The Great Bath is one of the best-known structures among the ruins of the Harappan Civilization excavated at Mohenjo-Daro in Sindh, Pakistan.

The Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro

The Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro is a large pool located in the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro, one of the largest cities of the Indus Valley Civilization that flourished in the 3rd millennium BCE. Mohenjo-daro was located in present-day Pakistan and was a major center of trade, commerce, and culture.

The Great Bath is a large, rectangular pool measuring 12 meters long, 7 meters wide, and 2.4 meters deep. It was lined with bricks and waterproofed with bitumen, which made it a remarkable feat of engineering for its time. The bath was fed by a system of channels and was surrounded by a series of rooms, which were likely used for changing, storage, and other purposes.

The exact purpose of the Great Bath remains unknown, but it is believed to have been used for religious ceremonies or as a public bath. It is one of the most distinctive features of Mohenjo-daro and provides valuable insights into the sophisticated urban planning and architecture of the Indus Valley Civilization. The Great Bath is considered an important archaeological site and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro is called the “earliest public water tank of the ancient world”. 

It measures approximately 12 meters (40 ft) by 7 meters (23 ft), with a maximum depth of 2.4 meters (8 ft). Two wide staircases, one from the north and one from the south, served as the entry to the structure. A ledge 1.4 meters (4 ft 7 in) high extending the entire width of the bath is at the lower ends of these stairs. 

The sloping floor leads to a small opening at the southwestern corner of the tank, connecting a corbelled arch drain, which led the used water out of the bath.

The floor of the tank was waterproof due to finely fitted bricks laid on the edge with gypsum plaster, and the side walls were constructed similarly. To make the tank even more watertight, a thick layer of bitumen (waterproof tar) was laid along the sides of the pool and presumably also on the floor. 

Brick colonnades were found on the eastern, northern, and southern edges. The conserved columns had stepped edges that may have held wooden screens or window frames. 

Two large doors lead into the complex from the south and other access was from the north and east. A series of rooms were located along the eastern edge of the building and in one room was a well that may have supplied some of the water needed to fill the tank. 

Rainwater also may have been collected for the purpose, but no inlet drains have been found. It may have had a long bathing pool built with waterproof bricks.

“Most scholars agree that this tank would have been used for special religious functions where water was used to purify and renew the well-being of the bathers. This indicates the importance attached to ceremonial bathing in sacred tanks, pools, and rivers since time immemorial.” J. M. Kenoyer

College of Priests

Across the street from The Great Bath, there was a large building with several rooms and three verandas, and two staircases leading to the roof and upper floor. Considering the size and proximity to the Great Bath, this building is tentatively termed the House of Priests and labeled as the “College of Priests”.

Related Post: Ganweriwala – the least excavated Indus Valley Site, Dholavira – Indus Valley Civilization site in Gujarat,

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