The Beautiful Places of Pakistan Episode#02

Greetings again!!! To all of you. I hope you are safe and sound. This is the second episode of the most beautiful places of Pakistan. In this article, I have just one place to talk about. There is a lot of information about this particular place so I decided to just write about it in this episode. Again, I will start with a quote. This time of “Ibn Battuta”.

“Travelling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

Ibn Battuta

Mohenjo-Daro meaning ‘Mound of the Dead Men’; is an archaeological site in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2500 BCE, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world’s earliest major cities, contemporaneous with the civilizations of ancient Egypt. Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned in the 19th century BCE as the Indus Valley Civilization declined, and the site was not rediscovered until the 1920s. Significant excavation has since been conducted at the site of the city, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The site is currently threatened by erosion and improper restoration.

The city’s original name is unknown. Mohenjo-Daro is located off the right (west) bank of the lower Indus River in Larkana District, Sindh, Pakistan. It lies around 28 kilometers (17 mi) from the town of Larkana. Mohenjo-Daro was built in the 26th century BCE. It was one of the largest cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, which developed around 3,000 BCE from the prehistoric Indus culture. Mohenjo-Daro was the most advanced city of its time, with remarkably sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning. When the Indus civilization went into sudden decline around 1900 BCE, Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned.

The Great Bath (Pool Built 5000 years ago)

The ruins of the city remained undocumented for around 3,700 years until R. D. Banerji, an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India, visited the site in 1919–20 identifying what he thought to be a Buddhist stupa (150–500 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 K. N. Dikshit in 1924–25, and John Marshall in 1925–26. In the 1930s major excavations were conducted at the site under the leadership of Marshall, D. K. Dikshitar, and Ernest Mackay. Further excavations were carried out in 1945 by Mortimer Wheeler and his trainee, Ahmad Hasan Dani. The last major series of excavations were conducted in 1964 and 1965 by George F. Dales. After 1965 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 1980s, 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. A dry core drilling conducted in 2015 by Pakistan’s National Fund for Mohenjo-Daro revealed that the site is larger than the unearthed area.

The covered area of Mohenjo-Daro is estimated at 300 hectares. The sheer size of the city, and its provision of public buildings and facilities, suggests a high level of social organization. The city is divided into two parts, the so-called Citadel, and the Lower City. The Citadel – a mud-brick mound around 12 meters (39 ft.) high – is known to have supported public baths, a large residential structure designed to house about 5,000 citizens, and two large assembly halls. The city had a central marketplace, with a large central well. Individual households or groups of households obtained their water from smaller wells. Wastewater 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.

There is a large and elaborate public bath, sometimes called the Great Bath. From a colonnaded courtyard, steps lead down to the brick-built pool, which was waterproofed by a lining of bitumen. The pool measures 12 meters (39 ft.) long, 7 meters (23 ft.) wide, and 2.4 meters (7.9 ft.) deep. It may have been used for religious purification.

With the excavations done so far, over 700 wells are present at Mohenjo-Daro, alongside drainage and bathing systems. Because of the large number of wells, it is believed that the inhabitants relied solely on annual rainfall, as well as the Indus River’s course remaining close to the site, alongside the wells providing water for long periods of in the case of the city coming under siege.Sewage and wastewater for buildings at the site were disposed of via a centralized drainage system that ran alongside the site’s streets.These drains that ran alongside the road were effective at allowing most human waste and sewage to be disposed of as the drains most likely took the waste toward the Indus River.

The city also had large platforms perhaps intended as a defense against flooding.According to a theory first advanced by Wheeler, the city could have been flooded and silted over, perhaps six times, and later rebuilt in the same location.For some archaeologists, it was believed that a final flood that helped engulf the city in a sea of mud brought about the abandonment of the site.

The stupa of Priest-King

Numerous objects found in excavation include seated and standing figures, copper and stone tools, carved seals, balance scales and weights, gold and jasper jewelry, and children’s toys. Many bronze and copper pieces, such as figurines and bowls, have been recovered from the site, showing that the inhabitants of Mohenjo-Daro understood how to utilize the lost wax technique. The furnaces found at the site are believed to have been used for copper works and melting the metals as opposed to smelting. Some of the most prominent copper works recovered from the site are the copper tablets which have examples of the untranslated Indus script and iconography. While the script has not been deciphered yet, many of the images on the tablets match another tablet and both hold the same caption in the Indus language.

The finds from Mohenjo-Daro were initially deposited in the Lahore Museum but later moved to the ASI headquarters at New Delhi, where a new “Central Imperial Museum” was being planned for the new capital of the British Raj, in which at least a selection would be displayed. It became apparent that Indian independence was approaching, but the Partition of India was not anticipated until late in the process. The new Pakistani authorities requested the return of the Harappan pieces excavated on their territory, but the Indian authorities refused. Eventually, an agreement was reached, whereby the finds, totaling some 12,000 objects (most sherds of pottery), were split equally between the countries; in some cases, this was taken very literally, with some necklaces and girdles having their beads separated into two piles. In the case of the “two most celebrated sculpted figures”, Pakistan asked for and received the Priest-king, while India retained the much smaller Dancing Girl, and also the Pashupati seal.

So in these concluding lines, I would like to say there are a lot of mysteries buried there, there is a lot to be discovered there. We don’t even understand their language. Most importantly this place needs Worlds and the Governments attention. There are not many good facilities for tourists as well. I hope you learned something and enjoyed this article. See you in the next episode. Bye!!!!

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