Banawali: Time to an Ancient Indian

Banawali is a significant archaeological site from the Indus Valley Civilization, located in Haryana, India.


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Overview of Banawali:

  • Banawali is a significant archaeological site from the Indus Valley Civilization, located in Haryana, India.


  • Banawali is crucial for understanding the cultural and historical aspects of the Indus Valley Civilization.

Discovery and Excavation:

  • Banawali was discovered and excavated, shedding light on the civilization’s development and lifestyle.
  • Brief mention of the time and person responsible for its discovery.

Historical Context and Significance

Geographical Location:

  • Situated on the left bank of the now-dried Sarasvati River, near Fatehabad.



  • Existed between 2600-1700 BCE.
  • Encompassed Pre-Harappan, Harappan, and Bara cultures.

Archaeological Discoveries:

  • Major finds include terracotta models, fortified structures, and pottery.

Excavation Details and Findings

Excavation History:
  • Conducted by: Dr. R.S. Bisht
  • Organization: Archaeological Survey of India

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Stratigraphy and Layers:
  1. Pre-Harappan Phase:

    • Urban Planning: Well-planned townships
    • Building Materials: Molded bricks
    • Pottery: Characterized by simplistic motifs
  2. Harappan Phase:

    • Town Planning: Radial-patterned town layout
    • Pottery: Sophisticated red ware pottery
    • Artifacts: Terracotta plough models
  3. Bara Culture:

    • Pottery: Heavy, sturdy pottery with deep-toned glossy finishes
    • Artifacts: Fewer classic Harappan items

Cultural Artifacts and Their Significance

Pottery and Ceramics:
  • Comparisons with other Indus Valley sites like Kalibangan.
  • Pottery styles and techniques showcase the similarities and differences in craftsmanship.

National Museum, New Delhi – Harappan Gallery – Kevin Standage

Jewelry and Tools:
  • Beads made of semi-precious stones.
  • Terracotta bangles indicating fashion and status.
  • Copper fish-hooks demonstrating fishing practices.
  • Ivory combs reflecting personal grooming and artistry.
Seals and Inscriptions:

Indus Valley Civilization Notes For UPSC

  • Steatite seals with inscriptions used for identification and trade.
  • Terracotta seals reflecting administrative and possibly religious aspects.
Agricultural Implements:
  • Discovery of terracotta plough models.
  • Indicates advanced agricultural practices and techniques.

Urban Planning and Architecture

Town Layout:
  • Detailed Examination: In-depth analysis.
  • Fortified Township: A town surrounded by defensive walls.
  • Radial Pattern: Streets and structures arranged in circular or radiating lines from a central point.

The History of Indus Valley Civilization - archEstudy

Construction Techniques:
  • Molded Bricks: Bricks formed into specific shapes for uniformity and strength.
  • Sophisticated Building Techniques: Advanced methods and materials used for constructing buildings.
Public and Private Spaces:
  • Residential Areas: Zones designated for housing.
  • Public Spaces: Areas accessible to the community, such as parks or squares.
  • Administrative Buildings: Structures used for governance and official functions.

Interpretation and Legacy

Cultural Continuity and Change

Transition from Pre-Harappan to Harappan to Bara Culture:

  • Pre-Harappan Period: Early settlement phases with rudimentary tools and pottery.
  • Harappan Period: Advanced urban planning, standardized weights and measures, intricate jewelry, and significant trade.
  • Bara Culture: A phase following the decline of Harappan civilization, characterized by simpler pottery and tools, indicating a shift in societal complexity.
Influence on Subsequent Cultures

Findings at Banawali:

  • Agricultural Techniques: Advanced farming practices that influenced later agrarian societies.
  • Urban Planning: Concepts of city layout and drainage systems that were adopted by subsequent cultures.
  • Trade and Craftsmanship: Innovations in trade networks and craft techniques that were passed down to later civilizations.
Modern-Day Relevance

Preservation Efforts:

  • Conservation: Ongoing archaeological efforts to preserve and protect the site from environmental and human damage.
  • Restoration: Projects aimed at restoring damaged structures and artifacts to their former state.

Educational Role:

  • Public Awareness: Initiatives to educate the public about ancient Indian history through museum exhibits, educational programs, and guided tours.
  • Cultural Heritage: Emphasizing the importance of Banawali in understanding the continuity and evolution of ancient Indian civilizations.

Conclusion: Banawali

  • Historical SignificanceBanawal is an important archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), reflecting the advanced urban planning and architecture of the period.
  • Location: Situated in the Hisar district of Haryana, India, Banawali provides critical insights into the geographical extent of the IVC.
  • Urban Planning: The site showcases well-planned streets and residential areas, indicative of sophisticated town planning and civil engineering.
  • Artifacts: Numerous artifacts, including pottery, seals, tools, and ornaments, have been excavated, offering a glimpse into the daily life, trade, and cultural practices of the inhabitants.
  • Agricultural Evidence: Findings suggest a thriving agrarian society with evidence of crop cultivation and irrigation systems.
  • Significance for Research: Banawali’s excavation has contributed significantly to the understanding of the socio-economic structure, technology, and trade networks of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Preservation: Efforts to preserve and study the site continue, emphasizing its importance in the broader context of ancient Indian history and heritage.


Banawali is renowned for several reasons:

  • Fortified Settlement: The well-preserved remains of a defense wall suggest a planned and potentially strategic settlement.
  • Terracotta Legacy: The site has yielded a rich collection of terracotta figurines and other artifacts, offering insights into the artistic expressions of the Indus Valley people.
  • Harappan and Post-Harappan Culture: Excavations reveal evidence of both Harappan (Indus Valley Civilization) and Bara (post-Harappan) cultural periods, providing a glimpse into the transitions that occurred in this region.
  • Unique Water Management System: The discovery of a well-designed drainage system highlights the advanced urban planning skills of the Banawali inhabitants

Banawali is not located directly on a major river today. However, it is believed to have been situated on the banks of the now-seasonal Saraswati River, which was part of the ancient Ghaggar-Hakra River system.

Banawali is located in the Fatehabad district of Haryana, India.

Determining the absolute “largest” Harappan site can be debatable depending on how we define size. However, some of the largest Harappan sites in terms of area explored include:

  • Mohenjo-daro (Pakistan)
  • Harappa (Pakistan)
  • Dholavira (India)
  • Rakhigarhi (India)

Similar to the concept of “largest,” defining the “smallest” Harappan site can be subjective. However, some smaller Harappan settlements might include:

  • Maa-da-Madh (India)
  • Mehragarh (considered pre-Harappan, but with Harappan influences) (India)


1. What is Banawali?
a) A type of fruit
b) An ancient archaeological site
c) A popular Indian dish
d) A famous mountain range

Solution: b) An ancient archaeological site

2. In which present-day country is Banawali located?
a) India
b) China
c) Pakistan
d) Bangladesh

Solution: c) Pakistan

3. Banawali is associated with which ancient civilization?
a) Mesopotamian civilization
b) Harappan civilization
c) Egyptian civilization
d) Mayan civilization

Solution: b) Harappan civilization

4. What is the approximate age of the Banawali site?
a) 100 years
b) 500 years
c) 2000 years
d) 4500 years

Solution: d) 4500 years

5. Which river is near the Banawali site?
a) Ganges
b) Nile
c) Indus
d) Yellow River

Solution: c) Indus

6. Banawali is located in which Indian state?
a) Rajasthan
b) Maharashtra
c) Punjab
d) Gujarat

Solution: c) Punjab

7. What type of evidence has been found at Banawali?
a) Pottery
b) Fossils
c) Meteorites
d) Manuscripts

Solution: a) Pottery

8. What does the discovery of a large number of artifacts at Banawali suggest?
a) It was a nomadic settlement
b) It was a religious site
c) It was a bustling urban center
d) It was a military outpost

Solution: c) It was a bustling urban center

9. What is the significance of Banawali in understanding ancient civilizations?
a) It provides insights into trade networks
b) It reveals agricultural techniques
c) It showcases architectural marvels
d) All of the above

Solution: d) All of the above

10. Which famous civilization does Banawali belong to?
a) Roman
b) Greek
c) Harappan
d) Aztec

Solution: c) Harappan

11. How was Banawali discovered?
a) Through aerial photography
b) By accident during road construction
c) By treasure hunters
d) By local farmers

Solution: a) Through aerial photography

12. What type of layout does Banawali exhibit?
a) Grid-like
b) Circular
c) Random
d) Linear

Solution: a) Grid-like

13. What were the main materials used in construction at Banawali?
a) Wood and mud
b) Stone and brick
c) Steel and glass
d) Bamboo and thatch

Solution: b) Stone and brick

14. What is the approximate population estimate of Banawali during its heyday?
a) A few hundred
b) Thousands
c) Tens of thousands
d) Millions

Solution: c) Tens of thousands

15. What type of artifacts were found at Banawali?
a) Weapons
b) Jewelry
c) Tools
d) All of the above

Solution: d) All of the above

16. What is the significance of Banawali in terms of urban planning?
a) It had the first sewage system
b) It had advanced road networks
c) It had organized residential and commercial areas
d) It had the first skyscrapers

Solution: c) It had organized residential and commercial areas

17. What is the primary source of water for Banawali?
a) Underground wells
b) Rainwater harvesting
c) River Indus
d) Nearby lake

Solution: c) River Indus

18. Which Harappan site is Banawali often compared to?
a) Mohenjo-Daro
b) Harappa
c) Lothal
d) Dholavira

Solution: b) Harappa

19. What is the current condition of Banawali?
a) Well-preserved
b) Completely destroyed
c) Partially excavated
d) Underwater

Solution: c) Partially excavated

20. What role did Banawali likely play in the Harappan civilization?
a) Religious center
b) Administrative center
c) Trading hub
d) All of the above

Solution: d) All of the above

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