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Around 3000 years ago, changes were seen in the way the rajas
(rulers) were chosen. Some men were recognised as rajas by
performing very big sacrifices. The ashvamedha or horse sacrifice
was one su...
Around 3000 years ago, changes were seen in the way the rajas (rulers) were chosen. Some men were recognised as rajas by performing very big sacrifices. The ashvamedha or horse sacrifice was one such ritual. A horse was let loose to wander freely and it was guarded by the rajas men. If the horse wandered into the kingdoms of other rajas and the stopped it, they ad to fight. If they let it pass through it meant that they accepted the rajas sovereignty. The rajas who performed these sacrifices were considered as being rajas of janapadas( the land where jana set its foot and settled down) rather than janas. Number of settlements have been excavated in these janapadas such as Purana Qila in Delhi, Hastinapura near Meerut etc. It was found that people lived in huts, kept cattle as well as other animals and grew a variety of crops such as rice, barley, pulses, sugarcane, sesame and mustard.
About 2500 years ago, some janapadas became more important than others. They were known as mahajanapadas. Most mahajanapadas had a capital city, many of them fortified. These rajas maintained armies and collected taxes from people. Around this time major changes took place in agriculture. One was the use of iron ploughshares and the other was transplantation of paddy. This led to increased production. Increased production led to the collection of more taxes and increased the wealth of the kingdoms. Some important mahajanapadas were Magadha, Kosala,Gandhara, Kashi, Panchala, Avanti, Kuru etc.
A flourishing civilisation that lasted from c. 2600 and 1900
BCE. It spread across Afghanistan, Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan,
North-West frontier province of Pakistan,Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan,
A flourishing civilisation that lasted from c. 2600 and 1900 BCE. It spread across Afghanistan, Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan, North-West frontier province of Pakistan,Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and some parts of South India.
Some important sites were : Mohen-jo-daro (Sind ,Pakistan ) Harappa (West Punjab, Pakistan) Lothal (Gujarat, India) Kalibhangan (Rajasthan, India) Chanhudaro ( Sind, Pakistan) Ropar ( Punjab, India) Dholavira (Gujarat, India).
According to Archaeological evidence :
Grains such as wheat, barley, lentil, chickpea, sesame, millets were grown. Rice was rare.
Actual agricultural practices are not understood but presence of ploughing is indicated.
Canals seen in certain regions indicate irrigation.
Cattle, sheep, goat, buffalo and pig were domesticated.
Probably wild species such as boar, deer, gharial were hunted.
Striking feature of the civilization was the development of urban centers.
The settlements were divided into two sections - the Citadel (small but higher) and Lower Town (larger but lower).
The Citadel was built on mud brick platforms, walled and separated from Lower Town.
It contained warehouse for storing grains and the Great Bath - a large rectangular tank uniquely designed. It is thought to be used for some kind of a special ritual bath.
The Lower Town housed the residential buildings. The roads and streets were laid in a grid pattern intersecting at right angles. It was also walled and several buildings built on platforms.
Use of bricks of standardized ratio is seen.
An elaborate drainage system is also seen.
The houses were centered on a courtyard with rooms on all sides.
The main door never faced the street and no windows were seen in the walls along the ground level.
A large extent of wells are seen. There is a presence of staircase to a higher level or the terrace.
Indication of a ruler/rulers based on artifacts of Priest-King similar to Mesopotamia.
A wide variety in pots, jars, seals, figurines, copper and terracotta tablets, jewelry is
The dead were buried in pits and in some cases buried along with pots, jewelry and other everyday items.
Trade with Oman, Mesopotamia, Bahrain and South India is seen.
Script : most of the script remains undeciphered. It contains too many signs. It is
understood that the script was written from right to left.
A stone called chert was used for a precise system of weights. Lower denominations were binary, whereas the higher denominations followed the decimal system.
The end :
Several theories have been put forward to explain the end of the entire civilisation - climate change, deforestation, excessive floods, Shifting and/or drying up of rivers overuse of landscape but no consensus have been reached.