8 cultural practices of Harappan Era that has still been continued till today

Harappan or Sarasvati-Sindhu Valley civilization dates to at-least 5000 years. While almost all the ancient civilization has totally disappeared and it’s rare to even find a trace of them. It may come as a shock to see that there are many Indian cultures that are a continuity of this age-old Harappan era. It certainly makes India one of the oldest survivor of ancient civilization and here are 8 of its examples.

1. Tilaka

A Tilaka is an auspicious decorative jewelry worn by young girls and women in India. Especially worn by Hindu women, they wear it on their forehead. The origin of Tikka can be found in ancient times but has lost this significance in modern life and is mostly worn all over the world as an accessory. However, it is surprising to know that it has its origins in Harappan civilization.

Today, we can still find many Harappan terracotta figures wearing a turban-like headdress and tilaka on the forehead, which can be found from the book ‘Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization’. Furthermore, sculptures of a woman from Bharhut stupa which dated to 200-100 BCE wearing tilaka on the forehead and similar headdress are also seen. Similarly, modern Hindu women from north-western states are also famously wearing similar Tilaka as a local fashion.

2. Bangles

Bangles which is also known as Kangan, are an important ornament for all married as well as unmarried women in India. Since ancient times, there is a tradition of making bangles, from various metals, glass, conch, sealing-wax, and ivory.

The culture of wearing bangles, especially wearing them all over the arms by women can be traced to the Harappan culture. It is a common practice to wear Harappan bangles by the Harappan ‘dancing girl’ is widely found in sculptures. Also, Mauryan Didarganj Yakshini is also seen wearing the same sort of bangles on her arm. As a result, modern woman from North-West India wearing same bangles on her hand.

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3. Waist chain

Waist chain or belly chain is commonly known as Kamarband or Udhyanam or Odyanam. It is normally just a simple chain or crafted jewelry worn around the waist. It is believed that woman used to decorate their hip by wearing ornamental jewelry ever since thousands of years or more. As seen in sculptures and paintings from the time dating back to the ancient civilization, waist chains worn by Hindu women can be traced to the Harappan tradition.

Some examples of it can be seen in the Harappan terracotta figure who is seen wearing waist chain, that is taken from the book ‘Excavations at Harappa’. Sculpture of a female from Mathura dated to 100-200 CE can also be seen wearing same waist chain as seen in the other Harappan figure. Due to which, its a definite result of the follow up of the ancient Indian tradition that different Modern waist chains are worn by Indian women.

4. Anklets

Anklets are anything worn around the ankle as a fetter, ornament, or a support. They are also known as ankle bracelets and foot bangles which have been worn by women throughout the history. Aside from functioning as foot adornments, they have been a part of the tradition of Indian women.

Special sort of Anklets can be traced back to the Harappan culture which Hindu women can be seen wearing even today. Its examples can be taken from the book, ‘The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati’. Furthermore, the sculpture of a woman from Mathura which dated to 100-200 CE can also be seen wearing similar anklets. Hence, modern Rajasthani women are found wearing same anklets.

5. Swastikas

Although, a reverse swastika is a symbol used by of one of the most hated men on Earth. The real Swastika has been an important symbol for the Hindus for thousands of years. Even to this day, the symbol can still be seen in abundance – on Hindu temples, on the cover of ancient books and in fact almost everywhere such as buses and taxis.

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The mysterious symbol is a widespread ancient icon all over the world, but particularly in India, it was a common symbol which still remains a sacred symbol since the ancient era of Harappan civilization. Thus we can even see Swastikas, in the book ‘Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization’.


6. Bathing platforms


Bathing is an everyday need. Even if not every day, everybody bathes. While some bathes under a simple tap, some prefer some bathing platforms. Even today, especially in villages and communities, people have platforms or tanks that can be seen in many Hindu temples as well. We can trace the origins of this tradition to the Harappan civilization, where bathing platforms like the famous ‘Great Bath’ have been found. The Great Bath of Mohenjo Daro has been famously mentioned in ‘Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization’ and many other books. A similar tank from Nagarjunakonda site also dates to 200-300 CE. Such platforms are found in many modern Hindu temples as well.

7. Yogic practices


Yoga is an age-old wisdom tradition that helps us move from constriction to expansion, from fear to love, and from separation to unity. At its core, yoga means union, the union of body, mind, and soul; the union of the ego and the spirit; the union of the mundane and the divine.

It is so obvious that there are ancient roots of Yoga. However, it may come as a surprise to see most of the basic Yogic meditative postures mentioned in Harappan civilization. An example of it is a terracotta figurine with folded hands in ‘Namaste’ posture which can be seen in the book, ‘Excavations at Harappa’.

8. Fire altars

Fire, also known as Agni, is celebrated in the Vedic hymns and kindled upon earth to carry prayers and offerings to the highest heavens. Great rituals, such as Yagnas, often involve several fire rituals.

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Even common domestic rituals of the householder such as daily rites, marriage rites, and funeral rites took place at the fire altar. Laying and ritually kindling the fire altar was the job of Brahmin priests.

However, bricks were made for fire altars are found in Harappan sites which clearly indicates the presence of Vedic rituals in Harappan civilization. This is another continuity from the Harappan era where no Vedic ritual was possible without making use of fire altar. Hence we can see fire altar at the Kalibangan site of Harappan civilization and also fire altar from Lothal site of Harappan civilization which is taken from the book ‘The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati’.

Therefore, it is our duty to protect and safeguard the ancient traditions passed down from an ancient civilization. Many of the modern Hindu or Indian traditions can be dated back to thousands of years, ever since the mighty and legendary Harappan era.

source – hindupost.in

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