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Secrets of UPSC Exam Success

Secrets of UPSC Exam Success

1. Planned studies, hard work and inner motivation are the keys to success.
2. Strong willpower and faith in God are keys to success.
3. Hard work, focused approach and faith in God are stepping-stones to success.
4. Hard work, good planning and positive approach.
5. Dedication, time management and hard work are secrets of success.
6. Self-confidence, planning and systematic study are stepping-stones to success.
7. Motivation and confidence are the keys to success.
8. Determination, positive attitude - key to success.
9. Patience, selection of optionals, hard work and good luck.


Remember that there is no substitute to hard work. No one will come and help you. You have to finish the entire course by yourself. Civil Service competition is like a marathon race. For that any competitive examination/even this whole world is a competitive world. The aspirants of civil services are well educated and more than 50 per cent of the candidates are serious ones. One, who has the confidence that he can compete in this examination and succeed, only will appear. UPSC statistics also reveals that around 50% of the total applicants only appear in the Preliminary exam.

Among the 50 per cent of the serious candidates, more than 20 per cent are hard workers, i.e. more than 50, 000 candidates are competing, who are really hard working. There are hardly 400 posts in all. So, to make it to the 400, one has to be really put in real hard work, good writing skills, unique style all put together. It is not a university examination. One who puts in extra hard work, practice, and unique presentation only will succeed i.e. be among the top 400. So all successful candidates say the hard work one of the first pre-requisites for the success.

There is no short cut to success and hard work never goes unrewarded. There are many ups and downs during the course of preparation. It is the "downs" which need to be tackled more vigorously and skillfully - more so at the emotional and psychological level. Remember these lines - "what you build for years, may be broken down in a single moment - build anyway".


Dedication towards your duty always pays in life. Be totally dedicated and focused in your studies. You have to sacrifice something like movies, parties, and entertainments etc at this stage of your life to achieve bigger things. Just work day in and day out and go on and on. As told in the previous topic, one should have dedication towards the goal otherwise it is very difficult to achieve. Select standard study books/preparation of notes, as reading is the only entertainment you should have during this period.


As the CSE preparation spans a minimum of one year, right from the Preliminary stage to the interview state, it requires a lot of patience to maintain your tempo. At times you may feel tired and sick of further studying during the course of your preparation. Maintain your cool and patience and so on to break the monotony of studies. Talk to friends and parents. They will provide with you with the much-needed emotional support. Every aspirant tries to top in the first attempt itself. If you don't get through, don't get frustrated. Don't slow down your tempo and at the same time you should keep patience for another year to reap the fruits of success. So one should not lose patience and the tempo throughout the preparation period till success.


Your self-confidence can make the difference. If you don't believe in yourself and your capacity to achieve then, no matter how hard you try. You will end up failing. So your self-confidence should be at an all time high - always. You should be in the company of people, who can increase your motivational levels high and can inspire you. Form a group of close friends, who are as determined as you are to make it to the Civil Services Examination. Keep good friends, they are always a source of inspiration and motivation.

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UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2012


UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2012

:: Paper - I ::

Section A

Q1. Identify the following places marked on the map supplied to you and write short notes of about 40 words on each of the places marked on the map are given below: (very sorry we don’t have the map!)

(i) A prehistoric site : Piklihal
(ii) A Chalcolithic Site : Daimabad
(iii) A religious centre : Kundalwan
(iv) A Prehistoric site: Mehrgarh
(v) An art centre : Varanasi
(vi) A prehistoric site: Bangore
(vii) An art centre : Ellora
(viii) A port: Sopara
(ix) A Capital town : Patliputra
(x) A Prehistoric site : Hallur
(xi) A post-Mauryan town : Sisupalgarh
(xii) An art centre : Bhimbefka
(xiii) A pre-historic site : Chirand
(xiv) A Chalcolithic Site : Kaytha
(xv) A Chalcolithic Site : Inamgaon
(xvi) A Chalcolithic Site : Nevasa
(xvii) A Prehistoric Site : Burzahom
(xviii) An art centre : Amaravati
(xix) A Chalcolithic Site : Navatoli
(xx) A Chalcolithic Site : Ahar


(i) A prehistoric site : Piklihal : An important archaeological site of the pre-historic era in Karnataka. It is a small village in Hingasugar taluk of Raichur district. It is neolithic site excavated by F.R. and Bridget Allchi in 1952. This site provided evidence of domesticated cattle, as well as sheep, goat, turtles and shellfish. The people who lived here used handmade brown terracotta vessels, some of them were finely polished, decorated with drawings and painting. They used tools such as axes made of black stone. Animal remains are also found. Relics of the iron age are also found in Piklihal at a level higher than the copper stone age.

(ii) A Chalcolithic Site : Daimabad: Daimabad is situated in the Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra. It shows cultural habitation of three different periods-Neolithic, Harappan and Jorwe. It is on the left bank of the river Pravara a tributary of Godavari. The site was discovered by B.P, Bopardikar. Traces of the stone axe industry of South Indian neolithic culture have been found here. The other important find of this phase is black pottery. During the Harappan phase, it formed the south­ernmost frontier of the Harappan civilisation, as corroborated by the finding of terracotta figurines, seals and burnt bricks in the ratio 4:2:1 in a graveyard, all typical of the Harappan culture. But the most important find of Harappan culture are the massive artefacts in bronze, such as rhinoceros, buffalo, an elephant, and a chariot yoked to a pair of bullocks driven by a human being. These artefacts weigh over 60 kg. Daimabad was also an important site of Jorwe culture-a chalcolithic culture of about 1400 BC in Maharashtra. The copper stone tools, houses of stone, and traces of grains like barley and moong are supportive evidence.

(iii) A religious centre : Kundalwan: Kundalwan is a religious centre located in Kashmir. The fourth Buddhist council was held during the reign of Kanishka under the leadership of elder Vasumitra and the great scholar Asvaghosa. The convening of the council led to the division of Buddhism into two broad sects namely the Mahayana and the Hinayana.

(iv) A Prehistoric site: Mehrgarh: Mehrgarh is located in the Baluchistan region, now in Pakistan. The town provides the earliest example of settlement and cultivation in the Indian subcontinent. Mehrgarh shows three phases of settlement-Neolithic culture, pre-Indus culture, and Harappan culture. It was around 6000 BC that people started settlements here by making mud-brick houses. Mehrgarh people were also the earliest to start wheat cultivation in the Indian subcontinent around 6000-5000 BC. Evidence of mud-brick settlements of rectangular houses with multiple rooms suggests pre-Indus Valley culture. This phase even shows use of handmade pottery, cultivation of plants like barley, date and cotton, and domestication of animals. The Harappan culture is evident in the pattern of settlement, seals and pottery, use of precious metals and beads like lapis lazuli, and other items of Indus Valley Civilisation.

(v) An art centre : Varanasi: Banaras, as Varanasi was called for some time, is situated on the west bank of the Ganga in eastern Utter Pradesh. Varanasi or Banaras is one of the oldest living cities in the world, and its prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrivalled, one of the earliest descriptions of Varanasi is found in Buddhist scriptures and also in the epic Mahabharata. The Pali version of Varanasi was Banarasi which ultimately gave birth to the name ‘Banaras’. According to Vaman Purana, the Varuna and Assi rivers originated from the body of the primordial person at the beginning of time itself. The tract of land lying between them is believed to be the holiest of all pilgrimages. Varanasi is also known as Kashi, i.e., city of spiritual light. It was at Sarnath, only 10 km away from Varanasi, that Buddha preached his first sermon of enlighten­ment. Varanasi is also famous for its ghats, the most important and famous being the Dasaswamedha Ghat and the Manikarnika Gnat.

Varanasi is also renowned for its rich tradition of music, arts, crafts and education. Some of the world­renowned exponents India has produced in these fields were schooled in Varanasi. Varanasi is famous for the art of silk weaving; Banarasi silk saris and silk brocades are known across the world today. Mark Twain, the renowned Indophile said of Varanasi, ‘Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”

(vi) A prehistoric site: Bagor: The archaeological site of Bagor is a Late Mesolithic (pre-Harappa) archaeological site located on the Kothari river in the Bhilwara District of the Rajasthan region of western India. Bagor was excavated by Deccan College scholars such as Virendra Nath Misra and Vasant Shinde in the 1960s and 1970s, who found evidence for the domestication of sheep, cattle and goats by the nomadic pastoralists of Bagor dating as early as 5000 to 3000 BC. This prehistoric site is related with middle Paleolithic era presently located in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan. The earliest evidence of animal rearing found here. Excavation of this site discovered Paleolithic instruments, bones of animals, making floor out of stone also found.

UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2011


UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2011

:: Paper - I ::

Section A

1. Mark the following places on the map supplied to you and write short descriptive notes on them.

(i) Chirand
(ii) Kargil
(iii) Basohli
(iv) Lalitgiri
(v) Mandu
(vi) Penukonda
(vii) Samugarh
(viii) Vilinam
(ix) Sigiria
(x) Vikramashila
(xi) Mukhalingam
(xii) Halebid
(xiii) Sanghol
(xiv) Kumbharia
(xv) Sirpur
(xvi) Pangudaria
(xvii) Amarkantak
(xviii) Kibbanhalli
(xix) Jorwe
(xx) Badaun


(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.

UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2010


UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2010

:: Paper - I ::

Section A

1. Mark the following places on the map supplied to you and write short descriptive notes on them.

(i) Korkai
(ii) Eran
(iii) Birbhanpur
(iv) Rakhigarhi
(v) Sannati
(vi) Isipattan
(vii) Dhanyakataka
(viii) Junnar
(ix) Edakkal
(x) Paithan
(xi) Pandu Rajar Dhibi
(xii) Karle
(xiii) Vatapi
(iv) Porkalam
(xv) Kalanjar
(xv) kalajar
(xvi) Malian
(xviii) chandudaro
(xix) Rajim
(xx) Tripuri


(i) Korkai: Korkai is a small village in the Srivaikuntam taluk of Tuticorin district in Tamil Nadu, India. It is situated about 3 km north of the Thamirabarani River and about 6 kin from the shore of Bay of Bengal. Korkai was the commercial capital and important port of the Pandyan Kingdom of the third Sangam age. At that time, it was located on the banks of the Tamraparani River and at the sea coast, forming a natural harbour. Due to excessive sedimentation, the sea has recer+ed about 6 km in the past 200(1 years, leaving Korkai well inland today. The famous um burial site, Adichanallur, is located about 15 km. from Korkai.

(ii) Eran: Eran is an ancient Indian historical city in Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh state. It can be called to be the oldest historical town of Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh. In earlier coins and inscriptions its name appears as Airiki? a) From an early inscrip­tion at Sanchi we know that the residents of Eran had made some gifts to the famous Stupa situ­ated at Sanchi. This city was the capital of Airikina Pradesha or Airkina Vishaya. an ad­ministrative division of the Gupta empire.

(iii) Birbhanpur: Birbhanpur a nticrolithic site in Birbhanpur village, on the right bank of the Damodar near Durgapur district Burdwan, West Bengal, was discovered by AK Mukherjee, a local zamindar in early 1950s. Initially the site was explored and excavated on a small scale in 1954 by BB Lal, the then superintendent of the Eastern Circle of the Ar­chaeological Survey of India (henceforth re­ferred to as ASI). From this excavation the geo­logical context of the microliths were ascertained.

(iv) Rakhigarhi: Rakhigarhi is a village in block &tehil Narnaund in Hisar District in the northwest Indian state of Haryana. around 150 kilometers from Delhi. Actually, Rakhigarhi is a common name for two sepa­rate villages Rakhi Shahpur and Rakhi Khas. It neibouring villaes are Gamra,Habatpur, Mirchpur etc.It lies on the Chautang River. In 1963 archeologists discovered the village was the site of an extensive city, part of the Indus Valley Civilization. Since 1997 the Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken a detailed excavation of the site, revealing the size of the lost city (at least 2.2 km) and recovering numerous artifacts. some over 5,000 years old. Evidence of paved roads, drainage system, large rainwater collection, storage system, terracotta brick, slants production. and skilled metal working (in both bronze and precious metals) has been uncovered. Jewellery, in­cluding bangles made from terracotta, conch shells, gold, and semi-precious stones. has also been found.

(v) Sannathi: Sannathi is a small village located in Gulbarga District of Karnataka. It is famous for the Chandralamba temple built in the 11th century. This temple is visited by a large numbers of pilgrims during the months of March and April.This village is of great archaeological importance, being the largest Buddhist site in Karnataka. Sannathi is about 60 km from Gulbarga.

UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2009


UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2009

:: Paper - I ::

Section A

Q1. Marks the following places on the maps supplied to you and write short descriptive notes on these places marked by you.

1. Koldihwa 2. Kuchai
3. Utnur 4. Balathal
5. Hallur 6. Kandahar
7. Ter 8. Uchh
9. Uttaramerur 10. Sittanavasal
11. Mansura 12. Jaunpur
13. Machilipatnam 14. Mahisadal
15. Patne 16. Bagasra
17. Semthan 18. Gyaraspur
19. Lalkot 20. Daojali Hading


Koldihwa-Neolithic archaeological site in Uttar Pradesh state of northern India dated between 4000-12011 BC. Koldihwa was an agricultural village of circular huts, with stone axes, bone and stone tools. pottery, and cattle pens: and early evidence of rice cultivation. found as impressions in ceramic vessels.

2. Kuchai: Kuchai is a pre-historic site situated at a distance of 8 km north of Baripad. Orissa Excavations at Kuchai yielded some Neolithic possessions of man. Potteries found here indicate the development of Mierolithic culture of the late Stone Age in this area.

3. Utnur: Utnur is a village and a Mandal in Adilabad district in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India where ashmound of Neolithic age has been found. This ashmound, famous on account of its excavations by Raymond and Bridget Allchin in the late 1950s. which found a cattle pen enclosure beneath the ashmound which had been repeatedly rebuilt on the same alignment after conflagrations.

4. Balathal: Balathal is a later Harappan site belonging to Ahar and Gilund culture and dates back to the period of 2500 BC onwards. In Balathal, the 2,500 B.C. fortification phase reveals a succession of stone structures inside the fortification and below the wall that ran around the residential ci..-iplex. There are high­built stone platforms on the eastern edge. This implies that people knew of stone architecture when the settlement began around 3,500 B.C

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