UPSC Mains Subject Wise PYQs – Art & Culture (2023-2013)

In this Article, we delve into the Art and Culture queries featured in the UPSC Mains, offering analysis and insights.


  • Explain the role of geographical factors towards the development of Ancient India.
  • What are the main features of Vedic society and religion? Do you think some of the features are still prevailing in Indian society?
  • What were the major technological changes introduced during the Sultanate period? How did those technological changes influence the Indian society?


  • How will you explain that medieval Indian temple sculptures represent the social life of those days?
  • Discuss the significance of the lion and bull figures in Indian mythology, art and architecture.


  • Evaluate the nature of the Bhakti Movement and its contribution to Indian culture.


  • The rock-cut architecture represents one of the most important sources of our knowledge of early Indian art and history. Discuss.
  • Pala period is the most significant phase in the history of Buddhism in India. Enumerate.
  • Indian Philosophy and tradition played a significant role in conceiving and shaping the monuments and their art in India. Discuss.
  • Persian literary sources of medieval India reflect the spirit of the age. Comment.


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


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


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


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


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • To what extent has the urban planning and culture of the Indus Valley Civilization provided inputs to the present-day urbanization? Discuss.
  • Gandhara sculpture owed as much to the Romans as to the Greeks. Explain.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions.
  • Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture. Discuss.

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