Harappan Art and ARCHITECTURE

Harappan Art and Architecture.-A flourishing civilisation emerged on the bank of the river Indus in the second half of the third millennium BCE and spred across large parts of North – Western and Western India.

The forms of art found from various sites of civilisation include sculptures, seals, pottery, gold ornaments, terracotta figures, etc.

Their delineation of human and animal figures was highly realistic in nature.
Modelling of figures was done in an extremely careful manner.

Two major sites of Indus Valley civilization, along the river Indus are: North – cities of Harappa; South – Mohenjo-Daro – are among the earliest and finest examples of Urban Civics planning.

The site showcase one of the earliest examples of civic planning.

Houses, markets, storage facilities, offices, etc. arranged in a grid-like pattern.

Some of the important sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation and their archaeological finding are:-  

Harappa – in present Pakistan on the bank of River Ravi – 2 rows of six granaries with big platform and is the first Indus Site to be excavated first in 1921. People of Harappa engaged in cutting stone, polishing beads, carving seals, metallurgy ivory work and craftwork.

  • Mohenjo-daro: The name Mohenjo-daro is reputed to signify “the mound of the dead.” The archaeological importance of the site was first recognized in 1922, one year after the discovery of Harappa. The Citadel, the great bath, the granary, sculpture of bearded priest, the famous bronze statue of the Dancing Girl and pashupati Seal.
  • Dholavira (Gujrat) – giant water reservoir, unique water harnessing system, dams, stadium. It is the latest IVC city to be discovered.
  • Lothal – (Gujrat) : Archaeological evidence from Lothal tells us that it was an industrial area. A dockyard was also found which may have been used to ship goods to other civilizations like Mesopotamia.
  • Mehrgarh (Pakistan) : Mehrgarh is considered to be one of the most important Neolithic sites in archaeology. It is now considered to be a precursor to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Its discovery shed new light on the development of agricultural technologies and agrarian lifestyles of the ancient Stone Age people of South Asia.

Other prominent sites of IVC include Rakhigarh (Harayana), Ropar (Punjab), Kalibangan ( Rajasthan), Desalpur ( Gujrat), Mand ( Jammu and Kashmir), Pabumath ( Gujrat), Karanpura ( Rajasthan)

Architecture in Harappan Civilisation 

The town planning of the Harappan civilization upholds the fact that the civic establishments of the city were highly developed. The towns were laid out in a rectangular grid pattern. 

Mainly three types of buildings have been found in the sites – dwelling houses, public buildings and public baths.

The architecture of Indus Valley Civilization features 

Urban Cities:

Remarkable town planning, and an excellent system of drainage and sanitation
Large cities divided into two parts: The ‘Citadel’ mound built on the high podium of mud-brick to the west. The town to the east was the main hub of the residential area, which was also surrounded by a massive brick wall.




Fine drainage system, Well-arranged water supply system, The street lights system, Watch and ward arrangement during the night to oust the lawbreakers, Particular places to throw thrash and waste material, Public wells in every street, Well in every house, Main streets varying for 9 feet to as wide as 30-34 feet and were divided into networks of narrow lanes with great skills of dividing the cities.

Building Materials:

No stone-built house in the Indus cities and the staircases of big buildings were solid; the roofs were flat and were made of wood.

Material used:

  • Burnt bricks
  • Sun-dried bricks

Drainage System 

Advanced drainage and sanitation system. Each house had horizontal and vertical drains and the house drains were connected with road drains. There were underground drains for the streets and there drains were shielded by stone slabs. Bricks were used to make the soak pits.

Great Granary 


No grain, storage containers or clay sealings such as would have been attached to goods for shipment were found in the so-called “Granaries” of Harappa or Mohenjo-daro. Archaeologists today prefer to call these structures great halls, since they were clearly the largest known buildings discovered in the ancient Indus cities. At Mohenjo-daro evidence for wooden sockets in various areas suggests that a large wooden superstructure once covered these buildings.

Great Bath 


Great Bath, ancient structure at Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan, an archaeological site featuring ruins of the Indus civilization. The Great Bath dates to the 3rd millennium BCE and is believed to have been used for ritual bathing.

  •  The Great Bath is part of a large citadel complex that was found in the 1920s during excavations of Mohenjo-daro, one of the main centres of the Indus civilization.
  • The bath is built of fine brickwork and measures 897 square feet (83 square metres). It is 8 feet (2.5 metres) lower than the surrounding pavement.
  • The floor consists of two skins of sawed brick set on edge in gypsum mortar, with a layer of bitumen sealer sandwiched between the skins.
  • Water was evidently supplied by a large well in an adjacent room, and an outlet in one corner of the bath led to a high corbeled drain that disgorged on the west side of the mound.
  • The bath was reached by flights of steps at either end, originally finished with timbered treads set in bitumen.
  •  The significance of the structure is unknown, but it is generally thought to be linked with some sort of ritual bathing.

Indeed, while lacking impressive palaces or monuments, Mohenjo-daro featured numerous baths—most homes had washrooms—and an extensive sewage system, suggesting that a priority was placed on cleanliness and sanitation.

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