harappan-site-of-rakhigarhi

In News: The Centre is moving ahead with its plan to develop Rakhigarhi as a tourist hub and set up a museum.

Background:

  • As per the Union Budget 2020-21 all five archaeological sites: Rakhigarhi, Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh, Shivsagar in Assam, Dholavira in Gujarat and Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu – would be developed into iconic sites.
  • The move would help in better preservation of sites, unravel new historical findings and generate employment for the local youth.
  • However, the villagers would lose their land owing to which adequate and timely compensation is desired by them.
  • The ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) has been able to get under its control just 83.5 acres of the 350-hectare site that spans across 11 mounds.

Indus Valley Civilisation

  • The History of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization, more precisely known as Harappan Civilization
  • It flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia, what today is Pakistan and Western India. 
  • The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. 
  • The ruins of buildings and other things like household articles, weapons of war, gold and silver ornaments, seals, toys, pottery wares, etc., show that some four to five thousand years ago a highly developed Civilization flourished in this region.
  • By 1500 BC, the Harappan culture came to an end. Among various causes ascribed to the decay of Indus Valley Civilization are the recurrent floods and other natural causes like earthquakes, etc.

Salient features:

  • Highly developed city life: many houses had wells and bathrooms as well as an elaborate underground drainage system. 
  • The Indus Civilization had a writing system, however it is not deciphered yet.
  • The social conditions of the citizens were comparable to those in Sumeria and superior to the contemporary Babylonians and Egyptians. 

Rakhigarhi

  • RakhiGarhi (Rakhi Shahpur + Rakhi Khas), is a village in Hisar District in the state of Haryana in India, situated 150 kilometers to the northwest of Delhi. 
  • The Archaeological remains were first found in 1963 at Rakhigarhi however the first major excavation at Rakhigarhi was carried out for three winters in 1997-1999.
  • It is the site of a pre-Indus Valley Civilisation settlement going back to about 6500 BCE.
  • Later, it was also part of the mature Indus Valley Civilisation, dating to 2600-1900 BCE.
  • Among the findings, which indicate both early and mature Harappan phases, were a 4,600-year-old female skeleton, fortification and bricks.
  • The site is located some 27 km from the seasonal Ghaggar river
  • In May 2012, the Global Heritage Fund declared Rakhigarhi one of the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia.

Archaeological Survey of India

  • The Archaeological Survey of India is an Indian government agency attached to the Ministry of Culture that is responsible for archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country. 
  • It was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham who also became its first Director-General.