Portraits of the bull, rhinocerous, lion and elephant have been found in Harrapa.
The first gallery on the ground floor of National Museum is called the Harappan gallery. The collections in this gallery grew out of the discoveries of the pioneering excavations made during early 20th century, and later after the Indian independence in 1947. The Harappan civilization is believed to be one of the oldest world civilizations together with Egypt and Mesopotamia. Objects in this gallery remain the richest and most important of their kind in the world.
The Harappan civilization developed along the mighty river, Indus and for that reason it is also known as the Indus Valley Civilization. Most of the exhibits in this gallery come from important centers of the Harappan Civilization and ancient towns like Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Nal (now in present-day Pakistan), Dholavira, Kalibangan, Lothal and Rakhigarhi (in India).
The Harappan civilization is identified as a Bronze-age civilization because many objects have been found that are made up of copper based alloys. For example, the gallery displays the famous ‘dancing girl,’ a bronze figurine that provides an insight into the advances made in art and metallurgy, as well as the hairstyle and ornaments prevalent during the period. The gallery depicts the comparative chronology of four major Bronze Age civilizations in 3rd millennium B.C.E. which existed simultaneously across the world. It also shows the major Harappan sites and representation of the layout of a street from Dholavira which, gives the visitor a picture of the urban civilization that flourished during the time.
The Harappan civilization produced many seals, a representation of which is displayed in the gallery. A remarkable seal depicts a man in ‘yogic’ posture, surrounded by animals, leading to the speculation that this could be ‘Pashupati’, an early form of Shiva. Many of the seals have inscriptions, the characters and symbols in a language that has not yet been deciphered. These seals give useful information about the civilization of Indus Valley and can be seen in different geometrical shapes.
There are also a few famous examples of the Harappan terracotta figurines. These offer the most intimate insight into the people of Harappan age, since many of the representations seem to have been taken from daily life. Another remarkable collection is the variety of toys, animal-like objects and household implements.
Weights made of Chert in different shapes and of different denominations are exhibited in one of the wall cases. Some well- shaped bronze tools and elaborate jewellery of semi-precious stones are also displayed in other showcases. Polished stone pillars are on show to present an idea of how these stones, made up of parts, were used in architecture – a unique feature of Harappan masonry.