Recommended Geography Books for UPSC Preparation


Geography is an essential subject for UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) preparation, encompassing both Indian and global geographical knowledge. To excel in both the Prelims and Mains stages, candidates must have a strong grasp of fundamental principles and map-based concepts. This article aims to provide a comprehensive booklist for geography preparation, including top-recommended books from the Civils daily team and additional reference materials to stay updated with UPSC trends.
Books for UPSC – Geography, a Vital Component of Civil Services Examination Preparation

NCERT Textbooks –

Foundation for Geography Preparation: The NCERT textbooks for Standards 6 to 12 serve as the backbone for geography preparation. These books cover most topics in a simple and straightforward manner, making them highly beneficial for the exam. Aspirants should focus on NCERT books as they have historically been a source of direct questions in UPSC exams.

Geography of India by Majid Husain –

Majid Husain’s comprehensive book “Geography of India” is immensely popular among students preparing for various competitive exams, including UPSC. It provides in-depth coverage of Indian geography, making it an invaluable resource for both Prelims and Mains.

World Geography by Majid Husain –

In this book, Majid Husain delves into various global regions, with a special focus on the countries within each region. The book’s eighteen chapters offer detailed literature on different parts of the world, making it a valuable asset for IAS aspirants.

Oxford School Atlas –

For a deeper understanding of geographical concepts, “Oxford School Atlas” is a comprehensive and informative resource. It contains 200 user-friendly maps, 94 of which are dedicated to India, supplemented with graphs and illustrations to enhance the reader’s knowledge.

Certificate Physical & Human Geography –

This book provides a detailed breakdown of physical and human geography concepts in a clear and understandable manner. With numerous images, drawings, and maps, it proves to be a useful tool for Civil Services preliminary and other competitive exams.


To excel in the UPSC CSE geography section, aspirants must lay a strong foundation with NCERT textbooks and then delve into advanced reference books. The booklist recommended by the Civils daily team, along with additional reference materials, will help candidates comprehensively prepare for both the Prelims and Mains examinations. Enrolling in a reliable prelims mock test series can further aid in familiarizing oneself with the expected questions, ensuring a well-prepared approach for the UPSC Civil Service Examination.

How to study geography for IAS 

To perform well on the geography questions in Paper 1’s General Studies section, you must have a thorough understanding of both Indian and global geography. 

NCERT Textbooks for Standards 6 to 12 are the best resource for learning geography. The majority of the topics are covered in the basic text books in a very straightforward manner, which is highly beneficial for the exam. Majid Hussain’s textbook, Goh Ching Leong’s book, and the TMH GS Manual (Geography Section) are further helpful resources for geography themes. Another need is a good atlas.

Lastly, you can enroll for the prelims mock test series, it will help you to be familiar with the questions which will be asked in the UPSC civil service exam.

Recommended geography books for UPSC

Names of the books and links where you can get your books for the preparation of the  Civil Service Examination (geography) : 

Geography of India by Majid Husain

The comprehensive book “Geography of India” by Majid Husain is particularly well-liked by students getting ready for various competitive exams. 

World geography by Majid Husain 

In eighteen chapters, several globe areas are covered with in-depth literature on the particular countries that make up each of these regions. Former geography professor at Jamia Millia Islamia (Central University), New Delhi, is the author Majid Husain.

Oxford School Atlas 

The Oxford Atlas: A Comprehensive and Informative Resource for Geographical Understanding

Featuring a collection of 200 user-friendly maps, The Oxford Atlas offers a wealth of knowledge to readers. Among its highlights are 94 specially curated maps dedicated to India, supplemented with insightful graphs and illustrations. The atlas presents a detailed exploration of crucial thematic topics, including climate, natural vegetation, wildlife, agriculture, minerals, industry, demography, human development, environmental concerns, and natural hazards. With a fresh design and layout, this edition also introduces updated preliminary pages to enhance the reader’s experience.

Certificate physical & human history

Most themes that make up physical and human geography have been broken down into their basic components in plain language, with plenty of images, drawings, and maps providing in-depth explanations when necessary. Aspirants taking the Civil Services preliminary test as well as other famous competitive examinations find the book to be of great use. 

Physical, Human and Economic Geography for Civil Services Examination by D R Khuller

Part 1 of the book is devoted to physical geography, and Part 2 is devoted to human and economic geography. This book is helpful for comprehending the ideas.

Some reference books for Civil service preliminary Exam geography-

  1. Geography Through Maps by K.Siddhartha
  2. Terms and Concepts of Geography – Majid Husain
  3. Indian and World Geography: Objective Questions with Explanatory Notes for Civil Services Preliminary Examination.
  4. Objective Indian and World Geography by Majid Husain
  5. Geography of India by Surender Singh (alternative to Majid Husain).
  6. India: A Comprehensive Geography by D.R Khuller (alternative to Majid Husain)
  7. Physical Geography by Savindra Singh. (alternative to Goh Ching Leong)

Must Read Books for Geography in IAS Exam Prelims:

  • NCERT books IX, X, XI, XII 

Where can I get the books?

You can find the books online also, the link is given in this article.

Is it necessary to study NCERT books?

The finest resource for building a solid foundation in any topic for the Civil Services Examination is NCERT books. Since the beginning, the UPSC has frequently posed questions that are directly taken from the NCERT books. If we look closely, certain questions from the UPSC exam were taken straight from the NCERT texts.

Is geography the main subject for UPSC?

Civil Services, UPSC Geography is one of the optional subjects for the mains exam and has two examinations (paper I and paper II). The IAS test comprises three stages: Prelims, Mains, and Interview. The mains test is one of them.

Also Read:-The Importance Of Current Affairs In UPSC & APSC Exams

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