The Harappan Civilisation Question Answers

II. Short Answer Questions

1. Name two important sources of information about the Harappan Civilisation.

Ans: The Great Bath; Seal.

2. Name one important public building of Indus Valley Civilisation and its importance.

Ans: The Great Bath. The massive structure of the Great Bath points out that there might have existed a ruling class that could mobilise labour, collect taxes and build such a huge structure for the public.

3. Give any two characteristic features of the citadel.

Ans(i) Citadel was a raised area in a city having mud brick platforms on which buildings were constructed. It was separated from the lower town by a wall.
(ii) It had houses belonging to the ruling class and important public buildings like the Great Bath, the Assembly Hall and the workshops.

4. How were seals used? What information do they give about Harappan trade?

Ans: The seals were used by traders to stamp their goods.
The seals reveal the areas within the country and outside like Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Arabia, with which India had trade relations. The depiction of ships and boats on the seals indicates that the trade used to be carried out with these countries through the sea.

5. Briefly describe granaries at Harappa.

The granaries at Harappa were built on raised platforms to protect them from floods. There were two rows of six granaries each. To the south of granaries, there were rows of circular floors which probably were working platforms for threshing. The granaries also had two-roomed barracks which possibly accommodated labourers. The granary had ventilation to prevent grains from becoming mildewed.

6. Briefly describe the ornaments worn by the Harappans.

(i) 'The human figurines discovered at Harappan sites reveal that both men and women wore heavy jewellery along with elaborate headgear.
(ii) These ornaments used to be made of gold, silver, ivory and precious stones and included necklaces, finger-rings, bangles, armlets, anklets, nose-rings, earrings and fan-shaped head-dress.

7. Briefly describe the statue of the dancing girl.

Ans: The statue of a dancing girl, made of bronze, found at Mohenjo-daro is one of the masterpieces of sculpture. It shows a girl having her right arm resting on the hip and the left arm heavily bangled. It holds a small bowl against her left leg,

8. Mention the types of dress worn by the Indus Valley people.

Ans: The Indus Valley men use to wear a dhoti as is depicted on a potsherd from Harappa. They wore a shawl as an upper garment as shown by the famous figure of the priest from Mohenjodaro. The women wore a skirt and used a cloak to cover their arms and shoulders. The discovery of needles and buttons at some sites shows that at least some of the clothes were stitched

9. State two features of the internal trade in the Indus Valley Civilization.

Ans: (i) Trade was focused on importing raw materials to be used in city workshops. 
(ii) Trade was carried out through barter.

10. State any two evidences that show the Harappans also had trade relations with foreign countries.

(i) Mesopotamian records from 2350 BC show trade relations with Meluha (ancient name for the Indus region)
(ii) Depiction of ships and boats on seals.
(iii) Similarity in pottery and seals of Harappan culture and Central Asian civilisations.

11. Name the four animals depicted on the Pashupati seal.

Elephant, Tiger, Buffalo and Rhinoceros. (Any three)

12. State any two causes that led to the decline of the Harappan Civilisation.

(i) Floods in the river Indus, caused by earthquakes blocked the passage of the river to the sea and the rising water led to flooding of the hinterland of Mohenjo-daro.
(ii) Increased aridity due to the drying up of river Ghaggar and change in the course of Sutlej and Yamuna, the tributaries of Ghaggar.

13. What types of weights and measures did the Indus people use?

The Harappans used sets of cubical stone weights. The basic unit was 16 (equal to modern 14 grams). The larger weights were multiples of 16 like 32, 48, 64, 128 and so on. The smaller ones were all fractions of 16.

14. State any two ways to show the value of the Indus script as a source of historical information.

Ans: The Harappans used a pictographic script having between 375 to 400 signs representing birds, fish and varieties of the human form. The script is found inscribed on a number of seals, copper tools, rims of jars, copper and terracotta tablets, jewellery and on ancient signboards.

15. In what two respects is Harappan Civilisation our greatest heritage?

Ans: (i) The Harappan way of making baked pottery, bricks, beads, jewellery and textiles was adopted by the later civilisations.
(ii) The worship of Pashupati Shiva, the female deity as Mother Goddess, sacred trees, animals, serpents, religious symbols, etc.; which were prevalent during the Harappan period, many of these features have continued to this day.

16. How did Indus pottery reflect the potter's artistic skill?

Ans: Harappans produced their own characteristic pottery which was made glossy and shining. Earthen vessels and pottery, crafted on the potter's wheel, were decorated with black geometrical designs. The large jars with narrow necks and red pots with black decoration bear evidence of their artistic skill.

17. Name and briefly describe the process by which sculpture in metal was done.

The sculpture in metal was done through a special lost wax process. In this process, wax figures were covered with a coating of clay and then the wax was melted by heating. The hollow mould thus created was filled with molten metal which took the original shape of the object.

18. Social classification of Harappans as pointed out by the citadel.

Ans: The city of Harappans was divided into two parts — the raised area called citadel and the lower town. The Citadel had the houses of the ruling class and all important buildings like the Great Bath, the granary, the assembly hall and the workshops. The lower town had the residential buildings where the people lived and worked. This shows some sort of political organisation and social classification of Harappans.

III. Structured Questions

With reference to Harappan Culture, answer the following questions:
(a) Discuss briefly the indigenous origin of the Harappan Civilisation.
(b) Describe the extent of the civilisation.
(c) Name any four cities of the Harappan Civilisation and a significant feature of each city.

Ans: (a) The Harappan Civilisation was discovered accidentally during the construction work going on at a railway track near Harappa in 1920. The railway authorities felt that the bricks being used from a nearby ruin belonged to an old civilisation. Then the Archaeological Survey of India carried out extensive excavations at the site and later at other sites, which revealed the existence of Harappan Civilisation in a vast area extending from South Baluchistan in the west, to western UP in the east and from Jammu in North to Guarat in the south.

(b) The Harappan Civilisation was the largest of all ancient civilisations covering a triangular area of 1.3 million . It extended from Suktagendor (Baluchistan) in west to Alamgirpur (U.P.) in the east and from Manda (Jammu) in the north to Bhagatrav (Narmada Estuary) in the south. The Harappan Civilisation covered parts of Punjab, Haryana, Sindh, Baluchistan, Gujarat, Rajasthan and fringes of western Uttar Pradesh.

(c) 1. Harappa, located on the left bank of the Ravi River in the Montgomery district of Punjab, was the first site discovered in 1921. Covering approximately 5 km in circumference, it held significant importance as a center for metallurgy.

2. Mohenjo-Daro, situated on the right bank of the Indus River in the Larkana district of Sindh, was the second site discovered in 1922. Noteworthy features of this city include its well-developed drainage system and roads. It was connected to Harappa through the Indus River.

3. Chanhudaro, located about 130 km south of Mohenjo-Daro, likely served as an industrial hub with industries specializing in the production of bangles and beads. Additionally, copper and bronze models of carts with seated drivers were found in this city.

4. Lothal, situated in Gujarat, was characterized by the discovery of a rectangular dockyard. Serving as an important center for trade and manufacturing during the Indus Valley Civilization, Lothal facilitated overseas commerce activities.

Question 2
With reference to the chief features of the Harappan Civilisation, answer the following:
(a) Any three characteristic features of town planning.
(b) Three special features of the houses of the people.
(c) Mention any two common elements between Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.

a) Three Characteristic features of town planning of the Harappan Civilization are:
  • Each city was divided into two sections: an elevated area known as the citadel and a lower town.

  • The houses had an efficient drainage system, with house drains directing all wastewater into the street drains.
  • The streets crossed the main road at right angles, dividing the roads into square or rectangular blocks.
b) Three special features of the houses of the people are:
  • The buildings had a deep foundation and were constructed according to a set plan on high mounds in order to protect them from floods.
  • The houses were made of brick and wood. Each house had doors, windows and ventilators. Doors and windows opened on the side of the streets and not on the main roads.
  • The size of houses varied from a single-room tenement to bigger houses with courtyards, up to twelve rooms, private wells and toilets. Each house had covered drains connected to street drains.
(c) The two common elements between Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa are:
  1. Both cities are located on river banks — Mohenjo-Daro on the right bank of the Indus, and Harappa on the left bank of the Ravi.
  2. Both measured around 5.0 km in circuit.

Question 3
Study the picture and answer the questions that follow:

(a) Identify the structure. List any two of its characteristic features.
(b) State the importance of this structure as a source of information about Harappan Civilisation.
(c) Name another architectural structure of this period. How does this structure show that Harappan Civilisation was highly developed?


(a) The given structure is the Great Bath. Its two characteristic features are:
  1. It has a large rectangular tank in a courtyard surrounded by a corridor on all four sides.
  2. There are two flights of steps one in the north and the other in the south leading into the tank.

(b) The Great Bath is an important source of information about the life of people and their culture. The design of the Great Bath reflects an efficient planning and drainage system. It also suggests that there was a ruling class which could mobilise labour, collect taxes and build such large public buildings.

(c) The Citadel was the other structure of this period. It was a raised area of the city on which the important buildings like the houses of ruling class, the granary, the Great Bath and the assembly hall were made. The Citadel shows that there was a classification or stratification in Harappan society. It also indicates that the Harappans were developed and their civilisation was an urban one.

Question 4
Study the picture of the seal given on the right and answer the following questions:

(a) Identify the seal in the given picture. Which animal is depicted on this seal?
(b) Of what material were these seals made? Why were the seals used?
(c) What do the seals reveal about the Harappans?

(a) Pashupati Seal. Seals were used by traders to stamp their goods as an identification mark.
(b) The seals were made of terracotta, steatite and agate. Animals include buffalo, tiger, goat, elephant, etc.(c) The seals reveals the following about the Harappans:

  1. Their religious beliefs like worshipping Shiva, mother goddess, trees and other natural obiects.
  2. Their trade relations within the countv and outside.
  3. Their pictorial script and the symbols used.