Harappan Civilization: Town Planning

Town planning is the unique feature of Indus valley civilization. Their town planning proves that they lived a highly civilized and developed life. Indus people were the first to build planned cities with scientific drainage system. The Indus cities were built on an uniform plan. Town planning was amazing in nature. A few cities have citadels to the West built on higher platform and to the east of which is the hub of residential area. Both of them are surrounded by a massive brick wall. The cities without citadel are found on high mounds. In every aspect like roads, houses, drainage, bath, granary, the Harappan people have left an imprint of originality and brilliance.


Town-planning was the prime specialty of the Harappan culture. Each town was divided into two main parts. On higher ground was built the fort that housed the ruling class and the priestly class. From the foot of the fort area was spread the human settlements of other classes. People of many communities lived there. The town was encircled by a high wall made of burnt bricks. The intention was probably to ward off invaders. The town planning of Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and Kalibangan was styled as per this pattern.


  • People from the Indus Valley civilisation erected dwellings and other structures beside highways.
  • They constructed terraced dwellings out of charred bricks. Every dwelling had at least two rooms.
  • There were also multi-story buildings.
  • The buildings were built around an inner courtyard and had pillared hallways, bath rooms, paved floors, a kitchen, a well, and other amenities.
  • In addition to living quarters, extensive constructions have been discovered.
  • One of these structures has the largest hall, which is 80 feet long and 80 feet broad.
  • It might have been a castle, a temple, or a meeting hall.
  • There are also workmen's quarters. It had an outstanding water supply system. There were public wells throughout the streets.
  • Each large residence has its own well.
  • They also constructed a dockyard at Lothal.
  • The majority of the residences in the Lower Town featured a central courtyard surrounded by rooms.
  • Summer activities like cooking and knitting were most likely done in the courtyard.
  • To promote privacy, the main entrance was usually located so that it did not provide a direct view of the inside.
  • Furthermore, there were no windows on the ground-level walls of the dwellings.


  • Indus Valley's streets and roadways were all straight and intersected at a right angle.
  • All of the roadways were constructed with burned bricks, with the length of each brick being four times its height and the breadth being two times its height.
  • They ranged in width from 13 to 34 feet and were fully lined.
  • The city was split into rectangular blocks by the streets and roadways.
  • Archaeologists unearthed the lamp posts at regular intervals. This implies the presence of street lighting.
  • On the streets, there were also trash cans. These demonstrate the presence of competent municipal management.


The most striking feature in Mohenjodaro is the Great Bath. It consists of a large quadrangle. In the centre, there is a huge swimming pool (approximately 39 ft long, 23 ft wide and 8ft deep) with the remains of galleries and rooms on all four sides. It has a flight of steps at either end and is fed by a well, situated in one of the adjoining rooms. The water was discharged by a huge drain with corbelled roof more than 6 ft in depth. The Great bath had 8 ft thick outer walls. This solid construction has successfully withstood the natural ravages for 5000 years. There were arrangements for hot water bath in some rooms


Adjacent to the Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro was discovered a sprawling house, 230 feet long and 78 feet wide, and with a 33 feet verandah attached to it. The house was propped up by wooden pillars. Historians differ as to the purpose for which the house was built. While some of them term it as the general conference hall, others describe it as the residential quarters of high officials.


  • The granary, which is 45.71 metres long and 15.23 metres broad, is the biggest structure at Mohenjodaro.
  • Harappa has a set of brick platforms that served as the foundation for two rows of six granaries each.
  • Brick platforms have also been discovered in the southern section of Kalibangan.
  • These granaries protected the grains, which were most likely gathered as income or as storehouses to be used in crises.
  • During disasters, most staple foods like rice, wheat, and barley were stockpiled in these warehouses for public distribution.
  • The cervical granaries were a massive building.
  • Archeological evidence suggests that the lowest half of the stockroom was formed of blocks, while the upper part was most likely made of wood.


Discovery of many hearths at Kalibangan is very significant. Seven ovens in a row on a brick-laden floor are found there. Various opinions have been expressed by historians about these. May be, these were used for general auspicious occasions. It is also possible that it was the community-kitchen for the residents of the town. Yet its exact purpose still remains a mystery.


  • One of the most notable elements of the Indus Valley civilization was the city's efficient closed drainage system.
  • Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization possessed sophisticated water and sewage systems.
  • Many Indus Valley sites have houses with single, double, and more rooms coupled to a very effective drainage system.
  • Each residence had its own drainage and soak pit that was linked to the public drainage system.
  • Every roadway was lined by brick-paved canals.
  • They were covered and had manholes at regular intervals for cleaning and clearing.
  • To convey extra water, large brick culverts with corbelled roofs were built on the city's outskirts.
  • As a result, the Indus people developed a flawless subsurface drainage system.
  • No other modern culture paid such close attention to hygiene.
  • Corbelled drains were the primary method of collecting waste and rainfall; they may also have been used to empty enormous pools used for ceremonial washing.