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Bath building at Mohenjo-Daro, 2500 BC

Harappan architecture: Bath building at Mohenjo-Daro, 2500 BC

Early houses in India

The earliest big buildings in India were built by the Harappan people in the Indus River valley, about 2500 BC. The Harappan buildings included high brick walls around their cities to keep out enemies. Most of the buildings were ordinary mud brick houses, with rooms arranged around a small courtyard as in West Asia, Egypt, and China.

Who were the Harappans?
What is mud brick?
Harappan art
History of houses
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Did families have a house to themselves?

Probably some families owned a whole house (and lived in it with the people they had enslaved), while others rented only one room in a house, and the whole family lived together in the one room.

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Warehouses and public baths

The rulers built bigger buildings, like this public bathing house and a town warehouse for storing wheat and barley, also out of mud-brick and baked brick. Like the houses, these bigger buildings were square or rectangular, with small courtyards in the middle. They used arches, but, like the Sumerians and the Egyptians, they only used them underground, as drains or foundations for buildings.

What is an arch?
Sumerian architecture
Egyptian architecture
Ancient Chinese houses

What about palaces?

As far as we can tell, there were no palaces in Harappan cities in Bronze Age India. This is different from other Bronze Age people. Did the Harappans not have powerful rulers? Or did the rulers live in ordinary houses? Or have we just missed finding their palaces? If there were rulers, they didn’t build themselves big tombs like the Pyramids, either. So maybe the Harappans organized themselves without powerful rulers.

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Bibliography and further reading about Harappan period architecture:


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