The cradle of civilization?

The Indus Valley civilization flourished around 2,500 B.C. in the western part of South Asia, in what today is Pakistan and western India. It is often referred to as Harappan Civilization after its first discovered city, Harappa.

The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. It was not discovered until the 1920's. Most of its ruins, including major cities, remain to be excavated. Basic questions about the people who created this highly complex culture are unanswered.

Harappa was an Indus Valley urban center supporting a population of 50,000.  It lies in Punjab Province, Pakistan, on an old bed of the River Ravi. The latest research has revealed at least five mounds at Harappa. Two have large walls around them, perhaps as much for trade regulation as defense. A structure once considered a granary is now thought to have been a palace with ventilated air ducts. Harappa provided the first clues to the ancient Indus Valley, which is often called Harappan civilization.

All these sites flourished between 3000 and 2000 B.C., if not earlier. There are probably many more important Indus Valley sites. Some must have been lost or destroyed by shifting river paths. Others may be buried under modern towns.

What does seem clear is that the important sites were commercial centers. They are on rivers or near the coast. Various specialized manufacturing facilities suggest that they were heavily involved in trade with each other and far outside the region.

The area of present Hoshiarpur District was also part of Indus Valley Civilization. Recent excavations at various sites in the district have revealed that the entire area near the Shiwalik foothills was selected for habitation not only by the early palaeolithic man but also by those in the protohistoric and historic periods. In the explorations, seven early Stone Age sited a Atbarapur, Rehmanpur and Takhni, 30-40 km north of Hoshiarpur District in the foothills of Shiwalik, have been discovered where the stone artifacts have been found. Besides these excavations, among the archaeological remains in the Hoshiarpur District, the remains of temples at Dholbaha, 24 km north of Hoshiarpur, and especially the local legends throw valauble light on the ancient history of the district.

The legends associate several places in the district with pandavas. Dasua is mentioned in epic of Mahabharata as the seat of Raja Virata in whose services the Pandavas remained for thirteen years during their exile. Bham, about 11 km west of Mahalpur is said to be the place where the Pandavas passed their exile. Lasara, about 19 km north Jaijon, also contains a stone temple stated to date back to the time of Pandavas. According to the chinese pilgrim, Hieun Tsang, the area of Hoshiarpur was dominated by a tribe of Chandrabansi Rajputs, who maintained an independent existence for centuries before the Muhammadan conquest.

In the Hoshiarpur District, Shiwaliks from Talwara on the Beas to Rupnagar on the Satluj have revealed the presence of Acheolian and Soanian cultures. From the shiwalik frontal range in the Hoshiarpur District, sixteen sites have been reported to have yielded stone Age tools. Out of these, besides the Soanian tools, these sited in Hoshiarpur District have yielded Acheolian assemblage.

The Atbarapur group has yielded a large number of Stone Age tools. This group consisting of Atbarapur, Rehamanpur and Takhni close to the dry beds of the Ghos are located at the foothills of the Shiwaliks, about 8 km north-east from the town of Hariana, Atbarapur has yielded 80 tools consisting of 9 handaxes, 19 cleavers, 17 pebble-tools, 28 flakes and 7 cores/core choppers. All the tools in the collection are either on flakes or cores. The raw material is quartzite of varying colours, viz. Green, blue, brown, etc. The tools are fashioned mainly out of fine to medium grained quartzite. In the recent archaeological excavations, some fine pieces of sculptures of Gandhara dating back to 1000 AD and after have been discovered hare. A list of stone tools yielding sited explored by the Department of Archaeological, Punjab is given in Appendix-1 at the end of the chapter.

The archaeological explorations made during the recent years have revealed the antiquity of the Hoshiarpur District to the Harappan Period. On the basis of surface exploration, the following new sited have been brought on the Archaeological map of India and the traces of the selfsame people as at Harappa and Mohenjadaro have also been detected in the Hoshiarpur District at the following places:-

S.No. Name Of Village Name Of Tehsil
1 Daulatpur Hoshiarpur
2 Rahamanpura Hoshiarpur
3 Atbarapur Hoshiarpur
4 Takhni Hoshiarpur
5 Naroor Hoshiarpur
6 Khangali Hoshiarpur
7 Dholbaha Hoshiarpur
8 Phappal Hoshiarpur
9 Ram Tatwali Hoshiarpur
10 Kot and its western Slopes Garhshankar
11 Lalwan Garhshankar
12 Manual Balachaur
13 Gapalrian Dasua
14 Mahatpur Dasua
15 Kupowal Garhshankar
16 Garhi Garhshankar
17 Khanni Garhshankar
18 Sham Churasi (Rural) Hoshiarpur
19 Teheh (Pachrali) Garhshankar
20 Ram Colony Camp Hoshiarpur
21 Pakhowal Hoshiarpur
22 Zahura Dasua
23 Hajipur Garhshankar
24 Jkam Dasua
25 Tanda Urmur Dasua

(B.B Lal, S.P. Gupta, Frontiers of the Indus Civilization ( P 526) and Madhu Hala, Prachin Punjab Di Sanskriti ( Delhi, 1990)

The archaeological excavations carried out at Dholbaha, situated at a distance of about 30 km to the north-west of Hoshiarpur, reveal its relationship with the pre-historic period. This area has been a place of habitation right form the very early times, the archaeological discoveries have related its antiquities to the pleistocene period. Fossils and stone tools found in this picturesque valley indicate the appearance of early man here in this region. Presence of fossils and beautiful sand stone sculptures of medieval period underline the importance of Dholbaha and tend to establish the fact that Dholbaha valley was occupied by the affluent iconolatry at various intervals. The sculptures and other findings excavated from Dholbaha pertain to the Gurjara Prathihara Period ( C-800-1100 A D). In the 10th Century A D Shiwalik areas came under the influence of Pratiharas. During that period, the art of the local tribes took a definite shape. In AD 965, Jaipal came to the throne and thus the Hindu Shahi style penetrated into the valley of Dholbaha. In AD 988, the rulers of Parmaras remained paramount power upto AD 1260.

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