What Did The Harappans Eat? Meat Or Lentils? Here’s What Their Diet Included!

Harappan food
by Mallika Khurana

The magnificent Indus Valley Civilisation makes India one of the oldest civilisations in the world. And because the most important fragments of the Indus Valley civilisation’s achievements were unearthed in Harappa, it is considered the most prominent segment of the civilisation. Surprisingly, our history books never let us in on the kind of food Harappans indulged in. Well, if this is a question that has been bothering you, we have answers!

This Is What The Harappan Food Consisted Of


Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

We have learned quite a lot about ancient ways of living from our history books. From developing the first precise system of weights and measurements to their mastery in designing efficient houses, city planning, and drainage systems, the Harappan civilisation created a lasting impact on our society. Now, it’s time to discover their cuisine!

According to several studies conducted by archaeologists and historians, it is believed that Harappan people didn’t stick to a vegetarian diet. Archaeological evidence states that the bones left behind in ruins showed that animals like buffalo, mutton, turtles, gharials, beef, and fish were also consumed by the residents. 

It is also believed that the Indus Valley Civilisation’s inhabitants also grew and consumed a variety of cereals and pulses in addition to meat. The most common crops in the era included peas, chickpeas, pigeon peas, horse gram, and green gram lentils. Grains like barley, wheat, rice, ragi, Italian millet, and sorghum were also grown and consumed by the Harappans. Moreover, there has been evidence proving the cultivation of oil-producing seed crops like linseed, sesame, and mustard.

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Their Diets Were Significantly Meat-Based

Harappa vessels

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Cattle used to be the majority of their meat, but the Harappans also kept chickens, buffalo, sheep, and goats. They also hunted wildfowl and other animals like antelope, wild boar, and deer. In the Harappan ruins, the bones of catfish and other kinds of marine fish were also found. Archaeologists have also found that kitchens were a part of the courtyard in the Harappan civilisation. Each home had a fireplace built with bricks for cooking. Various different vessels and pots for cooking were also found. 

It is surely fascinating to know that the food culture of ancient times has carried on into the modern world.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva