Town Planning and Architecture Notes | EduRev

History for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims

UPSC : Town Planning and Architecture Notes | EduRev

The document Town Planning and Architecture Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims.
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Town Planning
Town planning is the most striking feature of Indus valley civilization. Their town planning proves that they lived a highly civilized and developed life. Indus people were among the first to build planned cities with scientific drainage system. The Indus cities were built on a uniform plan.

Town Planning and Architecture Notes | EduRev

Aerial View of Mohenjo daro

  • The town planning is based on the division of the towns into 2 main parts -citadel/acropolis and lower town.
  • Citadel is a smaller but higher portion built on an upraised platform with walls fortifying it from all sides. This was used for buildings of large dimensions such as granaries, administrative buildings, pillared halls and courtyard. Some of the buildings in citadels might have been the residence of the rulers and aristocrats. Chanduhara is the only city which doesn’t have citadel.

Town Planning and Architecture Notes | EduRev

Citadel in Mohenjo Daro

  • The lower town was of much larger area than the citadel. Like the citadel it was walled to a certain extent perhaps to keep the floods away. The lower part of the city might have been used as quarters by working class people.
  • The main streets of the cities at both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were generally oriented from north to south, with connecting streets running east to west.
  • The streets appear to have never been encroached upon by the adjoining houses.
  • Some of the stairs present in the building indicate that they might have been double storey.
  • The use of burnt bricks in the Harappan cities is remarkable, because in the contemporary buildings of Egypt mainly dried bricks were used.

Town Planning and Architecture Notes | EduRev

Artist’s rendition of Harappa

  • In almost all cities every big or small house had its own courtyard and bathroom.
  • In Kalibangan many houses had their wells. At sites such as Dholavira and Lothal (Gujarat), the entire settlement was fortified, and sections within the town were also separated by walls.

Question 1:Consider the following statements regarding the planning of streets of Harappan towns:
I. The towns were well planned and the streets cut each other on the sixty degree angles.
II. The connecting streets were oriented in the east-west direction.
III. The civic sense of people in this civilization was such that during the height of the civilization, no encroachment on the streets was to be seen.
Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

Question 2:Which of the following is the most striking Character of the Indus Valley Civilization?

Drainage Systems

  • Each house had its own private drinking well and bathroom which was well connected with drains. The water from these bathrooms ran through clay pipes into underground drains which ran into the main drain. 

Town Planning and Architecture Notes | EduRev

Drainage system in Harappa

  • These main drains were made up of bricks set in mortar and had large cross-section to accommodate even a large water flow. The drains were mostly covered and hidden underground. They were covered by a layer of baked bricks which was laid flat across the side walls of the drain.
  • Wider drains were covered with limestone blocks. These were then covered with a layer of mud.
  • Small settling pools and traps were built into the system of drainage to allow sediment and other material to collect while the water and smaller particles flowed away. These would be cleaned out periodically.
  • Wider drains were covered with extra-long bricks, and for culverts, such as that at the Great Bath, a corbelled arch was used.

The above features is indicative of the following: 

(i) Advancement in Municipal system

(ii) Importance attached to social and personal hygiene

(iii) Proper town planning and

(iv) Good knowledge of brick mortar construction.


The Great Bath

The Great Bath is one of the well-known structures among the ruins of Mohenjo-daro in Sindh, Pakistan. It was built in the 3rd millennium BCE soon after the building of the Citadel.

Town Planning and Architecture Notes | EduRev

Great Bath, Mohenjo-daro

  • It is widely regarded as the "earliest public water tank of the ancient world".
  • It measures 11.88 × 7.01 metres, and has a maximum depth of 2.43 metres.
  • Two wide staircases, one from the north and one from the south, served as the entry to the structure. A one metre wide and 40 centimetres high mound is present at the ends of these stairs. A hole was also found at one end of the Bath which might have been used to drain the water into it. The bath also had an array of galleries and rooms surrounding it.

  • Such public baths were found in almost every large IVC settlement.

  • It indicates the importance of ritualistic cleaning in their culture.

Question 3:Which of the following is used in the floor of the Great Bath, besides burnt bricks and mortar?

Question 4:Consider the following statements regarding the drainage system of Indus Valley towns:

I. The drainage system of the Indus Valley Civilization indicates that people had NO civic sense of sanitation and care for health and hygiene.
II. Small drains were connected to bathrooms of private houses which then joined the main drains in the side streets.
III. The larger sewers in the main streets were covered drains were covered by stone slabs.


The Granary

The Great Granary is found in Harappa. It is a brick structure that was built on a massive brick foundation over 45 meters north south and 45 meters east-west.

Town Planning and Architecture Notes | EduRev

Great Granary, Harappa

  • Two rows of six rooms that appear to be foundations are arranged along a central passageway that is about 7 meters wide and partly paved with baked bricks. 
  • Each room measures 15.2 by 6.1 meters and has three sleeper walls with air space between them.
  • A wooden superstructure supported in some places by large columns would have been built on top of the brick foundation, with stairs leading up from the central passage area.
  • Small triangular opening may have served as air ducts to allow the flow of fresh air beneath the hollow floors.

House Planning

The domestic house planning and architecture is well evident from the lower town of the Mohenjo-Daro. The streets along with an efficient drainage system seems to have been constructed first and the houses built around them were constructed later indicating the existence of advanced town-planning

  • The Harappans used burnt mud bricks of standardized dimension for the purpose of construction. Many layers of well-baked bricks were laid out and then joined together using gypsum mortar. The bricks were of standard size and ratio (4:2:1) and similar standardized bricks were employed in all settlements in this culture. 
  • Each of the houses is built around a courtyard with rooms built around it. The courtyard could be the centre of household activities. Each house had a separate bathroom with a well the discharge of which would run in the system of drains.

Question 5:The remarkable thing about the arrangement of the houses in the cities is that they followed the following system:

Question 6:Consider the following statements regarding IVC;
I. All houses in IVC cities had 2 rooms only.
II. Lime and Jaggery was used to join bricks for the construction of IVC houses.
III. There was no uniform standard for the bricks used.
Choose the correct answer:

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