Urban planning of Harappan Civilization

In 1921, Dayaram Sahni discovered Harappa and R. D. Banerjee discovered Mohenjodaro. Other cities which were discovered alongside Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were Lothal, Dholavira and Surkotada (present Gujarat), Kalibangan (present Rajasthan), and Chanhudaro (present Pakistan). The civilization encompassing these cities came to be known as the Indus Valley Civilization as it developed on the banks of River Indus and its tributaries. The Harappan Civilization is known for its urban planning.

Urban planning of Harappan Civilization

The Harappan Civilization is known for its urban planning.

Town Planning

  • Each city of the civilisation was divided into two parts—the elevated area known as citadel and the lower town. The citadel was separated from the lower town by a wall. Important buildings such as the Great Bath, granary and assembly hall were located in the citadel.
  • Roads of the Harappan Civilization were well laid in straight lines which intersected each other at right angles. The main road in Mohenjo-daro was about 10.5 metres wide and 800 metres long.
  • The cities of Harappa are known for their well-developed drainage system. They were laid out in straight lines and had a gentle slope so that water could flow through.
  • Drains in the houses were connected to the bigger drains in the streets. Drains were covered and had inspection holes at a regular distance to clean them.


  • The houses in the city were built on a high mound to protect them from floods.
  • Each house had a covered drain which was connected to street drains.
  • Houses found in the cities were either of one or two storeys. Rooms were built around the courtyard which was a basic feature of house planning.
  • Most of the houses had a separate bathing area, and in some houses, wells have also been discovered.
  • Each house had doors, windows and ventilators. Doors and windows opened on the side of the streets and not on the main roads.

Monumental Architecture

The Great Bath
  • It is one of the largest public buildings in Mohenjo-daro. It is a 39-feet long bathing pool, 28 feet wide and 8 feet deep.
  • This Great Bath was made of brick and coated with plaster and a layer of natural tar to avoid any water seepage.
  • Steps were constructed on both sides leading to the Great Bath. It was surrounded by rooms on all sides.
  • Scholars are of the view that these rooms were either meant for the members of the priestly class or for changing clothes.
  • Granaries were found at several sites such as Harappa, Lothal and Mohenjo-daro. At Mohenjo-daro, the granary was 45.71 metres in length and 15.23 metres in breadth.
  • Two rows of six granaries were found at Harappa. Working floors consisting of rows of circular brick platforms were discovered to the south of the granaries in Harappa. It is believed that it was built for threshing grains as remains of grains of wheat and barley were found in crevices of the floor.
  • Near the granaries, two-roomed barracks have been found which might have housed labourers.
  • The granary was built on a raised platform to protect it from floods. The Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro Well-laid drainage system of the Harappan Civilisation.

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