UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2011
:: Paper - I ::
1. Mark the following places on the map supplied to you and write short descriptive notes on them.
(i) Chirand: Chirand lies on the bank of River Ghagra, 11 km to the east of Chapra in the state of Bihar. Excavations reveal that it was an important site from the neolithic period to the third century AD, and later during the early medieval period. The neolithic period was marked by the use of stone axes, blades, considerable bow implements, and antler implements. The discovery of rice, wheat, barley, mung and masur in charred condition, and paddy husk impressions on some burnt clay pieces bear testimony to the practice of agriculture. The radiocarbon date suggests that this period was contemporary with postHarappa, but the relation between the two is not known. In the NBPW phase people used iron tools and weapons.
(ii) Kargil: Kargil is located in Jammu and Kashmir. It is famous as a tourist centre for the Suru valley, Sanphoo and Tangole village. A very ancient temple of Shiva here provides evidence that it might have been a centre of Saivism in Kashmir-famously known as Kashmir Saivism or Traika Saivism. The Buddhist settlement at Rangdum and the rock carvings at Mulbek and Fekar corroborate the place’s importance as a Buddhist centre. Kargil was recently in the news because of the incursion of Pakistani-based infiltrators into the region. India launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to clear the incursion, and thus foiled the attempts of Pakistan to occupy Kargil.
(iii) Basohli: Basohli is a town and a Notified Area Committe in Kathua district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated on right bank of the river Ravi. It was founded by Raja Bhupat Pal in 1635. It was known for magnificent palaces which are now in ruins and miniature paintings (Basohli Paintings).
(iv) Lalitgiri: Lalitagiri, located in the state of Orissa, dates back to the first century AD. Recent excavations here have brought to light significant archaeological material that upholds Lalitagiri as a great centre of Buddhism. The majestic ruins of the huge brick monastery, the remains of a chaitya hall, a number of votive stupas and a renovated stone stupa at the apex of a small rugged sandstone hill are among the finds.
(v) Mandu: Mandu, the ruined city also known as Mandava and Mandogarh, is located in southwestern Madhya Pradesh. Mandu was fortified during the rule of the Parmars of Malwa region. The famous Parmar ruler, Munja, built the Munja Sagar Lake here. During the medieval period, Mandu came under the control of the Delhi Sultanate. Later, it was ruled by the sultans of three Pathan dynasties. Dilawar Khan Ghur established a dynasty here in 1401. His son and successor, Hoshang Shah, built Mandu as his capital. Hoshang Shah died in 1435, and was entombed in a splendid mausoleum which still ‘exists at Mandu. On Hoshang’s death, his son, Ghazni Khan, ordered his capital Mandu to be called Shadiabad (City of Joy).
(vi) Penukonda: It is a small town situated to the south-east of Puttaparthi in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It was the strategic Citadel for the Vijayanagar emperors from the 14th to the 16th century. It also served as the chief headquarters of the Aravidu rulers after the collapse of Vijayanagar empire.
(vii) Samugarh: Samugarh is located near Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is historically important because of the Battle of Samugarh, fought between Aurangzeb and his brother Dara for the Mughal throne after emperor Shah Jahan. It was here that Aurangzeb inflicted a crushing defeat on his brother.
(viii): Vilinam : Vilinam was a port situated in Kerala under Pandya Kings. Rajarajan began his career by the conquest of the Chera country. He defeated Chera King Bhaskara Ravivarman, whose fleet he destroyed in the port of Kandalur. He also seized Pandya Amara Bhujanga and captured the port of Vilinam.
(ix) Sigiria: Sigiria is located in Sri Lanka and its history dates back to over 7,000 years to prehistoric times. A rock shelter mountain, it had a monastery from about third century BC with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Sangha. The garden city and the palace were built by the Ceylonese King, Kashyapa (477-495 AD) at Sigiria to escape from the armies of Moylena. Kashyapa is said to have built his palace on the summit of Sigiria.
(x) Vikramshila: Vikramashila is situated on the banks of River Ganga in Bhagalpur district of Bihar. It has been identified with the place called Anti Chak. Vikramashila attained fame as a university sustaining it for over 400 years from the eighth century AD to the 12th century AD. The university was founded by the Pala king, Dharmpala of Bengal. Subjects like grammar, logic, metaphysics, and rituals were taught here. Vikramashila was also an important centre of Tantrism or the Vajrayana sect of Buddhism which was given patronage by the Pales of Bengal. However, the University of Vikramashila was completely destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khilji’s attack.
(xi) Mukhalingam: Mukhalingam is situated in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. Also known as Dakshin Kasi for its religious environs. It was the capital of the Eastern Gangas of Orissa during the 10"’ C AD. The temple of Sri Mukhalingam was built in the Eighth century AD by kamarnava II of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
(xii) Halebid: Halebid is also known as Dwarasamudra, is situated 27 km to the north-west of Hassan and 17 kin to the east of Belur in modern Karnataka. It flourished as a capital of the Hoysala Empire during the 12’h and 13" century. Halebid is famous for its star like temple built by the Hoysala rulers. Other famous temples at Halebid are Hoyasalesvara temple and Kedareshvara temple.
(xiii) Sanghol: Sanghol is situated 40 km from Chandigarh, and is now part of Fatehgarh Sahib District of Punjab. It is one of the most important Buddhist sites. The site is known for its relics dating from late Harappan civilisation (2300-1750 BC to sixth century AD). This place finds mention in a Buddhist text of the second century AD and the Chinese pilgrim, HsuanTsang is believed to have visited this place, where he saw about 10 monasteries. The remains of the stupa laid bare at Sanghol reveal the novelty of the architectural plan and the imposing size of the monument in earlier times. Gold coins of the Kushanas and Samudra Gupta have also been discovered. A copper coin discovered from this place discloses the name of Chandra Gupta l.
(xiv) Kumbharia: Kumbharia is a village in Kutch distinct of Gujarat. It is situated at a distance of 14 km from Anjar town and taluka headquarter. Kumbharia is one of the 19 villages founded by Kutch Gurjar Kshatriyas or Mistris. These Mistri community first moved into Saurashtra from Rajasthan in early 7th century and later a major group entered Kutch in 12th C. AD and established themselves at Dhantei.
(xv) Sirpur: Sirpur is a town in Adilabad distirct in Andhra Pradesh. Sirpur is a thousand year old village famous for the Sirpur paper mills. In 1724 AD Nizm-eMulk defeated Mubariz Khan and took possession of the Deccan and began to rule.