Are you appearing for the UPSC Civil Services exam next year? Have you started your preparation yet? Are you wondering about how to start the preparation for Arts and Culture? Not sure how to make Arts and Culture notes for UPSC or which resources to pick from? If you are planning on skipping the topic, read this article before you make your decision. It constitutes a considerable portion of questions in the Prelims and the Mains that can help you clear the exam.

In this article, you can find your answer to questions like if Arts and Culture is important for UPSC, how you can prepare for the topic, if Nitin Singhania’s book is enough for your preparation, and if you could refer to NCERT for Arts and Culture notes. Read on till the end to find out about important sources and the importance of the subject in the exam.

How Can I Prepare for Art and Culture in UPSC?

For your preparation, you can start by making a preparation strategy that can help you structure your notes and help you organize important topics for the exam. Once you have gone through the syllabus and noted down the important concepts for the exam, you can refer to the following books and sources for those concepts.

How to Make Notes- Important Books and Resources

Some of the important books and sources that can help you understand the basics of Arts and Culture are as follows-

  • A Compendium of Indian Art and Culture by S. Baliyan
  • Indian Heritage, Art, and Culture by Madhukar Kumar Bhagat
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
  • NCERT textbooks Class VI-X
  • NCERT An Introduction to Indian Art Part 1 & 2 Class XI-XII
  • Ancient India by Ram Sharan Sharma (R.S. Sharma)
  • NCERT Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • History Textbooks of Tamil Nadu State Board
  • National Institute of Opening Schooling (NIOS) notes on Art and Culture
  • Indian Culture notes by Spectrum
  • Indian Year Book
  • Press Information Bureau Website for Ministry of Culture releases
  • Editorial Section of the newspaper The Hindu

While referring to all of these sources is not practically possible, you can go through the sources that suit your requirements and make sure you choose the ones that help you understand the concepts easily, instead of choosing the sources that have more facts and information.

Also Read: What to Study for IAS UPSC? Complete Preparation Guide for UPSC Civil Service Exam

Relevant Topics

Now that you have a list of resources to choose from, you can make a list of the important concepts that are covered from this section that you need to prepare. It mainly consists of Indian art forms, literature, architecture, and cultural aspects varying from the ancient to the modern times. Some basic topics covered include-

  • Paintings- from the ancient to medieval era, various schools of paintings, etc.
  • Architecture- various forms of palaces, forts, cities, caves, temples, and other buildings
  • Literature- ancient texts, epics, books by kings and ministers, records by travellers, etc.
  • Dance Forms- different kinds of dance forms in the country, well-known personalities, etc.
  • Music- the variety of musical instruments in India, their differences, similarities, etc.
  • Theatre- different forms of theatre and puppetry in India
  • Cinema- Indian cinema, its evolution, regional cinema, famous personalities

Is Art and Culture Important for UPSC?

It is an essential subject that is covered in the UPSC exam quite often. Questions from the topic occur in the IAS exam consistently and you should not make the mistake of missing out on it. The concept covers about 4-5 questions in the Prelims and about 20% of the Mains General Science exam. If you attempt all the questions from the topic, you would have a higher chance of clearing the UPSC exam. If you approach the topic with the right aim, you can end up absorbing more information in a limited time by just reading up the concepts. Even if you decide to go through Nitin Singhania Art and Culture notes for UPSC, you would end up covering ample information.


While the syllabus for Art and Culture is somewhat disorganised and vast, it can easily become one of your most scoring topics with the right exam strategy. You can take a look at the previous years’ exam papers and understand the pattern of concepts discussed, and note down the concepts that seem more important. It is also an easy and interesting topic that doesn’t need one to memorise much. It discusses things about the Indian culture that are quite common for a person brought up in the Indian subcontinent.

Instead of taking the subject seriously, if you enjoy the information mentioned, you can excel in the topic. You can additionally use diagrams for your notes for quicker revision. For more such interesting topics’ discussions, don’t forget to visit us regularly.

Also Read: Ancient Indian History Previous Years’ Questions in UPSC Prelims

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Arts and Culture Notes for UPSC: Is Art and Culture Important for UPSC?
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