|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)|
It is located at 5 KM South of Pillibangan Tehsil headquarters of Ditrict Hanumangarh in the Indian state of Rajasthan. This town is as old as Indus Valley Civilization. Kalibangan is a wolrd famous Archeological site. It is located at 29°28′N 74°08′E / 29.47°N 74.13°E / 29.47; 74.13. Kalibangān is a town located on the left or southern banks of the Ghaggar (Ghaggar-Hakra River), identified by some scholars with Sarasvati River in Tehsil Pilibangān, between Suratgarh and Hanumāngarh in Hanumangarh district, Rajasthan, India 205 km. from Bikaner.
Site of Indus Valley Civilization
It is also identified as being established in the triangle of land at the confluence of Drishadvati and Sarasvati Rivers. The prehistoric and pre-Mauryan character of Indus Valley Civilization was first identified by Luigi Tessitori at this site. Kalibangan's excavation report was published in its entirety in 2003 by the Archaeological Survey of India, 34 years after the completion of excavations. The report concluded that Kalibangan was a major provincial capital of the Indus Valley Civilization. Kalibangan is distinguished by its unique fire altars and "world's earliest attested ploughed field".
The excavation unexpectedly brought to light a twofold sequence of cultures, of which the upper one (Kalibangan I) belongs to the Harappan, showing the characteristic grid layout of a metropolis and the lower one (Kalibangan II) was formerly called pre-Harappan but now it is called "Early Harappan or antecedent Harappan". Other nearby sites belonging to IVC include Balu, Kunal, Banawali etc.
Proto-Harappan Phase: Traces of pre-Harappan culture have been found only at the lower levels of the western mound. According to archaeological evidence, the Indus Valley culture existed at the site from the proto-Harappan age (3500 BC - 2500 BC) to the Harappan age (2500 BC - 1750 BC). This earlier phase is labelled Kalibangan-I (KLB-I) or Period-I. Similarity of pottery relates Kalibangan-I with the Sotha culture because a lot of this pottery was later discovered at Sothi village in North Western India.
Fort and houses: In this phase, the settlement was fortified, using dried mud bricks, from the beginning of occupation. This fort had been built twice in different periods. Earlier, fort wall had a thickness of 1.9 meters, which was raised to 3.7-4.1 meters during reconstruction in this phase. Brick size was 20 × 20 × 10 cm in both construction-phases. The citadel mound (smaller mound) is a parallelogram about 130 meters on the east-west axis and 260 meters on the north-south. Town planning was like that of Mohenjodaro or Harappa. The direction of houses and brick sizes was markedly different from that used in the Harappan phase (KLB-II).
Within the walled area, the houses were also built of mud bricks of the same size as used in the fort wall; the use of burnt bricks is attested by a drain within the houses, remains of ovens and cylindrical pits, lined with lime plaster. Some burnt wedge shaped bricks also have been found.
Pottery: The distinguishing mark of this early phase is pottery, characterized by six fabrics labelled A, B, C, D, E and F, which were later identified also at Sothi in North Western India.
Other finds: Among the other finds of this Period are: small blades of chalcedony and agate, sometimes serrated or backed; beads of steatite, shell, carnelian, terracotta and copper; bangles of copper, shell and terracotta; terracotta objects like a toy-cart, wheel and a broken bull; quem with mullers, a bone point, and copper celts, including an unusual axe, etc. Toy carts suggest carts were used for transportation in early phase of Kalibangan.
Earliest earthquakes & end of Phase-I: B. B. Lal, former DG of ASI writes,"Kalibangan in Rajasthan ... has also shown that there occurred an earthquake around 2600 BC, which brought to an end the Early Indus settlement at the site.". This is perhaps the earliest archaeologically recorded earthquake. At least three pre-historic earthquakes affecting the Indus Valley Civilization at Dholavira in Khadir have been identified during 2900–1800 BC.
KLB-I phase has left 1.6 meters of continuous deposits during five distinct structural strata, the last of which was destroyed perhaps by an earthquake and the site was abandoned around 2600 BCE, soon to be settled again by Harappans.
Fire altars: At Kalibangan, fire altars have been discovered, similar to those found at Lothal which S.R. Rao thinks could have served no other purpose than a ritualistic one. These altars suggest fire worship or worship of Agni, the Hindu god of fire. It is the only Indus Valley Civilization site where there is no evidence to suggest the worship of the "mother goddess".
Within the fortified citadel complex, the southern half contained many (five or six) raised platforms of mud bricks, mutually separated by corridors. Stairs were attached to these platforms. Vandalism of these platforms by brick robbers makes it difficult to reconstruct the original shape of structures above them but unmistakable remnants of rectangular or oval kuṇḍas or fire-pits of burnt bricks for Vedi (altar)s have been found, with a yūpa or sacrificial post (cylindrical or with rectangular cross-section, sometimes bricks were laid upon each other to construct such a post) in the middle of each kuṇḍa and sacrificial terracotta cakes (piṇḍa) in all these fire-pits. Houses in the lower town also contain similar altars. Burnt charcoals have been found in these fire-pits. The structure of these fire-altars is reminiscent of (Vedic) fire-altars, but the analogy may be coincidental, and these altars are perhaps intended for some specific (perhaps religious) purpose by the community as a whole. In some fire-altars remnants of animals have been found, which suggest a possibility of animal-sacrifice.
The official website of ASI reports : "Besides the above two principle [sic] parts of the metropolis there was also a third one-a moderate structure situated upwards of 80 m e. of the lower town containing four to five fire altars. This lonely structure may perhaps have been used for ritual purposes. Thus, fire-altars have been found in three groups : public altars in the citadel, household altars in lower town, and public altars in a third separate group. A short distance from fire altars, a well and ramants of a bathing place were found, suggesting ceremonial bath was a part of rituals.
The interpretation of these structures as fire alters is controversial, very similar structures elsewhere from recent excavations have been interpreted as cooking hearths or various styles of crafting and pottery kilns.
Lower town: The lower town was also a fortified parallelogram, although only traces are now left. The fort was made of mud bricks (40 × 20 × 10 cm) and three or four structural phases have been recognized. It had gates in north and west.
B. B. Lal wrote:
- "Well-regulated streets (were) oriented almost invariably along with the cardinal directions, thus forming a grid-iron pattern. (At Kalibangan) even the widths of these streets were in a set ratio, i.e. if the narrowest lane was one unit in width, the other streets were twice, thrice and so on. (...) Such a town-planning was unknown in contemporary West Asia.".
The lower town was 239 meters east to west, but north-south extent cannot be determined. 8 main roads have been recognized, 5 north-south and 3 east-west. Few more east-west roads are expected to be buried within the unexcavated remains. Second east-west road ran in a curved outline to meet the first at the north-eastern end (towards the river), where a gateway was provided. This road was an anomaly in the grid-pattern of straight roads. There were many lanes connected to specific housing complexes. Roads and lanes had widths in accurately determined proportions, like in other Harappan cities, ranging from 7.2 meters for main roads to 1.8 meters for narrow lanes. Fender posts were installed at street corners to prevent accidents. In second structural level, roads were laid with mud tiles. Drains from houses emptied into pits (soakage jars) beneath the roads. Some central authority must be there to plan and regulate all this.
Housing: Like town planning, housing also followed the common pattern of other Harappan cities. Due to grid-pattern of town planning like a chess board, all houses opened out to at least two or three roads or lanes. Each house had a courtyard and 6-7 rooms on three sides, with a well in some houses. One house had stairs for going to the roof. Houses were built of 30 × 15 × 7.5 cm mud bricks (same as those used in second structural phase of fort wall). Burnt bricks were used in drains, wells, bathing platforms and door-sills, besides fire-altar. Floors of rooms were built of thrashed fine mud, sometimes laid with mud bricks or terracotta cakes. One house had floors built of burnt tiles decorated with geometrical designs. Kalibangan 1953 A. Ghosh Situated in Rajasthan on the Bank of Ghaggar 1. Shows both Pre Harappan and Harappan phase 2. Evidence of furrowed land 3. Evidence of camel bones 4. Many houses had their own well 5. Kalibangan stand for black bangles 6. Evidence of wooden furrow Terracota
Some early Kalibangan pottery has close resemblance to the pottery of the Hakra ware in Cholistan, to other Early Harappan pottery from the Indus Valley Civilization and to the pottery of the Integration Era. Functionally, pottery can be classified into household pots, religious and burial purposes. Structurally, we have classes like plain and decorated wares. Some pots had Harappan inscriptions (undeciphered) on them.
The best terracota figure from Kalibangan is that a charging bull which is considered to signify the "realistic and powerful folk art of Harappan Age". The city is known for the numerous terracota bangles found here.
Seals: A number of seals have been found dating to this phase. Most noteworthy is a cylindrical seal, depicting a female figure between two male figures, fighting or threatening with spears. There is also a mixed person bull observing. They are of rectangular shape.
Other finds:A cylindrical graduated measuring rod and a clay ball with human figures are other notable finds. Peas and chikpeas were also found.
Burial systems: Three systems of burial have been attested in the burial ground ~300 yards south-west of the citadel, where ~34 graves have been found :
Burial in rectangular or oval pit, with corpse laid down straight (extended), head northwards amidst pottery. In one pit a copper mirror was found among these objects. Pits were mud filled after burying. One grave was enclosed with a mud brick wall plastered from inside. One child had six holes in the skull. Many paleopathological evidences have been gathered from these graves.
Burial in pot (urn) in a circular pit, with no corpse. Four to 29 pots and utensils were placed around the main pot (urn). In some graves beads, shell, etc have been found.
Rectangular or oval grave-pit, containing only pottery and other funerary objects. Like the first type, the length of this type of graves was also along north-south. The latter two methods were not associated with any skeletal remains and may be related to symbolic burial, not found at other Harappan towns. The third type of graves contained objects as in the second type, like beads, shells, etc., but no corpse. Some pits were not filled  
End of civilization: Robert Raikes  has argued that Kalibangan was abandoned because the river dried up. Prof. B. B. Lal (retd. Director General of Archaeological Survey of India) supports this view by asserting: "Radiocarbon dates indicate that the Mature Harappan settlement at Kalibangan had to be abandoned around 2000–1900 BCE. And, as the hydrological evidence indicates, this abandonment took place on account of the drying up of the Sarasvati (Ghaggar). This latter part is duly established by the work of Raikes, an Italian hydrologist, and of his Indian collaborators".
Dr Naval Viyogi writes about The South and the Central Indian Cultures of Chalcolithic Age: (Ahar, Kayatha, and Malava) ...The remains of Chalcolithic culture have been recovered from the excavation of Ahar and Gelund sites of Bana valley in Rajasthan The date of this culture is 2000 BC-500 BC. Later it was occupied by the 'Iron Age People'. The latest Carbon date of Kalibanga has been calculated to be 1500 B.C. It means Harappan culture survived there later, for a period of about 300 years. In this way Harappan culture of Kalibanga and Chalcolithic culture of Ahar lived contemporarily for a long period of about 700 years (2000 BC-1300 BC). The date 1725 BC, derived by the Tata Institute of Technology Bombay, is also not less contemporary. Since the carbon dates of Eran (Distt Sagar Madhya Pradesh), Navadatoli (Distt Nimad in Madhya Pradesh), Nevasa (Distt Ahmad Nagar), Songaon, Inamgaon Chandoli (Distt Pune M.R.) etc have been fixed within the second millennium B.C. From this it has become clear that Chalcolithic culture developed in the South and the Central India during the last period of Harappan culture or last phase of some sites or just after.
In this age, the successive development of three cultures of Kayatha, Malava and Jorve is also evident. The Savalda culture of Tapti valley is of some specific type, but it is similar to Kayatha culture. Remains of whatever Chalcolithic culture have come to hands from Maheshwara and Navadatoli (9 kms South of Indore) lying in between Ujjain and Indore, has been named as Malava culture. On a later date, from excavation of Kayatha (on the bank of Kali Sindh) we have come to know about a rich Chalcolithic culture, which developed a few centuries (about 2000 BC) earlier than the Malava culture. Ahar, Kayatha and Malava cultures are so similar that it will be Justified to call them fundamentally one culture. The Ahar and the Kayatha cultures should be taken as parent cultures of Malava.
Owing to fixation of carbon-14 date of Malva culture between 1660 ± 130 and 1445 ± 130 BC, period of its origin has been decided 1500 BC (Aggarwal-l971). Evidences of extension of this culture from the region of Ujjain and Navadatoli up to the Tapti and onward up to the Bhima valley, has been noted from the excavation of Chandoli, Songaon and Inamgaon.
कालीबंगा राजस्थान के हनुमानगढ़ ज़िले में घग्घर नदी के बाएं तट पर स्थित है। खुदाई 1953 में 'बी.बी. लाल' एवं 'बी. के. थापड़' द्वारा करायी गयी। यहाँ पर प्राक् हड़प्पा एवं हड़प्पाकालीन संस्कृति के अवशेष मिले हैं। यह प्राचीन समय में चूडियों के लिए प्रसिद्ध था। ये चूडियाँ पत्थरों की बनी होती थी।
सिन्धु-पूर्व सभ्यता: हड़प्पा एवं मोहनजोदाड़ो की भांति यहाँ पर सुरक्षा दीवार से घिरे दो टीले पाए गए हैं। कुछ विद्धानों का मानना है कि यह सैंधव सभ्यता की तीसरी राजधानी रही होगी। पूर्वी टीले की सभ्यता प्राक्-हड़प्पाकालीन थी। कालीबंगा में सिन्धु-पूर्व सभ्यता की यह बस्ती कच्ची ईंटों की किलेबन्दी से घिरी थी। किलेबन्दी के उत्तरी भाग में प्रवेश मार्ग था। जिससे सरस्वती नदी तक पहुँच सकते थे। मिट्टी के खिलौनों, पहियों तथा मवेशियों की हड्डियाँ के अंवेषण से बैलगाड़ी के अस्तित्व का अप्रत्यक्ष साक्ष्य प्राप्त होता है।
साक्ष्य: कालीबंगा के दुर्ग टीले के दक्षिण भाग में मिट्टी और कच्चे ईटों के बने हुए पाँच चबूतरे मिले हैं, जिसके शिखर पर हवन कुण्डों के होने के साक्ष्य मिले हैं।
दुर्ग: अन्य हड़प्पा कालीन नगरों की भांति कालीबंगा दो भागों नगर दुर्ग (या गढ़ी) और नीचे दुर्ग में विभाजित था। नगर दुर्ग समनान्तर चतुर्भुजाकार था। यहाँ पर भवनों के अवशेष से स्पष्ट होता है कि यहाँ भवन कच्ची ईटों के बने थे।
खेती: कालीबंगा में 'प्राक् सैंधव संस्कृति' की सबसे महत्त्वपूर्ण उपलब्धि एक जुते हुए खेत का साक्ष्य है जिसके कुंडों के बीच का फासला पूर्व में पश्चिम की ओर 30 से.मी. है और उत्तर से दक्षिण 1.10 मीटर है। कम दूरी के खांचों में चना एवं अधिक दूरी के खाचों में सरसों बोई जाती थी। यहाँ पर लघु पाषाण उपकरण, मणिक्य एवं मिट्टी के मनके, शंख, कांच एवं मिट्टी की चूड़ियां, खिलौना गाड़ी के पहिए, सांड की खण्डित मृण्मूर्ति, सिलबट्टे आदि पुरावशेष मिले हैं। यहाँ से प्राप्त शैलखड़ी की मुहरें (सीलें) और मिट्टी की छोटी मुहरे (सीले) महत्त्वपूर्ण अभिलिखित वस्तुएं थी। मिट्टी की मुहरों पर सरकण्डे के छाप या निशान से यह लगता है कि इनका प्रयोग पैकिंग के लिए किया जाता रहा होगा।
प्राप्त मुहरें व ईटें: एक सील पर किसी अराध्य देव की आकृति है। यहाँ से प्राप्त मुहरें 'मेसोपोटामियाई' मुहरों के समकक्ष थी। कालीबंगा की प्राक्-सैंधव बस्तियों में प्रयुक्त होने वाली कच्ची ईटें 30x20x10 से.मी. आकार की होती थी। यहाँ से मिले मकानों के अवशेषों से पता चलता है कि सभी मकान कच्ची ईटों से बनाये गये थे, पर नाली और कुओं में पक्की ईटों का प्रयोग किया गया था। यहाँ पर कुछ ईटें अलंकृत पायी गयी हैं। कालीबंगा का एक फर्श पूरे हड़प्पा का एक मात्र उदाहरण है जहाँ अलंकृत ईटों का प्रयोग किया गया है। इस पर प्रतिच्छेदी वृत का अलंकरण हैं।
कालीबंगा के दक्षिण-पश्चिम में क़ब्रिस्तान स्थित था। यहाँ से शव विसर्जन के 37 उदाहरण मिले हैं। यहाँ अन्त्येष्टि संस्कार की तीन विधियां प्रचलित थी - 1. पूर्व समाधीकरण, 2. आंशिक समाधिकरण, 3. दाह संस्कार
यहाँ पर बच्चे की खोपड़ी मिले है जिसमें 6 छेद हैं, इसे 'जल कपाली' या 'मस्तिष्क शोध' की बीमारी का पता चलता है। यहाँ से एक कंकाल मिला है जिसके बाएं घुटने पर किसी धारदार कुल्हाड़ी से काटने का निशान है।
यहाँ से भूकम्प के प्राचीनतम साक्ष्य के प्रमाण मिलते हैं। सम्भवतः घग्घर नदी के सूख जाने से कालीबंगा का विनाश हो गया।
पहला टीला: इस सिन्धु-पूर्व सभ्यता मैं सामान्यता मकान में एक आँगन होता था और उसके किनारे पर कुछ कमरे बने होते थे आँगन में खाना पकाने का साक्ष्य भी प्राप्त होता है, क्योंकि वहाँ भूमि के ऊपर और नीचे दोनों प्रकार के तन्दूर मिले हैं। हल के प्रयोग का साक्ष्य मिला है, क्योंकि इस स्तर पर हराई के निशान पाये गये हैं। हल चलाने के ढंग से संकेत मिलता है कि एक ओर के खाँचे पूर्व-पश्चिम की दिशा में बनाये जाते थे और दूसरी ओर के उत्तर-दक्षिण दिशा में। इस युग में पत्थर और ताँबे दोनों प्रकार के उपकरण प्रचलित थे परंतु पत्थर के उपकरणों का प्रयोग अधिक होता था। यहाँ से दैनिक जीवन प्रयुक्त होने वाली वस्तुएँ प्राप्त हुई हैं। ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि कालीबंगा के इस चरण का जीवन 3000 ई.पू. के आस-पास रहा होगा।
दूसरा टीला: दूसरे बड़े टीले से जो वस्तुएँ मिली हैं, वे हड़प्पा सभ्यता के समानुरुप हैं। कालीबंगा के इस टीले में कुछ अग्नि कुण्ड भी मिले हैं। कालीबंगा से मिट्टी के बर्तनों के कुछ ऐसे टुकड़े मिले हैं, जिनसे यह निश्चय होता है कि सिन्धु सभ्यता की लिपि दाहिनी ओर से बायीं ओर लिखी जाती थी। कालीबंगा में मोहनजोदड़ो जैसी उच्च-स्तर की जल निकास व्यवस्था का आभास नहीं होता है। भवनों का निर्माण कच्ची ईंटों से किया जाता था, किंतु नालियों, कुओं तथा स्नानागारों में पकाई ईंटों प्रयुक्त की गई हैं।
संदर्भ - भारतकोश-कालीबंगा
- चौ. बलवीर सिंह भोभिया पुत्र चौ. शत्रुघ्न मु.पो. कालीबंगा त. पीलीबंगा जिला हनुमानगढ़