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Indian Culture for Prelims Preparation

What UPSC says?

History of India (The UPSC syllabus does not explicitly mention the term culture, but it’s embedded in the topic of History of India).

About the subject:

Indian Culture, similar to Indian History can be divided into Ancient, Medieval and Modern times.

It encompasses a wide range of topics like Art, Architecture, Literature and lifestyle covering the length and breadth of our great nation.

Probably, the most difficult area of study among the subjects as per the syllabus prescribed by UPSC, culture requires you to be smart in your approach. Art forms and architecture tend to have distinct features across regions and time periods. Hence, as an aspirant, you should focus more on the underlying aspects. This would give you an advantage for the Mains written examination as well.

Relevance of the subject:

A nation’s identity is deeply rooted in its culture, traditions and customs. The same also dominates an individual’s upbringing. It is imperative to understand about one’s own culture and others, their co existence and confluence.

As an administrator, it’s not certain that you get a cadre of your choice and you might find yourself in an unknown territory. Therefore, having a grasp over a region’s culture would go a long way in helping you acclimatise to the area and aid in governance.



  1. Spectrum – Facets of Indian Culture
  2. Ancient India – Makkan Lal [Old NCERT]
  3. NCERT
  4. NIOS material