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राखीगढ़ी (Hindi)
Rakhigarhi is located in India
Shown within India
Alternate name Rakhi Garhi
Location Haryana, India
Coordinates 29°17′19″N 76°06′47″E / 29.28861°N 76.11306°E / 29.28861; 76.11306Coordinates: 29°17′19″N 76°06′47″E / 29.28861°N 76.11306°E / 29.28861; 76.11306
Type Settlement
Area 3.5 km2 (1.4 sq mi)
Cultures Indus Valley Civilization
Site notes
Excavation dates 1963, 1997–2000, 2011-present

Rakhigarhi, or Rakhi Garhi (Hindi: राखीगढ़ी; Rakhi Shahpur + Rakhi Khas), is a village in Hisar District in the state of Haryana in India,[1][2] situated in the north-west about 150 kilometers from Delhi. In 1963, Archeological Survey of India discovered that this place was the site of the largest known city of the Indus Valley civilization, ancient and larger than Harappa and Mohenjo-daro sites.[3] It is situated on the dry bed of the Sarasvati river, which had once flown through this place and dried up around 2000 BC.[4][5] According to the archaeologists, Rakhigarhi is an ideal nucleus from where the Harappan civilisation began in the Ghaggar basin in Haryana and gradually grew from here and slowly expanded to the Indus valley.[6][7]

Rakhigarhi, being the largest Indus Valley Civilization site, will likely be placed in the UNESCO’s World heritage site list.[8]


Since 1997 the Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken a detailed excavation of the site, revealing the size of the lost city (at least 3.0 km²) and recovering numerous artefacts, some over 5,000 years old. Rakhigarhi was occupied at Early Harappan times.[9][10] Evidence of paved roads, drainage system, large rainwater collection, storage system, terracotta bricks, statue production, and skilled working of bronze and precious metals have been uncovered. Jewellery, including bangles made from terracotta, conch shells, gold, and semi-precious stones, have also been found.[11]

There are nine mounds in Rakhigarhi which are named RGR-1 to RGR-9, of which RGR-5 is thickly populated by establishment of Rakhishahpur village and is not available for excavations. RGR-1 to RGR-3, RGR6 to RGR9 and some part of RGR-4 are available for excavations.[10][12][13]

In 2014 six radiocarbon datings from excavations al Rakhigarhi between 1997 and 2000 were published, corresponding to the three periods at the site as per archaeologist Amarendra Nath (Pre-formative, Early Harappan, and Mature Harappan). Mound RGR-6 revealed a Pre-formative stage designated as Sothi Phase with the following two datings: 6420 +/- 110 and 6230 +/- 320 years Before Present, converted to 4470 +/- 110 BCE and 4280 +/- 320 BCE.[14]


Rakhigarhi is around 350-hectare (3.5 km2) making it the largest Indus Valley Civilization site in India, Pakistan & Afghanistan.[9][10] In size, dimensions, strategic location and unique significance of the settlement, Rakhigarhi exceeds Mohenjo-daro and Harappa sites in Pakistan and Dholavira in India's Gujarat whose dimensions are 200, 150 and 100 hectares respectively.[15][16][17][18][19] Three layers of Early, Mature and Late phases of Indus Valley civilization have been found at Rakhigarhi. Findings till date indicate that Rakhigarhi 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 portion of this site has not been excavated yet.


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 for sacrificial or some religious ceremonies. Fire was used extensively in their religious ceremonies. There are brick lined drains to handle sewage from the houses. Terracotta statues, weights, bronze artefacts, comb, copper fish hooks, needles and terracotta seals have also been found. 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.

A skeleton from Rakhigarhi on display in the National Museum.

In April 2015, four complete human skeletons were excavated from mound RGR-7. These skeletons belonged to two male adults, one female adult and one child. Pottery with grains of food as well as shell bangles were found around these skeletons.[20]

As the skeletons were excavated scientifically without any contamination, archaeologists think that with the help of latest technology on these skeletons and DNA obtained, it is possible to determine how Harappans looked like 4500 years ago.[21]

Fire altars and apsidal structures were revealed in Rakhigarhi.[12]

Hunting tools like copper hafts and fish hooks have been found here. Presence of various toys like mini wheels, miniature lids, sling balls, animal figurines indicates a prevalence of toy culture. Signs of flourishing trade can be seen by the excavation of stamps, jewellery and 'chert' weights. Weights found here are similar to weights found at many other IVC sites confirming presence of standardized weight systems.[22]

Cotton cloth traces preserved on silver or bronze objects were known from Rakhigarhi, Chanhudaro and Harappa.[23]:333 An impressive number of stamps seals were also found at this site.[9]

Hakra ware[edit]

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).[9] It also has ‘Early and ‘Mature’ Harappan artefacts. 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 granary belonging to mature Harappan phase (2600 BCE to 2000 BCE) has been found here. Granary is made up of mud-bricks with a floor of ramped earth plastered with mud. It has 7 rectangular or square chambers. Significant traces of lime & decomposed grass are found on the lower portion of the granary wall indicating that it can also be the storehouse of grains with lime used as insecticide & grass used to prevent entry of moisture. Looking at the size, it appears to be a public granary or a private granary of elites.[24]


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.[9] 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.[23]:293

Parasite eggs which were once existed in the stomach of those buried were found in the burial sites along with human skeletans. Analysis of Human aDNA obtained from human bones as well as analysis of parasite & animal DNA will be done to assert origins of these people.[25] [26]


Today, Rakhigarhi is a small village in Haryana State, India. The Archaeological 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.[27] 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.[28] 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 artefacts they dig out of the site and parts of site are now being encroached by private houses.[29]


The size and uniqueness of Rakhigarhi has drawn much attention of archaeologists all over the world. It is nearer to Delhi,[30] indicating the spread of Indus Valley Civilization up to this distance of North India. Much of the area is yet to be excavated[9] and details to be published from this site.[23]:215 Another related site in the area is Mitathal, which is still awaiting excavation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What did Harappans eat, how did they look? Haryana has the answers". 
  2. ^ "Haryana to set up museum at Rakhigarhi". 
  3. ^ http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/rakhigarhi-all-set-to-be-developed-as-a-heritage-site-as-plans-road-to-fame-through-harappa/1/260032.html
  4. ^ The Lost River:On The Trail of the Sarasvati by Michel Danino, Penguin India, 2010.
  5. ^ The Saraswati Flows on:The Continuity of Indian Culture by B.B.Lal (2002) Ex-Director General, Archaeological Survey of India
  6. ^ http://www.hisar.nic.in/historyrakhigarhi.aspx
  7. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/rakhigarhi-the-biggest-harappan-site/article5840414.ece
  8. ^ "Rakhigarhi likely on Unesco’s world heritage list". The Pioneer. 30 January 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Possehl, Gregory L. (2002). The indus civilization : a contemporary perspective (2. print. ed.). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. pp. 63, 71, 72. ISBN 9780759101722. 
  10. ^ a b c "Harappan Surprises". Frontline. 13 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Chandigarh Newsline, 2/23/2007, 'Rakhigarhi is the Largest Harappan Site Ever Found'
  12. ^ a b Archaeological Survey of, India. "Indian Archaeology 1997-98" (PDF). Excavation at Rakhigarhi. Archaeological Survey of INdia. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Rakhigarhi, the biggest Harappan site". The Hindu. 27 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Nath, Amarendra, Tejas Garge and Randall Law, 2014. "Defining the Economical Space of Harappan Rakhigarhi", in Puratattva 44, Indian Archaeological Society, New Delhi, pp. 84 [1]
  15. ^ "Haryana's Bhirrana oldest Harappan site, Rakhigarhi Asia's largest: ASI". 
  16. ^ "Can Rakhigarhi, the largest Indus Valley Civilisation site be saved?". 
  17. ^ "Bhirana oldest Harappan site, Rakhigarhi largest: ASI report". 
  18. ^ "History What their lives reveal". 
  19. ^ Raj Kumar Pruthi (1 January 2004). Prehistory And Harappan Civilization. APH Publishing. pp. 123–. ISBN 978-81-7648-581-4. https://books.google.com/books?id=uRMGDmdE9FkC&pg=PA123. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  20. ^ "Dig this! 5,000-yr-old skeletons found in Hisar". Hindustan Times. 15 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "Virtual Harappans to come alive". The Hindu. 3 May 2015. 
  22. ^ "Dig this! 5,000-yr-old skeletons found in Hisar". Hindustan Times. 15 April 2015. 
  23. ^ a b c McIntosh, Jane R. (2008). The ancient Indus Valley : new perspectives. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 293. ISBN 9781576079072. 
  24. ^ "Ancient granary found in Haryana". The Hindu. 2 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "Scientists to study parasite eggs in Harappan graves". The Times of India. 12 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Biomedical Studies on Archaeology". 19 February 2014. 
  27. ^ "Former Archaeological Survey director sentenced to jail for fraud". Hindustan Times. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  28. ^ "Rakhigarhi likely to be developed into a world heritage site". India Today. March 31, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  29. ^ Archana, Khare Ghose (June 3, 2012). "Can Rakhigarhi, the largest Indus Valley Civilisation site be saved?". Sunday Times. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  30. ^ Map of India by Survey of India


External links[edit]