NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 3 The Harappan Civilization

NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 3 The Harappan Civilization, Solutions to each chapter is provided in the list so that you can easily browse throughout different chapters NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 3 The Harappan Civilization and select need one. NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 3 The Harappan Civilization Question Answers Download PDF. NIOS Study Material of Class 12 History Notes Paper 315.

NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 3 The Harappan Civilization

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Also, you can read the NIOS book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Book guidelines. These solutions are part of NIOS All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NIOS Class 12 History Chapter 3 The Harappan Civilization, NIOS Senior Secondary Course History Solutions for All Chapter, You can practice these here.

The Harappan Civilization

Chapter: 3




Q.1. Why is the Indus valley civilization called the Harappan civilization?

Ans: The Indus valley civilization is called the Harappan civilization because Harappan was the first site where the traces of the civilization were discovered.

Q.2. What were the different phases of Harappan culture?

Ans: The different phases of Harappan culture include:

(i) Early Harappan phase (3500 BC–2600 BC).

(ii) Mature Harappan phase (2600 BC–1900 BC).

(iii) Late Harappan phase (1900 BC–1400 BC).

Q.3. Name any two important Harappan sites each in Harayana and Gujarat.

Ans: (i) Banawali and Rakhigarhi in Haryana.

(ii) Lothal and Dholavira in Gujarat.

Q.4. Who discovered Mohenjodaro?

Ans: Mohenjo daro was discovered by R.D. Bannerji.

Q.5. Harappan is located on the banks of which river?

Ans: The river Ravi.

Q.6. What are the important features of an urban culture?

Ans: The important features of an urban culture are the well-planned cities, specialized arts and crafts, trade, taxation, script, etc.


Q.1. The citadel in Harappan towns was normally located in which direction?

Ans: In western direction.

Q.2. What kind of bricks were used for building the houses?

Ans: Burnt bricks were used for building the houses.

Q.3. Where was the ‘Great Bath’ discovered?

Ans: The ‘Great Bath’ was discovered at Mohenjodaro.

Q.4. Name the major structure found at Lothal.

Ans: The dockyard.


Q.1. Besides agricultural which economic activity was practised by Harappan people?

Ans: Besides agriculture the other economic activity practised by the Harappan people was pastoralism (cattle-rearing).

Q.2. Name the chief food crops consumed by the Harappans.

Ans: The chief food crops consumed by the Harappans included – wheat, barley, sesamum, mustard, peas, jujube, etc.

Q.3. Which are the two places from where we get evidence of rice as a food during the Harappan period?

Ans: (i) Lothal.

 (ii) Ranpur.

Q.4. Where was the bronze dancing girl found?

Ans: At Mohenjodaro.

Q.5. Name any two important crafts practised in the Harappan period.

Ans: (i) Bead-making.

 (ii) Pottery – making.

Q.6. Which place was the chief source of copper for Harappan people?

Ans: The chief source of copper for the Harappan people was Khetri mines in Rajasthan.


Q.1. Harappan society is believed to be a _____ society.

Ans. matriarchal.

Q.2. Where were the workman’s quarters discovered?

Ans: The workmen’s quarters were discovered at Harappa.

Q.3. The Harappans used clothes made of which material?

Ans: Cotton and wool.


Q.1. From where has the famous ‘Pashupati’ seal been discovered?

Ans: The famous ‘Pashupati’ seal has been discovered from Mohenjodaro.

Q.2. Which tree is often represented on the Harappan seals?

Ans: Pipal.

Q.3. Is there any evidence of fire worship? If so where has it been found?

Ans: Yes. It has been found at Kalibangan and Lothal.

Q.4. At which place have joint burials been found?

Ans: At Lothal.


Q.1. What is the approximate number of signs found in the Harappan script?

Ans: The approximate number of signs found in the Harappan script is 400.

Q.2. Which natural calamities are held responsible for the decline of the Harappan civilization?

Ans: Floods and earthquakes are help responsible for the decline of the Harappan civilization.

Q.3. How was the Harappan script written ? (Right to left or left to right)

Ans: Right to left.


Q.1. Name one chalcolithic site each in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Ans: (i) Navdatoli in Madhya Pradesh.

(ii) Inamgaon in Maharashtra.

Q.2. What material was used in the chalcolithic period to manufacture tools?

Ans: Stone and copper were used in the chalcolithic period to manufacture tools.

Q.3. Houses of the chalcolithic people were made of which material?

Ans: Houses of the chalcolithic people were made of mud.

Q.4. The chalcolithic cultures were _____ in character. (rural/urban)

Ans: rural.

Q.5. Name any two non-Harappan chalcolithic cultures.

Ans: (i) Kayatha culture in Madhya Pradesh.

(ii) Jorwe culture in Maharashtra.


Q.1. Describe the important features of the Harappan town planning.

Ans: The important features of the Harappan town planning: 

(i) It is marked by considerable uniformity, though some regional variations have also been noticed.

(ii) The uniformity is the lay-out of the towns, streets, structures, brick size, drains etc.

(iii) Harappan, Mohenjodaro, Kalibangan and almost all other major sites are divided into two parts — a citadel on higher mound on the western side and a lower town on the eastern side of the settlement. The citadel on higher mound on the western side and a lower town on the eastern side of the settlement. The citadel contains large structures which might have functioned as administrative or ritual centres. The residential buildings are built in the lower town.

(iv) The streets intersect each other at right angles in a criss – cross pattern. It divides the city in many residential blocks. The main street is connected by narrow lanes. The doors of the houses opened in these lanes and not the main streets. 

(v) The houses were largely built of burnt bricks. The houses of common people differed in size. The bigger houses had many rooms surrounding a square courtyard. These houses were provided with private wells, kitchens and bathing platforms. There were also one – room buildings or barracks. Perhaps these houses were built for the poor section of the society.

(vi) The drainage system of the Harappans was well developed. Every house had drains, which opened into the street drains. These drains were covered with manholes bricks or stone slabs. These were constructed at regular intervals by the side of the streets for cleaning. This shows that the people of Harappan civilization were well acquainted with the science of sanitation.

Q.2. Give an account of industries and crafts in the Harappan period.

Ans: Industries and crafts in the Harappan period: 

(i) The Harappan people had the knowledge of almost all the metals except iron. They manufactured gold and silver objects. The gold objects include beads, armlets, needles and other ornaments. However, the use of silver was more common than gold. A number of copper tools and weapons have also been discovered. The common tools include axe, saws, chisels knives, spearheads and arrowheads. Stone tools were also commonly used.

(ii) Harappan people also used bronze, but in limited manner. The most famous specimen in this regard is the bronze ‘dancing girl’ figurine. It is a nude female figure, with right arm on the hip and left arm hanging in a dancing pose . She is wearing a large number of bangles.

(iii) Bead – making was also an important craft. Beads were made of precious and semi precious stones such as agate and carnelian Steatite was used for making beads. Silver beads have also been found.

(iv) Ivory carving and inlaying used in beads bracelets and other decorations were also in practice.

(v) A well – known piece of art of the Harappan period is a stone sculpture of a bearded man discovered at Mohenjodaro. His eyes are half closed indicating a posture of meditation. Across the left shoulder is an embroidered cloak. In the opinion of some scholars it could be a bust of a priest.

(vi) A large number of terracotta figurines of males and females have been discovered from various Harappan sites. The female figurines outnumber those of males and are believed represent the worship of mother goddess. Besides these, a variety of models of birds, monkeys dogs, sheep, cattle, humped and humpless bulls are found. However, the noteworthy specimen in this regard are various models of terracotta carts.

(vii) Pottery – making was also an important industry in the Harappan period. These pottery were chiefly made with the help of wheel. These were treated with a red coating and had decoration in black. These are found in various sizes and shapes. The painted designs consisted of horizontal lines of varied thickness, leaf patterns, palm and pipal trees. Birds, fishes and animals were also depicted on potteries.

(viii) Seals of various kinds were also manufactured by the Harappan people. These were generally square in shape and were made of steatite. The seals depicted a number of animals except horse. These seals also contained some signs in the Harappan script which however has not been deciphered so far. The most famous of the seals is the one with a horned male deity represented on it. He has three heads and is sitting in a yogic posture surrounded by four animals viz elephant, tiger, rhinoceros and a buffalo. He has been identified by many scholars with the ancient from of the god Pashupati (Lord of beasts) though there are others who dispute this identification.

Q.3. Give a brief account of the Harappan trade with Mesopotamia.

Ans: The Harappan trade with Mesopotamia:

(i) The Harappan people were engaged in external trade with Mesopotamia. It was largely through Oman and Behrain in the Persian Gulf. The presence of Harappan artefacts such as beads, seals, dice etc., in these regions confirmed this.

(ii) Though the artefacts from those regions are rarely found in the Harappan sites, a seal of West Asian or Persian origin has been discovered at Lothal.

(iii) Susa, Ur and other sites of Mesopotamia have yielded about two dozen of Harappan seals. Besides seals, potteries, etched carnelian beads and dice with Harappan features have also been discovered from these sites.

(iv) The inscriptional evidence from Mesopotamia also confirms trade relations between it and the Harappans. These inscriptions refer to trade with Dilmun, Magan and and Meluhha. Meluhha was a Harappan region.

(v) It is believed that Mesopotamia imported copper, carnelian, ivory, shell, lapis – lazuli, pearls and ebony from Meluhha.

(vi) The export from Mesopotamia to Harappa people included items such as garments, wool, perfumes, leather products and silver.

Q.4. Describe some important features of the Harappan religious life.

Ans: Some important features of the Harappan religious life:

(i) The Harappan people worshipped trees, stones etc. A large number of terracotta figurines discovered at the Harappan sites have been associated with the worship of mother goddess.

(ii) Some scholars believe that the Harappans also worshipped linga and yoni, but other scholars are doubtful about it.

(iii) Harappans also believed in male deity. It is evident by the seal depicting a deity with a buffalo – horned head – dress, sitting in a yogic posture and surrounded by animals. It is believed that the deity is of god Pashupati.

(iv) In another instance, a deity is shown with horns and blowing hair standing nude between the branches of a Pipal tree and a worshipper is kneeling in front. It may represent tree worship. 

(v) Animals were also worshipped by the Harappans.

(vi) The Harappan also believed in fire worship. It is evident from the evidence found at Kalibangan and Lothal. At Kalibangan, a series of raised brick platforms with pits containing ash and animal bones have been discovered. These are identified as five altars. This also explains that the Harappans living in different areas followed religious practices as there is no evidence of fire – pits at Harappan or Mohenjodaro.

(vii) The Harappans followed some burial practices and the rituals. Dead bodies were generally rested in north – south direction with their head towards north and the feet towards south. The dead were buried with a varying number of earthen pots. In some graves the dead were buried along with goods such as bangles, beads, copper mirrors. This may indicate that the Harappans believed in life after death.

(viii) At Lothal three joint or double burials with male and female bodies together were discovered. A symbolic burial i.e., a burial which contains pots but no bones or skeleton, has been discovered from Kalibangan.

(ix) Thus, these different practices in different regions of Harappan civilization may reflect diversity in religious beliefs.

Q.5. Give an account for the decline of the Harappan civilization.

Ans: The decline of the Harappan civilization:

(i) Some scholars have suggested that natural calamities such as floods and earthquakes might have caused the decline of the civilization. It is believed that earthquakes might have raised the level of the flood plains of the lower course of Indus river. It blocked the passage of the river water to the sea and resulted in the floods which might have swallowed the city of Mohenjodaro. However, this only explains the decline of Mohenjodaro and not the Harappan civilization.

(ii) Some scholars believe that increased aridity and drying up of the river Ghaggar – Harka on account of the changes in river courses might have contacted to the decline. According to this theory, there was an increase in arid conditions by around 2000 BC. This might have affected agricultural production, and led to the decline.

(iii) Some other scholars believe that Harappan civilization declined due to Aryan invasion. According to this theory, the Harappan civilization was destroyed the Aryans who came to India from the north – west around 1500 BC. However, on the basis of closer and critical analysis of data, this view is completely negated today.

Thus, there is no single factor that can explain the decline of the Harappan civilization in totality. At the maximum these can explain the decay of certain sites or areas only. Hence each theory has been criticised. Nevertheless, the archaeological evidence indicates that the Harappan civilization did not collapse all of a sudden but declined gradually and ultimately merged with other local culture.

Q.6. Give an account of the life of the ono-Harappan Chalcolithic people.

Ans: The life of the non – Harappan Chalcolithic people:

(i) The people of these settlements subsisted on agriculture and cattle rearing. However, they also practised hunting and fishing.

(ii) Rice, barley, lentils, wheat, jowar, coarse grain, pea, green gram, etc., were the main crops grown by these people.

(iii) The major parts of this culture flourished in the zone of black soil, useful mainly for growing cotton.

(iv) Cattle, sheep, goat, dog, pig, horse, etc., were some domesticated animals. The wild animals including black buck, antelope, nilgai, barasinga, sambar, cheetah, wild buffalo and one – horned rhino. People of these cultures also used fish, water fowl, turtles and rodents.

(v) The Chalcolithic cultures were characterised by rural settlements. The people lived in rectangular and circular houses with mud walls and thatched roofs.

(vi) Most of the houses were single roomes but some had two or three rooms. The floors were made of burnt clay or clay mixed with river gravel.

(vii) More than 200 sites of Jorwe culture (Maharashtra) have been found.

(viii) The evidence from the settlements at Inamgaon (Jorwe culture) shows that there were some kind of planning in laying of the settlement.

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