Indus Valley

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Indus Valley - Where is it?
Where is the Indus Valley? Approximately 5000 years ago, a nomadic people crossed the Himalayas and made their way into northwest India from Sumeria, (modern day Iran.) They settled near modern day Karachi, a rich land fertilized by the river systems of the Indus, Ravi, Beas, Chenab, and Sutlej. Here they found ample water, fodder, and fuel supply as well as clay for making bricks and wood to burn bricks.

This civilization flourished from 1500 BC to about 2500 BC and spread over a thousand-mile length from the snow-capped mountains of Kashmir to the sand dunes facing the Arabian Sea. The civilization held its own government, culture, religion, history, art and architecture, rules and regulations. There is no mention of this valley in the Bible, or in the Vedas, which is one of the oldest texts of South Asia, dating back approximately 3,500 years ago. The people did not build towering monuments, bury their riches along with their dead, or fight legendary and bloody battles. They did not have a mighty army or a divine emperor. Rather, they built some of the world’s first planned cities, and created one of the world’s first written languages.

Indus Valley - Early Cities and Artifacts
One of the cities located in the Indus Valley is Harappa, and a neighboring city 350 miles away, Mohenjo-Daro. Excavations reveal large, orderly walls of massive brick buildings with high sophisticated sanitation and drainage systems. The culture itself was very drab and unattractive because the civilization did not focus on gold and large monuments. Harappa is believed to have gotten its start as a farming village around 3300 BC. Mohenjo-Daro is the twin city and both formed the hub of the civilization. Since their planning principles were followed without change at all other sites, these two cities laid the groundwork for the other cities that followed. Both cities were a mile square with defensive outer walls. The street layout shows an understanding of traffic with rounded corners to allow turning of carts easily, and dividing the city into 12 blocks. Except for the west-central blocks, the basic unit of city planning was the individual houses.

In Mohenjo-Daro, thirty-nine skeletons were found in the different streets and houses, and it is surmised that Aryans invaded and murdered many of the people. A toy that may have been used as a whistle was excavated in this city. The item is shaped like a bird and made of terra cotta. You blow into the hole to make a whistling sound. Cube-shaped dice were also discovered in the excavations along with a baby’s rattle, which had little holes in it. To make the sound of a rattle, small bits of clay were inside. Occasionally, the people did hide valuable ornaments in pots and bury them under the floors of a house. There have been found silver vessels and gold and silver ornaments that provided evidence of wealthy merchants or landowners. Excavations also provided stone carvings of seated male figures that may represent some of the ancestral leaders of communities. There is no evidence that either priests or kings ruled the cities. Sculptures unearthed show a fillet around the head, and an armband and a cloak decorated with trefoil patterns that originally were filled with red pigment.

Indus Valley – Rulers
Rulers within the cities of the Indus Valley governed through the control of trade and religion rather than military strength. There is no indication of warfare or weapons that may have been used. The rulers carried seals with animal symbols and writing and wore ornaments of rare material. Each animal symbol represented some form of power: the bull symbolized the leader of the herd, virile and strong; the elephant symbol was attached to goods being traded; the buffalo represented a posture of defense to protect; the tiger was used by minor administrative officers; the unicorn appears to be an important symbol of the elite and was used in governing the different settlements, assuming the economic and political power in the major cities.

Indus Valley – Religion
The Indus Valley Culture appears to have had a primitive religious system. In addition to a mother goddess representing fertility, it is suggested that they also worshiped animals to some degree. One such figure is a seal sitting in a yoga-like position and is thought to be an early representation of a Hindu god. It is difficult to find any names for the gods of the ancient Indus Valley. It seems that when their civilization died, so did their gods. What a contrast this is to Christianity.

Learn More About the History of Christianity.


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