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UPSC Essentials: Historical Tidbits – Rakhigarhi – the archaeological site

Rakhigarhi, the important Indus Civilization site, is in news due to the ASI's latest excavations.UPSC aspirants must have the static and current information about the site for the Prelims- History and GS I- Art and Culture of UPSC-CSE syllabus.

The findings confirm both early and mature phases of this 5,000-years-old Harappan site of Rakhigarhi.

Essentials news, issues, and topics from History of India and the world for UPSC- CSE.


Preliminary Examination: History of India

Mains Examination: GS I- Indian Heritage and Culture

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Why in the News?

ASI’s latest excavation has revealed new archaeological findings. The major findings include drainage system, the structure of some houses, lanes, jewellery unit, copper and gold jewellery, terracotta toys, earthen pots, seals, a burnt-brick wall (possibility of a walled settlement), an aristocratic settlement, semi-precious stones such as agate and carnelian, two female skeletons buried with a plethora of pottery and adorned jewellery etc.

What are the essential facts you should know about Rakhigarhi?

— It is the largest Harappan site in the Indian Subcontinent.

— It is situated in the Hisar district of Haryana and is located in the Ghaggar-Hakra river plain.

— The site was first excavated by Amarendra Nath of ASI.


— Earlier Mohenjodaro (Pakistan) was considered to be the largest Harappan site until Prof. Vasanth Shinde and his team started fresh excavations at Rakhigarhi.

— The findings confirm both early and mature phases of this 5,000-years-old Harappan site of Rakhigarhi.

— An important find from this site is a cylindrical seal with 5 Harappan characters on one side and a symbol of an alligator on the other.


— Ritual system is signified by an animal sacrificial pit lined with mud-brick and triangular and circular fire altars on the mud floor.

— A DNA study from skeletal remains from the cemetery at Rakhigarhi found that the Harappan people had an independent origin. The study clearly negates the theory of the Harappans having ancestral links with steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmers.  

— Rakhigarhi gives the first evidence of a double burial where the skeletons are clearly male (38) and female (25).

What is the idea behind this phase of excavation at Rakhigarhi?

According to the officials of ASI, the idea of this phase of excavation is to make the archaeological site of Rakhigarhi accessible to people by exposing the structural remains and conserving them for future viewing, along with providing amenities to the visitors. 

Do you know?  


Union Budget (2020-21) has proposed to develop Rakhigarhi (Hisar district, Haryana) as an Iconic Site.

– 4 other archaeological sites in Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh), Shivsagar (Assam), Dholavira (Gujarat), and Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu) will also be developed as iconic sites with onsite museums.


Point to Ponder: What is the Iconic Tourist Sites Initiative?


First published on: 18-05-2022 at 12:50 IST
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