Ancient History and Art & Culture Questions – UPSC Prelims

In this article, You will find Previous Years Ancient History And Art & Culture Questions in UPSC Prelims 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011. (Topic-wise UPSC Prelims Questions).

Ancient History and Art & Culture

(Previous Year Topic-Wise UPSC Question Papers)

2019

1.Which one of the following is not a Harappan site?

(a) Chanhudaro

(b) Kot Diji

(c) Sohgaura

(d) Desalpur

Answer: C

2. In which of the following relief sculpture inscriptions is ‘Ranyo Ashoka’ (King Ashoka) mentioned along with the stone portrait of Ashoka?

(a) Kanganahalli

(b) Sanchi

(c) Shahbazagrhi

(d) Sohgaura

Answer: A

3. Consider the following:

1.Deification of the Buddha

2.Treading the path of Bodhisattvas

3.Image worship and rituals

Which of the above is/are the feature/ features of Mahayana Buddhism?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: D

4.Building ‘Kalyaana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of

(a) Chalukya

(b) Chandela

(c) Rashtrakuta

(d) Vijayanagara

Answer: D

2018

1. Consider the following pairs:

Tradition                                    State

1. Chapchar Kut Festival   —  Mizoram

2. Khongjom Parba ballad —  Manipur

3. Thang-Ta Dance           —   Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2

(c) 1 and 2

(d) 2 and 3


2. With reference to culture history of India,consider the following statements:

  1. Most of the Tyagaraja Kritis are devotional songs in praise of Lord Krishna.
  2. Tyagaraja created several new ragas.
  3. Annamacharya and Tyagaraja are contemporaries.
  4. Annamacharya kirtnas are devotional songs in praise of Lord Venketshwara.

Which of the statement is given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 4 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) 2, 3 and 4


3. With reference to the cultural history of India, consider the following statements:

  1. White marble was used in making Buland Darwaza and Khankah at Fatehpur Sikri.
  2. Red Sandstone and marble were used in making Bara Imambara and Rumi Darwaza in Lucknow.

Which of the following statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


4. With reference to the Indian History, who among the following is a future Buddha, yet to come to save the world?

(a) Avalokiteshvara

(b) Lokesvara

(c) Maitreya

(d) Padmapani


5. The well-known painting “Bani Thani” belongs to the

(a) Bundi school

(b) Jaipur school

(c) Kangra school

(d) Kishangarh school


6. With reference to the religious practices in India, the “Sthanakvasi” sect belongs to

(a) Buddhism

(b) Jainism

(c) Vaishnavism

(d) Shaivism

2017


7. With reference to the difference between the culture of Rigvedic Aryans and Indus Valley people, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. Rigvedic Aryans used the coat of mail and helmet in warfare whereas the people of Indus Valley Civilization did not leave any evidence of using them.
  2. Rigvedic Aryans knew gold, silver and copper whereas Indus Valley people knew only copper and iron.
  3. Rigvedic Aryans had domesticated the horse whereas there is no evidence of Indus Valley people having been aware of this animal.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


8. With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements:

  1. Sautrantika and Sammitiya were the sects of Jainism.
  2. Sarvastivadin held that the constituents of phenomena were not wholly momentary, but existed forever in a latent form.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


9. Which one of the following was a very important seaport in the Kakatiya kingdom?

(a) Kakinada

(b) Motupalli

(c) Machilipatnam (Masulipatnam)

(d) Nelluru


10. The painting of Bodhisattva Padmapani is one of the most famous and oft-illustrated paintings at:

(a) Ajanta

(b) Badami

(c) Bagh

(d) Ellora


11. Consider the following pairs:

TraditionsCommunities
1Chaliha Sahib FestivalSindhis
2Nanda Raj Jaat YatraGonds
3Wari-WarkariSanthals

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) None of the above


12. Which of the following is/are famous for Sun temples?

  1. Arasavalli
  2. Amarakantak
  3. Omkareshwar

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


13. With reference to Manipuri Sankirtana, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a song and dance performance.
  2. Cymbals are the only musical instruments used in the performance.
  3. It is performed to narrate the life and deeds of Lord Krishna.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1 only

2016


14. In the context of the history of India, consider the following pairs:

Term             Description

  1. Eripatti       Land, revenue from which was set apart for the maintenance of the village tank
  2. Taniyurs      Villages donated to a single Brahmin or a group of Brahmins
  3. Ghatikas     Colleges generally attached to the temples

Which of the pairs given above correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 3


15. With reference to the cultural history of India, the memorizing of chronicles, dynastic histories and epic tales was the profession of who of the following?

(a) Shramana

(b) Parivrajaka

(c) Agrahaarika

(d) Maagadha


16. Who of the following had first deciphered the edicts of Emperor Ashoka?

(a) Georg Buhler

(b) James Prinsep

(c) Max Muller

(d) William Jones


17. Which one of the following books of ancient India has the love story of the son of the founder of Sunga dynasty?

(a) Swapnavasavadatta

(b) Malavikagnimitra

(c) Meghadoota

(d) Ratnavali


18. With reference to the cultural history of medieval India, consider the following statements:

  1. Siddhas (Sittars) of Tamil region were monotheistic and condemned idolatry.
  2. Lingayats of Kannada region questioned the theory of rebirth and rejected the caste hierarchy.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


19. Who of the following had first deciphered the edicts of Emperor Ashoka?

(a) Georg Buhler

(b) James Prinsep

(c) Max Muller

(d) William Jones


20. With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements:

  1. The concept of Bodhisattva is central to Hinayana sect of Buddhism.
  2. Bodhisattva is a compassionate one on his way to enlightenment.
  3. Bodhisattva delays achieving his own salvation to help all sentient beings on their path to it.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


21. What is/are common to the two historical places known as Ajanta and Mahabalipuram?

  1. Both were built in the same period.
  2. Both belong to the same religious denomination.
  3. Both have rock-cut monuments.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) None of the statements given above is correct


22. In the context of the history of India, consider the following pairs:

Term              Description

  1. Eripatti   :   Land, revenue from which was set apart for the maintenance of the village tank
  2. Taniyurs  :   Villages donated to a single Brahmin or a group of Brahmins
  3. Ghatikas :   Colleges generally attached to the temples

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 3

2015


23. Which of the following kingdoms were associated with the life of the Buddha?

  1. Avanti
  2. Gandhara
  3. Kosala
  4. Magadha

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4

(d) 3 and 4 only


24. Kalamkari painting refers to

(a) a hand-painted cotton textile in South India

(b) a handmade drawing on bamboo handicrafts in North-East India

(c) a block-painted woollen cloth in Western Himalayan region of India

(d) a hand-painted decorative silk cloth in North-Western India


25. Which of the following kingdoms were associated with the life of the Buddha?

  1. Avanti
  2. Gandhara
  3. Kosala
  4. Magadha

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4

(d) 3 and 4 only


26. Who of the following founded a new city on the south bank of a tributary to river Krishna and undertook to rule his new kingdom as the agent of a deity to whom all the land south of the river Krishna was supposed to belong?

(a) Amoghavarsha I

(b) Ballala II

(c) Harihara I

(d) Prataparudra II


27. With reference to the art and archaeological history of India, which one among the following was made earliest?

(a) Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar

(b) Rock-cut Elephant at Dhauli

(c) Rock-cut Monuments at Mahabalipuram

(d) Varaha Image at Udayagiri


28. Which one of the following was given classical language status recently?

(a) Odia

(b) Konkani

(c) Bhojpuri

(d) Assamese

2014


29. Which of the following Kingdoms were associated with the life of the Buddha?

  1. Avanti
  2. Gandhara
  3. Kosala
  4. Magadha

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2 and 4

(c) 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 3 and 4


30. Which one of the following pairs does not form part of the six systems of Indian Philosophy?

(a) Mimamsa and Vedanta

(b) Nyaya and Vaisheshika

(c) Lokayata and Kapalika

(d) Sankhya and Yoga


31. Consider the following towns of India:

  1. Bhadrachalam
  2. Chanderi
  3. Kancheepuram
  4. Karnal 

Which of the above are famous for the production of traditional sarees/fabric?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) 1, 3 and 4


32. Consider the following languages

  1. Gujarati
  2. Kannada
  3. Telugu

Which of the above has/have been declared as ‘Classical Language / Languages’ by the Government?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


33. With reference to the famous Sattriya dance, consider the following statements:

  1. Sattriya is a combination of music, dance and drama.
  2. It is a centuries-old living tradition of Vaishnavites of Assam.
  3. It is based on classical Ragas and Talas of devotional songs composed by Tulsidas, Kabir and Mirabai.

Which of the statements above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


34. With reference to the Indian history of art and culture, consider the following pairs:

Famous work of sculptureSite
1A grand image of Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana with numerous celestial musicians above and the sorrowful figures of his followers belowAjanta
2A huge image of Varaha Avatar (boarincarnation) of Vishnu, as he rescues Goddess Earth from the deep and chaotic waters, sculpted on rockMount Abu
3“Arjuna’s Penance”/ “Descent of Ganga” sculpated on the surface of huge bouldersMamalla-puram

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


35. With reference to India’s culture and tradition, what is `Kalaripayattu’?

(a) It is an ancient Bhakti cult of Shaivism still prevalent in some parts of South India

(b) It is an ancient style bronze and brasswork still found in southern part of Coromandel area

(c) It is an ancient form of dance-drama and a living tradition in the northern part of Malabar

(d) It is an ancient martial art and a living tradition in some parts of South India


36. Consider the following pairs:

  1. Garba : Gujarat
  2. Mohiniattam : Odisha
  3. Yakshagana : Karnataka

Which of the pairs given above is / are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


37. With reference to Buddhist history, tradition and culture in India, consider the following pairs:

Famous shrineLocation
1Tabo monastery and temple complexSpiti Valley
2Lhotsava Lhakhang temple, NakoZanskar Valley
3Alchi temple complexLadakh

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly atched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


38. A community of people called Manganiyars is well-known for their

(a) martial arts in North-East India

(b) musical tradition in North-West India

(c) classical vocal music in South India

(d) pietra dura tradition in Central India


39. With reference to the cultural history of India, the term ‘Panchayatan’ refers to

(a) an assembly of village elders

(b) a religious sect

(c) a style of temple construction

(d) an administrative functionary

2013


40. Which of the following statements is/are applicable to Jain doctrine?

  1. The surest way of annihilating Karma is to practice penance
  2. Every object, even the smallest particle has a soul
  3. Karma is the bane of the soul and must be ended

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


41. The Chinese traveler Yuan Chwang (Hiuen Tsang) who visited India recorded the general conditions and culture of India at that time. In this context, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The roads and river-routes were completely immune from robbery.
  2. As regards punishment for offences, ordeals by fire, water and poison were the instruments for determining the innocence or guilt of a person.
  3. The tradesmen had to pay duties at ferries and barrier stations.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


42. Which of the following characterizes/ characterize the people of Indus Civilization?

  1. They possessed great palaces and temples.
  2. They worshipped both male and female deities.
  3. They employed horse-drawn chariots in warfare.

Select the correct statement/ statements using the codes given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None of the statements given above is correct


43. Some Buddhist rock-cut caves are called Chaityas, while the others are called Viharas. What is the difference between the two?

(a) Vihara is a place of worship, while Chaitya is the dwelling place of the monks

(b) Chaitya is a place of worship, while Vihara is the dwelling place of the monks

(c) Chaitya is the stupa at the far end of the cave, while Vihara is the hall axial to it

(d) There is no material difference between the two


44. Which one of the following describes best the concept of Nirvana in Buddhism?

(a) The extinction of the flame of desire

(b) The complete annihilation of self

(c) A state of bliss and rest

(d) A mental stage beyond all comprehension


45. Which of the following characterizes/characterize the people of Indus Civilization?

  1. They possessed great palaces and temples
  2. They worshipped both male and female deities
  3. They employed horse-drawn chariots in warfare

Select the correct statement/statements using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None of the statements given above is correct


46. With reference to the history of Indian rock-cut architecture, consider the following statements:

  1. The caves at Badami are the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India
  2. The Barabar rock-cut caves were originally made for Ajivikas by Emperor Chandragupta Maurya
  3. At Ellora, caves were made for different faiths.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


47. In the context of cultural history of India, a pose in dance and dramatics called ‘Tribhanga’ has been a favourite of Indian artists from ancient times till today. Which one of the following statements best describes this pose?

(a) One leg is bent and the body is slightly but oppositely curved at waist and neck

(b) Facial expressions, hand gestures and make-up are combined to symbolize certain epic or historic characters

(c) Movements of body, face and hands are used to express oneself or to tell a story

(d) A little smile, slightly curved waist and certain hand gestures are emphasized to express the feelings of love or eroticism


48. Consider the following Bhakti Saints:

  1. Dadu Dayal
  2. Guru Nanak
  3. Tyagaraja

Who among the above was/were preaching when the Lodi dynasty fell and Babur took over?

(a) 1 and 3

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 2


49. Consider the following historical places:

  1. Ajanta Caves
  2. Lepakshi Temple
  3. Sanchi Stupa

Which of the above places is/are also known for mural paintings?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None


50. With reference to the history of philosophical thought in India, consider the following statements regarding Sankhya school:

  1. Sankhya does not accept the theory of rebirth or transmigration of soul.
  2. Sankhya holds that it is the self-knowledge that leads to liberation and not any exterior influence or agent.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

2012


51. With reference to the history of ancient India, which of the following was/were common to both Buddhism and Jainism?

  1. Avoidance of extremities of penance and enjoyment
  2. Indifference to the authority of the Vedas
  3. Denial of efficacy of rituals

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


52. Lord Buddha’s image is sometimes shown with the hand gesture called ‘Bhumisparsha Mudra’. It symbolizes

(a) Buddha’s calling of the Earth to watch over Mara and to prevent Mara from disturbing his meditation

(b) Buddha’s calling of the Earth to witness his purity and chastity despite the temptations of Mara

(c) Buddha’s reminder to his followers that they all arise from the Earth and finally dissolve into the Earth, and thus this life is transitory

(d) Both the statements (a) and (b) are correct in this context


53. With reference to the guilds (Shreni) of ancient India that played a very important role in the country’s economy, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. Every guild was registered with the central authority of the State and the king was the chief administrative authority on them.
  2. The wages, rules of work, standards and prices were fixed by the guild.
  3. The guild had judicial powers over its own members.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


54. With reference to the scientific progress of ancient India, which of the statements given below are correct?

  1. Different kinds of specialized surgical instruments were in common use by 1st century AD.
  2. Transplant of internal organs in the human body had begun by the beginning of 3rd century AD.
  3. The concept of sine of an angle was known in 5th century AD.
  4. The concept of cyclic quadrilaterals was known in 7th century AD.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4


55. The religion of early Vedic Aryans was primarily of

(a) Bhakti

(b) image worship and Yajnas

(c) worship of nature and Yajnas

(d) worship of nature and Bhakti


56. The Nagara, the Dravida and the Vesara are the

(a) three main racial groups of the Indian subcontinent

(b) three main linguistic divisions into which the languages of Indian can be classified

(c) three main styles of Indian temple architecture

(d) three main musical Gharanas prevalent in India


57. With reference to Dhrupad, one of the major traditions of India that has been kept alive for centuries, which of the following statements are correct?

  1. Dhrupad originated and developed in the Rajput kingdoms during the Mughal period.
  2. Dhrupad is primarily a devotional and spiritual music.
  3. Dhrupad Alap uses Sanskrit syllables from Mantras.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None of the above is correct


58. How do you distinguish between Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dances?

  1. Dancers occasionally speaking dialogues is found in Kuchipudi dance but not in Bharatanatyam.
  2. Dancing on the brass plate by keeping the feet on its edges is a feature of Bharatanatyam but Kuchipudi dance does not have such a form of movements.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

2011


59. The “dharma” and “rita” depict a central idea of ancient Vedic civilization of India. In this context, consider the following statements:

  1. Dharma was a conception of obligations and of the discharge of one’s duties to oneself and to others.
  2. Rita was the fundamental moral law governing the functioning of the universe and all it contained.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


60. The Jain philosophy holds that the world is created and maintained by

(a) Universal Law

(b) Universal Truth

(c) Universal Faith

(d) Universal Soul


61. India maintained its early cultural contacts and trade links with Southeast Asia across the Bay of Bengal. For this pre-eminence of early maritime history of Bay of Bengal, which of the following could be the most convincing explanation/explanations?

(a) As compared to other countries, India had a better ship-building technology in ancient and medieval times

(b) The rulers of southern India always patronized traders, brahmin priests and buddhist monks in this context

(c) Monsoon winds across the Bay of Bengal facilitated sea voyages

(d) Both (a) and (b) are convincing explanations in this context


62. Regarding the Indus Valley Civilization, consider the following statements:

  1. It was predominantly a secular civilization and the religious element, though present, did not dominate the scene.
  2. During this period, cotton was used for manufacturing textiles in India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

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