What Were Houses Like in Ancient Indus Times?

Houses in Ancient Indus Times

The civilization of the ancient Indus Valley, also known as the Harappan civilization, thrived for over a thousand years from approximately 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. During this time, their cities were among the most advanced and prosperous in the world.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this civilization was their architecture and housing. Let’s take a closer look at what houses were like in ancient Indus times.

The Layout of Houses

Houses in ancient Indus times were typically made of mud bricks, which were sun-dried and baked. The houses were built around a central courtyard, which was often open to the sky. This courtyard was a place for family gatherings, socializing with neighbors, and even for cooking.

The Size of Houses

The size of houses varied depending on the wealth and status of their owners. The larger houses belonged to wealthy merchants or rulers. These houses had multiple rooms and several stories that accommodated extended families.


The furniture in ancient Indus houses was generally sparse but functional. Some houses had low platforms or benches as seating arrangements while others had woven mats or rugs spread on the floor where people could sit or sleep.

The Kitchen Area

The kitchen area was an essential part of every house. It was usually located near the entrance so that smoke could escape easily through vents on the roof. The kitchen had a large clay oven where bread and other food items were baked.

  • Food storage containers made from pottery or woven baskets were also kept in this area.
  • Cooking utensils included pots, pans, mortars, and pestles.


It might surprise you to know that some houses had bathrooms with flush toilets! These toilets consisted of brick-lined pits that were connected to a sewer system. The toilets had a seat made of wood or stone and were often located outside the main house.

The Roof

The roof of houses was flat, and it served as an additional living space for the family. It was used for sleeping during hot summer nights, drying grains, and even for social gatherings.


In conclusion, houses in ancient Indus times were remarkable structures that showcased the sophistication and ingenuity of their creators. Their architecture was designed to suit the needs of a thriving civilization, and their homes were spaces that fostered community, family bonding, and socializing. It’s fascinating to think about how much we can learn about our history by studying the architecture and housing of ancient civilizations like the Indus Valley.