By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 2 First Cities of India students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 2 First Cities of India

Characteristics of Harrapan Civilisation:
A few years ago, it was strongly believed that the Vedic Aryans arrived in India at about 1500 B.C.E. However, no information was available regarding the period before that. This situation continued till the discovery of Harappa in 1921 and Mohenjodaro in 1922.

The discovery of the Harappan Civilisation at these two places stretched the antiquity of Indian history to 3500-3000 B.C.E. Harappan civilisation belonged to ‘Bronze Age’. So far, more than 2000 sites of the Harappan civilisation have been recorded. The history of these cities had three stages viz:

  • Early Harappan period
  • Mature Harappan (Urban) period
  • Late Harappan period
  • Some of the main characteristics of the Harappan cities are
  • Systematic Town Planning
  • Central Administration
  • Social Organisation
  • Economy
  • Use of Developed Writing System
  • Some cities of Harrapan Civilisation:

Harappa: Harappa is situated on the banks of the river Ravi (District Sahiwal in Punjab, Pakistan). The v ancient site of Harappa had spread on 150 Hectares. The first excavation at Harappa began in 1921. The first settlement of the Early Harappan period was established around 3300 B.C.E. It evolved to the Mature Harappan (urban) phase around 2600 B.C.E. It reached its peak during 2450-1900 B.C.E.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 2 First Cities of India

Mohenjodaro: Mohenjodaro was built on the banks of the river Sindhu (Indus) in Pakistan (District Larkana, Sindh). Area wise, Mohenjodaro is the biggest city, among those discovered in Pakistan so far. It was thought that the city was divided into two fortified sections, namely the ‘Citadel’ and the ‘Lower Town’.

The excavations at Mohenjodaro by Rakhaldas Banerjee began in 1921-22. In 1923- 24 to gather more information about Mohenjodaro Madho Sarup Vats, Kashinath Narayan Dikshit, Earnest Mackay and others conducted further excavations under Sir John Marshall’s direction. He was the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India at that time. During these excavations, various artefacts, houses and public monuments were unearthed.

Kalibangan: The site of Kalibangan is 205 kilometres away from Bikaner. It is located in the Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan. It was one of the important urban centres of the Harappan civilisation, situated on the banks of the river Ghaggar. L. P. Tessitore, an Italian linguist had visited Kalibangan during his study tour of the region.

It was conducted under the direction of Brijabasi Lai, the then Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India and Balkrishna Thapar. At Kalibangan two settlements, one of the Mature Harappan period and the other of the Early Harappan period, were found. Kalibangan was a small city compared to Harappa and Mohenjodaro.

Lothal: Lothal was established on the banks of the river Bhogao. The centre of the Harappan civilisation at Lothal was situated near the Gulf of Kutch, in Gujarat, 80 kilometres away from Ahmedabad. It is known for the remains of Harappan dock. Lothal was excavated from 1955 to 1960 under the supervision of S.R. Rao. The ‘Citadel’ and the ‘Lower Town’ at Lothal do not have separate fortification walls. Rather they are surrounded by a single fortification wall.

Dholavira: Dholavira was discovered by J.P. Joshi, the Director-General of Archaeological Survey of India. The site is in ‘Khadirbet’ in Gujarat (Dist. Kutch). Excavations at the site were started by R.S. Bisht in 1990. Among the excavated Harappan sites, extent wise Dholavira is the fifth-largest city. An Early Harappan settlement was discovered at Dholavira. There was a protective wall built around it by using mud bricks (unbaked bricks) and dressed stones. It was surrounded by an outer fortification wall.

The settlement within the outer fortification was divided into four sections.

  1. Citadel
  2. The adjacent section reserved for high officials
  3. Lower Town – These three sections had walls, which separated them from each other.
  4. The fourth section inside the outer fortification did not have any additional separating walls.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 2 First Cities of India

Rakhigarhi: In the Hissar district of Haryana is situated the site of Rakhigarhi, a Harappan city. It is on the distance of 150 kilometres from Delhi. It is located on the banks of Chautang (ancient Drishdvati river). Rakhigarhi is the largest Harappan site, among all the sites from India and Pakistan.

Its total area was more than 350 Hectares. The excavations at Rakhigarhi started in 1963. It continued in 1997-2000. Later, Dr Vasant Shinde of the Deccan College, Pune also conducted excavations at the site.

Inter-relationship between Cities and Villages:
The city people are dependent on the natural resources and villages in their vicinity in order, to meet the needs of urban way of life and urban administration. The raw material needed for Harappan industrial production included clay, various siliceous and semi-precious stones, metals, etc.

The inter-relationship between Harappan cities and villages was dependent on the mechanism of making available, things like food grains and the raw materials.

Production, Trade, Organisation and Administration:
During the Mature (urban) Harappan period the sphere of commodity exchange expanded and their import-export increased to a great extent. The internal and distant trade received momentum. Trade with distant places like Mesopotamia became regular. Trade with Mesopotamia had begun during Early Harappan times.

The Akkadian empire was founded in 2334 B.C.E. by Emperor Sargon I. During his reign the Harappan trade with Mesopotamia flourished and the Harappan cities reached their peak. Harappan period and the sea trade had become the preferred mode. ‘Dilmun’, ‘Makan’ and ‘Meluhha’ are mentioned as three important centres on the sea route. Harappan traders are likely to have received wool, gold and silver in exchange other commodities.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 2 First Cities of India

Decline of the Cities:
When Harappan civilisation was discovered, it was presumed that its cities were destroyed by invading tribes who came from outside. Indra is described as ‘Purandara’ meaning the destroyer of fortified cities. The Harappan cities were fortified, thus befitting the definition of ‘pura’. Deteriorating environment was the main reason of the decline of Mesopotamia. Similarly, climatic changes and deteriorating environment were the main reasons of the decline of the Harappan civilisation too. Around 2000 B.C.E. the climate became increasingly arid and there were frequent famines. Degradation of cultivable land was on the increase.


→ Fortification – Walls, towers etc. built especially in the past to protect a plact’ against attack.

→ Artefacts – An object that is made by a person.

→ Citadel – A castle on high ground or near a city where people could go when the rity is attacked.

→ Granary – A large building for storing grains.

→ Linguist Someone who studies the structure and development of language.

→ Furrow – A trench in the earth made by a plough.

→ Dock – An area of a port where ships stop to be loaded, repaired etc.

→ Dwindled – To become smaller or weaker.