"Harappa - Indus Civilization" Harappa by besal

Harappa Travel Guide: 48 reviews and 129 photos

4500 years ago, a very well organizedc civilization existed in the vast plains of River Indus and its tributaries, stretching from foothills of the Himalaya to the Arabian Sea. This society was contemporary with the civilization of the Nile and Mesopotamia. Among hundreds of small settlements around the River Indus, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa were two important urban centers. Series of excavations starting in 1921 revealed remains of systematically planned urban center that presented a semblance of a civil society. Wide straight roads, well planned housing schemes, elaborate underground drainage and water system are still model of modern day planning. Excavations of these sites revealed story of the customs, arts and crafts of the people who inhabitated it. Digging below the fortification has revealed an earlier phase of this culture, called the Kot Diji culture (Source: Harappa Museum).

Harappa became our off the beaten path destination during our road journey to Kashmir. During our schooling, we read a lot about Mohenjo Daro, but hardly anything about a smaller site somewhere in middle Punjab known as Harappa. Even the name was a pun when growing up…”Harap” (meaning gobble down, swallow quickly or eat greedily).

Harappa is situated halfway between Lahore and Multan on the motorway. The exit is 2 km before Sahiwal (if going north, there is a marker on the left side of the road), and then a drive of approx 16 km west. Harappa is an important archeological site after Mohenjo Daro; part of the Indus civilization culture. The mound was first observed in 1822. In 1870s when a railway link was being built between Multan and Lahore, the engineers found endless supplies of red bricks from Harappa. However full excavation and discovery had to wait till 1920s.

The most important archeological find has been Cemetery H which has revealed clues about this civilization norms and beliefs, especially their practice of cremating and burying their dead in colorful urns, decorated with motif such as peacocks, eyes, sun, cows, and bulls.

The small museum boasts a great collection of artifacts such as potteries, stone tools, toys, urns, copper and bronze, other museum stuff, and a depiction of burial - a female skeleton, ornate with jewelry, laying in a coffin. Beneath the coffin vessels are placed which contained provisions for after life. To ensure equality, there is also a male skeleton discovered from Cemetery R-37 in the museum (which my daughter desperatly wanted to touch...can I touch, can I touch, please Baba let me touch!)

For those who would like to spend some time at the site, there are some rest houses in the back, but to use these you will need to have the right connection.

After looking at the museum, there is a well laid out path that takes you towards the archeological sites. Interesting sites to see are the Cemetery R-37, H, Rakh Forest, Citadel area, shrine of Baba Nur Shah Wali, Eid Gah Masjid and granary.

A notice in the front lawn says no photography, but we were special guests of the curator, so this didn’t apply to me as he said, “shoot away.” Normally inside the museum they may not let you take any pictures, but at excavation sites you will be allowed.

During summer, the weather is hot, so take lots of cold water and a wide hat. There are some nice cool spots in between, near the citadel area, made under shaded trees, where you can take a breather. You will also find guides/guards at different points who would keep an eye on you, and also brief you about the history of Harappa.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Rich in history
  • Cons:Not a normal touristy places; very hot in Summer
  • Last visit to Harappa: Jun 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (8)

Comments (5)

  • picek's Profile Photo
    May 19, 2010 at 5:01 AM

    Nice page on such a must-visit historic site. Above all, it's vegetation is very interesting and it's great that you write scientific name of the plants.

  • Faiza-Ifrah's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    my husband is www.harrappa.com subscriber. he will like to visit these indus valley civilization cities LOL. great tips here. i think these sites need to be publicized.

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2010 at 3:30 AM

    Your Harappa page looks great. Archaeology and natural beauties... Congrats.

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2010 at 2:54 AM

    I have been dreaming to visit Harappa and Mohanjedaro since childhood. I just dont' know when these dreams will be fulfilled. Great infor Amir. I shall download some priviledge pictures later.

  • Mozumbus's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2010 at 11:40 PM

    nice to see your Harappa page and tips. great information and very valuable addition... Thanks for sharing. (a little suggestion: please put this on your Pakistan Page too as an off the beaten path day trip)

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