Were ancient Indus Valley Architects far ahead of their times?

India is an ocean of knowledge. Whether we talk about its language, culture, religions or architecture, you will always find a mystery behind everything. Similarly, we came to know about 10 facts about the Indus Valley Civilization, that no one has ever mentioned about.


indus valley civilisation sketch



In the 1820s, a British Explorer, Charles Masson, stumbled across some brick mounds. Thirty years later, during the construction of a railway line near the Ravi river, engineers found more of these bricks. The nearby farmers told them, that their houses were built using the same bricks. Therefore, in 1856, discovery for the lost city got finally started.
Archaeologists figured that civilization was much larger than the Mesopotamia and Egyptian Civilization. Moreover, the civilization was around 4000 years older and had its existence during the Mesopotamia civilization. The engineers and architects of that era were much more advanced in technology and trading. Many of its sprawling cities are also located on the banks of the rivers that still flow through India and Pakistan today.
So, here are ten mind blogging facts about civilization:



The planning of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization was amazing and proved the people to be highly civilized and developed. The streets reflect the genius of their builders. The main streets were 9metre wide and divided the city into rectangular blocks. Earlier, archaeologists thought of it as a copy of the Mesopotamian civilization but later filled them with the astonishment, about how well the town had been planned. Some crossroads had brick containers for rubbish disposal. Above all, archaeologists also discovered lamp posts placed at intervals on the streets. The city had a massive entry/exit gate.


mohenjodaro streets

Street system



People of Indus Valley Civilization built their houses in an introverted manner, where the main entrance was not from the front but on either side. Every house had its own courtyard. The roofs were flat and had terraced houses. There were about 2-4 rooms in every house, but archaeologists also said that some of the houses had around 30 rooms. Moreover, the bricks used were no extraordinary, but waterproof bricks. The quality of the bricks is similar to, what is used nowadays. One of the building had a big hall which measured around 80 ft. X 80 ft.



houses of indus valley sketch



In a unique system, for a centre of 4000 years old, drains for wastewater, were dug into the main street. The wastewater was poured into bottomless jars. Every house had its own drainage and soak pit which further connected the public drains. These drains made using burnt bricks which had a layering of Gypsum and Charcoal. This proved that the people of this civilization were way more ahead in science as well. Bricks laid channels flowed through the streets and had a covering above them. These channels had a connection with the manholes, used for the cleaning and clearing purposes. The people of this civilization were aware of their hygiene.



drainage indus valley



It is also said, that the knowledge about the wells came from the Indus Valley Civilization. Each residential building had its own well. Archaeologists have discovered around 700 wells on the sites of the civilization.


wells mohenjodaro



The city Mohenjo-Daro had 80 public toilets. In residential areas, every house had a tiled bathroom and its own toilet. The architects of the Indus Valley knew the sanitary engineering science, which unfortunately buried in the grave of the Indus Valley civilization, thereby leading to the practice of open defecation in later India. The people of Indus Valley had sitting-type toilets, which dates back to the Minoan civilization in Greece. This also informs that the two civilizations had some connection deep down, which is still unresolved.



toilets lothal

Toilets in Lothal


The most spectacular discovery was made at the top of the city. On a huge platform also called Citadel, the people of Mohenjo-Daro built a great bath. For their daily oblations, they came to the pool. Roundabout it was a gallery of fountains. The size of this great bath is approximately 39 feet long, 23 feet wide and 8 feet deep. It was somehow filled with the water of the Sindhu river with the help of their excellent water transportation system. There were arrangements for the hot water bath in the same rooms.

great bath

Great Bath at Mohenjodaro



The people of the Indus survived the hostile environment of Dholavira, an archaeological site of Indus Valley Civilization present in Gujarat. 5000 years ago, in a land alternatively burnt by the sun and swept by floods, a civilization grew up because it knew how to manage water. Archaeologists found that the dry river beds flooded by the water of Indus river during the monsoon season near Dholavira. They found traces of stone structures, which were the remains of dams built to control the flow of water.
Roman Engineers were not the first one to introduce dams, but it was the people of Indus Valley Civilization, who already had the knowledge of structural engineering. Unfortunately, the city got vanished away, and thus became a mystery of how did they achieve this level.


indus_valley sketch



Dholavira covers 48 ha of land. The city surrounded by 250,000 m3 of precious water. After controlling the flow of water through dams, the people of Dholavira intelligently changed the course of rivers, which further filled the gigantic reservoirs and tanks built around the city. The largest of these reservoirs was 79 metres long and more than 7 metres deep.
For the water to flow, from one reservoir to another, the architects used the natural incline of the terrain. The upper city into which the water flowed initially, situated 30 metres higher than the lower side. That was how they retained the water. Aqueducts carried the water to the heart of the city. The stormwater used to irrigate the fields of the area. The plan of the city, highly devised to collect precious water.



Dholavira reservoirs indus valley


Archaeologists surprised to notice that the city had a water conservation system. The city worshipped water more than any other. The citadel on top of the city had an engineering system to collect water. Gutters channelled rainwater into a large reservoir outside Dholavira. For the people of Dholavira, water was the fundamental element in survival. However, now the villages around the archaeological site are facing the scarcity of water due to the change of the course of the rivers.




Around 4000 years ago, the people of the Indus set out to find the mineral resources they lacked. So, they headed towards the west, to Baluchistan, and today’s Iran. They had an Indus styled boats, still now used in Pakistan. The design of these boats has hardly changed. These boats carried passengers and goods. They were the first navigators to sail the world.


boat of indus valley civilisation


The boats sailed from the Mohenjo-Daro, or Dholavira and reached the Persian Gulf. Merchants from the Indus landed the ports of Abu Dhabi. The influence of the Indus civilization also spread far and wide in the Arabian Desert. Archaeologists in many structures have discovered ceramic and ornaments, that typically belongs to the Indus Valley.


mohenjodaro pakistan indus


The sudden decay of this advanced city is still a mystery. Some say, it vanished because of the change in the course of the river, and others suggest, that it devastated by earthquakes. But somehow, the empire literally felt apart. The fertile lands around Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro or Dholavira now fall in independent states. In conclusion, the advancements in the technology of this civilization is still now a question for the archaeologists.



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