Chanhudaro, meaning “Fort of Dates” in Sindhi, is an archaeological site located in Sindh, Pakistan, approximately 130 kilometers south of the famed Indus Valley Civilization city of Mohenjo-daro.


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Introduction to Chanhudaro

Location and Discovery

Chanhudaro, meaning “Fort of Dates” in Sindhi, is an archaeological site located in Sindh, Pakistan, approximately 130 kilometers south of the famed Indus Valley Civilization city of Mohenjo-daro.

Image of Location map of Chanhudaro

It was discovered in 1931 by N. G. Majumdar, an Indian archaeologist, and later extensively excavated in the mid-1930s by a team from the American School of Indic and Iranian Studies and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Historical Context

Chanhudaro flourished during the Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BCE – 1300 BCE), a period marked by significant advancements in urban planning, agriculture, crafts, and trade. This civilization stretched across a vast area encompassing parts of present-day Pakistan, northwest India, and Afghanistan.

Significance in Indus Valley Civilization

  • Carnelian Bead Production Center: Chanhudaro is particularly renowned for being a major center for carnelian bead production. Carnelian, a reddish-orange gemstone, was highly valued in the ancient world, and evidence suggests sophisticated workshops where carnelian was heated, shaped, and polished into beads for use in jewelry and ornamentation.
Image of Carnelian bead Indus Valley Civilization
  • Unique Features: Unlike other Indus Valley Civilization cities, Chanhudaro lacks a walled citadel. This has led archaeologists to propose variations in social structures and urban planning across different Harappan settlements.
  • Evidence of Daily Life: Excavations at Chanhudaro have unearthed houses, warehouses, drainage systems, and a variety of artifacts providing insights into the daily life of the people who lived there.
  • Trade and Crafts: Findings like harappan pottery, seals, and evidence of metalworking suggest a thriving trade network and skilled craftsmanship.

Archaeological Excavations

Mohenjo-daro, the “Mound of the Dead,” has captivated archaeologists for over a century. Extensive excavations have shed light on this remarkable Harappan city, offering glimpses into its urban planning, daily life, and cultural achievements. Let’s delve into the history of these excavations and the major findings that continue to rewrite our understanding of the ancient world.

Early Discoveries (1920s)
  • Accidental Find:Mohenjo-daro’s rediscovery was almost accidental. In the 1920s, during excavations at another Harappan site, Harappa, archaeologist R. D. Banerji noticed pottery sherds similar to those found by explorers near Mohenjo-daro. This sparked further investigation.
Image of Indus Valley Civilization pottery sherd
  • Early Excavations: Large-scale excavations began at Mohenjo-daro in the 1920s under directors like K. N. Dikshit and John Marshall. These early efforts uncovered impressive structures and artifacts, providing the first glimpse into the grandeur of this ancient city.
Excavation History (1930s – Onwards)
  • Extensive Work: Throughout the 1930s, major excavations continued under Marshall, D. K. Dikshitar, and Ernest Mackay. These efforts mapped a significant portion of the city and unearthed a wealth of information about urban planning, housing, and drainage systems.
  • Focus on Specific Areas: Later excavations shifted focus to specific areas within the city, like the Great Bath and the citadel area. This provided deeper insights into religious practices and administrative structures.
  • Preservation Challenges: Since the 1960s, concerns about exposing structures to the elements led to a shift towards conservation efforts and more limited excavations. However, research continues through analysis of existing artifacts and new technologies like remote sensing.
Major Findings
  • Planned City:Excavations revealed a well-planned city with a grid layout, broad streets, and a sophisticated drainage system.
Image of Mohenjodaro city plan
  • Great Bath:This large public bath complex with a central pool and changing rooms stands as a testament to their engineering skills and possible ritualistic practices.
Image of Mohenjodaro Great Bath
  • Granary: The discovery of a massive granary suggests efficient agricultural practices and storage of surplus grain.
  • Houses: Multi-storied houses with courtyards, drainage systems, and even toilets indicate a surprisingly advanced urban lifestyle.
  • Seals:Hundreds of steatite (soapstone) seals depicting animals, geometric patterns, and the undeciphered Indus Script have been found. These offer insights into communication, administration, and artistic expressions.
  • Artifacts: A variety of artifacts including pottery, ornaments, tools, and toys provide a window into the daily lives and occupations of the people of Mohenjo-daro.

Layout and Urban Planning

City Organization

  • Citadel and Lower City: Mohenjo-daro appears to be divided into two main sectors:
  • Citadel:A higher western area, possibly used for administrative or religious purposes. Here, archaeologists have found monumental structures like the Great Bath.
Image of Mohenjodaro citadel
  • Lower City: The eastern sector, spanning a larger area, likely housed the majority of the population with residential areas, workshops, and granaries.

Street System

  • Grid Pattern: The most striking feature of Mohenjo-daro’s layout is its grid-based street system. Wide north-south avenues intersected by narrower east-west streets, dividing the city into rectangular blocks.
Image of Mohenjodaro city plan
  • Drainage System: An impressive drainage system ran alongside many streets, channeling wastewater away from houses. This advanced system shows careful planning for sanitation and public health.

Residential and Public Areas

  • Houses: Excavations have revealed multi-storied houses with features like:
    • Courtyards: Providing light and ventilation.
    • Drainage: Connected to the city’s main drainage system.
    • Even toilets: Indicating a well-developed urban lifestyle for sanitation.
  • Public Buildings: Mohenjo-daro boasted impressive public structures like:
    • Great Bath:A large public bath complex with a central pool and changing rooms, suggesting a focus on hygiene.
Image of Mohenjodaro Great Bath
    • Granary: A massive building believed to have been used for storing surplus grain, highlighting their agricultural practices.

Architecture and Structures

Harappan Architecture

  • Urban Planning: Mohenjo-daro showcased a sophisticated urban plan with a grid-like layout. Streets intersected at right angles, dividing the city into blocks.
Image of Mohenjodaro city plan
  • Materials: Baked bricks were the primary building material, offering durability and resistance to the elements. Sun-dried bricks were also used.
  • Drainage System: A sophisticated drainage system ensured proper sanitation and hygiene within the city. Wastewater was channeled through covered drains built beneath the streets.
  • Multi-Storied Buildings: Evidence suggests multi-storied buildings**, possibly accommodating residential units on upper floors.

Building Materials

  • Baked Bricks: The standardized use of baked bricks is a hallmark of Harappan architecture. These bricks were mass-produced in specific sizes, ensuring uniformity in construction.
  • Sun-Dried Bricks: Sun-dried bricks were also used, especially for interior walls and less load-bearing structures.
  • Wood: Wood was likely used for door frames, windows, and beams within the structures, although wooden remains are scarce due to decomposition.

Notable Structures

  • Citadel: Mohenjo-daro may have had a citadel area**, an elevated part of the city possibly reserved for administrative or religious purposes.
  • Great Bath: One of the most remarkable structures is the Great Bath, a large public bath complex with a central pool, changing rooms, and a sophisticated drainage system.
Image of Mohenjodaro Great Bath
  • Granary: A massive building believed to have been a granary was used for storing surplus grain.
  • Houses: Excavations have revealed houses, often multi-storied, with features like courtyards, drainage systems, and even toilets, indicating a well-developed urban lifestyle.

Artifacts and Material Culture

The Harappan Civilization, flourishing from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, left behind a treasure trove of artifacts that provide invaluable insights into their daily lives, technological advancements, and artistic expressions. Let’s delve into some of the key categories of material culture:

  • Wide Variety: Harappan pottery is remarkable for its variety. They produced utilitarian vessels for everyday use like storing grains and cooking, as well as finely decorated pieces** with geometric patterns, animal motifs, and even human figures.
    Image of Indus Valley Civilization pottery 
  • Manufacturing Techniques: The use of potter’s wheels and firing techniques suggests skilled craftspeople and standardized production methods.
  • Decoration Techniques: Decoration included painting, incising (scratching designs), and appliqué (adding raised designs).
  • Significance: The designs and types of pottery tell us about their dietary habits, trade practices, and artistic sensibilities.
Seals and Inscriptions
  • Indus Script:One of the most intriguing artifacts is the presence of seals**, often made of steatite (soapstone). These seals bear inscriptions in the undeciphered Indus Script**.
Image of Indus Valley Civilization soapstone seal
  • Possible Uses: The exact function of these seals remains a mystery. They might have been used for:
    • Adminstrative purposes like stamping ownership markings on goods or documents.
    • Religious purposes as amulets or charms.
  • Depictions: The seals also depict animals (humped bulls, unicorns), geometric patterns, and inscriptions in the Indus Script. These depictions offer clues about their belief systems and artistic styles.
Tools and Crafts

8. What crafts did Chanhu-daro produce? - Deepstash

  • Skilled Craftsmanship: Harappans were skilled craftspeople**, working with a variety of materials like metals, stones, shells, and faience (a glazed ceramic).
  • Metal Tools: Evidence of bronze and copper tools** like axes, chisels, and knives indicates metalworking skills.
  • Beads and Ornaments: They produced a variety of beads and ornaments from faience, terracotta, and semi-precious stones, showcasing their love for adornment.
  • Spindle Whorls: The presence of spindle whorls** suggests a well-developed textile industry**, likely using cotton grown locally.

National Museum, New Delhi – Harappan Gallery – Kevin Standage


Chanhudaro complements our understanding of the Harappan Civilization by showcasing:

  • Craft Specialization: It highlights the presence of specialized crafts centers within the larger Harappan network.
  • Importance of Trade: The focus on bead making reinforces the significance of trade and exchange in the Harappan economy.
  • Diversity of Harappan Settlements: While Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were major urban centers, Chanhudaro demonstrates the diversity of Harappan settlements, each with unique contributions.


Chanhudaro is located in the Sindh province of present-day Pakistan, around 130 kilometers south of Mohenjo-daro.

Chanhudaro is famous for being a major center for carnelian bead making during the Harappan Civilization (3300 BCE – 1300 BCE). Evidence from excavations unearthed workshops filled with carnelian beads in various stages of production. The variety and quality of these beads showcase the skilled craftspeople of Chanhudaro.

  • Center for Bead Making: Chanhudaro’s unique feature is its specialization in bead production. The workshops and high-quality carnelian beads distinguish it from other Harappan settlements.
  • Strategic Location: Its location near the Indus River and possibly an ancient Saraswati River connection facilitated trade with other Harappan centers and regions beyond the Indus Valley.

Actually, Lancashire of India is not a common nickname for Chanhudaro. Lancashire is a region in England historically known for textile production**. Since there’s no evidence of such large-scale textile production at Chanhudaro, this nickname wouldn’t be appropriate.

There’s no single city officially recognized as the “Lancashire of India.” However, some cities in India have historically had a thriving textile industry**, like:

  • Ahmedabad (Gujarat): Known for its cotton textile production.
  • Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu): Famous for its silk sarees.
  • Ludhiana (Punjab): A major center for woolen textiles.


1. Chanhudaro was an ancient archaeological site located in which modern-day country?

a) India
b) Pakistan
c) Afghanistan
d) Bangladesh
Solution: b) Pakistan

2. Chanhudaro was part of which ancient civilization?

a) Sumerians
b) Egyptians
c) Harappan
d) Mesopotamians
Solution: c) Harappan

3. Chanhudaro was discovered in which century?

a) 18th century
b) 19th century
c) 20th century
d) 21st century
Solution: c) 20th century

4. What was the primary material used for construction in Chanhudaro?

a) Wood
b) Mud bricks
c) Stone
d) Bronze
Solution: b) Mud bricks

5. Which river was Chanhudaro situated beside?

a) Nile River
b) Tigris River
c) Indus River
d) Ganges River
Solution: c) Indus River

6. Chanhudaro is located in which modern-day province of Pakistan?

a) Punjab
b) Sindh
c) Balochistan
d) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Solution: b) Sindh

7. What was the estimated population of Chanhudaro at its peak?

a) Few hundred
b) Few thousand
c) Few tens of thousands
d) Few hundred thousand
Solution: b) Few thousand

8. What evidence suggests that Chanhudaro was a well-planned urban center?

a) Presence of grid-like streets
b) Circular city walls
c) Lack of drainage system
d) Randomly arranged buildings
Solution: a) Presence of grid-like streets

9. Chanhudaro’s layout suggests a well-organized system of ___________.

a) Irrigation
b) Sanitation
c) Transportation
d) Communication
Solution: c) Transportation

10. Chanhudaro’s citizens likely engaged in trade with other civilizations, evidenced by the discovery of ____________.

a) Artifacts made of jade
b) Coins made of gold
c) Seals made of steatite
d) Pottery made of clay
Solution: c) Seals made of steatite

11. What type of writing system was used in Chanhudaro?

a) Cuneiform
b) Hieroglyphics
c) Pictographs
d) Alphabetical
Solution: c) Pictographs

12. What was the likely purpose of the large buildings found in Chanhudaro?

a) Temples
b) Marketplaces
c) Assembly halls
d) Residential complexes
Solution: a) Temples

13. Chanhudaro’s citizens likely had access to clean water through ____________.

a) Public wells
b) Irrigation canals
c) Underground reservoirs
d) Rainwater harvesting
Solution: a) Public wells

14. The ruins of Chanhudaro were rediscovered in the 20th century by ____________.

a) British archaeologists
b) French explorers
c) Indian historians
d) Pakistani archaeologists
Solution: d) Pakistani archaeologists

15. Chanhudaro was an important center for the production of ____________ artifacts.

a) Metal
b) Ceramic
c) Stone
d) Textile
Solution: b) Ceramic

16. Chanhudaro’s artifacts indicate that the city had a thriving ____________.

a) Textile industry
b) Metalworking industry
c) Agricultural industry
d) Maritime industry
Solution: a) Textile industry

17. The layout of Chanhudaro suggests a degree of ____________ in urban planning.

a) Centralization
b) Decentralization
c) Industrialization
d) Democratization
Solution: a) Centralization

18. Chanhudaro is believed to have been inhabited during which period?

a) Paleolithic
b) Neolithic
c) Bronze Age
d) Harappan
Solution: d) Harappan

19. Chanhudaro’s artifacts suggest cultural connections with which ancient civilization?

a) Mesopotamia
b) Ancient Greece
c) Ancient Egypt
d) China
Solution: a) Mesopotamia

20. The civilization of Chanhudaro is often associated with which river valley?

a) Nile River Valley
b) Tigris River Valley
c) Euphrates River Valley
d) Indus River Valley
Solution: d) Indus River Valley

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