One of the two sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa is located in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and the site lies some 35 kilometres southwest of Sahiwal. Harappa is the first site of the Indus Valley Civilization that was discovered in the 1920s. Harappa is located about 250 kilometres from Lahore.
Harappa has been the centre of curiosity and interest among history students, historians and archaeologists since its discovery some 85 years ago. A date with history is what takes many tourists to Harappa. Excavations in Harappa have revealed a civilization, which was excellent in town planning and other sphere of every day life. The site, with its citadel and great granary, seems similar in many ways to Moenjodaro and like its southern sister-city appear to have thrived around 2000 to 1700 B.C. with an economy based largely on agriculture and trade. The Harappan society seems to have been egalitarian, pursuing a rather simple way of life. Excavations have unearthed a number of artefacts that provide a glimpse of the way of life and various customs and traditions prevalent in Harappa. The cemetery found in Harappa gives a clear indication that the Harappan people used to bury their dead. They were fond of wearing necklace, ring, bangle and other jewellery. As, many skeletons found in Harappa had beads and anklets in their grave.
But it is the excellent town planning that has received kudos from the historians and archaeologists. The houses at Harappa were built in burned brick and had excellent drainage system. Every house had a well as an integral part of it. Roads were wide and were well connected to the streets.
A tour to Harappa takes you close to one of the largest civilizations in the world. The Harappa tour is a wonderful discovery of our past. Harappa helps us understand, how modern and progressive was the Indus Valley Civilization. A visit to the museum is a wonderful experience. The museum houses some rare art facts from the Indus Valley Civilization, which include terracotta toys, animal figurines and bronze utensils.
The site of the ancient city contains the ruins of a Bronze Age fortified city, which was part of the Cemetery H culture and the Indus Valley Civilization, centered in Sindh and the Punjab. The city is believed to have had as many as 23,500 residents—considered large for its time.
The ancient city of Harappa was greatly destroyed under the British Raj, when bricks from the ruins were used as track ballast in the making of the Lahore-Multan Railroad.
In 2005, a controversial amusement park scheme at the site was abandoned when builders unearthed many archaeological artifacts during the early stages of construction work. A plea from the prominent Pakistani archaeologist Ahmed Hasan Dani to the Ministry of Culture resulted in a restoration of the site.
The Indus Valley Civilization (also known as Harappan culture) has its earliest roots in cultures such as that of Mehrgarh, approximately 6000 BCE. The two greatest cities,Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, emerged circa 2600 BCE along the Indus River valley in Punjaband Sindh. The civilization, with a writing system, urban centers, and diversified social andeconomic system, was rediscovered in the 1920s after excavations at Mohenjo-daro (which means "mound of the dead") in Sindh near Sukkur, and Harappa, in west Punjab south ofLahore. A number of other sites stretching from the Himalayan foothills in east Punjab, Indiain the north, to Gujarat in the south and east, and to Balochistan in the west have also been discovered and studied. Although the archaeological site at Harappa was damaged in 1857 when engineers constructing the Lahore-Multan railroad (as part of the Sind and Punjab Railway), used brick from the Harappa ruins for track ballast, an abundance of artifacts has nevertheless been found. The bricks discovered were made of red sand, clay,stones & were baked at very high temperature.
Indus Valley civilization was mainly an urban culture sustained by surplus agricultural production and commerce, the latter including trade with Sumer in southern Mesopotamia. Both Mohenjo-daro and Harappa are generally characterized as having "differentiated living quarters, flat-roofed brick houses, and fortified administrative or religious centers." Although such similarities have given rise to arguments for the existence of a standardized system of urban layout and planning, the similarities are largely due to the presence of a semi-orthogonal type of civic layout, and a comparison of the layouts of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa shows that they are in fact, arranged in a quite dissimilar fashion. The chert weights and measures of the Indus Valley Civilization, on the other hand, were highly standardized, and conform to a set scale of gradations. Distinctive seals were used, among other applications, perhaps for identification of property and shipment of goods. Although copper andbronze were in use, iron was not yet employed. "Cotton was woven and dyed for clothing; wheat, rice, and a variety of vegetables and fruits were cultivated; and a number of animals, including the humped bull, were domesticated." Wheel-made pottery—some of it adorned with animal and geometric motifs—has been found in profusion at all the major Indus sites. A centralized administration for each city, though not the whole civilization, has been inferred from the revealed cultural uniformity; however, it remains uncertain whether authority lay with a commercial oligarchy. There appears to be a complete lack of priestly "pomp or lavish display" that was common in other civilizations.
When to Go
The best time to visit this place is from September to May.
How to Reach
Harappa is well connected by road and by train with the rest of the country by Sahiwal and Lahore cities with a distance of 35 and 250 kilometers respectively.
Where to Stay
There is only a rest house Located near the museum, this is the only accommodation possibility at Harappa itself. Although it's nothing flash, it's by far the most convenient (and peaceful) accommodation on offer; however there are only two rooms. To stay, you must book in advance either here or through the Department of Archaeology. Meals can be prepared by the chowkidar (caretaker) with advance notice.
What to Eat
Harappan Desserts are another special guests treat by the 2 friendly Harappans, this time was in a real restaurant in the old market. The desserts taste so sweet and then we have melon juice after desserts. What an unforgettable visit.
The Harappan sugar cane juice is not a real restaurant but it was a wonderful experience because that was a glass of sugar cane juice for special guests only, a treat by the 2 Harappans.