Ancient & Medieval History | Art and Culture

Art and Culture of Ancient and Medieval India is considered one of the toughest subjects in UPSC preparation. The reason being its sources are very scattered, and reaching a basic understanding requires you to read 2-3 NCERTs, CCRT, NIOS, etc. None of these sources are specifically designed for UPSC.

Our objective in developing this module is to have one consolidated source, with clear-cut categories, complete with images to make things crystal clear for students.

The expectation of an aspirant is that he’s able to identify the different time periods and have substantial knowledge of the developments that took place in them.

This series will help in breaking down the vast syllabus into easily consumable chunks.


Terms and Definitions

Chapter 1 | Stone Age – Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic Ages

Chapter 2 | Chalcolithic Age

Chapter 3 | Harappan Civilization – Early (3500BC – 1900BC), Mature (1900BC-1400BC)

Chapter 4 | Vedic Period (1500BC – 600BC) – Early(1500BC – 1000BC) and Later Vedic(1000BC – 600BC)

Chapter 5 | Mauryan Period (400BC – 200BC)

Chapter 6 | Post Mauryan Period/Pre-Gupta Period (200BC – 300AD)

Chapter 7 | Gupta Period (300AD-600AD)

Chapter 8 | Post – Gupta Period I (600AD – 750AD)

Chapter 9 | Post – Gupta Period II (750AD – 1000AD)

Chapter 10 onwards | Medieval Period – Coming Soon


Please follow the guidelines below to make the most out of this series

1. MAPS and TIMELINE – Half your job is done if you are able to identify what art/architecture belongs to which era and who patronized them. This knowledge can be of immense help in eliminating options.

That’s why all our chapters represent one period and start with a series of maps describing it. Study them carefully. They will help you locate contemporaneous kingdoms, their geographical extent and both, their contraction and expansion.

2. STRUCTURE – This is the most important part of the series. All the chapters after the Vedic Period have the following sub-headings

I. Political Background

II. Literature and Language

III. Religion

A. Hinduism, B. Buddism … and so on

IV. Architecture

A. Rock-cut caves, B. Stupas, C. Temples … and so on

V. Independent Art

A. Paintings (development starts pretty late), B. Pottery … and so on

They all start with a roman numeral (I, II …) and are colored in Red.

Under these, there are sub-headings in alphabets (A, B, C…). E.g. Architecture has A. Rock-cut caves, B. Stupas, C. Temples so on and so forth.

Make sure you follow this structure properly so that you don’t miss anything.

3. VISUALS – Artistic aspects are best understood through visuals. Hence we’ve tried to include a lot of pictures, videos so you can understand the features better and retain what you’ve studied.

4. CASE STUDIES – Case studies talk about specific cross-period topics in considerable depth. You will enjoy reading our issue on Pottery and the comparison of Ajanta Caves with Ellora.


Map sources –


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