Ancient History Questions for BPSC Exam Preparation

1. Who were the first kings to issue gold coins in India?
(1) Mauryas (2) Indo-Greeks
(3) Guptas (4) Kushans

2. Where is Brihadeshwar Temple
situated ?
(1) Kanchi (2) Madurai
(3) Shri Shailan (4) Tanjore

3. In Tamil literature the glorious
books ‘Shilppadikaram and
Manimekhalai’ are related to
(1) Jainism (2) Buddhism
(3) Hindusim (4) Christianity

4. Who established Mahabalipuram?
(1) Pallava (2) Pandya
(3) Chola (4) Chalukya

5. The Saka era commencing from
A.D. 78, was founded by
(1) Kanishka
(2) Asoka
(3) Chandragupta
(4) Vikramaditya

6. Ganhadra school of art came into
existence in
(1) Hinayana sect
(2) Mahayana sect
(3) Vaishnava sect
(4) Shaiva sect

7. Out of the following remains excavated in Indus Valley, which
one indicates the commercial and
economic development ?
(1) The Pottery (2) Seals
(3) The boats (4) The houses

8. Who, according to the Buddhists,
is believed to be the next incarnation of Gautam Buddha ?
(1) Atreya (2) Maitreya
(3) Nagarjuna (4) Kalki

9. Who among the following were
contemporaries of Kanishka ?
(1) Kamban, Banabhatta, Asvagosha
(2) Nagarjuna, Asvagosha, Vasumitra
(3) Asvagosha, Kalidasa, Banabhatta
(4) Kalidasa, Kamban, Va-sumitra

10. Which rulers built the Ellora temples?
(1) Chalukya (2) Sunga
(3) Rashtrakuta (4) Pallava

11. Who amongst the following also
had the name ‘Devanama Piyadassi’?
(1) Mauryan King Ashoka
(2) Mauryan King Chandra-gupta Maurya
(3) Gautam Buddha
(4) Bhagwan Mahavira

12. The subject-matter of Ajanta
Paintings pertains to
(1) Jainism (2) Buddhism
(3) Vaishnavism (4) Shaivism

13. Which of the following Craftsmanship was not practised by
the Aryans ?
(1) Pottery (2) Jewellery
(3) Carpentry (4) Blacksmith

14. Mohammed-bin-Qasim conquered Sind in the year
(1) 712 A.D. (2) 812 A.D.
(3) 912 A.D. (4) 1012 A.D.

15. The words “Satyameva Jayate” in
the State Emblem of India were
taken from
(1) Upanishads (2) Sama Veda
(3) Rig Veda (4) Ramayana

16. The earliest city discovered in
India was
(1) Harappa (2) Punjab
(3) Mohenjo Daro (4) Sindh

17. The famous rock-cut temple of
Kailasa is at
(1) Ajanta
(2) Badami
(3) Mahabalipuram
(4) Ellora

18. Epigraphy means
(1) The study of coins
(2) The study of inscriptions
(3) The study of epics
(4) The study of geography

19. Which among the following has not
been found in the excavation of
Harappan sites ?
(1) Drains and well
(2) Fort
(3) Reservoirs

20. Which among the following
‘MATH’ is related with Buddhism?
(1) Dakhma (2) Chaitya
(3) Khangah (4) Angeri

Answers And Explanations

1. (2) The Indo-Greek kings were the first to issue gold
coins in India and their coins were special in the sense
that each king had his own distinctive coins by which
he could be definitely identified. The names of at least
thirty Bactrian kings are known with the help of numerous coins, and they help in the reconstruction of
the history of the kings. The coins carry legends in
Greek and also in Kharosthi and Brahmi.
2. (4) The Brihadeshwar Temple at Thanjavur (Tanjore)
in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is a Hindu temple
dedicated to Shiva and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas in Tamil architecture.
It is a tribute and a reflection of the power of its
patron Raja Raja Chola I. It remains India’s largest
temple and is one of the greatest glories of Indian
architecture. The temple is part of the UNESCO World
Heritage Site “Great Living Chola Temples”.
3. (2) Shilppadikaram is one of the five Great Epics according to later Tamil literary tradition, the others
being Manimegalai, Civaka Cintamani, Valayapathi and
Kundalakesi. The poet prince Ilango Adigal is credited with this work. He is reputed to be the brother of
Senguttuvan from Chera dynasty. Ilango Adigal was a
Buddhist monk and Silappadhikaram and Manimekalai
are Buddhist epics. Manimekalai, a purely Buddhist
work of the 3rd Sangam period in Tamil literature is
the most supreme and famous among the Buddhist
work done in Tamil. It is a work expounding the doctrines and propagating the values of Buddhism.It also
talks about the Tamil Buddhists in the island. (Source:L. Basam Page No. 475)
4. (1) Mahabalipuram, derived from ‘Mamallapuram’ is
the prior and colloquial name of a town in
Kancheepuram district in the Indian state of Tamil
Nadu, now officially called Mamallapuram. Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas near the city of Chennai in
Tamil Nadu. The name Mamallapuram is believed to
have been given after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great
wrestler), as the favourite sport of the Pallavas was
wrestling. It has various historic monuments built
largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, and
has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. (1) The date of Kanishka’s accession is disputed, ranging from 78 to 248. The generally accepted date of 78
is also the basis for an era presumably started by the
Shakas and used in addition to the Gregorian calendar by the present-day Indian government.
6. (2) The Gandhara school of art is mainly related to
Mahayana Buddhism which encouraged image worship. The Kushan kings, particularly Kanishka, encouraged the Gandhara artists. The Gandhara sculptures have been found in the ruins of Taxila and in
various ancient sites in Afghanistan and in West Pakistan. They consist mostly of the images of the Buddha and relief sculptures presenting scenes from
Buddhist texts. A number of Bodhisattva figures were
carved out. A figure of Gandhara shows the first sermon in the deer park and the death of the Buddha. In
all these figures there is a realistic treatment of the
body although it is draped. In these sculptures there
is a tendency to mould the human body in a realistic
manner paying great attention to accuracy and physical details particularly in the presentation of muscles, moustaches, etc. Also the representation of the
thick bold fold lines forms a distinct characteristic.
Thus the Gandhara sculptures offer a striking contrast to what has been discovered elsewhere in India.
7. (2) The seals of the Indus Valley Civilization have been
one of the major sources for information about the
period. Apart from giving plethora of informations
about the social and religious life of the period, they
give insight into the economic activities. The economy
of the Indus civilization was based on a highly organized agriculture, supplemented by an active commerce,
probably connected to that of the ancient civilizations
of Mesopotamia. Trade amongst the civilizations is suggested by the finding of hundreds of small seals, supposedly produced by the Indus peoples, at the excavation sites of ancient Mesopotamian cities that were
existent around the same time. Some of the seals mention the rulers of different countries.
8. (2) Maitreya is foretold as a future Buddha of this
world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus
Sutra, he or she is referred to as Ajita Bodhisattva.
Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to
scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor of the historic Sakyamuni Buddha.
9. (2) The eminent Buddhist writers Nagarjuna, Asvaghosha, Parsva and Vasumitra flourished at the court
of Kanishka. Nagarjuna was the great exponent of
Mahayana doctrine and Asvaghosha, a multifaceted
personality, was known as a poet, musician, scholar
and zealous Buddhist monk. Charaka, the most celebrated authority on Ayurveda was the court physician of Kanishka and Mathara, a politician of rare
merit, was his minister. Vasumitra presided over the
fourth Buddhist Council.
10. (3) These religious establishments could have received
royal patronage from various dynasties, even though
inscriptional evidences are lacking for most of them.
The only definite inscriptional evidence is that of Rashtrakuta Dantidurga (c. 753-57 A.D.) The majority of
the Brahmanical establishments and the remaining
Buddhist ones can be attributed to the Rashtrakuta
times which indicate the religious tolerance of the
contemporary period. The Jaina caves definitely postdate the Rashtrakutas as indicated by the style of
execution and fragmentary inscriptions. This region
was under the control of Kalyani Chalukyas and Yadavas of Deogiri (Daulatabad) during this period.
11. (1) The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the Emperor Ashoka of
the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 269 BCE
to 231 BCE. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan and represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. In these inscriptions, Ashoka
refers to himself as “Beloved of the Gods” and “King
Priya-darshi.” The identification of King Priya-darshi
with Ashoka was confirmed by an inscription discovered in 1915 by C. Beadon at Maski, the village in
Raichur district of Karnataka. Another minor rock edict
is found at the village Gujarra in Datia district of
Madhya Pradesh. This also shows the Name “Asoka” in
addition to usual “Devanam Piyadasi”.
12. (2) The Ajanta Caves are the treasure house of delicate paintings that portray scenes from Jataka tales
and from the life of Lord Buddha. Celebrated for its
archaic wonder and laced with the series of carved
artistry, Ajanta Cave paintings echo the quality of Indian creativity in perhaps the subtlest way. In the
Ajanta wall-paintings, there is a profound modification from the art of early Buddhism. The Ajanta paintings stresses on religious romanticism with lyric quality,
a reflection of the view that every aspect of life has an
equal value in the spiritual sense and as an aspect of
the divine.
13. (4) Iron was a metal unknown to the Aryans during
the early Vedic age. The advent of iron is generally
associated with the late or post-Vedic ages. So blacksmith did not exist during this period.
14. (1) The Arab conquest of Sindh by Muhammad Bin
Qasim in 712 AD gave the Muslims a firm foothold on
the sub-continent. Qasim’s conquest of Sindh and
Punjab laid the foundations of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent. The description of Hiuen Tsang, a
Chinese historian, leaves no doubt that the social and
economic restrictions inherent in the caste differentiations of Hindu society had however, gradually sapped
the inner vitality of the social system and Sindh fell
without much resistance before the Muslim armies.
15. (1) “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth Alone Triumphs) is a
mantra from the ancient Indian scripture Mundaka
Upanishad. Upon independence of India, it was adopted as the national motto of India. It is inscribed in
Devanagari script at the base of the national emblem.
The emblem and words ‘Satyameva Jayate’ are inscribed on one side of all Indian currency. The emblem is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Asoka
which was erected around 250 BC at Sarnath, near
Varanasi in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
16. (1) The ruins of Harrappa were first described in 1842
by Charles Masson in his Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, and the Punjab,
where locals talked of an ancient city extending “thirteen cosses” (about 25 miles), but no archaeological
interest would attach to this for nearly a century. In
1856, General Alexander Cunningham, later director
general of the archeological survey of northern India,
visited Harappa where the British engineers John and
William Brunton were laying the East Indian Railway
Company line connecting the cities of Karachi and
Lahore. In 1872–75 Alexander Cunningham published
the first Harappan seal (with an erroneous identification as Brahmi letters). It was half a century later, in
1912, that more Harappan seals were discovered by
J. Fleet, prompting an excavation campaign under
Sir John Hubert Marshall in 1921–22 and resulting
in the discovery of the civilization at Harappa by Sir
John Marshall, Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni and
Madho Sarup Vats, and at Mohenjo-daro by Rakhal
Das Banerjee, E. J. H. MacKay, and Sir John Marshall.
17. (4) Kailashnath Temple is a famous temple, one of the
34 monasteries and temples, extending over more
than 2 km, that were dug side by side in the wall of a
high basalt cliff in the complex located at Ellora, Maharashtra, India. Of these 34 monasteries and temples, the Kailasa (cave 16) is a remarkable example of
Dravidian architecture on account of its striking proportion; elaborate workmanship architectural content
and sculptural ornamentation of rock-cut architecture.
It is designed to recall Mount Kailash, the abode of
Lord Shiva. It is a megalith carved out of one single
rock. It was built in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I.
18. (2) Epigraphy is the study of inscriptions on rocks,
pillars, temple walls, copper plates and other writing
material. It is the study of inscriptions or epigraphs
as writing; it is the science of identifying graphemes,
clarifying their meanings, classifying their uses according to dates and cultural contexts, and drawing
conclusions about the writing and the writers. It serves
as primary documentary evidence to establish legal,
socio-cultural, literary, archaeological, and historical
antiquity on the basis of engravings.
19. (4) Sikhara, a Sanskrit word translating literally to
“mountain peak”, refers to the rising tower in the Hindu
temple architecture of North India. Sikhara over the
sanctum sanctorum where the presiding deity is enshrined is the most prominent and visible part of a
Hindu temple of North India. Sikhara was a major
feature of the medieval times.
20. (2) A chaitya is a Buddhist or Jain shrine including a
stupa. In modern texts on Indian architecture, the
term chaitya-griha is often used to denote assembly
or prayer hall that houses a stupa. Chaityas were
probably constructed to hold large numbers of devotees and to provide shelter for them.

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