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Of all the sites of the Indus Valley people now known, two large cities stand out. These are Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, located about 350 miles from one another. Despite the distance, they are carbon copies of each other. The building material was still mud bricks, some unfired, others hardened in a kiln, but all exactly of the same dimension. Both cities had wide streets off of which alleys wandered to people's homes. The major streets ran straight through the towns on a grid pattern, regularity unknown to any other ancient civilization. Archaeologists estimate that 35,000 people could have made their homes in each of the cities.

Mohenjo-Daro's main avenue had a 200-yard corridor that bisected the city. This was possibly a canal or a tributary of the Indus, diverted to run through the city. A large wall, about 3 miles in circumference, circled the town and protected the inhabitants from outsiders.

To construct such large towns required surveyors, engineers, and master builders. Whoever were, the political leaders obviously enjoyed ample resources to put their projects into reality. Both reached the height of their prosperity about 2300 ВС.

The homes in the Indus Valley were not much to look at the outside with no windows or decorations. Entrances led from alleyways into the homes. Surrounding the courtyard were rooms for the family to meet with friends, cook and eat, sleep, and store their belongings. The courtyards, open to the air, offered light and fresh air. Homes came equipped with indoor plumbing, the first in the world. Bath areas had drains leading to a municipal sewer. People bathed standing up, pouring water over their bodies. Some houses had their own wells that gave them ready access to water.

Both Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa have public buildings that archaeologists identify as citadels. When these cities were excavated, it appears that the Mohenjo-Daro citadel was five stories tall with a large complex of rooms. Here it is surmised that the city elite had their offices for administering the town. Attached was a granary that served the town in times of famine. City administrators collected taxes in the form of grain.

Close by the citadel buildings were large baths, resembling a swimming pool. Builders used asphalt between the bricks to make the pool watertight. Archaeologists believe that the bath served a religious purpose, possibly for the city priests to cleanse themselves before performing certain religious rites. Bathing is still a major devotional exercise for modern Indians, continuing this long tradition.

In order to make sure that the spring flood did not damage the citadels, they were built on artificial mounds made of earth and rubble, 40 feet above the plain. In fact, the cities themselves were elevated on similar platform for the Indus and its tributaries are fickle, changing their course over the years. Layers of sediment show several rebuilding of the Indus Valley cities, the result of repeated flood destruction.

Because no temple seem to have existed, interpreters of the cities re­main surmise that worship to the Harappan deities took place outdoors. The names of the gods remain unknown, but statues show a multiheaded male deity and several bejeweled nude female figures who may either be goddesses or dancing girls. These statues are the only preserved artistic work of the Indus Valley people.

A recent hypothesis notes that about 2000 ВС volcanic activity blocked the Indus river from reaching the sea. Indus waters backed up. The Harappan towns became islands, with people desperately trying to built higher and higher. About 1700 ВС the fight appeared hopeless. The Indus Valley people abandoned their valley and its cities. They possibly moved eastward, joining the indigenous hunters and gatherers of other regions of India, known as Dravidians. Their descendants forgot about urban life and its culture.

The people of the Indus Valley were forgotten for centuries, only to be discovered in the 19th century. Archaeology alone can tell of their existence.



A Proper Nounis the name of a single particular thing or person and is spelt with a capital letter in English and many other European languages. There are special hieroglyphs for proper names in Chinese and Japanese. In ancient Egyptian texts proper names were framed and it helped to decipher them.

There are various ways of the adoption of foreign proper nouns. They are:

1) transliteration, e.g. Harappa — Xapanna

Mohenjo-Daro Мохенджо-Даро

2) translation

a) full, e.g. Mesopotamia Междуречье

b)partial, e.g. the Indus Valley долина Инда


3)transcription e.g., Wales Уэльс

4)traditional usage, e.g. Nippon Япония

the English Channel Ла-Манш


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