Mohenjo-daro meaning ‘Mound of the Dead Men’. It is an archaeological site in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2500 BCE, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, with features such as standardized bricks, street grids, and covered sewerage systems. It was one of the world’s earliest major cities, contemporaneous with the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Minoan Crete, and Caral-Supe.

When the Indus civilization went into sudden decline around 1900 BCE, Mohenjo-daro was abandoned. Significant excavation has since been conduct at the site of the city by UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The site has currently threat by erosion and improper restoration.

Entomology :

The city’s original name is unknown. In addition based on his analysis of a Mohenjo-daro seal, Iravatham Mahadevan speculates that the city’s ancient name could have been Kukkutarma. According to Mahadevan, an Indus seal has “recorded in the Indus script the original Dravidian name of the city, corresponding to Indo-Aryan Kukkutarma.” Cock-fighting may have had ritual and religious significance for the city.
Furthermore Mohenjo-daro, the modern name for the site, and it means “Mound of the Dead Men” in Sindhi.

Historical background of Mohenjo-Daro :

Mohenjo-daro was built in the 26th century BCE. It was one of the largest cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, also known as the Harappan Civilization, which developed around 3,000 BCE from the prehistoric Indus culture at its height. Similarly the Indus Civilization spanned much of what is now Pakistan and North India, extending westwards to the Iranian border, south to Gujarat in India and northwards to an outpost in Bactria. Include with major urban centers at Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Lothal, Kalibangan, Dholavira and Rakhigarhi. Mohenjo-daro was the most advanced city of its time, with remarkably sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning.

Location :

Mohenjo-daro is located off the right (west) bank of the lower. Indus river in Larkana District, Sindh, Pakistan. It lies on a Pleistocene ridge in the flood plain of the Indus, around 28 kilometres (17 mi) from the town of Larkana.

Mohenjo- Daro Discovery and Excavation :

The ruins of the city remained undocumented for around 3,700 years until R D Banerji, an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India, visit the site in 1919–20. He identifying what he thought to be a Buddhist stupa (150–500 CE) present to be there and finding a flint scraper which convince him of the site’s antiquity. This led to large-scale excavations of Mohenjo-daro led by K. N. Dikshit in 1924–25, and John Marshall in 1925–26. In the 1930s major excavations were conduct at the site under the leadership of Marshall, D. K. Dikshitar and Ernest Mackay. Further excavations were carry out in 1945 by Mortimer Wheeler and his trainee, Ahmad Hasan Dani.

The last major series of excavations were conduct in 1964 and 1965 by George F. Dales. After 1965 excavations were ban due to weathering damage to the exposed structures. The only projects allowed at the site since have been salvage excavations, surface surveys, and conservation projects. In the 1980s, German and Italian survey groups led by Michael Jansen and Maurizio Tosi used less invasive archeological techniques, such as architectural documentation, surface surveys, and localized probing, to gather further information about Mohenjo-daro. A dry core drilling conducted in 2015 by Pakistan’s National Fund for Mohenjo-daro revealed that the site is larger than the unearthed area.

Architecture and Infrastructure of Mohenjo-Daro:

Moreover Mohenjo-daro has a planned layout with rectilinear buildings arranged on a grid plan. Most were built of fired and mortared brick. Some incorporated sun-dried mud-brick and wooden superstructures. The covered area of Mohenjo-daro of almost 300 hectares. The Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History offers a “weak” estimate of a peak population of around 40,000.

The sheer size of the city, and its provision of public buildings and facilities, suggests a high level of social organization. The city is divide into two parts, the so-called Citadel and the Lower City. The Citadel – a mud-brick mound around 12 metres (39 ft) high. A large residential structure designed to house about 5,000 citizens, and two large assembly halls. The city had a central marketplace, with a large central well. Individual households or groups of households obtained their water from smaller wells. Waste water was channeled to covered drains that lined the major streets.

One building had an underground furnace (known as a hypocaust), possibly for heated bathing. Most houses had inner courtyards, with doors that opened onto side-lanes. Some buildings had two stories.

Major buildings in Mohenjo-Daro

In 1950, Sir Mortimer Wheeler identified one large building in Mohenjo-daro as a “Great Granary”. Certain wall-divisions in its massive wooden superstructure appeared to be grain storage-bays, complete with air-ducts to dry the grain. According to Wheeler, carts would have brought grain from the countryside and unloaded them directly into the bays

. However, Jonathan Mark Kenoyer noted the complete lack of evidence for grain at the “granary”. Which, he argued, might therefore be better termed a “Great Hall” of uncertain function. Close to the “Great Granary” is a large and elaborate public bath, sometimes called the Great Bath. From a colonnaded courtyard, steps lead down to the brick-built pool. Which was waterproofed by a lining of bitumen. The pool measures 12 metres (39 ft) long, 7 metres (23 ft) wide and 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) deep. It was may be use for religious purification. Other large buildings include a “Pillared Hall”, thought to be an assembly hall of some kind, and the so-called “College Hall”. A complex of buildings comprising 78 rooms, thought to have been a priestly residence.

Water supply and arrangements

The location of Mohenjo-daro was construct in a relatively short period of time, with the water supply system and wells being some of the first perfect constructions. With the excavations done so far, over 700 wells are present at Mohenjo-daro, alongside drainage and bathing systems.

This number is unheard of when compared to other civilizations at the time. Such as Egypt or Mesopotamia, and the quantity of wells transcribes as one well for every three houses. Because the large number of wells, it is believed that the inhabitants relied solely on annual rainfall. As well as the Indus River’s course remaining close to the site, alongside the wells providing water for long periods of time in the case of the city coming under siege.

It is likely that the circular brick well design used. At this and many other Harappan sites are an invention that should be credited to the Indus civilization. As there is no existing evidence of this design from Mesopotamia or Egypt at this time, and even later. Sewage and waste water for buildings at the site were disposed of via a centralized drainage system that ran alongside the site’s streets. These drains that ran alongside the road were effective at allowing most human waste. So sewage to be dispose of as the drains most likely took the waste toward the Indus River.

Famous discoveries from Mohenjo-Daro :

Mother Goddess Idol

Discovered by John Marshall in 1931, the idol appears to mimic certain characteristics that match the Mother Goddess belief common in many early Near East civilizations. Sculptures and figurines depicting women have been observe as part of Harappan culture and religion. As multiple female pieces were recover from Marshall’s archaeological digs. One of said figures, is 18.7 cm tall. Which is currently on display at the National Museum of Pakistan, in Karachi.

The fertility and motherhood aspects on display on the idols is represented by the female genitalia. That is presented in an almost exaggerated style as stated by Marshall, with him inferring that such figurines are offerings to the goddess. As opposed to the typical understanding of them being idols representing the goddess’s likeness. Because of the figurines being unique in terms of hairstyles, body proportions, as well as headdresses and jewelry.

There are theories as to who these figurines actually represent. Shereen Ratnagar theorizes that because of their uniqueness and dispersed discovery throughout the site that they could be figurines of ordinary household women.

Dancing Girl

A bronze statuette dubbed the “Dancing Girl”, 10.5 centimetres (4.1 in) high. Which is about 4,500 years old, was discover in ‘HR area’ of Mohenjo-daro in 1926. It is now in the National Museum, New Delhi. In 1973, British archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler described the item as his favorite statuette:
She’s about fifteen years old I should think, not more, but she stands there with bangles all the way up her arm and nothing else on. A girl perfectly, for the moment, perfectly confident of herself and the world. There’s nothing like her, I think, in the world.

John Marshall, another archeologist at Mohenjo-daro, described the figure as “a young girl, her hand on her hip in a half-impudent posture. Similarly the legs slightly forward as she beats time to the music with her legs and feet.” The archaeologist Gregory Possehl said of the statuette, “We may not be certain that she was a dancer, but she was good at what she did and she knew it”. The statue led to two important discoveries about the civilization. First, that they knew metal blending, casting and other sophisticated methods of working with ore, and secondly that entertainment, especially dance, was part of the culture.


In 1927, a seated male soapstone figure was found in a building with unusually ornamental brickwork and a wall-niche. Though there is no evidence that priests or monarchs ruled Mohenjo-daro, archaeologists dubbed this dignified figure as the “Priest-King”. Furthermore the sculpture is 17.5 centimetres (6.9 in) tall, and shows a neatly bearded man with pierced earlobes and a fillet around his head. He wears an armband, and a cloak with drilled trefoil, single circle and double circle motifs, which show traces of red.

Pashupati seal

A seal discovered at the site bears the image of a seated, cross-legged and possibly ithyphallic figure surrounded by animals. The figure has been interpreted by some scholars as a yogi, and by others as a three-headed “proto-Shiva” as “Lord of Animals”.

Seven-stranded necklace

Sir Mortimer Wheeler was especially fascinated with this artifact. Which he believed to be at least 4,500 years old. The necklace has an S-shaped clasp with seven strands, each over 4 ft long, of bronze-metal bead-like nuggets which connect each arm of the “S” in filigree. Each strand has between 220 and 230 of the many-faceted nuggets, and there are about 1,600 nuggets in total. The necklace weighs about 250 grams in total.

Climate :

Mohenjo-daro has a hot desert climate with extremely hot summers and mild winters. The highest temperature was record is 53.7 °C (128.7 °F) on 26 May 2010. The lowest recorded temperature is −5.4 °C (22.3 °F). Rainfall is low, and mainly occurs in the monsoon season (July–September). The average annual rainfall of Mohenjo-daro is 100.1 mm and mainly occurs in the monsoon season. The highest annual rainfall ever is 413.1 mm, recorded in 1994, and the lowest annual rainfall ever is 10 mm, recorded in 1987.

Access to Mohenjo-Daro from different places :

The site is not particularly easy or comfortable to get to since it is in rural Sindh. Some 30 km from the nearest city, Larkana, and the region is extremely hot and dry.
On the other hand, it is accessible by rail, road or air and it is certainly worth a visit.

By plane
Pakistan’s flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines flies from Karachi to Mohenjo-daro. Direct flights run three times a week and take around one hour.

By rail
The nearest railway station is some 11km away from the site in the outskirts of the nearby town of Dokri, but named after Mohenjo-daro. There’s one train the Khushal Khan Khattak Express, each day run between Karachi and Peshawar, and makes a brief stop at Dokri early in the morning at around 6 AM. It has both air conditioned and non air conditioned coaches. The train leaves Karachi in the evening at around 9 PM. The journey takes approximately 9 hours.

By car
Mohenjo-daro can be accessed most easily by some arterial roads branching off (at Mehar, Nasirabad and Larkana) from the 1,264km-long National Highway # N-55 (the Indus Highway) which runs between Karachi and Peshawar.

Hotel Facilities For visitors Near Mohenjo-Daro :