The city of Mohenjo daro

Mohenjo daro was a flourishing city in the valley of Indus civilization. In this article I have tried to explain about Mohenjo daro's great architecture and tried to give an insight into the lives of the people who lived in 2600 BCE.

World heritage sites are places which hold physical or cultural significance. 962 sites are listed by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). These sites can be again categorized as cultural sites (745), natural sites (188) and mixed sites (29). Italy has the largest number of world heritage sites. One of the world heritage sites is Mohenjo daro.

Meaning of Mohenjo daro :

Mohenjo daro means "Mountain of the dead". The name Mohenjo daro was given when discovered in the modern era, but its original name is "Kukkutarma". The meaning of kukkutarma is "City of cocks" where Kukkuta means cock. This city was developed around 2600 BCE, during the "Indus valley Civilization" Mohenjo daro was one of the largest cities of civilization and had complex structure of lifestyles.

Location :

Mohenjo daro is located in Sindh state in Pakistan. During 26 century BCE, Mohenjo daro was located on a plateau with, the Indus River flowing below and thereby it was safe during floods. However it was not safe for long, the Indus river was flooded and Mohenjo daro was swept away. At present Mohenjo daro has the Indus river on the eastern side and the Hakra river on the west.

Discovery :

In the year 1922 Mohenjo daro was discovered by an Indian Archaeological officer Rakhaldas bandhyopadyay. Many excavations were conducted from the year 1930 to 1965 by several archaeologists. After 1965 permissions were not given for further excavations, as damages were happening because of weathering phenomenon. The only project that was allowed in Mohenjo daro was of rebuilding and protecting the remains.

Architecture of the city :

It was postulated that the Mohenjo daro was head quarters of the Indus civilization in the religious field. There are many lay outs, buildings and structures which indicates that the city was planned for religious activities.
Mohenjo daro was divided into two areas. The "Citadel" and "Lower city".

The citadel: Citadel was constructed in a round mountain shape, with a height of 40 feet. Inside the building many provisions were provided. There was a large public bath, two large living rooms and a very large room which can accommodate around 5000 people.

The lower city: As said earlier Mohenjo daro has a complex planning and architecture. The city's layout had buildings built in an equilateral manner. The materials that were used in construction of the houses were mud bricks. These bricks were either burnt in fire or dried in sun. The bricks were strengthened with mortar while constructing the wall. Some buildings were used as residence, while some were constructed for public use. This indicates that a hierarchy in administration and power was maintained. Around 30,000 people used to live in the city.

Mohenjo daro also had market in its center and a large well for public use. The private homes had wells and the dirty water was directed to flow in to a drainage which was properly covered. Some houses even had rooms for bathing and a hypocaust. Hypocaust is arranging a hollow space beneath the floor of a room. The hollow space would have a tunnel to the outside from where fuel (dry grass, wood etc) was fed into the hollow space and the room or water was heated.

There is another large building called "Great granary" in Mohenjo daro. Some archaeologists believed it to be a storage hall for the grains that were harvested, while some believed that it was simply a great hall. Near the great granary is another large structure which is believed to be a public bath. It was named "Great bath" of Mohenjo daro. Giving a way from the great bath is a corridor which is pillared by wood and this way leads into a large swimming pool.

The dimensions of the pool are 40 feet in length and 25 feet in width. This swimming pool was waterproofed by "Bitumen". Archaeologists say that the pool was used for religious purpose, like purification of souls. Other structures like the "Pillared hall" of Mohenjo daro, which has 80 rooms, was used as a residence for the priest. Another building is called as the "College hall" of Mohenjo daro.

Antique artifacts :

Other than these buildings many antique pieces of arts were found. Most of them are made of copper and stone. Jewels, gold, weighing machines, stone tools and toys were found in Mohenjo daro. Below are, some of the artifacts that were found in Mohenjo daro

Antique artifacts of Mohenjo daro
(Source of images: Wikipedia)

Conservation programs :

The program of preserving Mohenjo daro was stopped in the year 1996. Ten million dollars were provided by UNESCO, which were misused and thereby the funding was stopped. Many walls have already crumbled and Mohenjo daro is in danger due high salinity of the water in that area.

Archaeologists predict that if the conservation program is not started soon, then Mohenjo daro would vanish by 2030. Hope the government of Sindh takes the action soon.


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