Indus Valley Civilization – GK Notes [PDF]

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The Indus Valley Civilisation is one of the oldest Civilisation in the world lasted from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. This is a Bronze Age civilisation and also known as Harappa-Mohenjodaro civilisation. Complete General knowledge of Indus Valley is provided here.

The Indus Valley Civilization Notes + GK PDF: The Indus Valley Civilization is one of the four oldest civilizations in the world. These four civilizations are the Indus Civilization, the Mesopotamian Civilization, the Egyptian Civilization and the Chinese Civilization. The Indus Valley Civilization belonged to the prehistoric era. In addition, this civilization was the Copper-Stone or Bronze Age civilization.

The Indus Valley Civilization was discovered by the historian Sir John Marshall.

Expansion of Indus civilization

The main region of the Indus civilization is located in different parts of Pakistan and North-West India. The two main regions, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro belong to Pakistan (at present). The first agricultural group was also found in Mehrgarh near the Belan valley in Pakistan (Balochistan).

The period of the Indus or Harappan civilization can be divided into four stages. They are

  1. Early stage of Harappa – Mehrgarh.
  2. Mature Stage of Harappa – Amri.
  3. The next stage of Harappa – Kalibangan.
  4. The final stage of Harappa – Lothal.

In addition to the above, numerous centers of this civilization have been found in vast areas of India-Pakistan.

  • Sutkajender near the Akran coast – Western Border
  • Alamgirpur in Uttar Pradesh – Eastern Border.
  • Manda in Jammu – Northern Border.
  • Dayamabad in Maharashtra – Southern Border.

Archeologists have divided the Harappan into four groups.

  1. Proto-Australoid
  2. Mediterranean
  3. Alpine
  4. Mongoloid

The capitals of the Indus Valley Civilization were Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. The see ports of this civilization were Lothal, Sutkagan Dor Balakot, Kuntasi.

Famous places of Indus Valley Civilization.

Mohenjo-daro (Indus)

  • It was the largest site of the Indus Valley Civilization, discovered by Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay in 1922.
  • According to the Indus language, the word ‘Mohenjodaro‘ means a pile of the dead.
  • Mohenjo-Daro had a Great Bath in the main area of ​​the city which was 39 feet long, 23 feet wide and 4 feet deep. Near the Great Bath, there was a fort, the brick construction of which was remarkable. Its floor was made of paved bricks.
  • The city had a rectangular hall, along with other buildings. There was also a large rectangular building, which was mainly used for conducting various services.
  • In the town of Mohenjo-Daro, there was a seal of Pashupati, a dancing sculpture of a girl made of bronze, and three cylindrical other seals.
great bath harappa
The Great Bath of Harappa

Harappa (Punjab of Pakistan)

  • It was the first city of the Indus Valley Civilization to be discovered by Dayaram Sahani in 1921.
  • The Indus Civilization was originally known as the Harappan Civilization because the Harappan site was discovered first.
  • A large granary was found in the city of Harappa, which is located near a fort.
  • From this city, multiple goddesses (seal), wheat and barley in wooden pots, copper scales, and mirrors, and dancing sculptures (bronze) of naked men and women are derived.

Dholavira (Gujarat)

  • Dholavira was the most modern city of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • The number of the large cities of the Indus Valley Civilization was two. Dholavira is one of them. Moreover, the other city of this civilization was Rakhigarhi which is located in Haryana.
  • One of the features of the Dholavira was that it had divided into three parts. The two parts of which were formed by the stone with a rectangular structure. That was the sales house of the products of the Indus civilization.
  • It is believed that the Aryans of the Vedic period helped the construction of the town planning in the central part of the city of Dholavira.

Lothal (Gujarat)

  • One of the features of the city of Lothal was that it was a port or harbor. The first commercial port in the world was Lothal (known as the main seaport of the Indus Valley Civilization).
  • Paddy was first obtained from Lothal as an ingredient (1800 BC) (moreover, the only area in the Indus Valley where rice husk was obtained at Rangpur near Ahmedabad). Altars have been obtained from both Lothal and Kalibangan regions. Alters means a table or flat-topped block used as the focus for a religious ritual, especially for making sacrifices or offerings to a deity.
  • Multiple instruments, stone beads and seals have been obtained from here. Also, the famous “seal of the Persian Gulf” and the symbol of the Egyptian mummy made of terracotta were derived from Lothal.
  • Lothal not only maintained trade relations with remote areas but also traded with the inner cities of the Indus Valley Civilization from this port. Among the raw materials, cotton was procured at Gujarat and copper at Rajasthan for commercial purposes.
  • Lothal was known as the “City of Manchester of the Indus Valley Civilization” because the textile trade was famous here.
lothal dock
Lothal Dock in India

Kalibangan (Rajasthan)

  • Literally, the word ‘Kalibangan‘ means ‘Black Bangle‘. No goddess idol was found in this area.
  • From here, deep wells are obtained from each building. Also, the oldest plowed, multiple crops, and cone-shaped seals were also found here.
  • In addition, seven altars and wheeled car toys were recovered.


  • The city of Chanhudaro is called Lancashire of India. It was the only city where no fortress exists. Archaeologists have found more than one store here. From which evidence of the existence of jewelry makers, bead makers and manufacturers of metals were found. (Metals like silver, silver, tin, copper, etc. were used in this city).
  • Large quantities of copper were obtained from here. A small pot is recovered from this city. Supposedly, it was an ink dowry – but this is not ultimately acknowledged.
  • The animal carriage was also observed from here. Also, the symbol of the dog on the bricks was also found.


  • Sutkagendor was located in the province of Balochistan, Pakistan, near the Pakistan-Iran border. It was located in the westernmost part of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • It was actually a port. The city had a fort and was surrounded by a 30-foot-wide wall.
  • The city of Sutkagendor was located beside a long trade route from Lothal in Gujarat to Mesopotamia.


  • Daimabad is discovered in 1958. This city of the Indus Valley Civilization is located near Mumbai in Maharashtra. There is disagreement among archaeologists about whether the city had an existence in the Indus Valley Civilization or not.
  • Statues of bulls, elephants and rhinos with bronze images of chariots were obtained from here.

Kot Diji

  • In 1958, Kot Diji was discovered by F. A. Khan and was located at the foot of a rocky hill, the east bank of the Indus River. The town was located 60 km southwest of Mohenjo-Daro.
  • We also found the identity of the castle and the town planning from Kot Diji. Historians claim it to be a pre-Harappan period, with houses made of paved bricks and terracotta.
  • From here numerous stone utensils and stone arrowheads have been obtained.

Characteristic of Indus Valley Civilization.

Urban planning and structure

1. The urban planning of the Indus Valley Civilization was remarkable. One of the special features of the urban planning of this civilization was a grate in the sewers to stop the garbage carried by the water. Moreover, the streets of the city were connected at right angles to each other. Even the cities of this civilization were divided into two rectangular blocks.

2. The cities were divided into two parts, namely, the upper part of the citadel or the city fort and the lower part. The citadels were on the west side of town. In addition, the administrators or high-profile persons lived in the buildings there.

3. On the other hand, in the lower part of the citadel, that is, in the buildings on the eastern side of the city, the common people lived there. The buildings of the city had two or more floors. Usually, the entrances of the houses were on the front side, and there were no windows on the front side of the houses.

4. The buildings were made of burnt bricks, not completely of stone. In the case of underground sewerage, the small drains of all the buildings in the city fall into a large drain.

5. The drains were covered with brick or stone lids. The presence of a well-equipped manhole system was also noticeable.

6. Lime was given to the drains. So it can be said that the people of the Indus civilization were conscious of their health.

The Great Bath (Mohenjo-Daro): This Great Bath was mainly used for religious purposes. The staircase extended from both sides of the bath to the bottom. In addition, it had a pipe for filling water and a sewerage system for drainage.

Large Granaries (Harappa): There were six granaries in a row adjacent to the Harappan Citadel or city forts.

Economic life

The economic life of the Harappan civilization depended mainly on irrigated agriculture, animal husbandry, and fast-moving domestic and foreign trade, with people of various types of work skills.


  • Agriculture was the backbone of this civilization. The soil of this civilization became fertile by the floods along with the waters of the Indus.
  • The Indus people used to sow their crops in November when the floodwaters made the land fertile and flat and moved away from the agricultural land. Their grain was ripe and harvested in April. Wheat and barley are known as the food grains of this civilization. These crops were harvested before the next flood, in April.
  • The Indus people used wooden plows (cultivated land in Kalibangan) and stone sickles for harvesting. The crops of this civilization were wheat, barley, dates, peas, sesame, mustard, millet i.e. sorghum, and ragi. In this civilization, rice husk was obtained in Lothal and Rangpur.

Domesticated animals

  • Animal husbandry was a practice of the people of this civilization. The animals kept by the Indus people are – buffalo, goats, donkeys, goats, pigs, elephants, dogs, cats, etc.
  • Camel’s bones were obtained from Kalibangan in the Indus Valley and horse bones from Surkotada.


  • Agricultural, industrial and forest products were used in the internal and external trade of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Trade was conducted by exchanging goods. No coin was found here. In this civilization bullock carts, multiple animal carts and boats were used for transportation.

Technology and skills

  • The people of Harappa used tools made of stone. They were familiar with bronze at that time. Most of which were made from a combination of copper and tin.
  • In the Indus Valley Civilization, boats and bronze ornaments were made, and pottery was painted (in red and black colors). The wheel was used exclusively in this civilization.

Seals of Harappa

  • Indus seals were usually made of slate stone (soft stone). These were cut and polished to make them shiny. Which was an unprecedented discovery by the Indus people.
  • In most of the seals of this civilization, pictures of animals were engraved. A few inscriptions were engraved in it.
  • The image of a unicorn had blossomed in several seals of this Civilization. Moreover, a seal with a picture of the famous bull was obtained from Mohenjodaro.

Types of seals:

  • Square seals had a piece of animal pictures as well as some inscriptions.
  • Only the inscriptions were engraved on the rectangular seals.


  • The main goddess – In the Indus Valley Civilization, the mother idol of terracotta was found. Their main goddess is said to be the symbol of fertility. Who helps the crops to grow (goddess of the earth).
  • The main god – An idol of a man seated in a lotus position found in a seal, with three horns, including three heads and a mouth. That was identified as Pashupati (Adi Shiva). Among the animals that surrounded the Pashupati were an elephant, a tiger, a rhinoceros, and a buffalo. It also had two deer at its feet.
  • The Indus people worshiped trees (pipal), animals (Bull), birds (pigeons), and stones. No temple was found in this civilization. They even believed in the afterlife.
  • The Indus people believed in ghosts and evil spirits. They also used amulets to protect themselves from them.

Script and language

  • It was not possible to decipher the language including the Indus scripts. The nature of the scripts of this civilization was basically ‘Pictograph‘. Fish symbols were used extensively in hieroglyphics.
  • From the type of inscription, they wrote the first line from right to left and the second line from left to right. This type of writing is called ‘Boustrophedon‘.

The Fall of Indus Civilization – Different Theories:

An attack by invadersWheeler, Gordon Child
FloodDayaram Sahani
The epidemicKVR Kennedy

The main reason for the downfall of the Indus Valley Civilization was the earthquake and as a result of this, the rock falls into the river and changes the course of the Indus River.

Important features of Indus civilization

  1. This is the civilization of the Chalcolithic era. The period of maturity of this civilization was from 2500 BCE to 1500 BCE (different opinions exist).
  2. The Indus people knew how to write and use pictographic. So far many scholars have tried to decipher the scripts, many have claimed to have been able to decipher those, but it has not been universally accepted. This language was written as the first line from right to left and the next line from left to right. The inscriptions were written successively.
  3. The Indus people were the first in the world to cultivate cotton and established a cotton-weaving industry. It was called Sindon.
  4. They knew the use of gold, silver, copper, tin, lead and bronze.
  5. The daily foods consisted of wheat, barley, sesame, sorghum, buckwheat, maize, dairy products such as ghee, meat (beef, pork, goat, etc.), river fish, dried marine fish, etc were used. Whether they used to cultivate paddy is a matter of debate. Although rice samples were found in Lothal, paddy cultivation was not common.
  6. The Indus people (both men and women) used to wear ornaments to adorn themselves. Bracelets, necklaces, rings, belts, stools, etc. were in vogue.
  7. Apart from ornaments, the people of the Indus also used to decorate themselves. The girls also used kajal, lipstick, face painting etc. Lipstick, vanity bag and face powder was found in Chanhudaro.
  8. Dance, animal hunting, fishing, bullfighting, gambling, dice games, etc. were the means of entertainment for the Indus people.
  9. They used cubic weights to measure weight. Knowing the use of decimals, they used multiples of 16 as a unit of weight. Patterns of many such weights have been found.
  10. The first introduction of the swastika symbol was found dates back to the Indus Civilization. The battlefield Hariyumpiya mentioned in the Rig Veda was found in Harappa.
  11. The two centers of Indus civilization discovered in Afghanistan are Shortughai and Mundigak.
  12. Mohenjo-daro is the largest territory of Indus civilization and Rakhigarhi is the largest territory of Indus civilization in India.

Indus Civilization at a Glance

PlaceDiscovered inDiscovered byLocationFeatures
Harappa1921Dayaram SahaniMontgomery district of Punjab+ Found Massive barn
+ Found Coffin-buried tomb
Mohenjo-Daro1922Rakhaldas BanerjeeLarkana province
valley of river Ravi
+ Great Bath
+ Exitance of horse
+ Mother idols of seal
+ Dancing sculpture of Bronze
+ Image of Lord Shiva
Luigi Pio TessitoriValley of Ghaggar river+ 7 fire pits
+ Sign of cultivated land
+ Wooden Plow
+ Bone of camel
S.R RaoGujrat+ Rice bran
+ sculpture of a horse
+ Joint burial
+ Oldest Dock of India
Dholavira1991J.P JoshiGulf of kachchh
+ Largest Center
+ Developed Drainage system
+ Citadel
Kot Diji1953Fazal A KhanSindh Province
+ Potter’s Wheels
+ Rectangular Chamber
made of Bricks
+ 5 Mother sculpture
Chanhudaro1931N.G MajumdarSindh Province
+ No citadel found
+ Ink dowry

List of Cities on the bank of Various rivers of Harrapan

Name of the cityRiver
HarappaRavi River
Mohenjo-daroIndus River
SuktajenderDasht River
AmriIndus River
ChanhudaroIndus River
RoperSatadru River
Kot DijiIndus River
LothalVolga River
AlamgirpurHindon River
KalibaganGhaghara River
BanawaliSarasvati River
RangpurMahi river

One- Liner Objective Type Questions with Answer:

Sl No.QuestionsAnswers
1What is the name of the statue of Dancing Girl found in Mohenjo-Daro?Devdasi
2What are the characteristics of the inscriptions found in the Harappan civilization?Boustrophedon
Pictographic, not Alphabetic
3At what time was the Harappan civilization cultivated?November to April
4In what system did the business run in Harappa?Through the practice of exchange
5What was the name of the Indus area in ancient times?Meluha
6Where is the evidence of construction and repair of artificial ships found?Lothal
7Where is Surkotada located?Kutch district of Gujarat
8What was cultivated in the Harappan civilization?Wheat, barley, rye,
peas, mustard, paddy, cotton, dates.
9Which is the oldest civilization in India?Mehergarh civilization
10What is the meaning of the word Mohenjodaro?The pile of the dead
11Where was the fort not found in the Harappan civilization?Chanhudaro
12Which metal was not known to the people of Harappa?Iron
13How old is the Harappan civilization?Approximately 2500 BC
14Which animal was unknown to the people of Harappa?Horse
15“Dancing Girl” found in Mohenjo-Daro made of which element?Bronze
16Harappa is located on the banks of which river?Ravi
17Indus Valley Civilization is a civilization of which era?The Copper Age
18Which deity is worshiped by the people of Harappa? Pashupati
19Mohenjo-daro is located on the banks of which river?Indus
20Where is Kalibangan located?Rajasthan
Important questions from Harappa Civilization

Frequently Asked Questions from Indus Civilization:

Indus Valley Civilizations General knowledge (GK) notes for competitive examinations like UPSC, IAS, State Public Service Commission, Railway, Banking, SSC, CGL, Defense, etc. Readers can download this note in PDF format from the link button given above.

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