Kalibangan: Ancient Civilization of Rajasthan


Kalibangan is a part of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, located in present Hanumangarh district.  The site was discovered by Luigi Pio Tessitori, an Italian Indologist and linguist. After Independence in 1952, Amlānand Ghosh identified the site as part of Harappan Civilization and marked it for excavation. Later, during 1961-69, excavation were carried out by B. B. Lal & Balkrishna Thapar.

Kalibangan has settlements belonging to:

  • Pre-Harappan Period from the 3500 BC – 2500 BC.
  • Harrapan Period from the 2500 BC – 1500 BC

Features of Pre-Harappan Settlement:

  • The pre-Harappan settlement was a fortified parallelogram, the fortification wall being made of mud-bricks.
  • The houses within the walled area were also made of mud-bricks.
  • The distinctive trait of this period was the pottery which was significantly different from that of the succeeding Harappans.
  • An outstanding discovery was a ploughed field, showing a cross-grid of furrows, the southeast  of the settlement outside the town-wall.  This is perhaps the earliest plouged field excavated so far. 

Features of Harrapan Period:

Town Planning:

  • During the Harappan period, the structural pattern of the settlement was changed.  There were now two  distinct parts: the citadel on the west and the lower city on the east.
  • The citadel was situated on a higher level  and looked like fortified parallelogram. It consisted of two equal but  separately patterned parts.  The fortification was built throughout of mud-bricks.  The southern half of the citadel contained some five to six massive platforms, some of which may have been used for religious or ritual purposes.  The northern half of the citadel contained residential buildings of the elite.
  • The lower city was also fortified and within the walled city,  there was a grid of streets running north-south and east-west, dividing the area into blocks.  The houses were built of mud-bricks, baked bricks being confined to drains, wells, sills, etc.
  • Beside the above two principal parts of Kalibangan, there was also a third one, situated 80 m east of the lower city.  It consisted of a modest structure, containing  four to five  ‘fire-altars’ and as such could have been used for ritualistic  purposes.
  • Of the finds obtained from this excavation, a cylindrical  seal and an incised terracotta cake are quite significant.


  • The cemetery of the Harappans was located to the west-southwest of the citadel.
  • Three types of burials are found:
    • Extended inhumation in rectangular or oval grave-pits
    • Pot-burials in a circular pit
    • Rectangular or oval grave-pits containing only pottery and other funerary objects.


  • The best terracota figure from Kalibangan is that a charging bull which is considered to signify the “realistic and powerful folk art of Harappan Age”.


  • Most noteworthy is a cylindrical seal, depicting a female figure between two male figures, fighting or threatening with spears.

Image Credits: Wikipedia Commons


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