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What archaeologists are finding out now is that it is the biggest ever Harappan city, larger and more extensive than the massive Mohenjo Daro.“The whole site is around 400 hectares, which is nearly double that of Mohenjo Daro,” says Vasant Shivram Shinde, professor of archaeology and joint director of the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute, Pune. The Global Heritage Fund (GHF), a non-profit organization based in the US that works to preserve the world’s most endangered heritage sites, put Rakhigarhi on its project in 2012.Its script is yet to be deciphered, and the knowledge of social structures and life during that period is scant. It is one of the few Harappan sites which has an unbroken history of settlement—Early Harappan farming communities from 6000 to 4500 BC, followed by the Early Mature Harappan urbanization phase from 4500 to 3000 BC, and then the highly urbanized Mature Harappan era from 3000 BC to the mysterious collapse of the civilization around 1800 BC.

People living here are used to finding little bits and pieces of ancient history—even 10 years ago, the villagers will tell you, you could not plough your field without unearthing a potsherd (bits of pottery—ceramic is exceptionally durable).

There are no signs at all to suggest that in a small room on the first floor of this house, Saroae is sitting on a treasure trove that is both priceless and timeless.

Displayed in rickety cabinets with glass fronts, Saroae’s treasure does not look like much—bits of pottery, beads of various sizes, a few clay figurines and toys—but their antiquity is stunning.

Now he can give you detailed descriptions of the various types of Harappan pottery and figurines, tell you about the great Harappan city that once stood where the village and its farmland is, down to town planning details, and walk you through the most important areas for archaeological excavations.

That Rakhigarhi was a large Harappan town was known in 1963, when the area was first surveyed.

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