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Built around BCE, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation , and one of the world's earliest major cities , contemporaneous with the civilizations of ancient Egypt , Mesopotamia , Minoan Crete , and Norte Chico.
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Mohenjo-daro was abandoned in the 19th century BCE as the Indus Valley Civilization declined, and the site was not rediscovered until the s. The city's original name is unknown. Based on his analysis of a Mohenjo-daro seal, Iravatham Mahadevan speculates that the city's ancient name could have been Kukkutarma "the city [ -rma ] of the cockerel [ kukkuta ]".
Mohenjo-daro may also have been a point of diffusion for the eventual worldwide domestication of chickens. Mohenjo-daro, the modern name for the site, has been variously interpreted as "Mound of the Dead Men" in Sindhi , and as "Mound of Mohan" where Mohan is Krishna.
The Indus still flows east of the site, but the Ghaggar-Hakra riverbed on the western side is now dry. Mohenjo-daro was built in the 26th century BCE. At its height, the Indus Civilization spanned much of what is now Pakistan and North India, extending westwards to the Iranian border, south to Gujarat in India and northwards to an outpost in Bactria , with major urban centers at Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Lothal , Kalibangan , Dholavira and Rakhigarhi.
Mohenjo-daro was the most advanced city of its time, with remarkably sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning. The ruins of the city remained undocumented for around 3, years until R. Banerji , an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India , visited the site in —20 identifying what he thought to be a Buddhist stupa — CE known to be there and finding a flint scraper which convinced him of the site's antiquity.
This led to large-scale excavations of Mohenjo-daro led by Kashinath Narayan Dikshit in —25, and John Marshall in — Dikshitar and Ernest Mackay.
The last major series of excavations were conducted in and by George F. After excavations were banned due to weathering damage to the exposed structures, and the only projects allowed at the site since have been salvage excavations, surface surveys, and conservation projects.
In the s, German and Italian survey groups led by Michael Jansen and Maurizio Tosi used less invasive archeological techniques, such as architectural documentation, surface surveys, and localized probing, to gather further information about Mohenjo-daro. Mohenjo-daro has a planned layout with rectilinear buildings arranged on a grid plan. The covered area of Mohenjo-daro is estimated at hectares. The sheer size of the city, and its provision of public buildings and facilities, suggests a high level of social organization.
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The city had a central marketplace, with a large central well. Individual households or groups of households obtained their water from smaller wells. Waste water was channeled to covered drains that lined the major streets. Some houses, presumably those of more prestigious inhabitants, include rooms that appear to have been set aside for bathing, and one building had an underground furnace known as a hypocaust , possibly for heated bathing.
Most houses had inner courtyards, with doors that opened onto side-lanes. Some buildings had two stories. Certain wall-divisions in its massive wooden superstructure appeared to be grain storage-bays, complete with air-ducts to dry the grain. According to Wheeler, carts would have brought grain from the countryside and unloaded them directly into the bays.
However, Jonathan Mark Kenoyer noted the complete lack of evidence for grain at the "granary", which, he argued, might therefore be better termed a "Great Hall" of uncertain function.
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From a colonnaded courtyard, steps lead down to the brick-built pool, which was waterproofed by a lining of bitumen. It may have been used for religious purification.
Other large buildings include a "Pillared Hall", thought to be an assembly hall of some kind, and the so-called "College Hall", a complex of buildings comprising 78 rooms, thought to have been a priestly residence. Mohenjo-daro had no series of city walls, but was fortified with guard towers to the west of the main settlement, and defensive fortifications to the south. Considering these fortifications and the structure of other major Indus valley cities like Harappa , it is postulated that Mohenjo-daro was an administrative center.
Both Harappa and Mohenjo-daro share relatively the same architectural layout, and were generally not heavily fortified like other Indus Valley sites.
It is obvious from the identical city layouts of all Indus sites that there was some kind of political or administrative centrality, but the extent and functioning of an administrative center remains unclear. The location of Mohenjo-daro was built in a relatively short period of time, with the water supply system and wells being some of the first planned constructions. The city also had large platforms perhaps intended as defense against flooding.
Numerous objects found in excavation include seated and standing figures, copper and stone tools, carved seals , balance-scales and weights , gold and jasper jewellery, and children's toys. There even seems to be an entire section of the city dedicated to shell-working, located in the northeastern part of the site.
In , a representative collection of artefacts excavated at the site was transferred to the British Museum by the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India. Discovered by John Marshall in , the idol appears to mimic certain characteristics that match the Mother Goddess belief common in many early Near East civilizations.
One of said figures, pictured below, is A bronze statuette dubbed the "Dancing Girl", A girl perfectly, for the moment, perfectly confident of herself and the world. There's nothing like her, I think, in the world.
John Marshall , another archeologist at Mohenjo-daro, described the figure as "a young girl, her hand on her hip in a half-impudent posture, and legs slightly forward as she beats time to the music with her legs and feet.
The statue led to two important discoveries about the civilization: first, that they knew metal blending, casting and other sophisticated methods of working with ore, and secondly that entertainment, especially dance, was part of the culture.
In , a seated male soapstone figure was found in a building with unusually ornamental brickwork and a wall-niche. Though there is no evidence that priests or monarchs ruled Mohenjo-daro, archaeologists dubbed this dignified figure a "Priest-King. He wears an armband, and a cloak with drilled trefoil , single circle and double circle motifs, which show traces of red.
His eyes might have originally been inlaid. A seal discovered at the site bears the image of a seated, cross-legged and possibly ithyphallic figure surrounded by animals. The figure has been interpreted by some scholars as a yogi , and by others as a three-headed "proto- Shiva " as "Lord of Animals".
Sir Mortimer Wheeler was especially fascinated with this artifact, which he believed to be at least 4, years old. Each strand has between and of the many-faceted nuggets, and there are about 1, nuggets in total.
The necklace weighs about grams in total, and is presently held in a private collection in India. Contributions were made by a number of other countries to the project:. Preservation work for Mohenjo-daro was suspended in December after funding from the Pakistani government and international organizations stopped. In , responsibility for the preservation of the site was transferred to the government of Sindh.
Currently the site is threatened by groundwater salinity and improper restoration. Many walls have already collapsed, while others are crumbling from the ground up. In , Pakistani archaeologists warned that, without improved conservation measures, the site could disappear by This would have exposed the site to mechanical operations, including excavation and drilling.
Farzand Masih, head of the Department of Archaeology at Punjab University warned that such activity was banned under the Antiquity Act , saying "You cannot even hammer a nail at an archaeological site.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Mohenjo-Daro. This article is about the archaeological site.
For the film, see Mohenjo Daro film. Further information: Sanitation of the Indus Valley Civilization. Main article: Dancing Girl Mohenjo-daro. Main article: Pashupati seal. Cities in South Asia. Possehl 11 November Rowman Altamira.
Retrieved 27 October Presented at the World Classical Tamil Conference The Hindu. Crawford Elsevier Health Sciences. National Geographic. Retrieved 8 April DNA Pakistan. Retrieved 9 June Retrieved 2 May Krieger; Phillip C.
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Naylor; Dahia Ibo Shabaka World History: Patterns of Interaction. Second International Symposium on Mohenjo-daro, 24—27 February Islamabad : American Institute of Pakistan Studies. Retrieved 14 November Over the centuries houses were rebuilt and street levels rose; new courses of bricks were therefore added to the wells to keep their tops at the same height with respect to the street. The removal of earth and debris during the excavation of the city has left many wells standing like towers high above the exposed remnants of earlier streets.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. October World Archaeology. Studies in People's History. American Anthropologist. Shipbuilding, Navigation and the Portuguese in Pre-modern India.