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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Largest museum of Harappan culture coming up in Haryana

The world’s largest museum of Harappan culture is coming up in Rakhigarhi in Haryana to showcase about 5,000-year-old Indus Valley artifacts, officials said on Sunday.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who reviewed the ongoing construction of the museum by visiting the site on Saturday, directed Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials to complete the excavation work of the protected site at the earliest, besides ensuring the security of such sites to protect from damage.

An official statement said the Chief Minister directed officials concerned to prepare a list of artefacts and other items found during the excavation. Also, if villagers have such artefacts, a list of them should also be prepared.

He said arrangements should be made to keep the artefacts in the museum after talking to the villagers and assuring them that their names would be displayed along with the artefacts.

Located in the Narnaund subdivision of Hisar district, Rakhigarhi’s archaeological evidences are scattered in two villages — Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur.

During the preliminary excavations, a cluster of seven mounds marked as RGR 1 to RGR 7 were found which together formed the largest settlements of the Harappan civilization.

In 1963, the ASI for the first time started excavation in a village. Between 1998 and 2001, the ASI team led by Amarendra Nath again started excavation.

In 2013, 2016 and 2022, another excavation work led by V.S. Shinde, former Vice-Chancellor of Deccan University, Pune, was done.

Fifty-six skeletons have been found in Rakhigarhi since 1998. Of these, 36 were discovered by Shinde and his team. The skeletons of two women found in the excavation of mound number 7 are about 7,000 years old.

Shell bangles, a copper mirror and semi-precious stone beads have also been found in the hands of both the skeletons.

The presence of these shell bangles suggests that the people of Rakhigarhi had trade links with distant places.

According to Shinde, the civilization found in Rakhigarhi dates back to 5,000-5,500 BC, while the time of civilization found in Moenjodaro is believed to be around 4,000 BC.

The area of Moenjodaro is about 300 hectares, while Rakhigarhi is spread over an area of more than 550 hectares.

Shinde says the evidence found in Rakhigarhi, which also preserves the evidence of ancient civilization, indicates that this place was more prosperous than Harappa and Moenjodaro in terms of trade exchange.

It had trade links with Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Gujarat and Rajasthan, especially for making jewellery. People used to bring raw materials from here, then they used to make and sell their ornaments at these places.

The people of this civilization used to melt precious metals like copper, carnelian, agate, gold and make garlands of beads from them.

Kilns used to make jewellery from stones or metals have been found in large numbers. DNA analysis of the skeletons found in Rakhigarhi is still going on.

Elated over upcoming world-class museum in Rakhigarhi, a local resident Ashok said developing this area will not only make it a favourite tourist destination but will also increase employment opportunities for the villagers.

Another resident Sukhbir Malik said the efforts being made by the Central and state governments to develop historical cities are commendable. “This not only gives recognition to all such areas at the national and international level but also creates new opportunities for development.”

Photographs will be displayed in the museum to give the visitors a glimpse of Rakhigarhi’s history, officials told IANS.

A special zone for children has also been created in the museum to make them aware of history in a recreational way. Besides, an open-air theatre, galleries and a library have been constructed.

The Central government has allocated Rs 2,500 crore to develop tourist places and five historical places in the country and Rakhigarhi is one among them.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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