break between the Pre-Harappan and
Harappan Cultures, although the two complexes are found in mixed form through
a number of layers subsequent to the layer marking break, e.g. Kot Diji and
Kalibangan, (b) where the stratigraphic break is not clearly marked and a
situation of overlap exists, e.g. Banawali; Kalibangan, Dholavira, (c) where
the Harappan Culture never reached the site of Pre-Harappans, such as Jalilpur,
Sarai Khola, etc.
Chapter 2 Origin, Form and Chronology
The Harappan civilization is available in a full-fledged form in the Indus
Valley, Rajasthan and Gujarat. A Ghosh (1981) has said, "... this itself
lends to it a peculiarly romantic charm while death from unidentified source
is understandable, unnatural birth is an unnatural phenomenon". M. Wheeler
(1946) had postulated that 'opportunity' and 'genius' might be responsible for
the origin of this civilization. One thing is certain that it did not appear
with a bang. Various theories have been propounded regarding the 'origin' and
'form' of the civilization and it would be clear that its origin cannot be explained
by a single factor whether 'colonization' or 'acculturation'. Pattern of culture
contacts between the Indus plain and the adjoining region on the west varied
according to both time and space, with the result that we often have a spectrum
of intermediary situations between the two opposite extremes, viz. 'colonization'
and 'acculturation' leading to regional development. The latest evidence from
sites such Kalibangan, Dholavira, Banawali, Kunal and Dhalewan in India; Nausharo,
Balakot, Mehrgarh, Lewan, Rehmandheri, Amri, Ghazi Shah, Kot Diji in Pakistan
show independent growth except economic interaction growth and changing civilizational
process spread from the seventh millennium to the third millennium B.C. in which
many sites were involved. Some of these sites have shown architectural origins
of the mature Harappan Period which shows a development process. The beginnings
of systematic planning fortification, for the settlements could be gleaned.
This appears to be a plausible hypothesis for the origin of Indus Civilization.
The process is widespread within the northwestern part of the subcontinent.
The urban revolution could be due to 'cultural capital' and 'material capital'.
Recently an intermediate phase between the Early- Harappan and Harappan has
been identified at Banawali and Dholavira by the excavator. Similarly the evidence
at Padri in Saurashtra is equally interesting. The recently excavated Pre-Harappan,
Early Harappan material from Kunal, District Hissar, Haryana, is most revealing
wherein two crowns, armlets, bangles, necklaces and pendants of various size
in precious metals (gold and silver); 12000 beads of carnelian; and steatite
seals having Harappan shape and style but without the typical animal and pictographic
script have been found.
Of course, the Pre-Harappans / Early Harappans had the knowledge of building
of citadels, knew the dish-on- stand form in pottery and were acquainted with
fish scale and peepal leaf design, but did not have the 'state of urbanization'
. They had some sort of distant trade mechanism also. The 'homed design' and
the 'pipal leaf are well depicted in the Early Harappan levels at Kalibangan
and Banawali. Perhaps this appears to be a precursor of the horned deity of
the seals of Indus. The concept of use of seals was there, but without writing.
Predating Indus levels, seals from Mehrgarh and Nausharo are made of clay, bone
and ivory. Seals from Rehman Dehri have a small knob also. At Kunal steatite
seals have been found with a geometric motif and an incipient boss at the back.
Kunal has bone tools and micro-blades of chalcedony. Triangular cakes and dice
heads are also available besides a short blade industry. Some of the graffiti
found at Rehman Dheri, Kalibangan, Amri, etc. are akin to Harappan ones. These
elements are found in the subsequent Harappan Culture. Lal (1997) has rightly
pointed out that the mature 'Harappan revolution' took place within Kot Diji,
Rehman Dheri, Banawali triangle between 2600-2500 BC. He has very carefully
analysed the radiocarbon dates of the Harappan Citilization and has ascribed
a time bracket for the mature Harappan between Circa 2600 BC to 2000
Chapter III Settlement Patterns
Location of settlements
Settlement patterns of the Harappans were conditioned by the behaviour of the
river providing an active flood plain and ecology, navigability of the river
for internal trade, climate, accessibility to natural resources and trade routes,
both internal and external. Development of a city is greatly dependent on these
factors. The Harappan settlements in its extant form narrate the history of
its construction, the force that brought it into being, its successive building
phases, its purpose and the people behind its construction and other natural
causes of its decay and distraction.
The settlements types and their positioning also reflect the importance from
the point of view of distant marine trade e.g., Lothal and Mohenjodaro, Chanhudaro
and Sutkagandor and Harappa; for trade with the hinterland etc. In the excavated
sites, the Harappan settlements are found built of mud bricks, burnt bricks
and chiselled stones. While use of stones and mud bricks is limited to Kachchh
and Saurashtra area, mud bricks are largely used at Harappa, Kalibangan, Lothal
and Banawali besides burnt bricks. The size of bricks remained the same everywhere.
The ratio of brick size is 1:2:4. The use of stone in making the houses and
defenses in Saurashtra and Kachchh was perhaps due to the easy accessibility
of stone in the neighbourhood. It may be seen that there is considerable regional
variation in the use of building material for architecture based on the availability
and climatic conditions. The Harappans achieved their town planning with the
geometric instruments that they had developed, e.g.the compass, plumb bob and
the right angle. These instruments are found at Lothal. A right angle was found
at Dholavira; linear measuring scales have been found at Lothal and Kalibangan.
The Ghaggar River system, with its own network of tributaries, along which
lie hundreds of sites was a mighty river system. It was a more stable river
system than the Beas, Sutlej and Ravi, which were erratic in their behaviour.
It provided a consistent and better line of communication through the Sirhind
Nala between Punjab and Rajasthan for getting timber from the areas of present
Himachal Pradesh. The Ghaggar-Sarasvati-Hakra system had three major 'economic
pockets'. The first was on the north along Sirhind where in an area of 120 km2,
in Mansa District, Punjab, seven cities, six towns and fourteen villages (on
the basis of the size of mounds and cultural deposit) have been located at a
distance of 3-5 km are indicative of an ideal situation of an urban complex
and commercial interaction. The second or the central pocket was in Bikaner
Bhawalpur area where 400 sites have been located in an area of 1000 km from
Yazdan to Derawar Fort belonging to the Pre-Harappan and Harappan times. The
third, southern one, in Kachchh, which is geographically half way between Sind
and Gujarat and has a concentration of about 50 sites of the Harappan and Late
Harappan periods. These three 'economic pockets' in the 'culture empire' of
the Harappan provided a strong economic base that is the foundation of the 'urban
boom'. It may thus be inferred that Harappan settlements are largely located
along the major and perennial rivers. It is also seen that the urban phase of
the civilization had technological potentialities to raise high defenses and
platforms which needed resources, builders, planning, engineering skill and
instruments and a large man-power. It has been reported that 21 rural Harappan
sites have been identified in District Mahesna, Gujarat besides Valabhi which
has yielded evidence of a cattle breeding centre during the Harappan times.
It has been observed that the settlement size of matured Harappan people are
much bigger than the early Harappan sites. At times, there is a big gap between
the sites Mughal has anticipated a four tier hierarchy in the settlement pattern
of early Harappans. In India, upto this day there are mounds having early Harappan
and Harappan cultures but in Pakistan there are separate mounds of early Harppans
/ preHarappan also.
Chapter IV Settlement Types
The excavated sites give a fairly good idea of settlement types of the Harappans
and the Public architecture involved. At this stage, it may be pointed out that
planning, orientation of streets, houses, defence walls have been seen in the
early Harappan sites at Kalibangan, Mehargarh VII A, Kotdiji, Rehmandheri and
The following matured Harappan sites give evidence of town planning, drainage
system, defences and water management of an organised urban society:
(i) Harappa and Mohenjodaro: At Harappa and Mohenjodaro, the ancient
ruines show a citadel mound distinct from the lower city. Other fortified
sites of this culture are at Sutkogendor, AliMurad, GhaziShah and Daburkot
etc. At Harappa, the defence phase is marked by the Rampart wall made of mud
bricks and externally revetted with burnt bricks and having rectangular towers
and a circular gate way on the west. Two rows of workmen quarters, platform
with circular depressions, granary having air ducts and ramp with streets
cutting at right angles having cart nuts have been found at Harappa.
At Mohenjodaro, the citadel has rectangular bestions and the buildings notably
the granary shows the use of timber as a reinforcement material. The Great
Bath, granary having passage for air and sockets for super structure, Assembly
Hall, the so-called College building, depression for keeping merchandise,
wide and covered drains, houses single or double storied, wide roads cutting
at right angles have been also found at Mohenjodaro. There is a great similarity
in the systematic and elaborate town planning both at Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
The same is the case with Chandudaro.
(ii) Kotdiji: It is an important site in Sind having a citadel and
the lower town. It has defensive wall with a mud brick revetment in the exterior
with bestions and the inner face was enforced at intervals with a stone revetment
bounded with stone courses at the bottom.
In the early Harappan levels mud brick and mud pise houses with stone footings
are found. The occupation was followed by bigger mature Harappan settlement
but surprisingly, without a fortification.
(iii) Rehman Dheri: At this site, mud brick houses, mud brick platforms
and fortification streets are available in period II which appears to be a
formative phase to mature Harappan culture leading to monumental architecture.
(iv) Naushero: Six km away from Mehargarh, the site of Naushero having
developed Kotdijian settlement at the site where blocks of mud houses divided
by roads and streets are found. The typical Indus pottery is associated with
the monumental structures of IC. In period ID, many large sized structures
of mud bricks and platforms and a 7.25 m wide wall antidating mature Harappan
period. Period II is a mature Harappan period. In comparison to Daborkot,
it was a smaller settlement but sharing fully the developmental process towards
maturity of urbanization. The other sites are Gumla and Lewan.
(v) Kalibangan: Kalibangan, having a fulfledged Early Harappan fortified
settlement, houses on both sides of streets, brick on edge platforms, perhaps
bathrooms) and drains of baked bricks. In the succeeding Harappan period,
Kalibangan had a citadel in the west and fortified chessboard patterned city
in the east. The citadel has an impressive gateway in the south with a flight
of steps to climb up to the platforms. The citadel is divided into two parts,
i.e., one having platforms and other having a residential complex for the
elite, separated by a wall. The sie had a cemetery.
(vi) Banawali: The Harappans at Banawali built a citadel and lower
town was secured by a fortification on three sides and was designed like an
irregular trapezium following the planning of the Pre-Harappans with a few
marginal modifications. At a late stage, they dug a deep and broad moat around
the town. On account of a different configuration for both the lower town
and the citadel set within it in the form of a semicircular division, the
street-system became curiously radial or semi-radial with an elaborate gate
(vii) Lothal: Lothal had a dockyard, a warehouse, a granary, a high
acropolis and a lower city and a cemetery.
(viii) Surkotada: Surkotada had a citadel and a fortified residential
annexe. The citadel had in imposing gateway complex. The citadel and residential
annexe had an intercommunicating ramp and later a gateway. The site had a
(ix) Dholavira: The latest excavations at Dholavira brought to light
a rectangular town plan of an Harappan city boldly outlined by a massive fortification
which houses in it deep and long open spaces surrounding three principal divisions
named as "acropolis", "middle town" and "lower town"-the
first two of them strongly fortified. The entire walled city accounts for
an area of nearly 49 ha which may go upto 100 ha if all the city suburbs spread
far and wide to its west also included. The acropolis was provided with one
gate at each side. Of the two gates, one each on the east and north are exposed
and found furnished with a flight of steps, a sunken passageway flanked by
elevated chambers, and a high front terrace-a remarkably elaborate layout.
Further, use of highly polished stone-blocks and pillars along the passage-may
speak of architectural achievement without parallel at any Indus site so far.
In the centre of the citadel, there is an almost 13 m wide water reservoir
along with a feeder channel covered with slabs and provided with manholes
for occasional desilting. Besides, there are two lapidary workshops. The most
outstanding discovery is the find of a large sized inscription of ten Harappan
signs which may be a signboard? The site had a cemetery.
(x) Rojdi: The excavation at Rojdi, besides the discovery of imposing
architecture e.g, fortification, gateway, the large square build in and houses
built of stone rubble has given new insight in the evolution of Harappan Culture
of Saurashtra which the excavators feel is a "newly discovered regional
expression of the Harappan urban phase (the 'Sorath Harappans") appears
to be an addition to the settlement type and evolutionary process in Saurashtra.
(xi) Kuntasi: Kuntasi (District Rajkot), a Harappan site 'was basically
not an agricultural settlement but appears to have been a centre for procuring
raw materials and processing them into finished products primarily for exporting
them to Sindh and West Asia. The settlement was a port and a manufacturing
Chapter V Evidence of Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering for
Agriculture and Trade
The western part of the Indo-Pak subcontinent in the third millennium B.C.
had fertile land, watered by the Indus and Sarasvati with sufficient rainfall.
Even in Rajasthan there was 450 mm rainfall. The palaeobotanical studies carried
out on the excavated samples of grains from Harappan sites in Sindh, Punjab
and Gujarat have thrown a flood of light, on the food habits of the people.
The discovery of a ploughed field in the pre-Harappan or Early Harappan levels
at Kalibangan does indicate the pattern of ploughing, i.e., two sets of furrows
cutting it at right angles, one set east-west and other north-south. Similar
pattern of ploughing is still prevailing in Rajasthan where two crops of mustard
and horse gram are grown in the same field.
While the staple food of Harappans in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan was wheat
and barley, the Gujarat people grew rice, ragi and jowar. Wild plants, grasses
sedges and other weeds were also used at Surkotada. Different types of cereals
e.g, wheat and barley in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and millets and jowar
in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Kachchh were grown in congenial regional environments
of Harappan Civilization. The evidence of granaries from Mohenjodaro, Harappa
and Lothal indicate surplus food produce. The evidence from Allahdino suggests
the Harappans knew irrigation according to Fairservis who describes 'Harappans
as master hydraulic engineers'. He suggests well water irrigation could be possible.
The Great Bath and its covered drains and drains at Mohenjodaro are examples
of conservation and water management. The evidence from Dholavira indicates
the Harappans were excellent in water management and conservation. Frankfort
(1985) located a canal in the Ghaggar-Harka plain as old as the Harappan times.
The availability of water tanks at Dholvaria dams suggests reservoirs for potable
water and bunds for small irrigation also. The dockyard at Lothal is
another excellent example of creating a water body for berthing of small boats.
The Harappan sites e.g, Kalibangan, Lothal, Mohenjodaro have pucca brick
lined wells. Shaikh and Ashfaque have pointed out that the demand for Harappan
cotton by the contemporary communities of Iran and Mesopotamia increased the
cultivation of cotton by the Harappans and achieved a "cotton empire"
and brought an urban revolution. This could be one of the many other factors
in bringing an economic boom.
Chapter VI Analysis of the Data Regarding Town Planning, Drainage System
etc. Dealth with in Chapter III, IV and V
In this chapter, a detailed comparative, analytical discussion will be provided
regarding location, ecology, navigability of the river for internal and external
distant trade, accessibility to natural resources. The various settlements patterns,
their general formations and developments from pre-Harappan / early Harappan
to matured Harappan urban phase particularly keeping in view the climate, irrigation
agriculture and trade for its subsistence. Here full advantage will be taken
of the various excavations and explorations surveys made in last ninety years.
The sizes of the mounds showing villages, towns and cities will be considered
on the available data.
The various settlement types of the matured Harappans have different geometrical
shapes based on utilitarian angle e.g, the twin mounds or areas having citadel
and chess patterned lower township as at Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Kalibangan and
Rakhigarhi. Lothal having an acropolis, and lower township and a dock-yard,
Surkotada, having a citadel and a lower annexe and Dholavira had a citadel,
middle and lower town. The possible cause of this regional variation was utilitarian
or climatic or availability of raw material or any other which will be analysed
Sites which have been excavated will be put under analysis regarding their
orientation, fortification, gateways, house blocks, houses, streets and lanes
along with their measurements and ratios involved in the construction. The availability
of raw building material i.e., sunbaked bricks, baked bricks chiseled stones,
foundations and superstructures, single and double storeyed houses, streets
cutting at right angles, crossings having fender-posts, as at Kalibangan, construction
of dock-yard at Lothal, with a spill channel, granaries at Harappa, Mohenjodaro
and Lothal will be discussed.
Analysis of Water management including irrigation, drains, water dams and reservoirs,
wells and canals will be discussed and their relationship with the population
trade and agriculture will be analysed.
Chapter VII Religious Architecture
Recent excavations have added new dimensions in the field of Harappan religion
and religious architecture. The excavation at Kalibangan has given evidence
of a) individual fire worship having a separate room in the house in which a
pit housing a vertical terracotta stump with ash is placed, b) high altars in
the citadel mound with a series of fire altars with brick-lined pits having
ash and animal bones, c) outside the city on the east within a mud walled area
a series of fire altars with pits containing ash. Besides this a sacrificial
brick lined pit having animal bones has been discovered. Circular and square
fire altars have been reported from Lothal and Vagad with ash and animal bones.
A circular pit having 165 cm diameter with a pranala towards south, and
a conical clay stump at the centre has been found within the pit having much
ash at Nageshwar. The pit produced very high temperature as shown by its walls.
The excavator feels 'the structure was used to produce intense heat like a pillar
of fire'. More recently Banawali has also given the evidence of an apsidal temple
with a fire altar. According to some, the Great Bath at Mohenjodaro was also
connected with some ceremonial religious bath/s.
Chapter VIII The Burial Architecture
The excavated sites at Harappa, Kalibangan, Lothal, Ropar, Surkotada and Dholavira
have given sufficient evidence of different types of burials in the Harappa
The location of cemetery was at Kalibangan in the west south-west of the citadel
mound; Lothal at the south-western corner of the habitation; at Surkotada north-western
corner of the habitation mound; at Rupar on the western side of the settlement;
at Harappa on the south of the citadel; at Rakhigarhi on the north of the habitation
and at Dholavira towards the west of the habitation. Probably, the location
of the cemetery depended on the wind direction so that polluted air of the symmetry
could be avoided. At Lothal due to paucity of space, the cemetery was put at
a slightly higher ground. At Kalibangan, there were separate areas of extended
and pot burials in the cemetery itself.
It has been found that following types of pits were dug to bury the dead in
1. Extended burials in rectangular or oblong pits with pots and pans. (Harappa)
2. Extended burial with mud brick lining in the grave. (Harappa)
3. Extended burial with a mud brick tumulus over it. (Harappa)
4. Extended burial in a coffin of rose wood with a lid of deodar wood. (Harappa)
5. Extended burial in a rectangular grave, pit lined on four sides with mud
bricks and plastered with mud and chunam. It contain more than 70 pots and
pans below the body and in the sides. (Kalibangan)
6. Rectangular memorial grave without any skeletal remains. (Kalibangan)
7. Rectangular grave with a step with a large number of skeletons entered
at different phases. (Kalibangan)
8. Rectangular grave with brick lined walls and double skeletons.
9. Round or oblong pot burials without any skeletal remains (Kalibangan).
10. Round or oval pot burials with bone (Kalibangan).
11. Ovoid grave pit only pots were put covered by a rectangular stone slab.
12. Ovoid grave pit with a pot having a piece of charred bone and covered
by a slab. (Surkotada)
13. Ovoid pit provided with a stone lining of slabs, some uncharred bones
and pot sherds covered by a cairn of stones. (Surkotada)
14. Heap up stone or cairn over a pit having only broken pots, no skeletal
15. A rectangular Underground pit with a cist having walls of slabs covered
with a small slab. (Dholavira)
16. Hemispherical large crescent shaped earthen accumulation. (Dholavira)
17. Cairn circle, a circle of stones packed with stones on the top. (Dholavira)
18. A large stone circle containing in its periphery several stone circles.(Dholavira)
19. Cenotaph, a stone cenotaph of over an earthen mound. (Dholavira)
Chapter IX Post Urban Harappans and Their Settlements
The end of Harappan cities in Punjab and particularly in Sind could be due
to massive flooding, tectonic movement, climatic changes and increase of aridity
in the area in c. 1800 BC. The myth of Aryan invasion and Wheelers theory of
massacre at Mohenjo-daro does not hold any ground now. It appears that the collapse
of the distant trade mechanism and population implosion and overuse of land
resources set a devolutionary process that brought the end of the Harappan Civilization.
In Possehl 's directional and geographical classification of Harappan Civilization
in the Indian Subcontinent, the eastern domain consists of the present Jammu,
Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Western Region of U.P. Besides the important
excavated sites, e.g. Manda, Jammu (J and K), Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Banawali
Bhagwanpura, Ball Daulatpur, Mitathal, Mirzapur, (Haryana) Dadheri, Kathpalon,
Nagar SanghoJ (Punjab) Alamgirpur and Hulas, (U.P.), the area has a large number
of Mature and the so-called Late Harappan and Post Harappan sites. The culture
which is available from these sites is non-urban in form as compared to its
antecedent Mature Harappan Culture. The culture content has an amalgum of ceramic
industries linking these with Pre-Harappan, Harappan, Late Harappa and Bara
Culture traditions showing continuity in a devolutionary process making the
entire study interesting and complex.
It indicates a stage of de-urbanization after the mature phase ofHarappan Culture.
What one may consider the degenerate phase ofHarappan which is characterized
by the absence of monumental architecture, large sized settlement, town planning
and chert blades. Some kind of script and graffiti smaller seals, devoid of
animal motifs steatite discular beads, pottery forms ofHarappan culture and
copper all present. It also seems to us that surplus food economy, distant trade
and control of central authority did not exist. The devolution is well documented
in the Gujarat area as seen from the excavations at Rangpur. There is a large
number of sites belonging to this stage in Gujarat. Kanewal and a large number
of sites in Saurashtra and Gujarat which are Late Harappan and rural in nature
tend to further attest the rural pattern of Harappan Culture and its diffusion
process. Bhan has reported even round huts and seasonal pastoral camps of the
Late Harappan from 231 sites in Gujarat.
In the eastern domain, the settlement pattern of these protohistoric cultures
was primarily dependent on the changing pattern of river systems. In other words
the hydrological changes adversely affecting the availability of water in the
middle and lower courses of the perennial river systems like the Ghaggar-Sarasvati,
made the Harappans leave their settlements, and break their urban fabric forever.
In the wake of these two phenomena lies the fragmentation of Harappan cities
both qualitatively and demographically. No wonder, the number of Late Harappan
sites registers manifold increase but in a non-urban scenario of smaller and
shallower settlements much closer to each other than earlier shows an intimate
culture affinity which they did not shed off. The movements of the Late Harappans
favoured areas in the northern regions of present states of Punjab, Haryana
and Uttar Pradesh since in these area the older system still retained water
besides nearness to timber and minerals which became an essential need in a
less economically viable Late Harappan society in the region. The directional
change in the settlement pattern from Harappan to Late Harappan phase has been
from west to east and from major river valleys to tributaries in the higher
regions. This was the situation in Uttar Pradesh where during the Late Harappan
times the tributaries of the Yamuna (Krishni and Hindon) were favoured. The
settlements were also of smaller size and appear to be mainly agriculture based.
These sites are on higher elevation and are located on an average distance of
5-12 km and perhaps had close contacts and communication in a rural network
of settlements in the cotton-growing belt. It appears that this phase of Late
Harappan Culture emerged at some point of time in the post mature Harappan phase
when people were inhibiting the Mansa region of Punjab as attested to by six
Late Harappan sites. Significantly this stage is not found in Rajasthan. As
said earlier, it has been observed that the concentration of Late Harappan sites
is more in the upper regions, most probably due to the fact that this movement
brought them nearer to the less flooded region.
In this chapter, the details of architecture at Rangpur Bhagwanpura Balu, Bara
Hulas will be discussed in detail.
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