How to prepare for Art and Culture for UPSC | Syllabus & Preparation Strategy

Specified under the syllabus of General Studies I for UPSC Civil Sevices Mains, Art & Culture is one of the important topics in the Civil Services preparation. The syllabus mentions it in just one line “Salient features of Literature, Art Forms, and Architecture from ancient to modern times”. However, after carefully analyzing the past year papers, we have listed down important micro-topics that should be studied for Art and Culture UPSC preparation.

Art & Culture Syllabus For UPSC

The syllabus for Art & Culture has been specified under the GS Paper 1 of UPSC Mains Exams. Following is the list of micro topics that have been covered in Art & Culture

Indian Art Forms

Indian Paintings

Classical Dance Forms

Folk Dance Forms

Classical Music




Martial Arts


Ancient Indian Literature

Classical Sanskrit Literature

Literature in Pali and Prakrit

Early Dravidian Literature

Medieval Literature

Women Poets of Bhakti

Trends in Medieval Literature

Modern Indian Literature


Harappan Architecture

Temple Architecture

Cave Architecture

Indo-Islamic Architecture

Medieval Architecture

Modern Architecture

Contribution of Buddhism & Jainism to the Development of Indian Architecture

Rock Cut Architecture

Colonial Architecture & the Modern Period

Preparation Strategy for Art & Culture For UPSC Prelims & Mains

Art & Culture is a very wide topic and hence it is important that you stick to the syllabus and study only the relevant portions. Here’re some of the main components of art and culture preparation for UPSC:

  • Basic Concepts: History textbooks of Class VI and VII and XI and XII (NCERTs) cover ancient and medieval history that should be studied for building a strong foundation. Apart from that fine arts textbook of Class XI should be studied in detail for the art-forms specifically. 

  • Basic Book: Next, read Indian Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania and revise it multiple times to have the names at your fingertips. Rote learning is an important part of the preparation strategy for Art & Culture. 

  • Online resources: Follow the official website of CCRT(Centre for Cultural Resources & Training) for all the important updates, pib website for information on GI tags, and other important information on recent cultural festivals and programs.

Weightage of Art & Culture

First, let us begin with the weightage of Art & Culture in the previous year:


Marks (Prelims)

















Booklist of Art & Culture For UPSC Preparation

  1. NCERT History- Class VI and VII and Class XI and Class XII

  2. NCERT Fine Arts - Class XI

  3. Indian Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania

  4. Newspapers (The Hindu), Monthly Current Affairs, India Year Book

  5. Website -

This was a detailed preparation strategy for Art & Culture for UPSC. Check out the weightage of all the subjects in Prelims here. 

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