Kalibangan is a historic town located on the left or southern banks of the Ghaggar in the Hanumangarh District, Rajasthan. It is also recognized as being founded in the triangle of land at the Drishadvati and Sarasvati Rivers intersection. Kalibangan is distinguished by its exceptional fire altars and “world’s earliest attested plowed field.” Around 2900 BC, the region of Kalibangan developed into what can be considered a planned city.
A few decades ago, archeologists excavated two ancient mounds in Kalibangan, spread over half a kilometer (an area of a quarter square kilometer). The smaller mound (KLB1) is on the western side, 9 meters high, known as the citadel. The Eastern mound, which is higher (12 meters) and more prominent, is the lower city (KLB2). The mounds are over 4000 years old.
The excavation unexpectedly brought to light a twofold sequence of cultures, of which the upper one (Kalibangan I) belongs to the Harappan, showing the characteristic grid layout of a metropolis and the lower one (Kalibangan II) was formerly called pre-Harappan but is now called “Early Harappan or antecedent Harappan.”
Early Harappan Phase pottery discovered at Kalibangan has been categorized to make a datum line for ceramic analyses in the Indian subcontinent, known as the six fabrics of Kalibanagan. Fabrics A, B, and D are grouped as redware; Fabric C pottery is violet and black and classified as a subtype of black and redware.
The old culture site encountered a natural disaster that erased most of prehistory. Kalibangan in Rajasthan has shown an earthquake around 2600 BC, which brought to an end the Early Indus settlement at the site.
4000-years ago, Kalibangan was fortified. It was perhaps the first fortified city in the world. Like town planning, housing also followed the typical pattern of other Harappan towns. Due to the grid pattern of town planning like a chessboard, all houses opened out to at least two or three roads or lanes. Each house had a courtyard and 6–7 rooms on three sides, with a well in some homes. One place had stairs for going to the roof. Ancient Indians living in Kalibangan built houses of 10 X 20 X 30 cm adobe bricks, same as those used in the second structural phase of the fort wall. Burnt bricks were used in drains, wells, bathing platforms, and door-sills, besides fire-altar. Floors of rooms were built of thrashed fine mud, sometimes laid with mud bricks or terracotta cakes. One house had floors made of burnt tiles decorated with geometrical designs.
Several seals have been discovered in Kalibangan dating to this phase. Most noteworthy is a cylindrical seal, depicting a female figure between two male figures, fighting or threatening with spears. There is also a mixed-person bull observing. It resembles Nandi. Nandi is the bull vahana of the Hindu Bhagwan Shiva. He is also the guardian deity of Kailash, the abode of Shiva.
Know Your Lost Cities! A lost city is an urban settlement that fell into terminal decline and became extensively or completely uninhabited, with the consequence that the site’s former significance was no longer known to the broader world.
In this series, we will explore the lost wonders of the world that deserve recognition.
The site Kalibangan in Rajasthan – literally ‘black bangles’ – derives its name from the dense distribution of the fragments of black bangles which were found at the surface of its mounds. Follow NYK Daily and read how the world’s first fortress city made her presence felt in Rajasthan.