|Alternate name||Rakhi Garhi|
|Area||2.24 km2 (0.86 sq mi)|
|Cultures||Indus Valley Civilization|
|Excavation dates||1963, 1997–2000|
Rakhigarhi, or Rakhi Garhi (Hindi: राखीगढ़ी; Rakhi Shahpur + Rakhi Khas), is a village in Hisar District in the northwest Indian state of Haryana, around 150 kilometers from Delhi. In 1963 archeologists discovered that the village was the site of an extensive city, part of the Indus Valley Civilization and also part of early Harappan settlements. It is situated on the dry bed of the river Sarasvati, which once flowed here and is believed to have dried up by 2000 BC.
Since 1997 the Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken a detailed excavation of the site, revealing the size of the lost city (at least 2.2 km²) and recovering numerous artifacts, some over 5,000 years old. Rakhigarhi was occupied at Early Harappan times. Evidence of paved roads, drainage system, large rainwater collection, storage system, terracotta brick, statue production, and skilled metal working (in both bronze and precious metals) has been uncovered. Jewellery, including bangles made from terracotta, conch shells, gold, and semi-precious stones, has also been found.
There are five mounds in Rakhigarhi which are named RGR-1, RGR-2,RGR-3,RGR-4, and RGR-5, of which RGR-4 and RGR-5 are thickly populated by establishment of Rakhikhas and Rakhishahpur villages and only RGR-1, RGR-2 and RGR-3 are available for excavations.
The site is 224 hectares, the largest in the country.(This estimation places Rakhigarhi bigger than Mohenjadaro in size. However, some estimates put it a little less in area). In size, dimensions, strategic location and unique significance of the settlement, Rakhi Garhi matches Harappa and Mohenjodaro at every level. Three layers of Early, Mature and Late phases of Indus Valley civilization have been found at Rakhi Garhi. What has so far been found indicates that Rakhi Garhi settlement witnessed all the three phases. The site’s antiquities, drainage system and signs of small-scale industry are in continuity with other Indus sites. But major the portion of this site has not been excavacated yet.
A Granery, with barley traces, was reported from the Citadel area of Rakhigarhi.
Digging so far reveals a well planned city with 1.92 m wide roads, a bit wider than in Kalibangan. The pottery is similar to Kalibangan and Banawali. Pits surrounded by walls have been found, which are thought to be sacrificial pits or for some religious ceremonies. Fire was used extensively in their religious ceremonies. There are brick lined drains to handle sewage from the houses. Among other things that have been found are, terracotta statues, weights, bronze artifacts, combs,copper fish hooks, needles and terracotta seals. A bronze vessel has been found which is decorated with gold and silver. A gold foundry with about 3000 unpolished semi-precious stones has been found. Many tools used for polishing these stones and a furnace were found there. A burial site has been found with 11 skeletons, with their heads in the north direction. Near the heads of these skeletons, utensils for everyday use were kept. The three female skeletons have shell bangles on their left wrists. Near one female skeleton, a gold armlet has been found. In addition semi precious stones have been found lying near the head, showing that they were part of some sort of necklace.
Fire altars and aspidal structures were revealed in Rakhigarhi.
The site has thick deposits of ‘Hakra Ware’ (typical of settlements dating back before the early phases of Indus Valley and dried up Sarasvati river valley). It also has ‘Early and ‘Mature’ Harappan artifacts. The solid presence of the Hakra Ware culture raises the important question: "Did the Indus civilization come later than it is recorded?" The Hakra and the Early phases are separated by more than 500–600 years and the Hakra people are considered to be the earliest Indus inhabitants. Although the carbon-14 dating results are awaited, based on the thick layers of Hakra Ware at Rakhigarhi, it is said that the site may date back to about 2500 BC to 3000 BC.
A Cemetery of Mature Harappan period is discovered at Rakhigarhi, with eight graves found. Often brick covered grave pits had wooden coffin in one case. Different type of grave pits were undercut to form an earthen overhang and body was placed below this; and then top of grave was filled with bricks to form a roof structure over the grave.
Today, Rakhigarhi is a small village in Haryana State, India. The Archeological Survey of India excavated the place for three winters, starting from 1997. The excavation has been stopped for years because of a CBI investigation on the misuse of funds. Much of the findings are donated to the National Museum.
In May 2012, the Global Heritage Fund, declared Rakhigarhi one of the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia. A study by the Sunday Times, found that the site is not being looked after, the iron boundary wall is broken, and villagers sell the artifacts they dig out of the site and parts of site now being encroached by private houses.
The size and uniqueness of Rakhigarhi has drawn much attention of archeologists all over the world. It is nearer to Delhi, indicating the spread of Indus Valley Civilisation up to this distance of North India. Much of the area is yet to be excavated and details to be published from this site.
- List of Indus Valley Civilization sites
- Hydraulic engineering of the Indus Valley Civilization
- List of inventions and discoveries of the Indus Valley Civilization
- Possehl, Gregory L. (2002). The indus civilization : a contemporary perspective (2. print. ed.). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. pp. 63, 71, 72. ISBN 9780759101722.
- The Lost River by Michel Danino, Penguin India, 2010
- The Sarasvati Flows on by B.B.Lal (2002) Ex-Director General, Archeological Survey of India
- Chandigarh Newsline, 2/23/2007, 'Rakhigarhi is the Largest Harappan Site Ever Found'
- Archeological Survey of, India. "Indian Archeology 1997-98". Excavation at Rakhigarhi. Archeological Survey of INdia. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- Raj Kumar Pruthi (1 January 2004). Prehistory And Harappan Civilization. APH Publishing. pp. 123–. ISBN 978-81-7648-581-4. http://books.google.com/books?id=uRMGDmdE9FkC&pg=PA123. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- McIntosh, Jane.(2008) The Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives. ABC-CLIO. Page 229 
- McIntosh, Jane.(2008) The Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives. ABC-CLIO. Page 333
- Possehl, Gregory L (2002). The Indus Civilization : A Contemporary Perspective. Altamira: Rowman. ISBN 0759101728.
- McIntosh, Jane R. (2008). The ancient Indus Valley : new perspectives. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 293. ISBN 9781576079072.
- "Rakhigarhi likely to be developed into a world heritage site". India Today. March 31, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- Archana, Khare Ghose (June 3, 2012). "Can Rakhigarhi, the largest Indus Valley Civilisation site be saved?". Sunday Times. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Map of India by Survey of India
- McIntosh, Jane R. (2008). The ancient Indus Valley : new perspectives. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 215. ISBN 9781576079072.
- "Harappa’s greatest centre sheds light on our today". The Sunday Guardian. 16th Sep 2012.
- Lal, B.B. (2002) The Sarasvati Flows On.