Indus civilization, also called Indus valley civilization or Harappan civilization, the earliest known urban culture of the Indian subcontinent. The nuclear dates of the civilization appear to be about 2500–1700 BCE, though the southern sites may have lasted later into the 2nd millennium BCE .

The civilization was first identified in 1921 at Harappa in the Punjab region and then in 1922 at Mohenjo-daro (Mohenjodaro), near the Indus River in the Sindh (Sind) region. Both sites are in present-day Pakistan, in Punjab and Sindh provinces, respectively. The ruins of Mohenjo-daro were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.



Features of Indus Valley Civilization

  • BC. 2700- BC.1900 ie for 800 years.
  • On the valleys of river Indus.
  • Also known as Harappan Civilization.
  • Beginning of city life.
  • Harappan Sites discovered by – Dayaram Sahni (1921) – Montgomery district, Punjab, Pakistan.
  • Mohanjodaro discovered by – R. D. Banerji – Larkana district, Sind, Pakistan.
  • The city was divided into Citadel(west) and Lower Town(east).
  • Red pottery painted with designs in black.
  • Stone weights, seals, special beads, copper tools, long stone blades etc.
  • Copper, bronze, silver, gold present.
  • Artificially produced – Faience.
  • Specialists for handicrafts.
  • Import of raw materials.
  • Plough was used.
  • Bodies were buried in wooden coffins, but during the later stages ‘H symmetry culture’ evolved where bodies were buried in painted burial urns.
  • Sugar cane not cultivated, horse, iron not used.

Indus Valley Sites and Specialties


  • Seals out of stones
  • Citadel outside on banks of river Ravi


  • Great Bath, Great Granary, Dancing Girl, Man with Beard, Cotton, Assembly hall
  • The term means ” Mount of the dead”
  • On the bank of river Indus
  • Believed to have been destructed by flood or invasion(Destruction was not gradual).


  • Bank of Indus river. – discovered by Gopal Majumdar and Mackey (1931)
  • Pre-Harappan culture – Jhangar Culture and Jhukar Culture
  • Only cite without citadel.


  • At Rajasthan on the banks of river Ghaggar, discovered by A.Ghosh (1953)
  • Fire Altars
  • Bones of camel
  • Evidence of furrows
  • Horse remains ( even though Indus valley people didn’t use horses).
  • Known as third capital of the Indus Empire.


  • At Gujarat near Bhogava river, discovered by S.R. Rao (1957)
  • Fire Altars
  • Beside the tributary of Sabarmati
  • Storehouse
  • Dockyard and earliest port
  • double burial
  • Rice husk
  • House had front entrance (exception).


  • Punjab, on the banks of river Sutlej. Discovered by Y.D Sharma (1955)
  • Dog buried with humans.


  • Haryana
  • On banks of lost river Saraswathi
  • Barley Cultivation.


  • Biggest site in India, until the discovery of Rakhigarhi.
  • Located in Khadir Beyt, Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. Discovered by J.P Joshi/Rabindra Singh (1990)
  • 3 parts + large open area for ceremonies
  • Large letters of the Harappan script (signboards).

The religion of Indus Valley People

  • Pashupathi Mahadev (Proto Siva)
  • Mother goddess
  • Nature/ Animal worship
  • Unicorn, Dove, Peepal Tree, Fire
  • Amulets
  • Idol worship was practised ( not a feature of Aryans)
  • Did not construct temples.
  • The similarity to Hindu religious practises. (Hinduism in its present form originated later)
  • No Caste system.

Indus Valley Society and Culture

  • The systematic method of weights and measures ( 16 and its multiples).
  • Pictographic Script, Boustrophedon script – Deciphering efforts by I. Mahadevan
  • Equal status to men and women
  • Economic Inequality, not an egalitarian society
  • Textiles – Spinning and weaving
  • 3 types – burial, cremation and post-cremation were there, though burial was common.
  • Majority of people Proto-Australoids and Mediterranean (Dravidians), though Mongoloids, Nordics etc were present in the city culture. Read more on races of India.

Reasons for Decline of Indus Valley Civilization

Though there are various theories, the exact reason is still unknown. As per a recent study by IIT Kharagpur and Archaeological Survey of India, a weaker monsoon might have been the cause of the decline of Indus Valley Civilization. Environmental changes, coupled with a loss of power of rulers (central administration) of Indus valley to sustain the city life might be the cause (Fariservis Theory). There might be a resource shortage to sustain the population, and then people moved towards south India. Another theory by Dr Gwen Robbins Schug states that inter-personal violence, infectious diseases and climate change had played a major role in the demise of the Indus Valley Civilization.

Other theories:

  • Aryan Invasion: Motimer Wheeler
  • Tectonic Movements/ Flood – Robert Raikes
  • Change of course of river Indus – Lambrick.



  1. What were the main characteristics of the Indus Valley Civilization?
  2. Town Planning
  3. Drainage System
  4. Both A and B
  5. None of these

Ans . C. Both A and B

  1. To which age the Indus Valley Civilization belongs?
  2. Neolithic Age
  3. Palaeolithic age
  4. Maesolithic age
  5. Chalcolithic age

Ans A. Neolithic Age

  1. Which metals were mostly used to make the tools and weapons of Harappan Civilization?
  2. Iron and Silver
  3. Gold
  4. Copper and Bronze
  5. Clay

Ans C. Copper and Bronze

  1. What are the main sources of our knowledge about the indus Valley Civilization?
  2. Veda
  3. Archaelogical excavations
  4. Puranas
  5. None of these

Ans B. Archaelogical excavations

  1. At which Harappan site traces of a horse have been found?
  2. Dholavira
  3. Surkotda
  4. Harappa
  5. Banwali

Ans B. Surkotda

Note : Traces of camel found in Kalibangal

  1. Which metal was not known to the Harappan people?
  2. Copper
  3. Bronze
  4. Silver
  5. Iron

Ans D. Iron

  1. What was the main occupation of the people of the Indus Valley Civilization?
  2. Agriculture
  3. Trade
  4. Both A and B
  5. None of these

Ans C. Both A and B

  1. In which culture the earliest evidence of silver in India is found?
  2. Mauryan Culture
  3. Gupta’s culture
  4. Harrapa Culture
  5. Mughal Culture

Ans C. Harrapa Culture

  1. By which evidence the Indus Valley Civilzation is known as pre-Aryan Civilization?
  2. Town Planning
  3. Script (Undecipher)
  4. Trade
  5. Coins

Ans B. Script

  1. At which places in Indus Valley Civilization rice husks have been found?
  2. Lothal and Dholavira
  3. Surkothda and Rakhigadi
  4. Chahundaro and Kalibangan
  5. Lothal and Rangpur

Ans D. Lothal and Rangpur

  1. At which place in Harappan Civilization a beared man in steatite has been found?
  2. Mohenjodaro or Mound of the dead – Clay figure of mother goddess, Dice, College
  3. Chanhujadaro – Inkpot, Lipistic, ikkas of bronze
  4. Kalibangan – decorated bricks, bangle factory, wheels of a toy cart, wells in every house, bones of camel, tiled floor
  5. Rangpur

Ans A. Mohenjodaro

  1. Which town of Indus Valley Civilization was flooded and destroyed more than seven times?
  2. Harrapa
  3. Mohenjodaro
  4. Sutkagendor
  5. Ropar

Ans B. Mohenjodaro

  1. Which soil was used to make bricks in Indus Valley Civilzation?
  2. Alluvial soil
  3. Black soil
  4. Laterite soil
  5. Red soil

Ans A. Alluvial soil

  1. In which civilization the cotton was cultivated first?
  2. Indus Valley Civilization
  3. Arabian Civilization
  4. Both A and B
  5. None of the above

Ans C. Both A and B

  1. From which place the Indus people used to import Amethyst?
  2. Maharashtra
  3. Iran
  4. Afghanistan
  5. Khetri

Ans – A. Maharashtra

Gold – Kolar (Karnataka), Afghanistan, Persia

Silver – Afghanistan, Persia, South India

Copper – Khetri (Rajasthan), Baluchistan, Arabia

Tin – Afghanistan, Bihar

Lapis Lazuli – Afghanistan

  1. At which place in Indus valley Civilization the evidence of chess and a measuring scale have been found?
  2. Dholavira
  3. Mohenjodaro
  4. Lothal
  5. Ropar

Ans C. Lothal

  1. Which town in Indus Valley Civilization had no Citadel?
  2. Chanhudaro
  3. Mohanjodaro
  4. Harappa
  5. Lothal

Ans A. Chanhudaro

  1. Beside Chanhudaro which city of the Indus Valley Civilization was associated with bead-maker shops?
  2. Daimabad
  3. Lothal
  4. Balakot
  5. Surkotda

Ans B. Lothal

  1. Has any evidence of a worshipping place in Indus Valley Civilization been found or not?
  2. Yes at Mohenjodaro
  3. Yes at Harappa
  4. Yes at Lothal
  5. No evidence of any worshipping place has been found

Ans D. No evidence of any worshipping place has been found

  1. Which town of the Indus Valley Civilization literally means “Mound of Dead”?
  2. Balakot
  3. Harappa
  4. Mohenjodaro
  5. Chahunjadro

Ans C. Mohenjodaro

  1. With which countries Indus people had trade relations?
    A. Mesopotamia and Afghanistan
  2. Sumeria and Central Asia
  3. Persia and Bahrain
  4. All of the above

Ans D. All of the above

  1. In Harappa, how many granaries have been found?
  2. 5
  3. 6
  4. 7
  5. 3

Ans B. 6

  1. By whom and when Harappa was excavated?
  2. R Bisht in 1922
  3. R D Banerjee in 1921
  4. Daya Ram Sahani in 1921
  5. MS Vats in 1931

Ans C. Daya Ram Sahani in 1921

  1. Which was the most famous building in Harappa?
  2. The Granary
  3. Houses
  4. Factory
  5. None of the above

Ans A. The Granary

  1. In which harappan city, the H-cemetry of alien people was found?
  2. Mohenjodaro
  3. Harappa
  4. Lothal
  5. Chanhujadro

Ans B. Harappa

  1. Which was the biggest building in Mohenjodaro?
  2. The granary
  3. The great bath
  4. Pearl factory
  5. Bangles factory

Ans A. The granary

  1. In which Harappan city a piece of the cotton fabric was found?
  2. Mohenjodaro
  3. Chnhujadaro
  4. Lothal
  5. Daimabad

Ans A. Mohenjodaro

  1. In which Harappan City a bronze dancing girl was found?
  2. Kalibangan
  3. Lothal
  4. Harappa
  5. Mohenjodaro

Ans D. Mohenjodaro

  1. In which year and by whom the Harappan city Chanhudaro was excavated?
  2. Daya Ram Sahani in 1921
  3. RD Banerjee in 1922
  4. Aurel Stein in 1931
  5. MG Majumdar in 1931

Ans D. MG Majumdar in 1931

  1. Where the Harappan city Chanhudaro was situated?
  2. Gujarat
  3. Haryana
  4. Afghanistan
  5. In Sindh now in Pakistan

Ans D. In Sindh now in Pakistan

  1. For what chanhudaro was famous?
  2. Pearl factory
  3. Bronze industry
  4. Beads and bangle factory
  5. Seal

Ans C. Beads and bangle factory

  1. When and by whom the lothal was excavated?
  2. YD Sharma in 1953 – Ropar
    B. SR Rao and MS Vats in 1957
  3. RS Bisht in 1974 – Banwali
  4. Aurel Stein in 1931- Sutkagender (Baluchistan)

Ans – B. SR Rao and MS Vats in 1957

  1. In which of the Harappan city remains of a dockyard was found?
  2. Harappa
  3. Mohenjodaro
  4. Lothal
  5. Surkotada

Ans – C. Lothal

  1. In which of the Harappan city rice husks were found?
  2. Lothal and Rangpur
  3. Lothal and Dholavira
  4. Mohenjodaro and Ropar
  5. Daimabad and Amri

Ans A. Lothal and Rangpur

  1. In which of the Harappan city a measuring scale was found?
  2. Lothal
  3. Harappa
  4. Mohenjodaro
  5. Kalibangan

Ans A. Lothal

  1. On the bank of which river Kalibanga was situated?
  2. Indus
  3. Ravi
  4. Ghaggar
  5. Sutlej

Ans – C. Ghaggar

  1. In which Harappan city evidence of bangles was found?
  2. Kalibangan
  3. Chanhudaro
  4. Surkotda
  5. Dholavira

Ans A. Kalibangan

  1. How many seals have been found in Harappa Civilization?
  2. 2000 Approx.
  3. 5000 Approx.
  4. 1200 Approx.
  5. 3500 Approx.

Ans A. 2000 Approx.

  1. To which age Harappan culture belongs?
  2. Iron age
  3. Stone age
  4. Bronze age (Neolithic age also)
  5. None of them

Ans C. Bronze age (Neolithic age also)

  1. What were the residential houses of Indus people made of?
  2. Mud
  3. Stone
  4. Copper
  5. Baked bricks

Ans D. Baked bricks

  1. The statue of a dancing girl made out of ….. was found in Mohenjodaro.
  2. Copper
  3. Silver
  4. Bronze
  5. Lomestones

Ans C. Bronze

  1. Which was the most frequently depicted animal?
  2. Elephant
  3. Unicorn (Humped Bulls)
  4. Rhino
    D. Tiger

Ans – B. Unicorn (Humped Bulls)

  1. A Seal depicting Mother Goddess with a plant growing from her womb has been found from.
  2. Harappa
  3. Kalibangan
  4. Daimabad
  5. Mohenjodaro

Ans – D. Mohenjodaro

  1. The Harappan site Surkotada was located in
  2. Rahasthan
  3. Gujarat
  4. Haryana
  5. Uttar Pradesh

Ans B. Gujarat

  1. The Harappan site at which bones of Camel were discovered.
  2. Kalibhangan
  3. Harappan
  4. Mohenjodaro
  5. Dholavira

Ans A. Kalibhangan

  1. Which of the following Indus site located in Larkana district of Sindh in Pakistan?
  2. Ropar
  3. Mohenjo daro
  4. Kalibhangan
  5. Harappa

Ans – B. Mohenjo daro

  1. Where was found a swimming pool called ‘Great Bath’?
  2. Mohenjo daro
  3. Harappa
  4. Rangapur
  5. Lothal

Ans A. Mohenjo daro

  1. What was the main feature of Harappa Civilization?
  2. Art and Architecture
  3. Rural Planning
  4. Town Planning
  5. Administrative System

Ans – C. Town Planning

  1. Where were the large granaries were found?
  2. Harappa and Mohenjo daro
  3. Alamgirpur
  4. Lothal and Dholavira
  5. Kalibangan

Ans – A. Harappa and Mohenjo daro

  1. Where was Banvali located?
  2. Punjab
  3. Gujarat
  4. Haryana
  5. Rajastan

Ans C. Haryana

Note :

Set 1 – Matched Answer

(i) Mohenjodaro – R.D. Banerjee

(ii) Chanhudaro – M.G Majumdar

(iii) Harappa – Daya Ram Sahni

(iv) Lothal – S.R. Rao

Set 2 – Matched Answer

(i) Mohenjodaro – Indus

(ii) Kalibangan – Ghaggat

(iii) Lothal – Bhogava

(iv) Harappa – Ravi