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The Indus River Valley. The Indus River Valley is located on the western side of the subcontinent of India. The subcontinent of India is surrounded on three sides by water. On the eastern side the Bay of Bengal is located. On the southern side the Indian Oceans is located.

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The Indus River Valley is located on the western side of the subcontinent of India.

  • The subcontinent of India is surrounded on three sides by water.
  • On the eastern side the Bay of Bengal is located.
  • On the southern side the Indian Oceans is located.
  • On the western side the Arabian Sea is located.

In the center of India is the Deccan Plateau.

  • To the north of India is a large mountain range called the Himalayas.
  • The tallest mountain in the world is located in the Himalayas. It is called Mount Everest.

India has several major rivers. One of these is the Ganges River.

  • In the western part of India is the Thar Desert.
  • The Indus River valley lies to the west of the Thar Desert and east of the Hindu Kush mountains.
  • India is a mixture of rugged plateau and fertile plains.

The Indus River flows out of the Himalaya Mountains and just like Mesopotamia and Egypt, the river would flood leaving a rich deposit of silt to fertilize the land.

Most of this region is hot and humid.


The climate in this region is greatly influenced by the monsoons.

  • A monsoon is a seasonal wind pattern that causes wet and dry seasons.
  • In the summer the winds blow into the subcontinent of India from the Indian Ocean.
  • These winds are full of moisture and as the wind rises over the rugged terrain the air cools, forming rain clouds and then heavy rains.

Some parts of the region can get as much as 100-200 inches of rain. (16 feet)

  • (Baton Rouge gets about 60 inches per year or 5 feet)
  • In the winter, the wind changes directions and comes from the north where the air is drier. The wind forces any moisture out of the region resulting in dry winters.

The civilizations that grew up along the Indus River are called the Harappan civilization. This civilization controlled much of the area on both sides of the river.

  • Just as in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the Harappans developed as irrigation and agriculture improved.

Farmers began to create surpluses of food, towns and cities appeared and populations began to grow.

  • The Harappan civilization was named after one of the first cities of the region, Harappa. Today this region is where the country of Pakistan is located.

Scientist have gain most of their information about this civilization from two cities that they have uncovered, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.

  • Even though they were over 300 miles apart they were very similar which has led scientist to conclude that the two cities traded with each other.

What was a unique quality for both of these cities was the way that they were built.

  • Both cities have their streets laid out in a well planned grid-like pattern. Nearby stood a towering fortress.
  • These fortresses would allow the guards to look down into the city. Along the city streets were shops, storehouses, workshops, market stalls and houses.

Both cities had public wells where fresh water could be draw for homeowner and city use.

  • The Harappans were very advanced. Most homes had bathrooms with indoor plumbing.
  • Artisans made excellent pottery, jewelry, ivory objects and cotton clothing.
  • They also had a system of weights and measurements.
  • It was in Harappa where India’s first writing system developed though scientists have yet to interpret the symbols.

It is also thought that like Egypt, the Harappans worshipped their king as a god.

  • The Harappan civilization ended rather abruptly in the 1700’s BC.
  • Some say they were conquered by an invasion force, others say that the climate grew too wet or too dry ruining crops and bringing on starvation.

What is known is that not long after the Harappans left a group of people from Central Asia known as the Aryans moved into the Indus River Valley and began to create their civilization.

  • The Aryans had advanced weapons and chariots.
  • By the 1200’s BC they had pretty much took over the territory.

What is known about the Aryans has been learned from religious writings called the Vedas.

  • Though most of the writings in the Vedas are religious in nature, they do contain information about conflicts and victories in battle.
  • The Aryans were initially nomads who herded cattle. Gradually they become more settled. Their villages remained small unlike the Harappans.



The Aryans didn’t have a single ruler but rather each group who lived there had their own tribal leaders.

  • An Aryan leader was called a raja.
  • Raja’s would often fight with each other but they were known to form alliances with other raja’s to fight a common enemy.

The first Aryan settlers didn’t read or write. Because of this they had to memorize the poems and hymns that were important to their culture, such as those kept in the Vedas.

  • The language of the Aryans was called Sanskrit.
  • Gradually people began to write down important things in Sanskrit

In the Aryan social hierarchy at the top were the Brahmins, or priests.

  • Next were the Kyshatriyas, or the rulers and warriors.
  • After the Kyshatriyas came the Vaisyas or the farmers, craftspeople and traders.
  • Finally came the Sudras, or workers and servants.
  • There was one other level on the social hierarchy and that was the Untouchables.

Untouchables weren’t allowed to socialize with any other social group. They were given jobs that no one else would take.

  • Untouchables were very poor and lived in unsanitary conditions.
  • Aryan social class system was called a caste.
  • Depending on which caste you belonged to would tell you where you belonged in that society.
  • Untouchables weren’t in a caste. Very seldom would a person move into another caste.

The guidelines for how one would behave within their own caste, the people of the region had Sutras, or guidelines.

  • It was forbidden for people of one caste to eat with people of another caste and they weren’t allowed to marry outside of the caste.
  • If you broke the rules you would be banned from your family and caste. This would make them an Untouchable.