UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Important Questions on Art & Culture – Topic 4 (Temple Architecture)

UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Important Questions on Art & Culture – Topic 4 (Temple Architecture): The temple architecture in India reflects a synthesis of arts, the ideals of Dharma, beliefs, values and the way of life. The culture of Indian temple architecture has encouraged aesthetic independence to temple builders and also its architects have sometimes exercise flexibility in creative expression by adopting other perfect geometries and mathematical principles. Aspirants need to study the temple architecture in ancient India and important facts related to each form. To help aspirants prepare, we have compiled a list of some important questions on the Temple architecture forms of India.

UPSC IAS Prelims 2021: Topic-wise Important Questions & Answers on Art & Culture (History): most important questions and answers with explanations on Art & Culture categorized topic-wise for the aspirants of UPSC Prelims exam. These questions can be solved to test your preparation for the exam. 


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Ques 1: Consider the following statements regarding Nagra Style Temples:

  1. These temples have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
  2. The garbhagriha is always located directly under the tallest tower.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: b

Explanation:Unlike in South India, Nagra Style Temples do not usually have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.

Ques 2: The Sun temple at Modhera was built by Raja Bhimdev I of:

(a) Gupta Dynasty

(b) Chola Dynasty

(c) Pala Dynasty

(d) Solanki Dynasty

Ans: d

Explanation:The Sun temple at Modhera dates back to the early 11th century and was built by Raja Bhimdev I of the Solanki Dynasty in 1026. There is a massive rectangular stepped tank called the surya kund in front of it, perhaps the grandest temple tank in India.

Ques 3: Consider the following statements:

  1. It came into existence during the later Chalukyas of Kalyani and Hoysalas dynasty.
  2. This school is prevalent in the Deccan and Central India, between the Vindhyas and the river Krishna.

Which temple style has been discussed in the above-given statements?

(a) Dravidian School of Temple Architecture

(b) Nagara School of Temple Architecture

(c) Vesara School of Temple Architecture

(d) Buddhist Architectural Developments

Ans: c

Explanation:It was emerged during early medieval period and evolved from the combination of both Nagara and Dravida styles of temple architecture. It came into existence during the later Chalukyas of Kalyani and Hoysalas dynasty. This is also known as Chalukya style or Karnataka style. This school is prevalent in the Deccan and Central India, between the Vindhyas and the river Krishna. Mahadeva Temple, Itagi build under Chalukya Empire and Chennakesava Temple, Belur build under Hoysala Empire is a classic example of this style. 

Ques 4: Consider the following statements regarding the Buddhist Architectural Developments:

  1. The design of the temple is strictly inspired by the Nagara Style of temple architecture.
  2. The Nalanda sculptures initially depict the Buddhist deities of Vajrayana.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: d

Explanation:The design of the Buddhist temple is unusual. It is, strictly speaking, neither Dravida nor nagara. It is narrow like a nagara temple, but it rises without curving, like a Dravida one.The Nalanda sculptures initially depict Buddhist deities of the Mahayana pantheon such as standing Buddhas, bodhisattvas such as Manjusri Kumara, Avalokiteshvara seated on a lotus and Naga-Nagarjuna.

Ques 5: Consider the following statement (s).

  1. Pallava Temple architecture led to the origin of three distinct spheres of South Indian architecture- mandapa, ratha and large temples.
  2. Pallava style is believed to originate from the time of Mahendravarman I.

Which of the above statement (s) is/are correct about South Indian architecture?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: c

Explanation:Pallava style culminated as the Dravida style of architecture. It was originated during the reign of the Mahendravarman I. It was originated in three distinct spheres such as mandapa, ratha and large temples. Hence, C is the correct option.

Ques 6: Which of the following architecture included the cutting of a single piece of rock into temple?

(a) Odisha style of architecture

(b) Ratha Temple architecture

(c) Mahendra style of architecture

(d) Mamalla Style

Ans: b

Explanation:Ratha architecture included the cutting of a single piece of rock into temple. In this architecture, the temples were carved out from top to bottom. Hence, B is the correct option.

Ques 7: Consider the following statements:

  1. Kailashnath temple at Ellora is an example of Jain temple architecture.
  2. The temple is carved out of the living rock.

Which of the above statement (s) is/are correct about South Indian architecture?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: b

Explanation:The greatest achievement in Deccan architecture is the Kailashnath temple at Ellora, a culmination of at least a millennium-long tradition in rock-cut architecture in India. 

Ques 8: Match the following terms related to temple architecture with their meaning:

Temple FeatureMeaning
(A) Amalaka(I)  It is a porch-like structure which is designed as a pillared outdoor hall or pavilion for public rituals.
(B) Jagati(II) It is term used for a stone disc-like structure at the top of the temple shikhara.
(C) Mandapa(III) It is the topmost point of the temple above Amalaka.
(D) Kalasha(IV)  It is the term used for the platform where people sit for praying.

Select the correct code:

(a) A-II, B-IV, C-I, D-III

(b) A-I, B-II, C-III, D-IV

(c) A-II, B-III, C-IV, D-I

(d) A-IV, B-III, C_II, D-I

Ans: a

Explanation:Amalaka: It is term used for a stone disc like structure at the top of the temple shikara.Jagati: It is the term used for the platform where people sit for praying.Mandapa: It is a porch-like structure which is designed as a pillared outdoor hall or pavilion for public rituals. It is used for religious dancing and music and is part of the basic temple compound. The temples which has more than one madappa called by different names such as Artha Mandapam or Ardh Mandapam etc.Kalasha: It is topmost point of the temple above Amalaka.

Ques 9: The famous “Lad Khan temple” is situated in which of the following state of India?

(a) Kashmir

(b) Karnataka 

(c) Madhya Pradesh

(d) Odisha

Ans: b

Explanation:Lad Khan temple at Aihole in Karnataka seems to be inspired by the wooden-roofed temples of the hills, except that it is constructed out of stone.

Ques 10: The shore temple at Mahabalipuram was built by which of the following Pallava Kings?

(a) Narasimhavarman I

(b) Mahendravarman I

(c) Narasimhavarman II

(d) Paramesvaravarman I

Ans: c

Explanation:The shore temple at Mahabalipuram was built later, probably in the reign of Narasimhavarman II, also known as Rajasimha who reigned from 700 to 728 CE. The temple houses three shrines, two to Shiva, one facing east and the other west, and a middle one to Vishnu.

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