9 cultural continuities of ancient Hindu traditions from Harappan era

In this post we shall be highlighting few of the many cultural continuities from the bronze age Harappan or Sarasvati-Sindhu valley civilization (SSVC) down to the modern era for at least 5000 years, making Bharat the oldest surviving ancient civilization.

1. Tikka

Tikka or the decorative jewelry Hindu women wear on the forehead has its origins in Harappan civilization

(Harappan terracotta figure wearing a turban like headdress and tikka on forehead,  from the book ‘Mohenjo-daro and the Indus Civilization’ by John Marshall)

(Sculpture of a woman from Bharhut stupa dated to 200-100 BCE wearing tikka on forehead and similar headdress)

(modern Hindu women from north-western states wearing similar fashion)

2. Anklets

Special sort of Anklets Hindu women wear can be traced back to the Harappan culture.

(Taken from the book ‘The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati’ by Michel Danino)

(Sculpture of a woman from Mathura dated to 100-200 CE wearing similar anklets)

(Modern Rajasthani women wearing same anklet)

3. Bangles

Tradition of wearing bangles, mostly all over the arms by women can be traced to the Harappan culture.


(Harappan bangles and bangles as worn by the Harappan ‘dancing girl’ sculpture)

(The famous Mauryan Didarganj Yakshini wearing same sort of bangles on her arm)

(modern woman from north-west Bharat wearing same bangles on her hand)

4. Waist chain

Waist chains worn by Hindu women can also be traced to the Harappan tradition.

(Harappan terracotta figurine wearing waist chain, taken from the book ‘Excavations at Harappa’ by MS Vats)

(Sculpture of a female from Mathura dated to 100-200 CE wearing same waist chain as seen in the Harappan figure)

(Modern waist chain worn by Hindu women)

So from above points, it is clear that many fashions of modern Hindu women remain unchanged since bronze age

5. Swastikas

Swastika was a widespread ancient symbol all over the world, but particularly in Bharat it was a common symbol since ancient era and still remains a sacred symbol.

(Harappan Swastikas, taken from the book ‘Mohenjo-daro and the Indus Civilization’ by John Marshall)

(Modern Swastikas in Hindu tradition)

6. Fenced tree worship

We had written about it earlier on HinduPost. The fenced or railed tree worship of modern Hindus has its origins in Harappan civilization.

(Harappan seal showing a sacred fenced tree, taken from the book ‘Deciphering the Indus Script’ by Asko Parpola)

(Sacred tree worship from Udayagiri Jain cave, dated to 200-100 BCE)

(Modern Hindu tree worship)

7. Bathing platforms

Bathing platforms or tanks can be seen in many Hindu temples, we can trace the origins of this tradition to the Harappan civilization, where bathing platforms like the famous ‘Great Bath’ have been found.

(The Great Bath of Mohenjo Daro)

(Similar tank from Nagarjunakonda site, dated to 200-300 CE)

(Modern Hindu temple tank)

8. Yogic practices

We have already written on ancient roots of Yoga. The most basic Yogic meditative postures are encountered in Harappan civilization, like this terracotta figurine with folded hands in ‘Namaste’ posture:

(Taken from the book ‘Excavations at Harappa’ by MS Vats)

9. Fire altars.

Brick made fire altars found in Harappan sites clearly indicate presence of Vedic rituals in Harappan civilization. No Vedic ritual was possible without making use of fire altar. It is yet another continuity from Harappan era.

(Fire altar from Kalibangan site of Harappan civilization)

(Fire altar from Lothal site of Harappan civilization, taken from the book ‘The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati’ by Michel Danino)

(Modern Hindu worship using altar)

Thus, it is clear that many of the modern Hindu or Bharatiya traditions can be dated back to the bronze age, 5000 years ago. As inheritors of such an ancient tradition it is our duty to protect it and we must all take a pledge to safeguard the ancient traditions passed down to us by our great forefathers.

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About the Author

Dauhshanti & Paanchajanyaa
@Dauhshanti - A proud Polytheist & Idolater, blessed to be born into the civilization of Bharata. @paanchajanyaa - Soldier of dharma... Yato dharmas tato jayah...