Culture & Architecture of India : Online Free Ias notes

What is a ‘Culture‘?

  • ‘Culture’ is derived from the Latin term ‘cult or cultus’ meaning tilling, or cultivating or refining & worship.
  • Means cultivating & refining a thing to such an extent that its end product evokes our admiration & respect.
  • In Sanskrit it is known as ‘Sanskriti’ & the term ‘Sanskriti’ has been derived from the root ‘Kri (to do) of Sanskrit language.
  • 3 words came from this root ‘Kri; prakriti’ (basic matter or condition), ‘Sanskriti’ (refined matter or condition) and ‘vikriti’ (modified or decayed matter or condition)
  • Simply when ‘prakriti’ or a raw material is refined it becomes ‘Sanskriti’ and when broken or damaged it becomes ‘vikriti’.
  • Culture is a way of life i.e the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the language you speak & the God you worship.
  • Simply, it is the embodiment of the way in which we think & do things.
  • All the achievements of human beings as members of social groups can be called culture.
  • It is the expression of our nature in our modes of living & thinking & seen in our literature, in religious practices, in recreation and enjoyment.

Aspects of culture

  • Art,
  • Music,
  • Literature,
  • Architecture,
  • Sculpture,
  • Philosophy,
  • Religion & science.
  • Also includes the customs, traditions, festivals, ways of living & one’s outlook on various issues of life.

Culture has 2 distinctive components i.e

  • Material culture the material aspect of our life such as our dress, food, & household goods.
  • Non-material culture refers to ideas, ideals, thoughts & belief.

Understanding of Civilization & Culture


  • Having better ways of living & sometimes making nature bend to fulfill their needs.

  • Also includes organizing societies into politically well-defined groups working collectively for improved conditions of life in matters of food, dress, communication, and so on.

  • One possessing wealth may be considered as ‘civlilized’ but he may not be cultured’

  • Sometimes it led to wars & holocausts, resulting in mass destruction of human beings.


  • It refers to the inner being, a refinement of head & heart.

  • Also includes arts & sciences, music & dance & various higher motions of human life.

  • One who may be poor & wearing cheap clothes may be considered ‘uncivilized’, but still he or she may be the most cultured person.

  • Culture is the ‘higher levels of inner refinement’ of a human being.

Cultural heritage

  • The culture we inherit from our predecessors is called our ‘cultural heritage.

  • Humanity as a whole has inherited a culture which may be called human heritage.

  • A nation also inherits a culture which may be termed as national cultural heritage.

  • It includes all those aspects or values of culture transmitted to human beings by their ancestors from generation to generation.

Ex;-Taj Mahal, Swami Narayan Temple of Gandhinagar & Delhi, Red Fort of Agra, Delhi’s Qutub Minar, Mysore Palace, Jain Temple of Dilwara, Nizamuddin Aulia’s Dargah, Golden Temple of Amritsar, Gurudwara Sisganj of Delhi, Sanchi Stupa, Christian Church in Goa, India Gate etc.,

  • Besides the architectural creations, monuments, material artifacts, the intellectual achievements, philosophy, treasures of knowledge, scientific inventions & discoveries are also the part of heritage.

General characteristics of culture

  • Culture is Learned & acquired

  • Culture is Shared by a group of people

  • Culture is Cumulative

  • Culture Changes

  • Culture is Dynamic

  • Culture gives us a range of permissible behavior patterns

  • Culture is Diverse

  • Culture is Idealization

Importance of culture in human life
  • Culture is made up of traditions, beliefs, way of life, from the most spiritual to the most material.

  • It gives us meaning, a way of leading our lives.

  • Human beings are creators of culture and, at the same time, culture is what makes us human

  • 3 eternal & universal values of Truth, Beauty and Goodness are closely linked with culture.

Characteristics of Indian culture

• Due to its adaptability & comprehensiveness, Indian culture has survived through the ages.

• Unity in diversity is one of the major characteristics of Indian culture which makes it unique.

• A synthesis of various cultures came about through the ages to give shape to what is recognised as Indian culture today.

• Spirituality & value based life style is the core of Indian culture but it has a scientific temperament too.

Indian Architecture


  • It is not a modern phenomenon, since as soon as the early cave man times.
  • Combination of needs, imagination, capacities of the builders & capabilities of the workers

Understanding Architecture & Sculpture


  • Architecture Design & construction of buildings with various type of material used like Stone, wood, grass, metal etc.
  • Involves engineering mathematics & depends upon measurement


  • 3 D work of artMade of single piece of material
  • Involves creativity, imagination & may not depend on measurement
Classification of Indian Architecture

Ancient India

  • Harappa Art (2500 – 1800 BC)
  • Mauryan Art (300 BC)
  • Post Mauryan Architecture
  • Gupta Age Art (3rd AD – 6th Century)
  • South India Architecture

Medieval India

  • Delhi Sultanate (1206 – 1526)
  • Mughal Period (1526 – 18th Century)

Modern India

  • Indo Gothic Style
  • Neo Roman Style

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