Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

Art and Culture Previous Years UPSC Main Questions


1. Highlight the Central Asian and Greco-Bactrian elements in Gandhara art.


1. Safeguarding the Indian Art Heritage is the need of the moment. Discuss.
2. Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab Travellers in the reconstruction of the history of India.
3. The Bhakti movement received a remarkable re-orientation with the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Discuss


1. How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of the Gupta numismatic art is not at all noticeable in later times?
2. Examine how the decline of the traditional artisanal industry in colonial India crippled the rural economy.


1. Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting folk motifs and narratives successfully expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate.
2. Krishnadeva Raya, the King of Vijayanagar, was not only an accomplished scholar himself but was also a great patron of learning and literature. Discuss.


1. The ancient civilization in the Indian sub-continent differed from those of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece in that its culture and traditions have been preserved without a breakdown to the present day. Comment.
2. Mesolithic rock-cut architecture of India not only reflects the cultural life of the times but also a fine aesthetic sense comparable to modem painting. Critically evaluate this comment.


1. To what extent has the urban planning and culture of the Indus Valley Civilization provided inputs to the present day urbanization? Discuss.
Grid planning and materials used
Sewage and waste disposal planning
Water conservation
Pottery and sculptures
Food and agriculture habits
Religious worship
2. Gandhara sculpture owed as much to the Romans as to the Greeks. Explain.
The Greek influence
-The Greek influence in Gandhara sculpture is is observed in the form of Buddha’s Wavy hair,  Draperies covering both Shoulders, footwear and Buddha under the projection of Greek God Herakles.
-The very concept of Man-God is attributed to Greeks.
-Stucco plaster which was commonly observed in Greek art was widely used in Gandhara artwork for decoration of monastic and Cult building.
Roman influence
As evident from the Buddha with a youthful apologize face dressed in garments resembling the scenes on Roman Imperial statues, Gandhara sculpture Incorporated many motifs and techniques from classical Roman art.
-The Gandhara art Drew from the anthropomorphic traditions of Roman religion.
-Budha dressed in garments resembling those seen on Roman Imperial statues the realistic culture of Buddha is associated with Romans.
-The Roman style at Gandhara consists of relief panels adorning the wall surface around the exteriors of the shrines.
3. Taxila university was one of the oldest universities of the world with which were associated with a number of renowned learned personalities of different disciplines. Its strategic location caused its fame to flourish, but unlike Nalanda, it is not considered as a university in the modern sense. Discuss.
 Because it did not award any degrees, did not have specific lecture halls and a centralized syllabus and neither did it have a library, things which were available in Nalanda. However it was still a very effective learning institution as teachers had complete autonomy to teach and training of eighteen silpas (art forms) were imparted.
The education system there was flexible, and was modified according to a student’s capabilities. Also, the teachers of Taxila worked with complete autonomy, forming their own school of learning with their specific set of rules and manner of functioning. Most of these schools were run by teachers in their private houses, and received no formal infrastructural support from the Taxila University, unlike Nalanda.
4. Sufis and medieval mystic saints failed to modify either the religious ideas and practices or the outward structure of Hindu / Muslim societies to any appreciable extent. Comment.
it failed to modify any considerable religious ideas and practices as evident from the continued idol worship, human and animal
sacrifices, untouchabilities, sati practices, polygamy, female foeticide, child marriages and so on.
The religious were still dominated by obscurantist and superstitious priests interpreting the religion for their own advantages. The mystical ideas of Sufism were constantly in conflict with the orthodox elements of Islam due to Sufism; pantheistic approach and emphasis on love, repentance, peace and renunciation. Though, Sufism did chip away at the
orthodoxy, it did not completely abolish orthodox practices or discourage all its adherents.

Sufis and medieval mystic saints did not have a defined vision to bring religious change across the subcontinent. There movements were localised in nature and lacked any considerable institutional set-up, there by failed to make up prolonged changes.
Moreover, they undoubtedly delineated social evils, but failed to provide an alternative solution for the same.
Gradually these movements turned out as lineage based movement, thereby increased factionism, competition, etc.


1. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness. Comment.
Pointers: Write about Three Sangams held between 100-250 AD.
Since poets were patronized by ruling elites- exaggerations about the victories, territorial influence.
More focus Hero-worship rather than how they shaped power balance and foreign relation with other states.
Social conditions in Sangam Age:
Talk about love (Akam poems) and wars (Puram poems); Varnas {Arashar (King/nobility), Brahmanas (priests), Vashiyar (traders), Velala (Farmer)};
about women condition, social interaction and death;
Economic conditions in Sangam Age:
Agri, hunting, gathering, fishing and pastoralism
Traders were prosperous- dealt with salt, corn, textile and gold;
Major export: silk, cotton, ivory, pepper and pearls- All highly valued by the foreigner;
Women actively involved in planting, weeding, husking and winnowing of paddy
Spinning, weaving, basket making, garland making and flower selling were among other occupations pursued by women.
2. Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions.
Tandava and Lasya mentioned in Natyashastra; Cosmic dance mentioned in Rig Veda; Lord Shiva’s dance; Nataraja sculpture, It is also described in the inscriptions of Mahabharata; Lord Krishna’s dance on Kaliya Nag along Yamuna river
3. Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture. Discuss.
Pointers: The Cholas followed and refined Pallava architecture, with following notable features:
Circular and Square Sanctums.
Beautified inner side of the external walls.
Special vimanas on the upper side of the sanctum.
Dome shaped sikhara and kalasa on the top of Gopurams.
Intricate sculptures and inscriptions on the walls of these temples.
Pillared mandapams namely ardha mandapa, maha mandapa and nandi mandapa.
Cholas studded the entire Tamil landscape with such temples including Nagaeshwvara, Brihadeshwvara, Airavateshwara and Chidambaram -their style even followed by other kingdoms in South India and Sri Lanka.
Add diagram too.
February 2024