Any doubts?

  1. Profile photo of Vinod Kumbhar Vinod Kumbhar

    Great work ever..

  2. Profile photo of Tanya Sinha Tanya Sinha

    I took pre this year. I was so confused in art and culture part. Can someone pls help me with this. What source to read in art and culture? and where did the question come from? (Howcome i never heard of gathika )

    1. Profile photo of Aashutosh Chaarann Aashutosh Chaarann

      try at least 3 books on same topic, that will cover wide view on that particular topic (by topic I mean Ancient/Modern History w/e) start with V.D. Mahajan Ancient History, Old NCERT History+Culture book and Evolution of Indian Culture (failing to recall the name of writer atm)

  3. Profile photo of Avinash Pakala Avinash Pakala

    no new additions?

  4. Profile photo of Ashley Vic Ashley Vic

    The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, launched the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme on 21st January, 2015, with a focus on holistic development of heritage cities.
    With a duration of 27 months (completing in March 2017) and a total outlay of INR 500 Crores.

  5. Profile photo of Shailesh Ghanmode Shailesh Ghanmode

    Very Nice ..

  6. Profile photo of Simran Bains Simran Bains

    Great compilation!! Very informative! 🙂

  7. Profile photo of Krishna Y Krishna Y

    Good information.

  8. Profile photo of Surabhi Mishra Surabhi Mishra

    Really thank you guys for doing such a good work, but i am still struggling with art n architecture portion. can someone please suggest what actually to read on this topic?

    1. Profile photo of Hemal Patel Hemal Patel

      Hi Surabhi,

      Apart from the wonderful material put up by civicsdaily, you can also dig NIOS.

      1. Profile photo of Surabhi Mishra Surabhi Mishra

        Hello Hemal
        thank you for reply….

      2. Profile photo of Root Root

        Agreed. NIOS is another wonderful resource.

    2. Profile photo of Root Root

      Hey Surabhi, answering this question a bit late but if you scan through this page till the infinite down – you will find a lot of CCRT material has been curated & put here.

      We will keep revisiting this feature in due time again.

      1. Profile photo of Surabhi Mishra Surabhi Mishra

        Thanks you… its such a great help…

  9. Profile photo of Kanhiya Singh Kanhiya Singh

    what is icon of shiva

    1. Profile photo of Vatsal Kavaiya Vatsal Kavaiya

      If you are asking for Shiva’s icon, you will not be able to find it, but there are many signs and symbols through which you can identify Shiva. Some of them are Trishul (Trident), Rudraksh, ‘OM’ (The peace of soul) , ‘Bilipatra’ and the major one is Shivaling. Besides the idol of dancing Shiva, which is popularly known as Natraj is the proof one of his most beautiful existance.

  10. Profile photo of Praveen Rohankar Praveen Rohankar

    What is meaning of “Spirit of universality” ?

    1. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

      Universality is a religious, theological, and philosophical concept with universal application or applicability. Universalist doctrines consider all people in their formation.
      Universal value of their doctrine and moral principles, and feel inclusive. The living truth is seen as more far-reaching than national, cultural, or religious boundaries.
      So basically, following Weltanschauung approach in order to achieve spirit of universality and to reach global world platform where India can show its core civilisational values and inclusiveness enshrined in Upanishads and vedas.

  11. Profile photo of sheikh altaf sheikh altaf

    informative article

  12. Profile photo of Ashwani Kumar Singh Ashwani Kumar Singh

    what is a kutumbalam?

    About Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple:

    It is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva at city of Thrissur, of Kerala state.
    This temple is a classic example of the architectural style of Kerala.
    It has monumental towers on all four sides and also a (kuttambalam?)
    Mural paintings depicting various episodes from Mahabharata can be seen inside the temple. The shrines and the Kuttambalam display vignettes carved in wood.
    The temple, along with the mural paintings, has been declared as a National Monument the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (or AMASR Act).

    1. Profile photo of Sumer Shah Sumer Shah

      Thanks for this. Was this in News recently? We should focus on temples which were in news recently…

  13. Profile photo of Narayana Sarma Narayana Sarma

    Mahamaham is a Hindu festival celebrated every 12 years in the Mahamaham tank located in Kumbakonam, the temple city of Tamil Nadu.

    The sculpture represents the art of Pala Kings of the Bengal. Probably, Rajendra Chola brought it after his conquest of Bengal

    Ref: The Hindu

    1. Profile photo of Sajina Ban Sajina Ban

      About mahamaham may be a question for coming mains exam. Because the mahamaham festival occurred in 2004. The next in 2016. Kumbakonam that is temple city in tanjore district.
      1. This function observed in different times like
      *equinox commencement ( yoga ) and its end
      * makara sankrathi
      2 . the function performed in sacred places like
      * temple
      3.2016 is the chances of every people to be good .because the main event in mahamaham is the whole world in a deluge on account of the wrath of hindu god shiva for sins committed by human in earth.
      4.a well in front of mahamaham temple is located inside the tank. The well have different root for passing water to different temple.
      5 . some of astronomers believe that when the planet Jupiter passes over Leo on the day of festival that time the tank water will be full with minerals , that will empty during 11 years .But in my personal opinion the minerals will dissappear within 6 month and water will empty in 1 year …The only reason is people behaviour .
      5)the intresting picture in this function is the devine pot will broken by shiva in the form of hunter. The pot broke into many parts and scatter around ,that is the reason so many temple in kumbakonam.

      1. Profile photo of Narayana Sarma Narayana Sarma

        Thanks a lot!

      2. Profile photo of Daal Baati Daal Baati

        This festival is huge. I didnt knew even one of all the points you have mentioned. Thanx.

      3. Profile photo of Rini Sen Rini Sen

        Very informative! Thanks 🙂

        1. Profile photo of Lalitkumar Bannagare Lalitkumar Bannagare

          yes this is vry important to aspirants

  14. Profile photo of gurshinder sidhu gurshinder sidhu

    Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (32)
    Agra Fort (1983)
    Ajanta Caves (1983)
    Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)
    Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)
    Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)
    Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)
    Elephanta Caves (1987)
    Ellora Caves (1983)
    Fatehpur Sikri (1986)
    Great Living Chola Temples (1987)
    Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)
    Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)
    Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)
    Hill Forts of Rajasthan (2013)
    Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993)
    Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)
    Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002)
    Mountain Railways of India (1999)
    Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)
    Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (2014)
    Red Fort Complex (2007)
    Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)
    Sun Temple, Konârak (1984)
    Taj Mahal (1983)
    The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)
    Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (2014)
    Kaziranga National Park (1985)
    Keoladeo National Park (1985)
    Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)
    Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988)
    Sundarbans National Park (1987)
    Western Ghats (2012)

    1. Profile photo of Lalitkumar Bannagare Lalitkumar Bannagare

      nice information i write it down

  15. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

    Lets have a walkabout in Hindu caves..ha ha!!
    1)The Borra caves are located in Anatagiri Hills of the Araku valley in Vishakapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh famous for Shiva Lingam.
    2)The Varaha cave famous for temple of incarnations of Lord Vishnu “Varaha”.
    The rock-cut cave temple architecture is the part of the UNESCO World Heritage group of monuments.
    3)Badami cave got four caves 2 of them are dedicated to God Vishnu, One to God Shiva.
    4)Ellora Caves no.13 to 29 relates to Brahmanical nature..
    One of the famous kailash temple/leni finds great attraction for shaiva disciples.
    5)Elephanta caves – featured Andhakasuravada murti; cosmic dance of Nataraja; Kalyanasundara murti; Gangadhara murti; Ravana shaking Kailasa and Siva as Lakulisa.(Dedicated for Shiva)

    1. Profile photo of gurshinder sidhu gurshinder sidhu

      Jogeshwar and kanheri caves hav brahamincal temple..also a hindu cave then???

      1. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

        Jogeshwari caves got hindus and Buddhist cave temples.Idols of dattatreya(Vishnu),Hanuman and ganesh finds good place here.
        But,Kanheri caves largely finds Buddhist shrines.It didn’t show any space for Hinduism..
        Mention reference if any..

      2. Profile photo of Rohit Pande Rohit Pande

        By and large yes – but they also have buddhist renderings.

  16. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

    Ajanta caves,Ellora caves (Maharashtra) ,Elephanta caves (Maharashtra) and bhimbetaka rock shelters caves (M.P.) listed in culture sites of WHC of UNESCO..

  17. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

    7 Natural World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in India –
    Natural Sites
    Kaziranga National Park
    Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
    Keoladeo National Park
    Sunderbans National Park
    Nanda Devi & Valley of Flowers
    Western Ghats
    Great Himalayan National Park

  18. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

    Right Kuldeep,also infamous human stampede occurred on 30 September 2008, at the Chamunda Devi temple inside of the Mehrangarh Fort, in which 249 people were killed and more than 400 injured..The 500-year-old fort is a popular site for filiming. It was one of the filming locations for the movie The Dark Knight Rises which was released in June 2012..

  19. Profile photo of Kuldeep Singh Bisht Kuldeep Singh Bisht

    The temple in middle is Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
    The 15th-century temple is dedicated to the goddess Chamunda Devi and is located within the premises of Mehrangarh Fort.

  20. Profile photo of Kuldeep Singh Bisht Kuldeep Singh Bisht

    A year ago, Christopher Nolan shot a prison scene in MEHRANGARH Fort, that features among the opening scenes of the finale to his epic Batman trilogy. That fort is made by Rao Jodha.

  21. Profile photo of Root Root

    @Avinash, Arun, Amit – Sahi Jawaab. Updating the card now.

  22. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

    In the movie the temple was shown as a place of evil. This partially led to the controversy surrounding the movie.
    Anupam Kher criticised director Vishal Bhardwaj for shooting Devil’s Dance sequence in the temple, resulting humiliation to Kashmiri Pandits..

  23. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

    The architecture of this temple is purely indigenous Aryan according to experts.The Martand Sun Temple was built by the third king of the Karkota Dynasty, Lalitaditya Muktapida, in the 8th century CE.
    The temple turns out to be the largest example of a peristyle in Kashmir.
    In Hellenistic Greek and Roman architecture, a peristyle from Greek is a columned porch or open colonnade in a building surrounding a court that may contain an internal garden.

    1. Profile photo of Ranadheer Ravula Ranadheer Ravula

      I heard of Sun Temple at Modhera, can you say something about that…

  24. Profile photo of Avinash Thomas Avinash Thomas

    Martand Sun Temple, Kashmir.
    Anupam Kher criticised the director of Haider, Shahid Kapoor was the hero

  25. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

    Yes..the song ‘Bismil’ has portrayed the ancient Martand Temple (Sun Temple) of Kashmir as the den of devil. The portrayal of religious symbol in bad light has hurt the religious sentiments of the Kashmir Pandit community..

  26. Profile photo of Amit Bharane Amit Bharane

    It is ” Martand Temple of kashmir, One the Temple dedicated to Sun other than Konark in India.

    Kashmiri Pandit demanded to put ban on the Haider movie song – ” Bismil Bismil “

  27. Profile photo of Akash Mishra Akash Mishra

    Yes 3rd pic is definitely from Konark Temple(Odisha) also called as Black Pagoda.

  28. Profile photo of Focus Ias Focus Ias

    The 3rd pic is that of konark temple?

  29. Profile photo of Abhishek Yadav Abhishek Yadav

    a nice initiative and its really interesting especially CD mobile apps. a nice initiative but i would request to please focus more on environment and ecology

  30. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

    Intresting thing i liked about Durga gudi (gudi means temple in Kannada),Its complex has 12 temples..and Durga Gudi’s unique architecture is said to have inspired Sansad Bhavan’s (Parliament House at New Delhi) design.See its rear look in above picture..
    How amazing it is..

  31. Profile photo of sachin gupta sachin gupta

    Civilsdaily team …you are doing a great job for us….please complete enviornment+ Culutre+Science Series……till prelims……… would be a great help

  32. Profile photo of gurshinder sidhu gurshinder sidhu

    Thank for updating the series..pls try completing before prelims..would really really appreciate..

    Coming to the topic, ASI was founded by alexendar cunningham.who became first director general.

    Archaeological Survey of India was eventually formed in 1861 by a statute passed into law by Lord Canning with Cunningham as the first Archaeological Surveyor. The survey was suspended briefly between 1865 and 1871 due to lack of funds but restored by Lord Lawrence the then Viceroy of India. In 1871, the Survey was revived as a separate department and Cunningham was appointed as its first Director-General.To this day, Alexander Cunningham is revered as the “Father of Indian Archaeology

    1. Profile photo of gurshinder sidhu gurshinder sidhu

      Durga temple is dedicated to either vishnu or shiva

      1. Profile photo of Rahul Pandey Rahul Pandey

        Durga temple is dedicated to Sun.

      2. Profile photo of Arun Muradnar Arun Muradnar

        Rohit is right..
        The temple is not dedicated to Goddess Durga but to Surya. The temple takes the name from the fort (Durga) with which it was associated.

      3. Profile photo of Rohit Pande Rohit Pande

        Some say its Sun god! Suffice to say that if prelims ask this question – then its def. not goddess durga 😛

      4. Profile photo of sachin gupta sachin gupta

        symbols of both have found

ICHR to undertake pilot project on Ram Setu structures

The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) is set to undertake an archaeological exploration into whether the Ram Sethu is a natural or man-made phenomenon


Know about ICHR from prelims perspective (click here).

Rama Setu, also known as Adam’s Bridge is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka. – Locate all the places mentioned in the atlas.

Buddhism relevant in today’s era

  1. Context: President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the closing ceremony of a three-day International Buddhist Conclave in Rajgir in Nalanda
  2. Prez: The philosophy of Buddhism is as relevant today as ever in the era of violence, “especially as the world grapples with the complex problems that seem intractable”
  3. No part of the world today is free from the scourge of violence & this crisis is all pervasive
  4. Nalanda reflects our ancient educational system which attracted mighty minds in the form of students and teachers in ancient India
  5. Education means the development of the mind and requires an atmosphere which is conducive to free exchange of ideas
  6. He urged the delegates to redouble their efforts to promote the simple Truths and the Path of the Buddha that show we can be better citizens and contribute to making our land a better place to live in


Reminder- Buddhism is an all time favourite of UPSC in prelims. Do prepare it well. The points mentioned can be used in ethics paper. ‘Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world’- a statement from ethics syllabus.


Prelims trivia:

  1. The conclave on “Buddhism in the 21st Century — perspectives and responses to Global Challenges and Crises” was attended by hundreds of Buddhist scholars, monks and delegates from 35 countries, with a special address by the Dalai Lama
  2. The Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, a deemed University, has recently published the entire Pali Tripitaka (texts or words of the Buddha) in 41 volumes in Devanagari script
  3. The University has also openned the first ever Department of Buddhist Sciences in the world

China to take part in Brahmaputra festival

  1. The five-day Brahmaputra river festival titled Namami Brahmaputra organised by the Assam government in Assam will witness significant participation from China
  2. It is described as the “biggest river festival of India”
  3. Various other countries such as Vietnam and Singapore are also attending
  4. The festival will be celebrated in 21 districts & will have eight roadshows in various cities as well as two international roadshows
  5. It will also showcase indigenous sports, local food, handicrafts as well as film festivals


An art and culture trivia. Also prepare about the river Brahmaputra- tributaries, its course etc. every year, at least one question is seen in prelims on one river or the other. Revise the Brahmaputra from here.

Q. Which of the following is/are tributary/tributaries of Brahmaputra? [Prelims 2016]
1. Dibang
2. Kameng
3. Lohit
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

Answer: (d)

Q. Consider the following rivers [Prelims 2015]
1. Vamsadhara
2. Indravati
3. Pranahita
4. Pennar
Which of the above are tributaries of Godavari?
a) 1,2 and 3
b) 2,3 and 4
c) 1,2 and 4
d) 2 and 3 only

Answer: (d)

Chinese archaeologists discover huge underwater treasure

  1. News: Chinese archaeologists have recovered more than 10,000 gold and silver items that sank to the bottom of a river in southwestern Sichuan Province over 300 years ago
  2. The items: A large amount of gold, silver and bronze coins and jewellery as well as iron weapons such as swords, knifes and spears
  3. The site: The treasure site, located in the intersection of Minjiang River and its branch Jinjiang River, is 50 km away south of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province
  4. History: It is believed that in 1646, peasant uprising leader Zhang Xianzhong was defeated in the area by Ming Dynasty (1368—1644) soldiers while attempting to transfer his treasure to the south
  5. About 1,000 boats loaded with money and valuables sank during the skirmish
  6. Significance: The items are extremely valuable to science, history and art
  7. They are of great significance for research into the political,economic, military and social lives of the Ming Dynasty


Not very important. Can be a prelims trivia- the names of dynasties and where they ruled etc.

Chennai team taps AI to read Indus Script

  1. Problem: The Indus script has long challenged epigraphists because of the difficulty in reading and classifying text and symbols on the artefacts
  2. Solution: A Chennai-based team of scientists has built a programme which eases the process
  3. The algorithm: It has developed a “deep-learning” algorithm that can read the Indus script from images of artefacts such as a seal or pottery that contain Indus writing
  4. Scanning the image, the algorithm smartly “recognises” the region of the image that contains the script, breaks it up into individual graphemes (the term in linguistics for the smallest unit of the script) and finally identifies these using data from a standard corpus
  5. In linguistics the term corpus is used to describe a large collection of texts which, among other things, are used to carry out statistical analyses of languages


Very important for prelims. See b2b carefully and note all the terms and their meanings, though the mechanism details are not important. Also revise about the Indus Valley Civilisation and cultural aspects for pre and mains both. UPSC has asked many questions from these areas.


Artificial Intelligence and the Deep Neural Networks

  1. The algorithms come under a class of artificial intelligence called deep neural networks
  2. These have been a major part of the game-changing technology behind self-driving cars and Go-playing bots that surpass human performance
  3. The mechanism: The deep neural network mimics the working of the mammalian visual cortex, known as convolutional neural network (CNN), which breaks the field into overlapping regions
  4. The features found in each region are hierarchically combined by the network to build a composite understanding of the whole picture
  5. The process consists of three phases: In the first phase, the input images are broken into sub-images that contain graphemes only, by trimming out the areas that do not have graphemes
  6. The grapheme-containing areas are further trimmed into single-grapheme pieces
  7. Lastly, each of these single graphemes is classified to match one of the 417 symbols discovered so far in the Indus script

Indus script

  1. The Indus valley script is much older than the Prakrit and Tamil-Brahmi scripts
  2. Undeciphered: However, unlike the latter two, it has not yet been deciphered because a bilingual text has not yet been found
  3. Why? A bilingual text has in many other cases aided archaeologists in understanding ancient scripts, for example, the Rosetta stone
  4. This stone which was found in the eighteenth century carries inscriptions of a decree, issued in 196 BCE, in three parts, the first two in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic and the Demotic scripts, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek
  5. Since the decree was the same, the Rosetta stone provided the key to deciphering Hieroglyphs
  6. For the lack of such a “Rosetta stone,” the Indus script remains undeciphered today
  7. It is a major effort to even build a standard corpus of the language and decode the writing on existing artefacts and map them to this standard corpus
  8. The most widely accepted corpora of Indus scripts was brought together by the efforts of Iravatham Mahadevan, noted Indian epigraphist, from the 3,700 texts and 417 unique signs collected so far

Revitalising a language

  1. Kurukh: An endangered tribal language of the Dravidian family, is set to get a new lease of life in West Bengal
  2. It is spoken by the Oraon tribal community
  3. The language was given official status in the State last month
  4. While most of the tribal languages in the State have their origins in the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Barman families, Kurukh is an exception
  5. The only example of a tribal language having its origin from the Dravidian family is Malto, which is not spoken in West Bengal, but in the Rajmahal hills of Jharkhand
  6. The Santhali, Munda and Hoe languages belong to the Austro-Asiastic family, while the languages spoken by the Lepcha, Tamang and Bhutia tribes of the Darjeeling hills were of the Tibeto-Burman group
  7. Jharkhand has recognised Kurukh as a language, and students can write their school final examination in its script
  8. The decision to allow students to write their school final examination in Kurukh was taken by the Jharkhand government in February 2016
  9. In 2003, the State officially recognised the language and its script
  10. Kurukh script reflects the socio-cultural aspects of the tribal community
  11. The script is called Tolong Siki
  12. It resembles that of any Dravidian language
  13. According to the 2001 census report (the latest official data on language-speakers), the language is spoken by about 17 lakh persons
  14. Since the Oraons are in different States, many members of the community picked up languages like Hindi and Bengali


Factual, but very important for prelims. Bookmark it and revise later.

Copper axes point to an ancient culture story

  1. Six copper axes and some pieces of pottery discovered in Sakatpur of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh
  2. These could point to a separate culture that straddled the Ganga and Yamuna, coinciding with the Indus Valley Civilisation

Parallel culture in the fertile plains

  1. When the Indus Valley civilisation flourished in what is today Punjab, Haryana and parts of Pakistan, a parallel culture is thought to have co-existed in the fertile plains between the Ganga and the Yamuna in western Uttar Pradesh
  2. The copper axes and pottery sherds found recently may be related to the Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP) culture in the doab (plains) of the two rivers in the late Harappan period, around 2000 BC


  1. OCP marked the last stage of the North Indian Copper Age
  2. The people who used ochre pottery and their culture are specific to the doab region
  3. The first remnants of OCP culture were found in Hastinapur, in Meerut district, in 1951 and later in Atranjikhera in Eta district


Important for prelims. Though such questions on recent excavations have not yet been seen, UPSC can ask them looking at the trend of factual trivia in Prelims 2016. In mains also there have been questions related to Harappan period. So do go back and revise it from culture and ancient history book.

A digital archive for Rashtrapati Bhavan

  1. The architectural history and the heritage of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the 340-room official residence of the President of India, has been documented in a series of books, which will soon be available in an online series
  2. Concise web-based modules are set to bring to life the architectural and cultural grandeur of the iconic building, designed and constructed by legendary British architect Edwin Lutyens
  3. A multi-volume documentation project of the Rashtrapati Bhavan was commissioned three years ago by the President’s Secretariat in collaboration with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA)
  4. Sahapedia began the project in 2014, compiled 11 volumes of well-researched books written by top experts in various fields
  5. Sahapedia: An open online resource on the arts, cultures and heritage of India


Note the bold words- important for prelims.

[pib] Know about National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities

Ministry of Culture has following four Missions.

  1. National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities
  2. National Mission on Manuscripts
  3. National Mission on Libraries
  4. Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission.

Objectives of NMMA:

  1. Documentation and creation of suitable database on built heritage and sites for information and dissemination to planners, researchers etc. and for better management of such cultural resources
  2. Documentation in a uniform format developed by NMMA, of all Antiquities that are available in the form of Registered Antiquities, Catalogued Antiquities with Central as well as State Governments, Private museums and collections, Universities, etc.
  3. Promote awareness and sensitize people concerning the benefits of preserving the historical and cultural aspects of built heritage, sites and antiquities
  4. Extend training facility and capacity building to the concerned State Departments, Local bodies, NGOs, Universities, Museums, Local communities etc.
  5. Help in developing synergy between institutions like Archaeological Survey of India, State Departments, concerned Institutions and NGOs to generate close interaction
  6. Publication and Research

National Mission on Libraries:

  1. Government of India has taken various initiatives to transform India into a knowledge based society. Public libraries have a major role to play in realizing this goal
  2. In order to revamp the Public Library System & Services, and to provide digital content based services to the citizens at large, the Ministry of Culture has launched the scheme of National Mission on Libraries (NML)
  3. Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation has been declared as the nodal agency for the National Mission on Libraries for administrative, logistic, planning and budgeting purposes
  4. The Scheme has the following four components:

(i) Creation of National Virtual Library (NVLI),

(ii) Setting up of NML Model Libraries,

(iii) Quantitative & Qualitative Survey,

(iv) Capacity Building for library professionals

Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission:

  1. In April, 2006, Government of India, constituted a Gandhi Heritage Sites (GHS) Panel headed by Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi and, with eminent Gandhians
  2. Based on the recommendation of the Panel the “Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission” with a fixed term of 5 years was created in 2013
  3. The Mission’s mandate is to preserve for posterity the identified sites and to supervise, guide and assist in conservation initiatives, maintenance or preservation initiatives and the creation of a database of tangible, literary and visual heritage associated with Gandhi


The information is important for Prelims


A 21st century find spotlights prehistoric rock art

  1. Discovery: An important prehistoric rock art site has been spotted in the foothills of the Ambukuthi hills — in the Edakkal village located in Sulthan Bathery taluk of Kerala’s Wayanad district
  2. The discovery comes nearly 123 years after British police officer Fred Fawcett’s chance discovery of the world-famous Edakkal Caves and their Neolithic petroglyphs
  3. The site has been discovered by independent researcher, writer and national award-winning filmmaker O.K. Johnny
  4. Earlier: His efforts had earlier attracted leading historians and archaeologists to the Edakkal Caves
  5. In 1984, Mr. Johnny had discovered a set of petroglyphs at Thovari hillocks, also in Sulthan Bathery taluk
  6. Details: Petroglyphs [carvings] and petrographs [drawings, paintings] are commonly found in rock shelters but in Ambukuthi they are being discovered on some granite blocks that are independently located
  7. Relation to Edakkal: The rock engravings are very similar to the Edakkal and Thovary petroglyphs and they are situated between the Ambukuthi hill and Thovari rock and that too at a distance of just 5 km
  8. It is likely that the same artists who created the engravings in Ambukuthy and their descendants created the petroglyphs in Thovari and Edakkal
  9. The Ambukuthi valley engravings are seen on six small rocks located on a lakeside, and they have a striking similarity to the Thovari carvings — in their style, motifs and workmanship
  10. Both in Thovari and in the Ambukuthi valley, there are no human or animal figures in motion as seen in the Edakkal caves
  11. Like in Thovari, Ambukuthi valley engravings are abstract and made of thick long lines


Remember key points from prelims PoV.

Task for students: Locate the hills, valleys and districts mentioned in this news in your atlas or on Google maps.

When Chola king was personification of a perfect judge

  1. About: Manu Needhi Cholan or Elara
  2. The Legend of the Chola king and how he had inspired generations of judges was revealed in a recent Supreme Court order dismissing a challenge to the elevation of Justice J.S. Khehar as the country’s 44th Chief Justice of India in keeping with the convention of seniority
  3. The ancient Chola king is the personification of a perfect judge for the Supreme Court
  4. This king who ruled South India around 250 B.C. has been the torch-bearer of the judges’ work philosophy that “nobody is above the law and all are equal


This can be a prelims tit-bit.

Pakistan govt urged to ensure 8th wonder tag to Kanishka Stupa

  1. News: A prominent U.S.-based historian and scholar has urged the Pakistan government to engage the UNESCO to declare the ancient Buddhist monument Kanishka Stupa as the eighth wonder of the world
  2. Why a Wonder? The stupa which once existed in Peshawar deserves to be declared the 8th wonder because of its remarkable construction structure, its testament to the creativity of hard work of human being and its mention in historic books

Note4students: This is very important from prelims perspective.


About the Kanishka Stupa:

  1. Where? A site located a few furlongs outside the Peshawar city at Ganj Gate known as Shah Jee Ki Dheri hosted the stupa
  2. Who? Was built during the reign of Kushan Kanishka in the 1st century AD
  3. Description: It was described in detail by Chinese pilgrims in their memoirs and Hiuen Tsang after visiting it during his travels from 620—645 AD
  4. He called the site the “tallest architectural building” in this part of Asia
  5. It is estimated that the stupa was equivalent to a present day 13-storey building and the adjoining monastery was associated with Buddhist divines of Vasubandhu and Parva
  6. With the decline of Buddhism in the region, the traces of the Stupa and monastery faded away

[pib] Know about ‘Bharat Parv’ at Red Fort, Delhi


  1. Bharat Parv is a national festival showcasing the country’s diverse culture, cuisines, handicrafts and catch glimpses of a progressive India
  2. Bharat Parv event is being organized by the Government of India at the Red Fort, Delhi from 26th to 31st January 2017, as part of the Republic Day 2017 Celebrations


  1. The prime objective of organizing the event is to generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country
  2. It aims to ensure wider participation of the general public and to popularise the idea of “Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat”


The factual points article are important for Prelims.


[op-ed snap] Disrespecting heritage


  1. A recent note of the culture ministry to the cabinet has a proposal to amend the law that accords protection to heritage sites in the country
  2. Built heritage is a significant public good and is recognised as such in the Constitution’s Seventh Schedule

Importance of heritage:

  1. It nurtures our collective memories of places and is a significant constituent in the identity of cities
  2. It has invaluable potential to contribute to our knowledge of not just history and the arts, but also science and technology
  3. Several buildings and sites throughout the country, even entire areas or parts of historic cities, are examples of sustainable development
  4. Unlike other intangible forms of cultural inheritance, our built heritage is an irreplaceable resource
  5. Knowledge gained from such resources can provide constructive ways to address development challenges

Growing concerns:

  1. The persistent oversight of the values of our heritage is one of the major paradoxes of physical planning and urban development in post-colonial India
  2. Conservation of heritage is not seen as a priority to human need and development
  3. Heritage sites are more often than not seen as consumables and usually end up as the tourism industry’s cash cows and little else

Amendments by Ministry of Culture:

  1. The Ministry of Culture’s note suggests amendments to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendments and Validation) Act, 2010 (AMASR Act, 2010)
  2. It concludes by referring to a 2016 bill to amend the act and suggests giving legal powers to the Central government with respect to new construction in protected sites by superceding existing bodies like the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and National Monuments’ Authority (NMA) respectively
  3. If the 2016 bill is cleared by Parliament, such construction could happen in the immediate vicinity of protected properties of national importance
  4. Such “prohibited areas”, are within 100 metres of the delineated boundaries of monuments
  5. Historic structures and archaeological remains are most susceptible to heavy vibrations, chemical effects or mechanical stresses in this zone
  6. The blanket rule on the “prohibited areas” should, and has, been debated at various professional and academic fora
  7. Doing away with protection without survey and documentation, can be catastrophic.

Some concerns:

  1. Construction of an elevated road next to Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra to “reduce road accidents” and “for organised traffic movement” has been proposed
  2. While an elevated road would visually obliterate the historic structure, it would also encourage high-speed traffic, one of the leading causes of road accidents
  3. Traffic movement and automobile fumes would scar an elaborately painted gateway
  4. Cranes and piles operating in the immediate vicinity of the 500-year old Mughal structure will cause excessive vibrations
  5. The other project, Rani-Ki-Vav in Patan, Gujarat is slated to be the site for a railway track
  6. Incidentally, Rani-Ki-Vav is one of the recent most inclusions from India in UNESCO’s World Heritage List

It is imperative that our governance, vision and action related to heritage comes of age. We most certainly need housing for all and enough space to park our cars. We need improved communication technologies. But we don’t need multi-storeyed apartment blocks or parking complexes stuck to the walls of Humayun’s Tomb, just like we don’t need cellphone towers atop the Charminar. We wouldn’t mind walking a few 100 metres more or not having mobile connectivity for a few minutes. That may prove to be the healthier way out.


UPSC can ask on small factual points in this op-ed and a question in Mains GS paper 1 cannot be ruled out.

[pib] Know about Tableaux themes

  1. Republic Day Parade on Rajpath will witness tableaux from 17 States and Six Ministries of the Central Government


  1. The tableau of Odisha depicts ‘Dola Jatra’ – a popular festival celebrated in the state
  2. This festival signifies the journey of Goddess Radha & Lord Krishna for ultimate union in the tradition of Bhakti cult
  3. ‘Dola Jatra’ coincides with the Holi festival that takes place on Falguna Dashami before full moon day in the midst of February-March
  4. The worship of Goddess Radha and Lord Krishna is the pivotal event during this six-day long festival
  5. On Falguna Dashami, the idols of village deities, especially that of Lord Krishna, are carried on a small decorated wooden temple called Bimana in a procession to all houses in the village


  1. The tableau depicts the Yak Dance, one of the most famous pantomimes of the Mahayana sect of Buddhist Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
  2. The masked dancer represents the members of a family who are said to have discovered the Yak with the help of a magical bird hundreds of years ago
  3. This dance portrays the joy of the people upon finding the Yak and it signifies the presence of health, wealth and happiness of the Mahayana Buddhist tribes, who believe that performing this dance would relieve them of all their complications and anxieties


  1. This year is being commemorated as the 160th birth anniversary of the honoured freedom fighter, Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak
  2. Known popularly as Lokmanaya, meaning revered by the people, Tilak was one of the first leaders of the Indian Independence movement
  3. He committed himself to bring about awakening in the society and nation building so as to liberate India from the oppressive rule of the British
  4. He started publishing his newspapers, the ‘Mahratta’ and ‘Kesari’
  5. With a view to bring about social awakening and unity in the fight against the foreign rule, he initiated the celebrations of ‘Ganeshotsav’ and also the ‘Shivjayanti Utsav’
  6. This year the tradition of celebrating Ganeshotsav as begun by him would be completing 125 successful years
  7. The Maharashtra tableau depicts the commemoration of the 160th birth anniversary of this great man of India


  1. Lai Haraoba is one of the oldest ritualistic theatres of the world preserved by the Meitei community of Manipur with utmost awe and sanctity
  2. Lai Haraoba, translated as ‘Happiness of the Gods’ is celebrated to worship local deities to bring prosperity and well-being of the land and its inhabitants
  3. These divinities are referred to as Umag Lais or Sylvan Gods as their abodes are located in a wooded area
  4. The sacred ceremonies are conducted by Maibis or priestesses who are adept in dance and sacred rituals
  5. The common people also dance as an act of worship to the accompaniment of the traditional stringed instruments (pena) and drums (langdeng pung)


  1. Gujarat’s Kutch district is renowned all over the world for its art and lifestyle
  2. 16 different types of embroidery is done here
  3. The Rogan art, Mud work and the art of making Bhunga gives Kutch a unique identity across the globe
  4. The main subject of Tableau is the ‘The Art and Lifestyle of Kutch’
  5. On the back side of the tableau people using Motchi (Cobbler) embroidery art and Dabda, Kutchi camel covered with embroidery work fabric, Rogan art work and the residence of Kutch people Bhunga is shown


  1. Lakshadweep or “Laksha – Dweep” – A Hundred Thousand Islands – as defined in Sanskrit, consists of 36 islands un-evenly spread in the Arabian Sea
  2. Kavaratti is its Administrative Headquarter
  3. Lakshadweep is the best of its kind “Adventure Sport – Nature Tourism” location that owns world’s premier diving spots, rich eco-system, marine wealth, coral reefs, silver sandy beaches, virgin environment, & pristine waters


  1. Famous for its traditional arts and folk dances, the state of Karnataka presents traditional folk dances of the state in this year’s Republic Day Parade tableau
  2. The tableau showcases the Goravas, the worshippers of Lord Shiva engaged in the traditional ritualistic dance
  3. They are adorned with unique caps made of bear’s hair, who dance to the beats of drums and blowing flute
  4. There is depiction of sword wielding warriors who are seen performing a dance while others carrying cymbals follow in circles
  5. With those beating drums, a dancer attired in attractive mask forms the ensemble of Somas dancers to make the visual presentation complete


  1. The tableau of Delhi portrays the transformation of School Education in the Nation, particularly the recent initiatives taken for quality enhancement in the field
  2. A good education lays the foundation of a good future
  3. In its bid to improve the quality of education, the Government of Delhi has been transforming Government Schools into Model Schools
  4. The infrastructure of the schools have been upgraded and quality of education improved
  5. These Model Schools are now at par with the private schools as is reflected in the enthusiasm of the teachers and students alike
  6. The tableau of Delhi demonstrates the evolution of the concept of ‘Model Schools’


  1. Chamba Rumal is the finest specimen of Pahari art flourishing in Chamba town of Himachal Pradesh during late 18th century
  2. Hand woven satin cloth is embroidered with untwisted silken thread in double stitch that comes the same on both sides known as do-rukha
  3. Rasleela, Astanayika and scenes from ancient legends and myths are generally depicted on Rumal
  4. The Himachal tableau represents the essence of this wonderful craft


  1. Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao is a relevant issue of our country
  2. Haryana has been spearheading this moment
  3. It has seen immense development in women empowerment in various spheres of life like education, sports, services sector etc.


  1. The appearance of pristine-white “Kashphool” in the backdrop of the greenery of rural Bengal in autumn (sharad), signals the advent of the festive season of Durga Puja, also known as “Sharod Utsav”
  2. Sharod Utsav in Bengal is no longer a mere religious festival but has ascended a higher plane, embracing the entire community in the state and across India and the world
  3. It has also become one of the largest outdoor art carnivals in the world
  4. The art motif extends to elaborate interior and exteriors of Puja pandals, executed by trained artists, with stylized elements and carefully executed presentation of crafts and culture


  1. Jago Aiya: “JAGO” literally means “Wake Up”
  2. Centuries ago invitations were not sent to invite people to wedding ceremony
  3. Jago is a festive dance full of energy and celebrations which would take place the night before a Punjabi Wedding
  4. A pot (Gaagar) decorated with oil lamps and carried on the head is used while dancing and singing Jago songs
  5. Relatives of the bride or groom would go around the village so also encourage people to wake-up and join in the festivities
  6. The tableau is based on the theme of “JAGO”


  1. ‘Karakattam’, a popular folk dance of Tamil Nadu forms an important event in temple festival celebrations especially in Amman Temple festivals in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu
  2. ‘Karakattam’ is one of the old folk dances, in which the dancers hold, balance and dance with a brass pot decorated in cone shape with colourful flowers and adorned with a parrot made of light wood on the top of it
  3. The Karagam dancers perform entertaining dance movements to the beat of drums balancing with the Karagam on their head


  1. Musical Heritage of Goa: Sangodd is the larger platform formed by combining two or more canoes
  2. Like the Sangodd, the musical heritage of Goa has different influences from the various regimes
  3. The tableau depicts this rich musical heritage through various musical instruments and dance
  4. The front tractor carries a peacock fronted Sangodd. On it are fibre figurines of a lady playing a ghumat – a percussion instrument made from an earthern pot


  1. Hojagiri – A Magnificent Reang Tribal Dance of Tripura is presented as the theme of the Tripura State Tableau
  2. It is performed by women and young girls, singing, balancing on an earthen pitcher and managing other props such as a bottle on the head and earthen lamp on the hand while only the lower half of the body is moved
  3. The dance is performed on the occasion of the Hojagiri festivals and is accompanied by bamboo-made flute, cymbal and khamb


  1. The tableau of Jammu & Kashmir showcases Winter Sports at Gulmarg, a world famous tourist destination of the state Jammu & Kashmir
  2. During the chilling winter season, the snow-clad hill station of Gulmarg situated at high altitude of 2650 m becomes an attractive winter sports destination that draws tourists from all over the world


  1. The tableau of Assam portrays the holy shrine of Kamakhya that renders prominence to its capital metropolis – Guwahati
  2. Established atop Nilachal hills in Guwahati, the Kamakhya shrine is considered as one of the greatest Shaktipeeths of the country
  3. During the Ambubachi festival, the temple draws worshippers from the whole of India and abroad
  4. Kamakhya temple is different from other temples as it has no image or idol for worship
  5. Instead, there is a natural fissure, conical in shape and reddish pink in colour – resembling the genitals of woman
  6. The fissure remains moist due to the natural flow of water from a spring that emanates inside the cave
  7. It is believed that Mother Earth menstruates through this fissure at the time of cultivation
  8. The place is therefore, name Ka-Mai-Kha, meaning – the mother progenitor


  1. Goods & Services Tax which aims to subsume a multitude of taxes is the single biggest tax reform initiative undertaken since independence
  2. With the enactment of the 122nd Constitutional Amendment Act on 8th of September, 2016, this reform has been given momentum


  1. The tableau is based on Khadi & Village Industries Commission
  2. Khadi for many is just a fabric, but it is a fabric that is instrumental in freeing us from the oppression of buying British mill-made cotton while Indian weavers starved
  3. Mahatma Gandhi rediscovered the Charkha and made it not only a symbol of self-reliance for Indians but at the same time providing a source of employment in rural India, a tradition which continues even today
  4. Khadi & Village Industries Commission in April 1957 took over the responsibility of building the Khadi brand and today Khadi is not just a fabric, it is a way of life


  1. The tableau of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and National Housing Bank depicts Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)
  2. The mission envisages a pucca house to every Indian by the year 2022, in partnership with the States/UT
  3. There are four verticals in the PMAY (U) mission through which the urban housing shortage in the States/UT are being addressed
  4. These are: In-Situ Slum Rehabilitation, Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), Affordable Housing in Partnership and Beneficiary led individual house construction
  5. The mission also envisages use of new and eco- friendly construction technologies to be adopted by the States/UTs


  1. CSIR depicted as decade wise sparks from the CSIR wheel with its 38 national laboratories, highlighting its global standing
  2. CSIR in its journey of 75 years, while playing a stellar role in scientific and technological growth in the country, has also played a catalytic role in improving the quality of lives of millions as a result of its technological interventions


  1. The CPWD tableau depicts the concept of “Green India – Clean India”
  2. It is prepared with different colourful and fragment flowers with message for the clean and green nation
  3. Environment is the most precious element of life
  4. People of India have joined the mission with zeal and are putting their efforts enthusiastically for maintaining the cleanness and also contributing for improvement of the environment by planting of trees


  1. The tableau of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is based on the theme “Transforming India through Skill Development”
  2. It highlights the achievement of the Ministry and its programs
  3. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship aims to coordinate skill development efforts across the country and build a vocational and technical training framework
  4. In order to achieve its vision of a ‘Skilled India’ the Ministry aims to skill on a large scale – with a combination of both speed and high standards


This PIB release is replete with factual information important for Prelims exam.


Pongal celebrated with traditional fervour

  1. Tamil Nadu celebrated the harvest festival of ‘Pongal’ with great zeal and fervour, with people preparing traditional food and offering prayers to the Sun God
  2. The streets in both rural and urban areas of the state were decked up with ‘kolam’ ( drawings made of flour)
  3. People decorated their homes with mango leaves and strings of flowers and special prayers were held at temples
  4. Sweet rice (pongal), made of jaggery with rice and milk, in a traditional mud pot, was offered to the Sun God along with pieces of sugarcanes
  5. The food is shared with relatives and neighbours after being offered to the Sun God
  6. The festival falls on the first day of Tamil month Thai, considered as the precursor of hope
  7. Since the Supreme Court has banned the popular bull-taming sport of ‘Jallikattu’, normally conducted on ’Mattu’ (cow) Pongal (third day of Pongal festivities), the festival is expected to be a low-key affair in Madurai and its neighbouring districts


Note it for prelims- Indian Culture.

Come June, Delhi will have India’s first Madame Tussauds

  1. Madame Tussauds is set to open its 23rd branch at the landmark Regal Cinema in Delhi’s Connaught Place
  2. It is the interactive museum of wax sculptures and one of London’s biggest tourist attractions with 22 branches across the world
  3. Typically, Madame Tussauds showcases local and global celebrities in a ratio of 4:6
  4. However, this ratio has been reversed in India, keeping in mind the preferences and trends in the market here
  5. The U.K.-based company plans to showcase Indian culture via a “different form of entertainment”


Not very important. But as it is globally famous, it can be a tit-bit for prelims.

Thousands witness Teppotsavam

  1. Every year during Phalguna Pournami, this festival is celebrated on a grand scale in the Swami Pushkarini for five days in the month of chaitra (March)
  2. On the first day, Lord Rama with Sita and Lakshmana is offered worship and taken out for a celestial ride on the finely decked float in Swamy Pushkarini
  3. On the second day, Lord Sri Krishna and Rukmini are offered puja and taken for pleasure ride on float
  4. On the third day, there will be three rounds followed by five rounds and on the final day, the utsava murtis will be taken out for pleasure ride on the impressively decorated float for seven rounds.
  5. The pilgrims throng to see the grandeur of the deities on this particular day since, the charm of full moon is an added attraction to the divine beauty of the deities


It can be a minor tit-bit on culture for prelims.

Patna turns into mini-Punjab as Sikhs gather for Prakash Parv

  1. PM Modi will visit Patna to participate in the closing of the Prakash Parv
  2. It is being organised to celebrate the 350th birth anniversary of the 10th Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh


UPSC tends to ask questions on 25th, 50th, 100th etc anniversaries. Revise your history notes.


Guru Gobind Singh (22 Dec 1666 – 7 Oct 1708), was the 10th Sikh Guru, a spiritual master, warrior, poet and philosopher. When his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, Guru Gobind Singh was formally installed as the leader of the Sikhs at age nine, becoming the last of the living Sikh Gurus.

Among his notable contributions to Sikhism are founding the Sikh warrior community called Khalsa in 1699 and introducing the Five Ks, the five articles of faith that Khalsa Sikhs wear at all times. Guru Gobind Singh also continued the formalisation of the religion, wrote important Sikh texts, and enshrined the scripture the Guru Granth Sahib as Sikhism’s eternal Guru.

Google doodle pays tribute to social reformer Savitribai Phule

  1. Tech giant Google on Tuesday honoured social reformer Savitribai Phule on the occasion of her birth anniversary
  2. Savitribai had many firsts to her credit — she was the first woman teacher of the first women’s school in India and a pioneer in modern Marathi poetry
  3. Savitribai taught in the school which she and her husband, Jyotirao Phule, started in 1848 with just nine students on the rolls
  4. Born into a family of farmers in 1831, in Maharashtra, Savitribai, as was the practice then, was married when she was just nine to Jyotirao, who was 12
  5. They were childless and eventually adopted Yashvantrao, son of a widowed Brahmin
  6. But when there was opposition to their progressive ideas from Jyotirao’s family, the couple decided to strike out on their own
  7. Savitri set up a care centre for widows and even encouraged them to remarry
  8. She also fought for the rights of the untouchables
  9. When bubonic plague spread in Pune in 1897, Savitri and her son opened a clinic to treat the sick
  10. However, she succumbed to the disease in March the same year
  11. The British govt honoured the couple in 1852 for their contribution to the cause of women’s education
  12. The Govt of Maharashtra has instituted an award in her name to honour women social reformers
  13. Also, a stamp was released by India Post in honour of Savitribai on March 10, 1998


This news is useful for revising history. Social reformers are an important topic from prelims and mains perspective.

Great Exhibition of 1851 made Kohinoor the most famous diamond: Dalrymple

  1. Source: Noted historian and writer William Dalrymple
  2. According to him Kohinoor becoming ‘the gem of gems’ was British creation
  3. Bigging up their conquest, they consciously put it on show at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and made it into a symbol of what they had taken from India
  4. That has now turned against the British themselves
  5. There were diamonds like the Dari-a-Nur or the Orlov, which were bigger in size than the Kohinoor, but have never been called for return
  6. At present, the Kohinoor is being claimed concurrently not only by India but also Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and the Taliban
  7. According to the historian, India under the Cholas invaded Sri Lanka
  8. They broke all the idols in Anuradhapura, and they took all the gems back to Tamil Nadu
  9. If Sri Lanka starts suing India, it could lead to a lot of problems

IAF to conduct surveillance in Sabarimala

  1. The IAF and Navy have deployed gunships to fly low level aerial reconnaissance and surveillance sorties over Sabarimala
  2. This is because of intelligence reports that extremist elements could use forest routes to assail the temple or pilgrims groups


News is of no importance except that it gives us a chance to learn about Sabarimala, a place frequently in the news.


Sabarimala is a Hindu pilgrimage centre located at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Kerala. It is one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world, with an estimated over 100 million devotees visiting every year.

It is open for worship only during the days of Mandalapooja, Makaravilakku and Chitra Vishu. The journey to the temple is taken through difficult paths in the forest.

‘Kohinoor represents sentiments of people’

  1. Issue: The Centre told the SC that the diamond, though a “symbol of victory” for the British Empire, represented the “sentiments of the people of India”
  2. It also said India’s credentials regarding the ownership of the Kohinoor diamond was based on historical evidence and could not be doubted
  3. The views were given in an affidavit in response to a petition filed by the All India Human Rights and Social Front against the High Commissioner of the U.K.
  4. India and the U.K. are signatories to the UNESCO Convention on Means of Prohibiting and Preventing Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property
  5. But a restitution of Kohinoor would require a “special agreement” between both countries
  6. The affidavit said the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 was toothless in this case

A temple in the clouds, run by the Army II

  1. Hanuman Tok has been with the army for decades, before the temple came up on in the 1950s, local people worshipped a stone idol
  2. The temple’s legend says Lord Hanuman rested at the spot while taking the Sanjeevani life-saving herb from the Himalayas to Lanka, to save Lord Rama’s brother Lakshmana
  3. Where: It is located in Sikkim, at 7,200 feet

A temple in the clouds, run by the Army I

  1. Hanuman Tok is a temple that is maintained by the Army
  2. Soldiers from all religions, such as Islam, Christianity greet visitors with tilak and distributing sweets in the sanctum santorum
  3. Similarly, Hanuman Tok is a destination for visitors of all faiths
  4. During peak season, about a thousand tourists visit

Australia returns stolen sculptures to India

  1. The National Gallery of Australia has returned to India three sculptures
  2. Sculptures: A 900-year-old stone statue of Goddess Pratyangira and a third century rock carving of worshippers of the Buddha & another sculpture called the Seated Buddha
  3. Earlier: In 2014, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi two antique statues of Hindu deities that were stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu before being bought by art galleries in Australia

Five museums from India among top 25 in Asia

  1. Indian Top 5: Hall of Fame (Leh), Bagore Ki Haveli (Udaipur), Victoria Memorial Hall (Kolkata), Salar Jung Museum (Hyderabad) and Jaisalmer War Museum (Jaisalmer)
  2. The Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horse in China topped the Asia list
  3. Globally: No museums from India feature in the top 25 world list
  4. Global list is topped by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, followed by Art Institute of Chicago, State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace, Musee d’Orsay, Paris and National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico

A proud moment, says Modi

  1. Context: Canonisation of Mother Teresa, the tiny nun who cared for the world’s most unwanted and became the icon of a Catholic Church
  2. Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint at a Sunday morning Mass
  3. Made her the model of his Jubilee Year of Mercy and in some ways his entire papacy
  4. For Pope Francis, Mother Teresa put into action his ideal for the church to be a merciful field hospital for the poorest of the poor both materially and spiritually
  5. PM Modi: Sainthood for Mother Teresa is a memorable and proud moment

ICHR plans encyclopedia of village folklore from across India

  1. News: The Indian Council of Historical Research will document stories and legends relating to villages and towns across India into an encyclopedia
  2. Aim: To connect people better with the oral and folk traditions
  3. Other initiatives: Study of the princely States of modern India and studies to fill the gaps between the Harappan civilisation (the first Indian urbanisation) and the 6 century BC (the second urbanisation)
  4. ICHR would seek part funding by corporate houses for its projects

ICHR plans encyclopedia of village folklore from across India

  1. News: The Indian Council of Historical Research will document stories and legends relating to villages and towns across India into an encyclopedia
  2. Aim: To connect people better with the oral and folk traditions
  3. Other initiatives: Study of the princely States of modern India and studies to fill the gaps between the Harappan civilisation (the first Indian urbanisation) and the 6 century BC (the second urbanisation)
  4. ICHR would seek part funding by corporate houses for its projects

Puppetry with Gondi dialect showcased at freedom fete

  1. News: Integrated Tribal Development Agency in Adilabad (Telangana) showcaseed a puppetry programme on health awareness among tribals
  2. Unique: It has been developed and executed by a group of four Adivasi youths from different parts of Adilabad, in Gondi dialect to boot
  3. The show was titled Maava jeeva, maava asthi or my health is my wealth

More about Khangchendzonga National Park

  1. Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) combines the religious and cultural practices of Buddhism as well as the ecological significance of the region
  2. Exhibits one of the widest altitudinal ranges of any protected area worldwide, boasts of a unique diversity of lowlands, steep valleys and snow-clad mountains
  3. Home to the world’s third highest peak, Mt. Khangchendzonga and also numerous lakes and glaciers
  4. KNP covers 25% of Sikkim and is home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species

3 sites from India added to World Heritage Site list

  1. News: Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) in Sikkim, archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) in Bihar and the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh were added to World Heritage Site list
  2. KNP: The first mixed heritage site from India to make it to the list
  3. Mixed site: Exhibits qualities of both natural and cultural significance
  4. Nalanda University: The most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent, engaged in the transmission of knowledge for over 800 years
  5. Capitol Complex: Includes the Legislative Assembly, Secretariat and High Court and was designed by French architect Le Corbusier
  6. India’s total tally: 35 sites from India are notified as World Heritage Sites, including 27 cultural properties, 7 natural sites and 1 mixed site

Ancient civilisations knew how to adapt to seasonal changes

  1. Context: Findings from the study of 2 geo-archaeologists conducting research in India and China
  2. Early civilisations in both India and China were aware of seasonal change and understood and utilised the landscape around them accordingly
  3. There was evidence of pre-historic civilisations adapting to floods, dry spells as well as monsoons
  4. All the pre-historic sites around Alamgirpur (western UP) were located on the floodplains of an erstwhile tributary of the Yamuna
  5. The pre-historic people were clever enough to settle their site on a levee (natural embankment of rivers)
  6. So that they received the benefits of flood from the river, and at the same time, the site itself could not be affected by the floods

1,000 year inscription on Kapalikas found

  1. News: A nearly 1,000-year- old rare stone inscription on Kapalikas has been discovered in Raichur, Karnataka
  2. Kapalikas: Worshippers of Bhairava, a manifestation of Shiva
  3. Mysterious cult who may have practised human sacrifice and immolation
  4. Importance: First time an inscription that throws light on the presence of Kapalikas has been found in South India

Digitising data on ‘stolen’ Buddhist relics

  1. Context: China is engaged in a major international effort to digitally accumulate information on the priceless cultural treasures of the Buddhist caves in Dunhuang
  2. What? It will digitise the info on the murals, statues and manuscripts that were taken away by Western expeditions
  3. Where? Most of the artworks, controversially removed from the iconic Mogao caves, found their way in the British Museum in London, the National Museum in New Delhi and The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg

Taj Mahal turns green, Akhilesh orders probe

  1. Context: UP CM ordered a probe into the discolouring of the World Heritage monument Taj Mahal because it is turning green
  2. Cause: Due to release of faeces and dirt by insects name as the Geoldichironomus (Chironomus calligraphus)
  3. Reason: Due to increase in water pollution levels, the breeding of insects in the river is rising

Ancient Buddhist site found in Amaravati


  1. Context: Remains of 1st century Buddhist site found in the hill region of Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh
  2. Three mounds studded with brickbats and pottery in red colour are found in search conducted by the Cultural Centre of Vijayawada
  3. The remains of bricks belonged to the Satavahana era (1st Century B.C.)
  4. Also Huge fragments of terracotta and brick tiles found in the region
  5. They were used to cover chaityas and viharas
  6. This shows that Buddhism existed from 1st century B.C to the 5th Century AD
  7. But later the region came under the influence of Saivism in the Vishnukundin era, and under Vaishnavites between the 13th and 17th centuries AD

Oldest known axe found in Australia


  1. Context: Australian scientists claimed to have unearthed a fragment of the world’s oldest known ground edge axe
  2. Age: It was created up to 49,000 years ago, around the time humans first arrived on the continent
  3. Earlier: In Japan such axes appear about 35,000 years ago
  4. But in most countries in the world they arrive with agriculture after 10,000 years ago
  5. This discovery shows that early Aboriginal technology is not as simple as has been previously suggested

8,000-year-old paddy discovered in China

  1. Finding: A paddy field dating back more than 8,000 years has been discovered by Chinese archaeologists
  2. Earliest? It could be the earliest wet rice farming site in the world

About Shalimar Pavilion

  1. Shalimar Bagh was developed by the Emperor Jahangir (1605-27 AD)
  2. It was completed around 1620 AD
  3. Consider as high point of Mughal Architecture
  4. There are three terrace
  5. First: A public garden or the Diwan-e-Aam made up of black marble
  6. Second: Has two shallow terrace & Dewaan-e-Khaas lies here
  7. The ceilings and rare naqashi work in both Dewan-i-Aam and Dewan-i-Khaas
  8. Third: In this, water channel flows through the Zenana garden
  9. It has been on UNESCO’s list of World heritage Sites since 2010

Shalimar pavilion restored in Indo-German effort

  1. Context: National Monument Authority of India is trying to restore the glory of the Dewan-i-Khaas of Shalimar garden with the help of Germany
  2. It is made up of wood & hence it has decayed due to wood rot
  3. Also its supports had loosened over the years with insect and fungal infestation
  4. The restoration has been done using old technique paper-maché
  5. Germany has supported 50 conservation projects across India

Govt. aims at harnessing the soft power of zero

  1. News: India has sponsored a conference on ancient Indian contribution to mathematics in Paris
  2. Background: India’s efforts for International Yoga Day and a Sanskrit conference at the UNESCO showcasing its soft power
  3. Purpose: It will showcase Indian contribution to maths and sciences which are not known much to the world
  4. Significance: UNESCO is a fantastic global forum to showcase India’s soft power in all fields

Learn about Exhibition of Everlasting Flame International Programme

  1. First exhibition on Zoroastrianism theme ever held at National Museum
  2. First time that British Library, UK is lending to India
  3. First time that the National Museum of Iran, Tehran is lending objects to India
  4. First collaboration between Ministry of Minority Affairs and Ministry of Culture
  5. Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest religions of the world
  6. Ancient Avestan (the language of Zoroastrians) and Sanskrit belong to the same group of languages

Everlasting Flame International Programme

  1. News: Minister of Finance inaugurated the months long cultural spectacle The Everlasting Flame International Programme
  2. Context: Zoroastrianism and Rig Vedic Hinduism are sister cultures that share linguistic and cultural commonalities
  3. Relevance: Celebrates Multicultural Ethos of the Parsi-Zoroastrian Community
  4. Exhibition: Programme will present exhibitions that takes the visitor on a journey from earliest days of Zoroastrianism to its emergence as the foremost religion of imperial Iran
  5. Objective: Exhibition examines their growth as an immigrant community under British rule in India and the later expansions

Chapchar Kut celebrated across Mizoram

  1. Context: It is a spring festival celebrated every year in month of March with great fervour and gaiety by Mizos after completion of their Jhum cultivation
  2. Jhum: Shifting agriculture by clearing jungle by burning and cultivating in remnants of burning
  3. Celebration: by dressing in their traditional attire and dancers danced to the tune of typical music and songs
  4. Popular Mizo dances: Cheraw, Chheihlam, Sarlamkai and Khuallam are performed by various cultural groups
  5. History: Chapchar Kut Festival is estimated to have started in 1450-1700 A.D. in a village called Suaipui

Kondane cave art depicts myth and daily life


  1. News: 40 rock paintings were discovered in the Kondane caves in Raigarh district in Maharashtra
  2. Paintings include: a hunter standing with a bow and arrow, a Barasingha, footprints, palm impressions and some trees
  3. The images were found in both natural caverns and man-made caves
  4. Significance: Man-made caves also feature Buddhist architecture such as a ‘chaitya’ (prayer hall) and a monastery
  5. Type of images: A striking image found was that of a mythical figure, perhaps a demon
  6. Buddhist rock-cut architecture found in these caves belongs to the Hinayana phase of Buddhism

Learn more about Muziris port

  1. Context: Muziris was a key port and the centre of trade between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean regions
  2. When? Focal point of commerce for over 2500 years
  3. Reference: Mentioned in the 1st century travelogues, ancient Sangam texts and Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder’s encyclopaedic work, Natural History
  4. Trade: Pepper, precious stones, silk, beads, ivory and pottery were exported from here to West Asia and Rome in exchange for gold coins, glass, wine and wheat
  5. Significance: For centuries, the land of Kerala mesmerised Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Arabs, Chinese, Romans and Greeks, welcoming them to come and trade and even settle there

Muziris Heritage Project set for launch

  1. News: The prestigious Muziris Heritage Project of the Kerala Tourism department will be inaugurated by President Mukherjee in Thrissur district
  2. Why? To reinstate the historical and cultural significance of the legendary port of Muziris
  3. Context: Muziris Heritage Project is an effort to conserve and showcase a culture of more than 3000 years
  4. History: From as early as 3000 BC, Kerala had established itself as a major centre for spices, with the ancient port of Muziris as its hub
  5. Muziris mysteriously disappeared one day and researches point to the port’s location then as the mouth of the Periyar river in Kodungalloor

Destination North East-2016 festival

  1. Organiser: Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) and Ministry of Culture
  2. Context: Showcase the inherent economic, social and cultural strength of the North East Region (NER) at the national level
  3. Themes: Three-day mega event include theme specific Business Summit consisting of sectors like Tourism, Agriculture, IT, Handloom & Handicrafts, and Start ups etc.
  4. Cultural events: The event will also have cultural programmes to showcase the rich culture and folk dances of North East India
  5. Destination North East will enable various Central Ministries to showcase their initiatives in North East India

Learn about Indian Heritage Cities Network

  1. The Indian Heritage Cities Network was founded as a programme by UNESCO’s New Delhi office, at an international conference on Indian Cities of Living Heritage in 2006 at Jaipur
  2. Importance – Established with the endorsement of the Ministry of Urban Development
  3. Objective – It was created in order to raise awareness among professionals and policy makers
  4. Mission – To highlight the Indian city as a living cultural resource

Chettinad cotton saree wins Indian Handloom tag


  1. The Chettinad cotton saree has won the ‘India Handloom’ tag for its unique designs and identity.
  2. The Textiles Committee, Union Ministry of Handlooms and Textiles, Mumbai, has registered the Chettinad cotton saree under the Indian Handloom Brand Scheme
  3. The Chettinad saree inherits the intricacies of now out-of-vogue and over a century-old‘ Kandangi’ pure silk sarees
  4. The sarees are already popular in few North Indian states in the country
  5. Also popular in other countries such as Malaysia and Singapore

Heritage development projects for Andhra Pradesh, Telangana approved

The approval in this regard was given by an inter-Ministerial HRIDAY National Empowered Committee

  1. For improving tourist infrastructure in heritage places of Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh and Warangal in Telangana
  2. The funds sanctioned will be used for developmental works at 1000 Pillar Temple and Kazipet Durgah and rejuvenation of pond at Padmakshi Temple in Warangal city
  3. Amaravati and Warangal are among the 12 cities included in the Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) for improving the social, cultural and economic ecosystems
  4. By augmenting necessary infrastructure with the objective of conserving the rich cultural heritage and enabling better facilities for tourists and pilgrims

Declare Kumbakonam a heritage town, seers urge Prime Minister

  1. Seers have appealed to Prime Minister to take steps to declare Kumbakonam a heritage town.
  2. Kumbakonam is the temple city of South India situated in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu.
  3. Historical Importance – In the 7th Century, it was the Capital of Chola Kings and a culturally rich place where music and art flourished
  4. Cultural Importance – It has several shrines which are centuries old, including the globally famed Darasuram Temple along with ancient mutts and Veda Patasalas

Let’s know about Pongal?

This 4-day festival of thanksgiving to nature takes its name from the Tamil word meaning “to boil” and is held in the month of Thai (January-February).


  1. During the season when rice and other cereals, sugar-cane, and turmeric (an essential ingredient in Tamil cooking) are harvested.
  2. First day is celebrated as Bhogi festival in honor of Lord Indra, the supreme ruler of clouds that give rains.
  3. Second day is puja performed when rice is boiled in milk outdoors in a earthenware pot and is then symbolically offered to the sun-god along with other oblations.
  4. Third day is the Mattu Pongal when bulls and cows are bathed and their horns painted and worshipped as they play an important role in farms.
  5. Fourth day is the Kannum Pongal — the day to go out and meet relatives and friends, and go site seeing.

Tamil Nadu celebrates Pongal with fervour

The festival of Pongal is celebrated to thank the Sun, rain and farm animals.

A busy market ahead of Pongal in in Ramanathapuram
A busy market ahead of Pongal in in Ramanathapuram

  1. People of Tamil Nadu celebrated Pongal with fervour, getting up early, donning new clothes and visiting temples.
  2. At homes, the aroma of ghee-fried cashews, almonds and cardamom wafted through as the traditional dish of rice, jaggery and Bengal gram was made.
  3. As the ingredients of Chakarai Pongal boiled in milk, people called out Pongolo Pongal.
  4. The mud pot or stainless steel in which the dish is cooked is decorated by tying up ginger, turmeric, sugarcane piece and banana at the neck.
  5. The Pongal dish is offered to the Sun god as thanksgiving and eaten as prasad.

Let’s know about Ganga Sagar Mela?

  1. It is held every year in the month of January-February, on the Ganga Sagar Island, at the mouth of the river Hooghly in Bengal.
  2. A dip in the water at this place, during Gangasagar Mela, is considered to be extremely sacred.
  3. On the day of Makar Sankranti (January 14), when the sun makes a transition to Capricorn from Sagittarius, it is said that the bath becomes a holy source of salvation.

Bengal gearing up for Ganga Sagar Mela

  1. The Ganga Sagar Mela, one of the biggest religious events of the country that witnesses the gathering of lakhs of pilgrims, is set for a revamp this year.
  2. Pilgrims attending the annual fair at the Sagar Island, one among the cluster of islands at South 24 Parganas district.
  3. The state government is also planning to declare Ganga Sagar Mela as Green Mela this year.
  4. The six-day fair will shortly begin.

Let’s know about UNESCO?

  1. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) founded in 1945.
  2. To contribute to building of peace, eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.
  3. It is the heir of the League of Nations’ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.
  4. It has 195 member states and nine associate members.

Ramakrishna Mission-UNESCO establish ‘official ties’

  1. The UNESCO has established an ‘official relationship’ with the Ramakrishna Mission in the areas of intercultural dialogue, social cohesion and for promoting peace and non-violence.
  2. The bonding between UNESCO and the over 100-year old Ramakrishna Mission started in 2002 with the former funding certain projects.
  3. In 2012, the UNESCO set up a chair on Inclusive Adapted Physical Education and Yoga at the Coimbatore campus of Vivekananda University.
  4. The UNESCO has found common features with the Ramakrishna Mission in many respects.

Let’s know more about Vesara style?

  1. Vesara (Chalukyan or Deccan style) is a type of Indian architecture primarily used in temples lying in the region between Vindhyas and river Krishna.
  2. Vesara is a combination of Dravida and Nagara temple styles.
  3. The semi-circular structures of the Buddhist Chaityas are also incorporated in some of the temples of this style.
  4. The temples of Halebid, Belur, Somnathapura and Pattadakal are some of the examples of this style.

12th Century monument resurrected from ruins

With the investment of Rs. 4.5 crore from the Infosys foundation, restoration works at the 12th century Someshwara temple complex have begun.

The Vesara style Somanatheshwara temple in Lakshmeshwar in Gadag district, Karnataka.
The Vesara style Somanatheshwara temple in Lakshmeshwar in Karnataka.

  1. It is one of the marvels of the Kalyan Chalukya architecture and has four doorways with beautiful sculptural details.
  2. The Vesara style main structure has a unique Vimana (tower) having intricate designs.
  3. It is surrounded by smaller shrines, which had been corroded due to nature’s vagaries.
  4. A statue of a Jain Tirthankara on a parapet wall of the temple underlines its Jain heritage.

Let’s know Buddhist sites in Andhra Pradesh?

  1. A unique feature of the Buddhist heritage sites in north coastal Andhra Pradesh is that the objects found at the site indicate the presence of various architectural styles.
  2. It has distinguished south and north Indian styles and also styles from overseas.
  3. Other famous buddhist sites are Amravathi, Nagarjunakonda, Chandavaram etc.

Evidence of Buddhist monastery found

Retrieved objects indicate that the site flourished between 3 century BC and 8 century AD.

  1. A treasure trove of historical evidence of immense heritage value has been found at the Vommili village, Visakhapatnam district.
  2. The objects retrieved from a trial excavation on the surface include a standing image of the Vajrayana deity ‘Heruka’.
  3. Heruka is terracotta elephant head, conical mud bowls, thumb and finger print designs on polished black ware, dull chocolate-coloured slipware and herringbone patterns.
  4. Site was used for cultivation for a long time, causing damage to some of the historical evidence.
  5. The idol of ‘Heruka’ was found by the villagers and placed under a tree and was being worshipped.

Bid to restore Channapatna craft to its original glory

Channapatna handcraft can be traced to the reign of Tipu Sultan who invited artisans from Persia to train local artisans in the making of the wooden toys.


  1. The traditional wooden toy-and-doll craft, with perfected lacquer-ware of Channapatna (on the Bangalore-Mysore highway).
  2. It is protected by a geographical indication (GI) tag but today a crisis stares the industry in the face.
  3. The art is known for its mix of vegetable dye and food grade pigments, with natural shellac insect residue.
  4. It obtained from the trees of Amaltaas and Kusum in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa.
  5. Although Channapatna’s toy industry survives, what pains is the near-absence of lacquering that attaches a heritage value to it.

Let’s know about the World Heritage Site?

  1. The UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
  2. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage , adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
  3. It encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage.

Braille booklets showcase monuments of north-east

The four maidams (tombs) of the Ahom Kings at Charaideo was enlisted in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites in April 2014.

  1. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has for the first time published guidebooks on the monuments of north-east India in Braille.
  2. Eight monuments of Tripura, including the Bhubhaneshwari Temple, and the rock carvings of Unakoti are featured in it.
  3. This is first attempt to bring out Braille publications in north east India.
  4. Of the 80 archaeological monuments in north-east India, the publication covers 30 prominent archaeological sites.
  5. The publications are part of efforts to make archaeological sites accessible and barrier-free for physically and visually challenged persons.

Do you know ‘Indology’ terminology ?

  1. Indology is the academic study of the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent, and is a subset of Asian studies.
  2. Indology includes study of Sanskrit literature and Hinduism.
  3. Along with the other Indian religions, Jainism, Buddhism and Pali literature, and Sikhism.
  4. Same as Dravidology, as the separate branch dedicated to the Dravidian languages of South India.

Do Know about Indian Council for Cultural Relations(ICCR) ?

  1. It involved in India’s external cultural relations, through cultural exchange with other countries and their peoples.
  2. Autonomous organisation founded on 9 April 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of independent India.
  3. To actively participate in formulation and implementation of programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations.
  4. To foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries.

President to inaugurate first ever World Indology Conference

Conference is a unique platform which will bring best scholars from world, to discuss the present state of Indology, its relevance and challenges faced by them.

  1. A 3-day World Indology Conference organised in collaboration with Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
  2. Around 21 eminent Indologists from world and 8 senior scholars from India deliberate on Indian culture and philosophy.
  3. Discussions on topics such as ‘Indological Studies in Historical Perspective’, ‘Sanskrit Literature’, ‘Indian Art and Architecture’ and so on.
  4. Scholars participating in it are those who have devoted their life-time to the interpretation and reinterpretation of Indian knowledge system.
  5. Their effort lead to putting proper focus on areas that need better attention so that contribution of India is better appreciated by global community.

International Terra Madre begins in Shillong

One of India’s biggest food festival, bringing in cuisine of indigenous tribes from nearly 60 countries.

  1. Theme is The Future We Want: Indigenous Perspectives and Actions.
  2. Organised as collaboration between Slow Food, North East Slow Food and Agro biodiversity Society & Indigenous Partnership for Agro biodiversity and Food Sovereignty.
  3. The 5-day international fiesta will celebrate the biological and cultural diversity of indigenous communities.
  4. Expressed in their songs, folklores, dance and food systems have passed on from generation to generation in close interaction with nature.

Tera Madre is a network of Indigenous food communities involved in promotion of Indigenous culture as well as conservation of biodiversity.

Indology meet to project ‘soft power’

“Spirit of universality found in Upanishads are particularly relevant to the 21st century”

  1. Ministry of External Affairs is ready to promote the global discipline of Indology as a soft diplomatic platform.
  2. Ministry, under the umbrella of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, organise first World Indology Conference.
  3. Spirit of universality found in the Upanishads are particularly relevant to the violent 21st century.
  4. Indology, includes the study of the Vedas, Vedanta, Upanishads and the Sanskrit classics.
  5. Global pool of scholars who can project India’s core civilisational values effectively on the global stage.

Inclusiveness and universality that are found in the Vedanta and the Upanishads are the prime features of Indology.

Ancient temples in Mandya district unearthed

Archaeologists found five temple complexes defining Jaina identity at Chikkabetta of Artipura in Mandya district

  1. Believed to be the oldest known archaeological find belonging to the Western Ganga dynasty.
  2. Important ruling dynasty of ancient Karnataka, dynasty lasted from about 350 to 1000 AD.
  3. They are known as ‘Western Gangas’ to distinguish them from the Eastern Gangas who in later centuries ruled over Kalinga (modern Odisha).
  4. Most famous for their patronage toward Jainism resulting in the construction of monuments in places such as Shravanabelagola and Kambadahalli.

‘Festival of Flowers’ Bathukamma celebrated in Telangana

The festival known as Bathukamma is Telangana’s floral festival, traditionally celebrated by women across the state.


  1. The festival is celebrated for nine days during Durga Navratri.
  2. It represents cultural spirit of Telangana.
  3. In Telugu, ‘Bathukamma’ means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’.
  4. It is the state festival of Telangana.
  5. Every year this festival is celebrated as per Telugu version of Hindu calendar in the Bhadrapada Amavasya, also known as Mahalaya Amavasya.

Buddhist monk comes to Sannati looking for Ashoka’s tomb

Relics of the once-beautiful stupa excavated at Sannati in Chitapur taluk in Kalaburagi district.— Photos: Arun Kulkarni

  1. Bhante Tissavro, who heads the Bodh Gaya-based Budh Avsesh Bachao Abhiyaan (Save Buddhist Relics Campaign), arrived in Kalaburagi district.
  2. The monk is on a visit to one of the important Buddhist sites at Sannati in Kalaburgi district in Karnataka.
  3. Sannati is Buddhist site located on the banks of the Bhima in Chittapur in Karnataka.
  4. The only available sculpture of Emperor Ashoka, in a limestone relief, along with his consort, was found here.

ICHR to explore Europe’s connect to India’s past

The ICHR has proposed mapping the journey of science and technology from the earliest times to the 18th century.

  1. Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) has proposed to offer Indian scholars access to “multiple sources” of India’s past, to present it..
  2. Special training sessions for history scholars to help interpret the epigraphs that have found in ancient and medieval languages.
  3. It uncovers facets of ancient and medieval Indian history, which have till now not been recognised.
  4. Agenda is to trace the development of science in a historical perspective.

2000-year-old Ashoka stupa restored in China

  1. A 2000-year-old lost stupa, one of the 19 built with Lord Buddha’s relics sent by Emperor Ashoka to China, has been renovated and restored with religious rites, making it a symbol of the advent of Buddhism from India to China.
  2. The renovated stupa and Ashoka pillar along with a huge golden statue of Buddha was consecrated by Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of Drukpa lineage of Buddhism based in Ladakh.
  3. According to Buddhist records, Emperor Ashoka collected all of Sakyamuni’s sarira, stored them in pagoda-shaped shrines before sending them to different parts of the world.
  4. The Nangchen stupa is the first to be discovered in the Tibetan region. The fate of the other 15 sent by Ashoka to China is unknown.

Sports Ministry Grants Recognition to Kalarippayattu

  1. Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has recognized the Indian Kalarippayattu Federation as Regional Sports Federation with immediate effect.
  2. This recognition means granting a major role to the Indian Kalarippayattu Federation (IKF) for promotion and development of Kalarippayattu sport in India.

About Kalaripayattu

  1. Kalaripayattu sport is a Martial art performed in Southern state of Kerala and in contiguous parts of Tamil Nadu.
  2. It is considered to be one of the oldest fighting system in existence and each warrior in the Sangam era received regular military training of it.
  3. The word kalari has been derived from Sangam literature which describes both a battlefield and combat arena.

Ancient twin caves discovered in Nalgonda

  1. 200-metre-deep caves, a rare find, are probably the oldest-ever discovered in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  2. Local tribal leaders Lalu Nayak and Bikku Nayak informed about the caves at Gajubeda Tanda, a hamlet under Kacharajupally grama panchayat.

400-year-old hero-stone found

  1. A Hero-stone at Peruntholvu hamlet in the district, though remaining little known to the outside world, has rich tales to tell from the 17th century.
  2. Some villagers in the area are still worshipping the stone mistaking the hero’s picture carved out on the stone as Hanuman (Anjaneyar) due to vague resemblance and because of the fact that the memorial had been lying near a Perumal temple.
  3. People who got killed while displaying valour to protect the cattle in the villages from leopard/ tiger in whose memory hero stones are usually kept.
  4. “The hamlet has its existence dated back to 3,000 years and it was the capital of one of the 24 divisions in Kongunadu”.

UNESCO award for Kerala temple

  1. India has won the top UNESCO prize ‘Award of Excellence’ for the conservation efforts of the ‘Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple’ in Kerala.

The award recognises the remarkable conservation effort undertaken at the sacred site which employed age-old rituals and conservation techniques drawn from VastuSastra focussing on architecture and construction.

Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang (LAOS)won the Award of Merit-1st site to bag the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award.

Pallava-Chola Nageswaran temple being renovated

  1. What’s so amazing about this temple?
  2. The temple represents the transition from Pallava to Chola period.
  3. Known as Kudanthai Keezh Kottam — the temple on the eastern side of Kumbakonam.
  4. It is one of the temples being renovated ahead of Mahamaham festival.
  5. The entire Ramayana had been depicted on the athirstanam (the base) of the temple.

What’s Mahamaham?

What’s the importance of this temple?

[cd explains] All about caves

Covered a few lesser known caves and left a few gaps for you guys to fill up. 


List out the caves which made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list. 

A few lesser known World Heritage sites in India

UNESCO identifies World Heritage Sites as places that belong to all the people of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located. This means, these places are considered to be of immense cultural and natural importance in the world.

With the latest entry of The Great Himalayan National Park and Rani ki Vav, India now has 32 of these!

  • 25 are of Cultural Importance
  • 7 are of Natural Importance [Can you list these 7 Natural ones?] 

You might know most of them but we have a hunch that you might not know these 4!

  • Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka: 
    1. Pattadakal is famous for its Chalukya style of architecture that originated in Aihole and blended with Nagara and Dravidian styles.
    2. The important monuments are – Virupaksha Temple, Sangameshwara Temple, Jain Temple…
    3. Unfortunately, the nearby temples at Badami usually overshadow the fancy of tourists and the bad state of approach roads doesn’t help either.

  • Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka:
    1. The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka is the place were the earliest traces of human life on Indian subcontinent was discovered.
    2. The name breaks down to – Bhim + Bhet (The place where someone met Bheem)
    3. The caves provide a rare glimpse at a sequence of cultural development from early nomadic hunter-gatherers to settled cultivators to expressions of spirituality.

  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus / Victoria Terminus:
    1. Hardly anyone pauses to consider the significance of this beautiful monument originally built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
    2. The entrance of the Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus is flanked by figures of a lion and a tiger representing the two countries-great Britain and India.
    3. The change of name from Victoria to Shivaji is often dubbed as the most significant sex change operation in modern times!

  • Kumbhalgarh fort: 
    1. With a 36km wall second only to the Great Wall in China, the Kumbhalgarh fort is one of those rare forts which was never attacked!
    2. It is also knwon for the Shooting of The Dark Knight Rises and a few movies of Satyajit Ray like ‘Shonar Kella’.


[cd explains] Palaces, Forts & Stupas

Here is a cheat sheet of sorts. Handy for quick revision. More to come. In case we missed some *strategic* info – feel free to add in the comments. 


Clamour for bringing back Amaravati relics from U.K.

  1. What are the “Amravati relics”?
  2. They are a collection of over 120 masterpieces and artefacts of Buddhist sculptures on display in the British Museum in London.
  3. They were excavated by the British and shipped to the UK from Madras in the 1850s.
  4. Why the clamour?
  5. Andhra Pradesh government wants to attract world tourists to Amaravati, its new capital area, by showcasing its Buddhist heritage.

What connects Christopher Nolan and Rao Jodha?


What are we looking for here?
The picture in the middle is of a famous temple which witnessed an infamous stampede in 2008. You know the gentlemen on the either side, already!

Identify the temple and identify the architectural marvel which connects all 3 of them.


The Mehrangarh Fort

Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” showed the underground chambers of a dark dingy prison. That was shot here at Mehrangarh Fort.

Chamunda Mata temple had a stampede in 2008 because a bomb scare (@mehrangarh) had set people off. Rao Jodha – the founder of Jodhpur.


Shahid Kapoor, Anupam Kher and that temple!


  1. Link the images on the poster above. The answer is a part of a recent controversy around a film which won several national awards.
  2. The answer will also give you a glimpse into a marvellous piece of architecture from Kashmir.
  3. We are looking for a marvellous temple here – what are we talking about?


Working out the Clues

Shahid Kapoor – Actor in the movie Haider
Anupam Kher – Kashmiri Pandit (They collectively agitated)
Konark Temple – The only other Sun temple in India (Odissa)

The Martand Sun Temple.

1. The Sun Temple, build in 370 AD, has historic and religious significance for the Hindu community as it is one of the only two Sun Temples in India, with the other one in Konark in Odisha.
2. The Sun Temple in Kashmir is facing West which attains greater significance in the Hindu scriptures. Why?
3. It can be said it was an excellent specimen of Kashmiri architecture, which had blended the Gandhara, Gupta, Chinese, Roman, Syrian-Byzantine and Greek forms of architecture.

PS: The temple appears in the list of centrally protected monuments as Kartanda.

The grandeur of Pallavas – Shore temple


  1. Shore Temple comprises three shrines, mainly dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu resting on the Sheshnaga.
  2. Shore Temple is also acknowledged for being the first stone structure made by Pallavas.
  3. The Shore Temple overlooks the Bay of Bengal (Mamallapuram was the port city of Kanchipuram, the Pallava capital).


The temple was designed to grasp the first rays of the rising sun and to spotlight the waters after sunset. In the words of Percy Brown, Shore Temple served as “a landmark by day and a beacon by night”.

The Virupaksha temple at Hampi gets the Adarsh Smarak tag


  1. Located on the south bank of the river Tungabadra – devoted to Lord Shiva (Virupaksha).
  2. The Ministry of Culture has chosen Hampi and 24 other monuments to be granted ‘Adarsha Smaraks’.
  3. The ‘Adarsh Smarak’ tag is given to the monuments which have highest number of tourists visiting besides giving them special attention in order to boost international tourism.


An extremely unconventional Hindu temple – The Apsidal Durga

  1. The Durga temple, a former Hindu temple, is located in Aihole in the state of Karnataka, India.
  2. The temple was built between the 7th and the 8th century by the dynasty of the Chalukyas.
  3. The architecture of the temple is predominantly Dravida with Nagara style also is used in certain areas.


The Apsidal Durga temple: If it’s not dedicated to the goddess Durga, then who is it dedicated to?

PS: The temple also breaks an interesting myth that the ‘apsidal’ architecture was buddhist in its origin. It was prevalent in Ajivikas, Jains & Hindus.

Sanchi – The oldest extant Buddhist sanctuary


  1. The Great Stupa that is located at Sanchi Town in MP – It is the oldest STONE structure in India – commissioned by Ashoka.
  2.  After Ashoka came the Sunga, Satavahanas & Kushanas to contribute to the growing heritage.
  3. The Gupta kings built along some temples – Sanchi has both Hindu and Buddhist faith.
  4. Interestingly, Sanchi had lain abandoned for ~600 years before it was discovered.

Did you know? Excavations at Sanchi began in somewhat disorganized fashion until the Archaeological Survey of India stepped in and took control.

Ques – When & under whose leadership was the ASI founded & who was the Gov-General of India at that time?

Why is Kushinagar a famous Buddhist place?


  1. Kushinagar has a gilded statue of Buddha. That signifies his Parinirvana.
  2. It is the completion of nirvana, usually understood to be within reach only upon the death of the body of someone who has attained complete awakening (bodhi).
  3. Kushinagar also finds a mention in epic Ramayan as the city of Kusha the son of Ram, the famous king of Ayodhya.
  4. The parinirvana of the Buddha is described in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta.

Four things you should know about the Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Temple (Literally: “Great Awakening Temple”), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, marking the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment.



:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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