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Ancient History / Indus Valley Civilization

Salient Features of Indus Valley Civilization

The main features of Indus Valley civilization (IVC) are the economic life, art and crafts, burial methods, town planning, social life and municipal administration, etc. We could see great progress in all areas of economic activity like agriculture, animal rearing, industry, trade and crafts. Both internal and external trade was flourishing. Regarding art and crafts, Terracotta figurines of animals, birds, men and women and carvings on the seals exhibit the level of proficiency that is attained by the sculptors of Indus Valley civilization.

Town planning of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Town planning of Indus Valley Civilization is one of the best features of this civilization. The most important characteristic of Harappan civilisation was its urban life.

  • Uniformity in the urban planning is maintained in every city. Every city is divided into two parts, an upper city and a lower city.

  • Upper city is fortified by a very big wall inside which citadel is present. Upper city is meant for aristocrats and the lower city is meant for commoners. Lower city is not fortified.

    In couple of cities, we can find some exceptions. Chanhudaro is the only city where there is no citadel. Dholavira is split into three parts, namely upper, lower and middle cities.

  • All the cities were built on a grid pattern and every city was provided with underground drainage with manholes. Every city is divided into equal parts like a chess board.

    Though Banawali in Haryana was not built strictly on chessboard pattern but it has some invariably straight roads, showing many marks of careful city planning.

  • By observing the sanitation works and urban planning of Indus valley civilization, it can be assumed that there was a strong municipal administration at work.

Society of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Indus Valley society was class divided and not caste divided. The upper and lower cities indicate the class division.

  • According to a hypothesis by John Marshall, Indus Valley society is matriarchal as there are more female deity figurines found when compared to male deity figurines.

  • Indus Valley people worshiped the Bull indicating that agriculture remained the main activity.

  • Regarding political system of Indus valley civilization, there have been different opinions from different archaeologists and historians. D.D. Kosambi believes that priests were the rulers of Indus Valley civilization. However, R.S. Sharma argues that merchants were the rulers.