Harappan Civilisation – Indian History NCERT Notes For UPSC Exam

Harappan Civilisation – Indian History NCERT Notes

Here we provide you Harappan Civilisation – Indian History NCERT Notes, NCERT plays important role in the UPSC examination. To read the full chapter from NCERT is quite difficult, so we make small and effective Harappan Civilisation – Indian History NCERT Notes

Indian History NCERT Notes

The Harappan Civilisation

Harappan Civilisation - Indian History NCERT Notes

  • The Indus valley civilization is also called the Harappan culture.
  • There were several archaeological cultures in the region prior to the Mature Harappan.
  • These cultures were associated with distinctive pottery, evidence of agriculture and pastoralism
  • Grains found at Harappan sites include wheat, barley, lentil, chickpea and sesame. Millets are found from sites in Gujarat.
  • Animal bones found at Harappan sites include those of cattle, sheep, goat, buffalo and pig.
  • We do not know whether the Harappans hunted these animals themselves or obtained meat from other hunting communities.
  • Archaeologists have also found evidence of a ploughed field at Kalibangan (Rajasthan).
  • It is also likely that water drawn from wells was used for
  • Water reservoirs found in Dholavira (Gujarat) may have been used to store water for agriculture.


Harappan Civilisation - Indian History NCERT Notes

  • The most unique feature of the Harappan civilisation was the development of urban centres.
  • The Citadel owes its height to the fact that buildings were constructed on mud brick platforms.
  • It was walled, which meant that it was physically separated from the Lower Town.
  • Sun dried and Baked bricks were used.
  • Another important feature was planned drainage system.
  • It seems that streets with drains were laid out first and then houses built along them.
  • The Lower Town at Mohenjodaro provides examples of residential buildings.
  • Every house had its own bathroom paved with bricks, with drains connected through the wall to the street drains.
  • Some graves contain pottery and ornaments, perhaps indicating a belief that these could be used in the afterlife. It also told about the social and economic differences.

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Facts about Harappa

Harappan Civilisation - Indian History NCERT Notes

  • Copper was also probably brought from Oman, on the south-eastern tip of the Arabian peninsula.
  • Mesopotamian texts datable to the third millennium BCE refer to copper coming from a region called Magan, perhaps a name for Oman.
  • Mesopotamian texts mention contact with regions named Dilmun (probably the island of Bahrain), Magan and Meluhha, possibly the Harappan region.
  • Seals and sealings were used to facilitate longdistance communication.
  • Some archaeologists are of the opinion that Harappan society had no rulers, and that everybody enjoyed equal status.
  • Seals were discovered at Harappa by archaeologists such as Daya Ram Sahni.
  • Rakhal Das Banerji found similar seals at Mohenjodaro, leading to the conjecture that these sites were part of a single archaeological culture.
  • Based on these finds, in 1924, John Marshall, Director-General of the ASI, announced the discovery of a new civilisation in the Indus valley to the world.
  • It is material evidence that allows archaeologists to better reconstruct Harappan life. This material could be pottery, tools, ornaments, household objects, etc.
  • Organic materials such as cloth, leather, wood and reeds generally decompose, especially in tropical regions.




  • Inscriptions are writings engraved on hard surfaces such as stone, metal or pottery. They usually record the achievements, activities and are the permanent records.
  • The earliest inscriptions were in Prakrit, a name for languages used by ordinary people. Names of rulers such as Ajatasattu and Asoka, known from Prakrit texts and inscriptions, have been spelt in their Prakrit forms in this chapter.
  • James Prinsep, an officer in the mint of the East India Company, deciphered Brahmi and Kharosthi, two scripts used in the earliest inscriptions and coins.
  • He found that most of these mentioned a king referred to as Piyadassi – meaning “pleasant to behold”.
  • King referred was Ashoka – one of the most famous rulers known from Buddhist texts.



  • Early Buddhist and Jaina texts mention sixteen states known as mahajanapadas. Although the lists vary, some names such as Vajji, Magadha, Koshala, Kuru, Panchala, Gandhara and Avanti occur frequently.
  • Brahmanas began composing Sanskrit texts known as the Dharmasutras from 6th Century onwards.
  • Magadha (in present-day Bihar) became the most powerful mahajanapada.
  • Buddhist and Jaina writers who wrote about Magadha attributed its power to the policies of individuals: ruthlessly ambitious kings of whom Bimbisara, Ajatasattu and Mahapadma Nanda.
  • The growth of Magadha culminated in the emergence of the Mauryan Empire. Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the empire (c. 321 BCE), extended control as far northwest as Afghanistan and Baluchistan.


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