Harappan civilization was the earliest known civilization of India. The earliest cities of the world were introduced to the world by Harappans. Harappan introduced the first town planning and first samples of sanitary, engineering and drainage works.
Harappan Civilization Town Planning
The first description of the ruins of Harappa is found in the Narrative of Various Journeys in Baluchistan, Afghanistan, and Punjab of Charles Masson. It dates back to the period from 1826 to 1838. The Harappan people were basically urban people. The streets had a lighting system and rounded corners. These enabled the heavy carts to take a turn easily.
The ruins of Mohenjodaro, Harappa and other cities, give a clue of town planning. The streets and roads were straight and cut each other at right angles. In India, the earliest cities discovered were that of Mohenjodaro in the Larkana district of Sind.
Harappa in Sahiwal district was then discovered. Ropar near Chandigarh, Lothal near Ahmadabad and Kalibangan in Rajasthan are other sites that showed the prevalence of the civilization in that area. This area comprised of entire Punjab and Sind, the bulk of Kathiawar, the value of N.W.F.P (North West Frontier Province) and a part of the Gangetic basin.
Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization
The cities of the Indus Valley Civilization were well-organized. These and solidly built out of brick and stone. The Harappan’s had a well-planned drainage system. The Indus valley people knew that the drains should not be left open. Therefore, they covered them with bricks and stones. All houses had their own soak pit which collected all the sediments. While it allowed only the water to flow in the main drain.
The Harappan people required a lot of raw material. This was because they developed many arts and crafts. Raw materials like copper, tin, silver, gold and precious stones had to be brought from distant lands. On the other hand, wood and cotton were available locally.
Features of Harappan Civilization
The Indus valley people had developed the art of writing. They used the pictographic script. They also knew the art of carving. The jewelers of Indus valley civilization produced fine jewelry. This jewelry was made of gold, silver, bronze and precious stones. The Harappans also crafted toys which included whistles, marbles, rattle, clay carts, and animals.
Agriculture was the most important occupation of the Indus valley people. The crops generally cultivated were wheat, rice, barley, and cotton. The Harappan people liked indoor amusements like music and dance. They worshipped the images of Lord Shiva and mother goddess as they were idol worshippers. More than 2000 seals have been discovered. These are made of various materials such as pottery, steatite, faience, ivory, etc.