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IAS MAINS Syllabus For Indian History Paper 1

The Following is the Syllabus for Indian History – Main Examination – Paper 1



Archaeological sources: Exploration, excavation, epigraphy, numismatics, monuments
Literary sources: Indigenous: Primary and secondary; poetry, scientific literature, literature, literature in regional languages, religious literature. Foreign accounts: Greek, Chinese and Arab writers.

Pre-history and Proto-history

Geographical factors; hunting and gathering (paleolithic and mesolithic); Beginning of agriculture (neolithic and chalcolithic).

Indus Valley Civilization

Origin, date, extent, characteristics, decline, survival and significance, art and architecture.

Megalithic Cultures

Distribution of pastoral and farming cultures outside the Indus, Development of community life, Settlements, Development of agriculture, Crafts, Pottery, and Iron industry.

Aryans and Vedic Period

Expansions of Aryans in India. Vedic Period: Religious and philosophic literature; Transformation from Rig Vedic period to the later Vedic period; Political, social and economical life; Significance of the Vedic Age; Evolution of Monarchy and Varna system.

Period of Mahajanapadas

Formation of States (Mahajanapada) : Republics and monarchies; Rise of urban centres; Trade routes; Economic growth; Introduction of coinage; Spread of Jainism and Buddhism; Rise of Magadha and Nandas. Iranian and Macedonian invasions and their impact.

Mauryan Empire

Foundation of the Mauryan Empire, Chandragupta, Kautilya and Arthashastra; Ashoka; Concept of Dharma; Edicts; Polity, Administration; Economy; Art, architecture and sculpture; External contacts; Religion; Spread of religion; Literature. Disintegration of the empire; Sungas and Kanvas.

Post – Mauryan Period (Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Kushanas, Western Kshatrapas

Contact with outside world; growth of urban centres, economy, coinage, development of religions, Mahayana, social conditions, art, architecture, culture, literature and science

Early State and Society in Eastern India, Deccan and South India

Kharavela, The Satavahanas, Tamil States of the Sangam Age; Administration, economy, land grants, coinage, trade guilds and urban centres; Buddhist centres; Sangam literature and culture; Art and architecture.

Guptas, Vakatakas and Vardhanas

Polity and administration, Economic conditions, Coinage of the Guptas, Land grants, Decline of urban centres, Indian feudalism, Caste system, Position of women, Education and educational institutions; Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi, Literature, scientific literature, art and architecture.

Regional States during Gupta Era

The Kadambas, Pallavas, Chalukyas of Badami; Polity and Administration, Trade guilds, Literature; growth of Vaishnava and Saiva religions. Tamil Bhakti movement, Shankaracharya; Vedanta; Institutions of temple and temple architecture; Palas, Senas, Rashtrakutas, Paramaras, Polity and administration; Cultural aspects. Arab conquest of Sind; Alberuni, The Chalukyas of Kalyana, Cholas, Hoysalas, Pandyas; Polity and Administration; local Government; Growth of art and architecture, religious sects, Institution of temple and Mathas, Agraharas, education and literature, economy and society.

Themes in Early Indian Cultural History

Languages and texts, major stages in the evolution of art and architecture, major philosophical thinkers and schools, ideas in Science and Mathematics.

Early Medieval India, 750-1200

1.Polity: Major political developments in Northern India and the Peninsula, origin and the rise of Rajputs
2.The Cholas: administration, village economy and society
“3.Indian Feudalism”
4.Agrarian economy and urban settlements
5.Trade and commerce
6.Society: the status of the Brahman and the new social order
7.Condition of women
8.Indian science and technology

Cultural Traditions in India, 750-1200

1.Philosophy: Skankaracharya and Vedanta, Ramanuja and Vishishtadvaita, Madhva and Brahma-Mimansa
2.Religion: Forms and features of religion, Tamil devotional cult, growth of Bhakti, Islam and its arrival in India, Sufism
3.Literature: Literature in Sanskrit, growth of Tamil literature, literature in the newly developing languages, Kalhan’s Rajtarangini, Alberuni’s India
4.Art and Architecture: Temple architecture, sculpture, painting

The Thirteenth Century

1.Establishment of the Delhi Sultanate: The Ghurian invasions – factors behind Ghurian success
2.Economic, social and cultural consequences
3.Foundation of Delhi Sultanate and early Turkish Sultans
4.Consolidation: The rule of Iltutmish and Balban

The Fourteenth Century

“1.The Khalji Revolution”
2.Alauddin Khalji: Conquests and territorial expansion, agrarian and economic measures
3.Muhammad Tughluq: Major projects, agrarian measures, bureaucracy of Muhammad Tughluq
4.Firuz Tughluq: Agrarian measures, achievements in civil engineering and public works, decline of the Sultanate, foreign contacts and Ibn Battuta’s account

Society, Culture and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

1.Society: composition of rural society, ruling classes, town dwellers, women, religious classes, caste and slavery under the Sultanate, Bhakti movement, Sufi movement
2.Culture: Persian literature, literature in the regional languages of North India, literature in the languages of South India, Sultanate architecture and new structural forms, painting, evolution of a composite culture
3.Economy: Agricultural production, rise of urban economy and non-agricultural production, trade and commerce

The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century – Political Developments and Economy

1.Rise of Provincial Dynasties: Bengal, Kashmir (Zainul Abedin), Gujarat, Malwa, Bahmanids
2.The Vijayanagra Empire
4.Mughal Empire, First phase: Babur and Humayun
5.The Sur Empire: Sher Shah’s administration
6.Portuguese Colonial enterprise
6.Bhakti and Sufi Movements

The Fifteenth and early Sixteenth Century – Society and Culture

1.Regional cultural specificities
2.Literary traditions
3.Provincial architecture
4.Society, culture, literature and the arts in Vijayanagara Empire


1.Conquests and consolidation of the Empire
2.Establishment of Jagir and Mansab systems
3.Rajput policy
4.Evolution of religious and social outlook, theory of Sulh-i-kul and religious policy
5.Court patronage of art and technology

Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth Century

1.Major administrative policies of Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb
2.The Empire and the Zamindars
3.Religious policies of Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb
4.Nature of the Mughal State
5.Late Seventeenth century crisis and the revolts
6.The Ahom Kingdom
7.Shivaji and the early Maratha Kingdom

Economy and Society in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

1.Population, agricultural production, craft production
2.Towns, commerce with Europe through Dutch, English and French companies : a trade revolution
3.Indian mercantile classes, banking, insurance and credit systems
4.Condition of peasants, condition of women
5.Evolution of the Sikh community and the Khalsa Panth

Culture in the Mughal Empire

1.Persian histories and other literature
2.Hindi and other religious literature
3.Mughal architecture
4.Mughal painting
5.Provincial architecture and painting
6.Classical music
7.Science and technology

The Eighteenth Century

1.Factors for the decline of the Mughal Empire
2.The regional principalities: Nizam’s Deccan, Bengal, Awadh
3.Maratha ascendancy under the Peshwas
4.The Maratha fiscal and financial system
5.Emergence of Afghan Power, Battle of Panipat:1761
6.State of politics, culture and economy on the eve of the British conquest
Indian Administrative Services is one of the most prestige services in India. This exam is conducted by the UPSC for vacancies in different administrative departments, including Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS) among others.

The following are simple preparation tips to score well in the Indian History – Mains Examination – Paper I.

Revise two times before exam: Plan your studies carefully. Adequate time should be kept for revision.
Solve mock test papers: Candidates should attend mock tests and solve previous year papers. It will increase the accuracy and speed significantly. It also helps in picking out the most appropriate option in the exam.
Candidates should be expected to prepare at least 100 such famous/important sites/places and shall try to know more than two reasons for which it was important
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