Important Topics of Art & Culture - UPSC GS-I

In Paper-I of the Preliminary stage of the civil services examination and UPSC Mains GS-I, the subject ‘Art and Culture’ plays a very important role. UPSC asks various questions from this segment and hence, it becomes important for the IAS Exam aspirants to know the important topics under Art and Culture.

To complement your preparation for UPSC 2023, check the following links:

Art and Culture Important Topics

The table mentioned below gives you the important topics and sub-topics for the subject, ‘Art and Culture’ for UPSC:

Art and Culture – Topics and Sub-Topics
Various schools of Indian Philosophy
  • Nyaya
  • Vaiseska
  • Samkhya
  • Yoga
  • Purva  mimamasa
  • Vedanta
  • Carvaka
Religious Movements
  • Jainism
  • Buddhism
  • Brahmanism
Literary Sources and other sources
  • Religious (Vedic, Buddhism, Jainism, Sangam)
  • Non-religious (Social, Political, Economic etc.)
  • Archeological (Inscription/Epigraphy, Numismatics/Coins, monuments)
  • Foreigners (Greek, Chinese, Arab travellers)
Vedic Literature – Rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva
  • Vedas – Vidi-meaning to know; shruti to hear verbal transmission
  • Rig Vedas
  • Later Vedic Age
  • Samaveda
  • Yajurveda
  • Atharva Veda

Read types of Vedas in the linked article.

Other Literature
  • Aranyakas
  • Upanishads
  • Puranas
Buddhist Literature 
  • Jatakas
  • Pitakas
  • Vinay Pitak
  • Sutta Pitaks
  • Abhidhamma Pitak
  • Milanda Panho
  • Angutar Nikaya
Jain Literature
  • Language: Prakrit
  • Kalpa Sutra
  • 24 tirthankars
  • Nayadhamma Kaha
  • Acharanga Sutra
Sangam Literature
  • Language – Tamil
  • Silappadigarama – Ilango Adigal, Kovalan, Madhavi, Kannagi
  • Manimegalai
  • Tolkappiyam
  • Rock-cut architecture – Badami, Barabar, Chaitra, Vihar
  • Indus Valley Civilization – Red and Black Pottery
  • Printed Grey ware
  • Sculpture – Mathura, Gandhara, Amravati
  • Buddhist Architecture
  • Temple Architecture
Temple Architecture
  • Temple basics: Sanctum Sanctorum (Gharbhgriha) Mandapa Shikara Vahana
  • Dravida Style
  • Nagara Sytle
  • Vesara Style
  • Gopurama, Vimana etc. (it is recommenced to focus on terminologies also here)
  • Indian Bronze Sculpture
  • Indo-Islamic Architecture
Modern Architecture
  • Mural/Wall Painting
  • Miniatures
  • Modern Painting
  • Bharatanatyam
  • Kathak
  • Kuchipudi
  • Manipuri
  • Kathakali
  • Mohiniyattam
  • Sattriya
  • Odissa
  • Folk Dances
  • Hindustani Music
  • Carnatic Music
  • Differences, Swar, ragas, personalities
  • Music instruments – Wind, Stringed, Percussion
  • Types, Difference in H and C and W
  • Languages in India
  • Calendars
  • Fairs and Festivals
  • Martial Art
  • Cultural institutions in India

Candidates can get History notes for UPSC from the links below:

Ancient History Notes for UPSC Medieval History Notes for UPSC Modern History Notes for UPSC

UPSC Preparation:

India Year Book – 5 Things to Know UPSC Calendar 2023
Documents Required for UPSC Exam Language Papers in UPSC – Tips to Study
UPSC Admit Card IAS Eligibility Criteria


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