Short Q & A :
Q1: What are Puranas?
Ans : Puranas written in simple sanskrit contain stories about gods and goddesses, details on how gods and goddesses were to be worshipped and accounts about the creation of the world and about the kings.
Q2: Explain Meghaduta written by Kalidasa.
Ans : In that poem, a monsoon cloud is imagined to be a messenger between two lovers who are separated from one another.
Q3: Who was Ilango Adigal
Ans : Ilango Adigal was a Chera Prince. Ilango Adigal was born in the Chera dynasty, which is now located in the modern state of Kerala. He was the brother of the Chera king Senaguttuvan.
Q4: Write short notes on Silappadikaram?
Ans : Silappadikaram is a story of a merchant named Kovalan, who lived in Puhar and fell in love with a courtesan named Madhavi, neglecting his wife Kannagi. Later according to the epic, Kovalan and Kannagi left Puhar and went to Madurai, where he was wrongly accused of theft by the court jeweller of the Pandya king. The king sentenced Kovalan to death. Kannagi who still loved him, was full of grief and anger at this injustice and destroyed the entire city of Madurai.
Q5: Explain the two greatest Sanskrit epics.
Ans : The Mahabharata is about a war fought between the Kauravas and Pandavas, who were cousins.The Ramayana is about Rama, a prince of Kosala, who was sent into exile. His wife Sita was abducted by the king of Lanka, named Ravana, and Rama had to fight a battle to get her back.
Q6: Give an example of Mauryan arts.
Ans : The Mauryas were famous for their art and architecture. The pillar at Sarnath is very famous historical monument. The Sanchi Stupa is another famous piece of Mauryan architecture. It was built with bricks. It was built by Ashoka and enlarged later on.
Q7: Write short notes about the iron pillar at Mehrauli, Delhi.
Ans : It is made of iron, 7.2. meter high, about 1500 years ago. An inscription on the pillar mentions a ruler named Chandra, who probably belonged to the Gupta dynasty.
Q8: Write short notes on Valmiki?
Ans : Valimiki is recognized as the author of the Sanskrit Ramayana. He was a Hindu sage who lived around the beginning of the firts millenium BC. He is referred to as the 'adikavi' the original creator of the Hindu slokas.
Q9: What do we learn from Aryabhatiyam?
Ans : It states that day and night were caused by rotation of the earth on its axis, even though it seems as if the sun is rising and setting everyday
Q10: List all the contribution of Aryabhatta to science.
Ans : Aryabhatta a mathematician in the times of Samudragupta stated that day and night were caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis, even though it seems as if the sun is rising and setting everyday. He developed a scientific explanation for eclipses and found way of calculating the circumference of a circle.
Q11: Write short notes on Garbhagriha.
Ans : Garbhagriha is the sanctum sanctorum of a temple. The idol of main deity is established in this small portion of the temple, which is situated in the centre of the temple. Shikahara where the presiding deity is enshrined is the most prominent and visible part of a Hindu temple of North India. In South India, it is called ’vimana’.
Q12: Write short notes on Amaravati Stupa.
Ans : The Amaravati Stupa is famous for its Buddhist art and architecture. This stupa was built in the pre Mauryan period. The architecture is decorated with carved panels, with stories of Buddha depicted on them.
Q13: Why do we celebrate Dusshera in India?
Ans : Ravana was the king of Lanka. In order to free his wife from Ravana, Rama waged a war against him. This conflict is considered as victory of Dharma over evil and is celebrated in the form of Dusshera in India.
Q14: Explain Jataka stories.
Ans : Jataka stories were the stories related to Buddha prior to his birth. Jatakas occupy great importance in Buddhist literature and they occur in many of the canonical Pitakas. They have been extensively used in the form of frescoes at many Buddhist works and railings at Sanchi.
Q15: Write short notes on attractive painting on the wall of Ajanta Caves.
Ans : The Ajanta caves have attractive paintings on the walls. The detailed work on the caves is outstanding. The themes of the paintings on the Ajanta caves depict the life of Lord Buddha. The paintings of Ajanta date from the late Gupta period to early Chalukya period.
Q16: What were Puranas? What do they contain?
Puranas were Hindu religious scriptures. They were written in simple Sanskrit verse, and meant to be heard by everybody, including women and Shudras. The Puranas were probably recited in temples by priests; people came to listen them.
They contained stories about gods and goddesses, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Durga or Parvati and detailed accounts on how these deities were to be worshipped. The Puranas gave details about the creation of the world and about the kings.
Q17: What is the pradakshina path?
Ans : The path, known as Pradakshina path, was laid around the stupa. This was surrounded with railings and devotees walked around the stupa on this path to show their devotion.
Q18: What is relic casket?
Ans : At the centre of the stupa a small box is placed. According to historians, the small box may contain bodily remains (such as teeth, bone or ashes) of the Buddha or his followers, of things they used as well as precious stones or coins. This box is known as a relic casket. It was covered with earth.
Q19: Whose name is inscribed on the iron pillar at Mehrauli?
Ans : On the pillar a ruler’s name Chandra is mentioned. According to historians, the ruler probably belonged to the Gupta dynasty.
Q20: What are common features of the stupas?
The Stupas are a good example of Buddhist art. Some of its main features are:
Q21: Who was Aryabhata? Name one book that he wrote.
Ans : Aryabhata was a mathematician and astronomer. He wrote a book in Sanskrit known as Aryabhatiyam. In this book, he stated that day and night were caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis. He also formulated a scientific explanation for eclipses. He also found a way of calculating the circumference of a circle, which is nearly as accurate as the formula used now-a-days.
Q22: What were the different stages in building a stupa or temple?
Since it was expensive to build these stupas or temples, which were usually built by kings and queens. There were different stages in the construction of these buildings:
Q23: How were stupas and temples built? Explain.
The stupas and the building of temples were usually decided by the queens or the kings, as it was an expensive affair. Some of the important steps followed during the construction of temples or stupas were –
Q24: What are monolithic temples?
Ans : A monolith is a monument or natural feature consisting of a single massive stone or rock. A monolithic temple is thus a rock-cut temple, carved from a single large rock, and excavated and cut to imitate a wooden or masonry temple with wall decorations and works of art. Carving out of monolithic temples is known to have been started during the Pallava dynasty. The Pancha Rathas is one of the nine monolithic temples at Mahabalipuram, and is a fine example of monolith Indian rock-cut architecture dating back to late 7th century. The Kailash Temple at Ellora is another singular monolithic temple since it was excavated from the top down rather than by the usual practice of carving into the scarp of a hillside. This temple was created through a single, huge top-down excavation 100 feet deep, down into the volcanic basaltic cliff rock.
Q25: Who paid for building the stupas and temples?
Ans : Stupas and temples were usually built by the kings and queens as it was an expensive affair. The kings and queens probably spent money from their treasury to pay the craftsmen who worked to build these splendid structures. Besides, when devotees came to visit the temple or the stupa, they often brought gifts, which were used to decorate the buildings. For example, an association of ivory workers paid for one of the beautiful gateways at Sanchi. Among the others who paid for decorations were merchants, farmers, garland makers, perfume sellers, smiths, and hundreds of men and women who were known only by their names which were inscribed on pillars, railings and walls.
Long Q & A :
Q1: What are epics? Mention two famous Tamil epics which were written around 1800 years ago.
Epics are grand, long compositions, about heroic men and women, which include stories about gods.
Q2: What are main features of the Hindu temples built around 1800 years ago.
Main features of the Hindu temples built around this time were: