• Joyeeta Mazumdar

Factors that made Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa the most planned cities

The Harappan Civilization, also known as The Indus River Valley Civilization, extended from modern-day Northwest India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In Indian History, this was one of the most famous civilizations because of the innovations. Some of them were of tin, lead, bronze, or copper metallurgy, seal carvings, standardized measures, and weights. Many speculate that the end of the civilization could have been due to migration or climate change. Even today, scholars are still trying to piece the information that they get about this civilization.



Introduction to the Indus Valley Civilization


During its peak, the population of the Indus Valley Civilization was close to five million. As per experts, this civilization was completely from another environmental context. It is believed that this civilization was spread in three different phases and timeframes; they are,

  • The Early Harappan Phase which was from 3300 to 2600 BCE

  • The Mature Harappan Phase from 2600 to 1900 BCE

  • The Late Harappan Phase from 1900 to 1300 BCE.

Experts believe that the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization was around 1800 BCE. Moreover, they also believe that the Mohenjo-Daro and Harappan cities were known to be the best and well-planned cities. But what was it about these cities that led them to believe it? Read on to find out


A brief note on the cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa


Among-st the various cities in the Indus Valley Civilization, Mohenjo-Daro was the largest city. It was also known to be the urban center of civilization. The city was located in the Larkana District towards the west of the Indus River. The town was also known for its urban planning and advanced engineering making it one of the most sophisticated cities of the Harappan Civilization.

Harappa city, which is present-day Pakistan, was the home to more than 24,000 residence. The city spread across 150 hectares of land. Out of that, around 370 acres were used for religious centers and fortified administrative. This city had the same infrastructure and planning like Mohenjo-Daro. The residents of the Harappa city AKA Harappans, were also known for their seal carving. They had distinctive seals for various reasons.



The similarities between the two cities


The two main sections of the settlement

Both the towns had two main parts of the settlement - The lower city and the Citadel. The Citadels were constructed on a higher level. A heavily fortified defense military structure protected this area. It also included a big wall that ran around the boundary of the Citadel. This wall also helped to separate the Lower Town and the Citadel. The Lower town was also designed in the same way. However, as the name suggests, this was right below the Citadel.


All buildings including the granaries were made from uniformly sized bricks

The brick stones that were used during this civilization had artistic markings and were made from soapstone. If you look at any building in both the cities, you will find the bricks were of the same standardized ratio. Both the cities had large granaries that were used to store grains.


Well-Planned roadworks, wells, and drainage systems

Even the roadworks in the two cities were adequately planned. The drainage systems in both thee cities were in proper order. There were two separate systems to collect trash and wastewater. The drains and drainage systems were covered with stone and brinks. They also had inspection holes on them, which helped the people to clean the drains regularly.



Other notable structures and construction


The planning of each house

Every house that was in the vicinity was connected to the main drain. While the wastewater flowed directly into the street drains, the solid matter was emptied into the sumps. Moreover, each house also had a well connected to it. Even homes that were located on the outskirts of the central city were connected to the main drain. The houses opened to smaller lanes and inner courtyards.


The Great Bath or Public Baths in Mohenjo-Daro

In the city of Mohenjo-Daro, there were findings of large swimming -pool-like structures called the Great Baths. It is believed that these were places where the city folks would come together and socialize. Some also believe that these Great Baths were also used for religious and purification purposes.


Other specialties of the city of Harappa

The Harappans lived in more advanced infrastructure. Apart from the protective walls and granaries, they also had brick platforms, warehouses, and dockyards. These facilities suggest that this was the city involved in most of the trading services for the entire civilization. Probably, this is also one of the reasons why they came up with various innovative exchange objects like seals and standardized weights.


To conclude


Both the cities were proof that the planning and infrastructure that was used at that time was ahead of its time. These cities were probably the historic change that made various other innovations come into existence.


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