Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 80, Moenjodaro, Pakistan (2)

We are now going to visit the "Manhattan of the Bronze Age" its heyday, it must have held nearly 80,000 inhabitants. Any guesses??

Another clue....this UNESCO world heritage site also includes a small museum, where you can admire pottery and sculptures representing the Mother goddess as well as a horned deity, token of ancient beliefs probably at the roots of Hinduism.

That's right Sita, it is Moenjodaro!

About 4000 BC, when the Mesopotamian civilisation flourished on the Euphrates, Moenjodaro began to develop as one of the great cities of the Indus Valley civilisation.

Over 165 sites related to the Indus Valley civilisation have been described by archaeologists, but UNESCO World Heritage–listed Moenjodaro is the undisputed jewel in the crown.

The largest of the ancient cities of Pakistan, its ruins are spread over 250 hectares

Moenjodaro (meaning 'Mound of the Dead') thrived roughly from 2500–1500 BC with a population believed to have reached at least 50, 000.

The quality of the architecture and town planning was exceptionally high.

Its main thoroughfares were some 91 m wide and were crossed by straight streets that formed blocks 364 m in length and 182/273 m in width.

The people of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa lived in sturdy brick houses that had as many as three floors and were designed to ensure the safety of its occupants so that in times of earthquakes the structures collapse outwards.

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Their elaborate drainage system was centuries ahead of their time


There is a large granary, and a citadel mound with solid burnt-brick towers on its margin.

A Great Hall was probably the most striking of its structures, comprising an open quadrangle with verandahs of four sides' galleries and rooms at the back, a number of halls,


A large bathing pool perhaps used for religious or ceremonial bathing.


With roughly 50,000 citizens, the city demanded to have the latest in housing development. This included a strive toward cleanliness and sanitation.

Citizens were conveniently able to dispose of their garbage through a s

lit cut into their house which would then fall into containers lined up on the street below.

Mohenjo-Daro's brick floored bathhouses were even designed to have dirty water drain through clay pipes into an underground gutter system.

Although advanced in architecture, citizens of Mohenjo-Daro lived on a simple form of agriculture. They lived by farming wheat, barley, rice, and some cotton for cloth.

Scholars also believe that the Indus valley civilization had domesticated cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, cats, and dogs.

Archaeologists have found the remains of fine jewelry, including stones from far away places. This shows that the people of the Indus Valley civilization valued art and

traded with other cultures. There are remains of seals that merchants used to mark goods that were to be traded among cities.

Close to the archaeological site is the Moenjodaro Museum that houses finds from the excavations.

It appears that secular law was reinforced by the power of a priest caste, although the exact political structures remain a mystery.


Figurines found here suggest that the religion incorporated belief in a mother-goddess combined with tree and animal worship, especially of the bull….

Hmmm, Nopi, wasn't the bull a central theme amongst the Minoans, with bull heads and bull horns used as symbols in the Knossos palace??

There are three clear levels of occupation, the top two built on top of an earlier, destroyed layer.

However, the population declined abruptly for reasons that are still unclear.

Long after its demise, Buddhist monks of the Kushan era erected a stupa over 70m high here.

That too is now in ruins, but still rises 11m above the surrounding area and was for a long time the only visible monument.

There are several theories about how Moenjodaro came to an end.

Did it collapse in an earthquake caused by the moving tectonic plates in the Himalayas??

Was it destroyed by a flood? Rising water levels at several times in the city's history certainly did require much of it to be rebuilt or abandoned. Building standards also declined over the years as one new level was built over another.

Since the 1990s much archaeological work has gone into preserving the ruins from further water and salt damage.

The discovery of several skeletons of inhabitants who had obviously met a violent end, and had never been properly buried. Was Moenjodaro sacked by unknown invaders, perhaps the Aryan invaders in the mid-2nd millennium BC??

What we know about the Indus civilization is evolving. Archaeologists are continuing to find new artifacts. In time, we may learn how this amazing civilization developed, how they learned to create an advanced ancient civilization, and why they suddenly disappeared.

Mohenjo-Daro is a great source of information to scholars being that the Indus valley civilization was one of the world's first great civilizations!!

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