Mohenjo-daro – meaning ‘Mound of the Dead Men’ – is an incredible archaeological site in Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2,500 BC, this site was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and one of the world’s greatest early cities.
Mohenjo-daro is believed to originally have been known as ‘the city of the cockerel’, found inscribed on an Indus seal. Built in the 26th century BC, Mohenjo-daro was one of the Harappan Civilisation’s largest cities. This culture spanned much of what is now north India and Pakistan, reaching westwards to Iran.
At its height, the city was the most advanced of its time, with remarkable and sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning. Yet as the Indus civilisation went into rapid decline around 1,900 BC, Mohenjo-daro was abandoned.
Undocumented for 3,700 years, the site was ‘rediscovered’ in 1919 when archaeologist R. D. Banerji found what he thought was a Buddhist stupa. Instead, what he had found were the remains of an immense ancient city, arranged along a grid plan and likely boasting a peak population of 40,000.
Significant excavations have been ongoing at Mohenjo-daro, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Although unfortunately, the site has been threatened by erosion, especially considering its sheer size. Divided into two parts – the Citadel and Lower City – you can still see the fascinating remains of the Great Bath, the 12 metres-high Citadel, several houses, guard towers and more.
Getting to Mohenjo-daro
The site is not particularly easy or comfortable to get to as it is in rural Sindh – 30 kilometres from the nearest city, Larkana. However, direct flights run from Karachi to Mohenjo-daro 3 times a week or you can drive along the Indus Highway between Karachi and Peshawar.