India was one of the first regions to give birth to civilization. This was in spite of agriculture coming late to India around 5000 BC. It was after the first Mesopotamian cities came up that people living along the northern reaches of the Indus River discovered urbanization, metalwork, and writing. It is somewhat of a mysterious civilization and one with no visible continuity. It thrived for just several centuries and then eventually disappeared.
The Indo-European immigrants who settled the region did not adopt most of the aspects of this civilization. As a matter of fact, what precisely they adopted is difficult to ascertain. The Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Yellow River civilizations lasted for millennia and left their mark on all subsequent cultures. However, the Indus River civilization seems to have been a false start.
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, in the present day northeast Pakistan, about 35 km to the west of Sahiwal. The site derives its name from a modern village. This village is located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is 6 km from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station which was built during the British times, today it is just a small town.
The site of the ancient city contained the ruins of a Bronze Age fortified city. This formed a part of the Cemetery H culture as well as the Indus Valley Civilization, centered in Sindh and the Punjab. The city is believed to have had as many as 23,500 residents which were considered to be quite huge during that time.
The ancient city of Harappa was greatly destroyed under the British Raj in the year 1857. During this period, bricks from the ruins were used as track counterweight during the making of the Lahore-Multan Rail road. In spite of such destruction, there has been an abundance of artifacts which have nevertheless been found.
The Indus Valley Civilization was also known as the Harappan culture. This culture has its earliest roots in cultures such as that of Mehrgarh, approximately 6000 BCE. The two greatest cities, Mohenjodaro and Harappa, emerged around 2600 BCE along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh.
The civilization consisted of a writing system, urban centers, along with a diversified social and economic system. These were rediscovered in the 1920s after excavations at Mohenjodaro in Sindh near Sukkur, and Harappa, in west Punjab south of Lahore. A number of other sites stretching from the Himalayan foothills in east Punjab, in the north, to Gujarat in the south and east, and to Baluchistan in the west have also been discovered and studied.