Recommended Geography Books for IAS Exam

Geography is a very popular optional subject opted by IAS aspirants in Civil Services Mains exam. The reasons for Geography being a popular optional are the well defined syllabus, its semi-scientific nature, map based questions that are easy to score off. No wonder Geography fetches good marks in the IAS Mains exam.

But to score well you need to study the recommended books as well. So which Geography books for IAS are highly recommended by successful IAS aspirants? Find out below.

1. Oxford Student Atlas

If you’re a student of Geography, then a good atlas should be your constant companion since it is required throughout the preparation of the two papers. The Oxford Student Atlas is highly recommended since it contains highly accurate details of India and the World and contains up-to-date information. The information is also presented in easy to understand; Oxford Student Atlas is the primary reference book for Geography optional.

2. Physical Geography by Savindra Singh

Physical Geography is a highly recommended book for physical geography by successful candidates who opted for Geography optional. Physical Geography by Savindra Singh covers all relevant topics relating to physical geography like Earth’s origin, age, its structure, movements and physical features like rocks, plateaus, plains.  Apart from this it covers all the topics relating to Atmosphere and Hydrosphere.

If you take a look at the Geography syllabus, you will realize Physical Geography covers a good part of Geomorphology, Climatalogy, and Oceanography. A must read book for Geography paper 1.

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”Recommended Books for Prelims and GS Mains”]Do Not Start Your Prelims and Mains Preparation without these Recommended Books for Prelims and GS Mains [/thrive_text_block]

 3. Human Geography by Majid Hussain

The first paper focuses on geography in relation to the human aspects of population, urbanization, planning, economy and so on. Human Geography looks into these aspects very lucidly. The book contains detailed maps and diagrams to aid your learning and contains references from the developed and developing parts of the world. Human Geography is recommended for getting a basic understanding of the concepts related to human development, population, economic geography and other issues.

4. Geography of Population by RC Chandna

As the title suggests this book dwells on the Population aspects of the first paper and is a specialized book for this purpose. Population Geography explains all the relevant topics like migration, demographic attributes, patterns of settlements, etc in easy to understand manner. The latest edition of this book takes the 2001 census as its base to explore population aspects in detail. Population Geography is recommended to study this important topic of paper 1 in detail.

5. Geography of India by Majid Hussain

Paper 2 of geography focusses on Indian Geography and Majid Hussain has written a comprehensive book by the name Geography of India which covers the paper 2 syllabus in its entirety. This includes physical geography, agriculture, industry, transport, cultural setting, regional development and planning. Geography of India is a good book to cover Geography paper 2 syllabus.

6. Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong

Although this book is a veteran as far as civil services is concerned and is a must read book for Prelims, you should also go through Physical and Human Geography for Geography optional preparation since it covers the fundamentals of Geography paper 1. Also since you will be referring the book for Prelims, you might as well refer it for Mains as well.

This wraps up the Geography books for IAS mains exam. If you have some more suggestions or doubts you can leave your valued comments below. Happy reading 🙂

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134 thoughts on “Recommended Geography Books for IAS Exam”

  1. Ashish Kumar Agrawal

    Thank u very much sir for this post. I was waiting for it from 3 months….
    Sir I have 2 doubts..
    1. My dob is 26/02/93, can i sit in pre-2013 or pre-2014.
    2. On which criteria candidates are selected for interview after mains.. are they top 2000.
    or suppose if i have been selected for interview, then is it true i surely would get marks (either it is 100 or 200) and that would add up in my mains score?

    I mean that if i would do better in mains then some compromise in interview is possible..

    1. Hi Ashish,

      You can appear for Pre in 2014. The top X no of candidates get a interview call where X is about 2.5 times the total no. of vacancies in that year. Obviously this means top X in each category.

      1. saurabh kumar singh

        first of all i want to say thanks to u bcoz u always give information to lot of people and for ur parents also who made u so good
        now i want to ask u i have done 12th i want to do preperation for ias from ur coaching institute from now i hav interest in subject maths and science i dont want to leave these sub and also in history geography and political science so which subject is best for ias is geography and political science are easy than maths and physics plzzzzzzz tell me sir

  2. Hi Sir,
    Can you please guide me about the Mains syllabus. What is the exact pattern of Mains? I am a bit confused about it. Is General Studies a compulsary paper or can we select any two optional of our choice. Please help me out.

    Thanks.

      1. MAHENDRA KUMAR GUPTA

        Dear Sir,
        I want to know if there is requirement of some specialised books for studying physical geography like climatology by D.S.Lal and Rupa Publication Series. Kindly clear my doubts.
        is there is always useful to stick on the basic books and read them again and again.

      2. hiii…. i want to know few books to start up with public adm as i m from medical profession, i really dont have any knowledge related to the subject… kindly suggest me whether i should go with it or not..

  3. Hello Sir,
    Really a commendable work for beginners like us.Getting such thorough knowledge about the structure,preparation and resources will prove really helpful in our preparation for the exam.Hopefully we will get more such stuff from you.Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge with all of us.

  4. Sir,my english is weak but i want to crack ias.Is it possible?Please tell me some tips to improve my english as soon as possible.I

  5. Sir,
    I am a 3rd year computer science engineering student,please guide me how should i prepare for the preliminary examinations as a beginner and what are the books which will be beneficial for me that i should refer and some tips to crack the prelims.I am sincerely ready to work hard.please provide your valuable suggestions.

  6. thank u sir for ur valuable suggestions sir i am a student of b.tech 2nd year having computer science as my branch sir am very cnfuse about opting my optional subjects. can you plz tell me abt how should persue my optionals.
    sir,
    i m also very very much confused abt how can i start my prepration from nw only as i am reading the hindu newspaper daily and make notes on every important topic bt what is nxt……….. i mean wt step should i take nw
    pzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz help me out sir.

  7. Dear sir, I am confused between geography and sociology, I am from engineering background and working in a company. Sir I want to know whether its possible to complete the syllabus of geography given that I m working… My other optional is pub ad. I hv heard that socio has a compact syllabus and can be covered easily. The same is not the case with geography. Plz suggest me fr revision.point of view. Though I know that geography is highly scoring but again would I get enough time to revise 2 to 3 times before exam? Thanks in advance….

    1. Except for Pub Ad no other popular optional has a compact syllabus Abhishek. I suggest you stick with Geography if you find it exciting and easy to grasp. You will find time to revise.

  8. Hi Sir,

    I had done B. Sc in physics and maths and then I did B.Ed. with Science and Maths. After then I completed M.Sc. in Physics with spl in comp science. After that I had worked as a software engineer in IT industry for 3 years. Now I had left my job and preparing myself for IAS 2013 after which I had 2 more attempts. I want to give this attempt with full preparation. I believe in understanding things and then retaining instead of mugging up.Could you please suggest me which optionals should I choose for IAS Mains?
    Also suggest me some good IAS coaching institutes in Pune.

    Thanks,
    Vibha

    1. Well Vibha, since you have a post-grad degree in Physiscs why not opt for it? Concerning the 2nd optional you could combine it with Maths (ur under-grad optional) or take some humanities subject like Socio Geog or Psycho. Unique classes in Pune are quite well known for IAS coaching. but there might be others as well.

  9. MAHENDRA KUMAR GUPTA

    Hi Sir,
    I want to know if there is requirement of some specialised books for studying physical geography like climatology by D.S.Lal and Rupa Publication Series. Kindly clear my doubts.
    Is there be always useful to stick on the basic books and read them again and again.

  10. What is better to prepare on your own geography or public administration.

    If I do self preparation for geography how many hours I need to study geography (2,3,4) hours in a day.

    1. Sir,

      I am preparing for Prelims 2012 and have completed CSAT 2 paper. I have referred TMH CSAT Paper 2 manual.
      Please suggest how I should go about Paper 1.

      Thank you.

      1. respested sir,
        i completed my M.TECH in computer science.now my career is setelled …but iam interested in civils …..i want to get it ……..iam going to spend 2 years for that…….but i want my civils in first attempt ………pls give me the valuable sugessions .iam not able to going to take coaching………..

    2. Reading 5-6 hour concentrately geography sufficient for completing NCERT 6 to 12 within 10 days… then u can prefer all those other books suggested above…and After NCERT 4 ours are nice for geography ….

  11. MAHENDRA KUMAR GUPTA

    Hi Sir,
    I want to know if there is requirement of some specialised books for studying physical geography like climatology by D.S.Lal and Rupa Publication Series. Kindly clear my doubts.
    Is there be always useful to stick on the basic books and read them again and again.

  12. hello sir , i am working as a software engineer , i am selected subjects geography and political science .

    can u please tell me is it good combination for mains and sir i am doing job , so is it posible to crack upsc by working 4-5 hrs per day, i want to apper in 2013 prelims. thanks for your valuable response in advance.

  13. Hello sir, I am a starter and have joined Vajiram for IAS GS mains, but since I was late in joining or rather coming to delhi so I am in a mess, I have opted for Pub Ad and Geog, please help me with the list of books and your suggestions to cover geography, pub ad, GS prelims and mains and Gs paper2(CSAT). Thank you sir.

  14. hello sir, i am preparing for hpsc and upsc….presently i am studying geography(volume-1) by k.siddhartha and s. mukherjee of 2007 edition. can u plz suggest me can i study this book only or also refer to other book also. if yes plz suggest me other book name with their writers

    1. Well Akash I’ve already listed books for geography on this page for your reference. I don’t have much knowledge about coaching institutes in Gurgaon, unfortunately.

  15. MAHENDRA KUMAR GUPTA

    Sir,
    I want to know if there is requirement of some specialised books for studying physical geography like climatology by D.S.Lal and Rupa Publication Series. Kindly clear my doubts.
    Is there be always useful to stick on the basic books and read them again and again.

    1. If you want to go deeper than surely you can refer specialised books. I will post about the specialized books you’ve mentioned soon.

  16. Hi Sir,
    Thanks for all your valuable posts. I will really be indebted if you provide Book list for History..
    Thanks in advance.

  17. sir , i completed my M.TECH …..now my career is safe …….iam interested in civils but iam not interested in coaching ……i need to do the job compulsary…..iam planning to write the job in next year…..pls give me the sugessions sir …………

  18. Dear Sir,
                 
                You have done a nice Job and every new aspirant like me is getting benefit because of you.hope that you will keep on doing so,also suggest me that which book is better on indian constitution (Our Constitution by Subhash kashyap or Indian Polity by lakshmikant )

  19. Dear Sir,
                 
                You have done a nice Job and every new aspirant like me is getting benefit because of you.hope that you will keep on doing so,also suggest me that which book is better on indian constitution (Our Constitution by Subhash kashyap or Indian Polity by lakshmikant )

  20. Sir, i have just completed my b.tech in computer science field now i want to prepare for civil services……..plz recommend from where i must start my preparation and which optionals should i opt to get into…….

  21. Sir, i have just completed my b.tech in computer science field now i want to prepare for civil services……..plz recommend from where i must start my preparation and which optionals should i opt to get into…….

  22. Is self study enough to get through in IAS? I prefer Public Admin and Geography for main subject is good comination? Because I am M.E CSE

  23. Is self study enough to get through in IAS? I prefer Public Admin and Geography for main subject is good comination? Because I am M.E CSE

  24. Hello…..thank you very much for your sincere effort.I have seen many websites for UPSC preparation but this site is the most comprehensive and helpful site.
    I just wanted to ask the difference between two books of D R Khullar which are INDIA-A COMPREHENSIVE GEOGRAPHY and the one you suggested COMPREHENSIVE GEOGRAPHY .
    It would be very kind of you if you clear this confusion and also tell me where to find this book(comprehensive geography) as it is unavailable at flipkart.Flipkart has INDIA- A COMPREHENSIVE GEOGRAPHY.

    1. sir,
      im anand
      i have not recieved the ebook yet though i have subscribed for it 2 days back
      may u please check this n send me the required
      thankyou
      my mail id is “varadavenkataanand@gmail.com”

  25. Hello…..thank you very much for your sincere effort.I have seen many websites for UPSC preparation but this site is the most comprehensive and helpful site.
    I just wanted to ask the difference between two books of D R Khullar which are INDIA-A COMPREHENSIVE GEOGRAPHY and the one you suggested COMPREHENSIVE GEOGRAPHY .
    It would be very kind of you if you clear this confusion and also tell me where to find this book(comprehensive geography) as it is unavailable at flipkart.Flipkart has INDIA- A COMPREHENSIVE GEOGRAPHY.

  26. sir, the books recommended for geography is not displayed on the site anymore. please confirm it if there is a problem

  27. sir, the books recommended for geography is not displayed on the site anymore. please confirm it if there is a problem

  28. sir,
    im anand
    i have not recieved the ebook yet though i have subscribed for it 2 days back
    may u please check this n send me the required
    thankyou
    my mail id is “varadavenkataanand@gmail.com”

  29. i m student of ba 3 year n ple tell me how i pre foe divil srevices kya 2015 main economics sub nahin rahega

  30. i m student of ba 3 year n ple tell me how i pre foe divil srevices kya 2015 main economics sub nahin rahega

  31. I tried Examrace Geography Series and that was a complete set of information and I didnt need to refer any book especaially during the exam peak time.. It worked like a life saver for me..

  32. I tried Examrace Geography Series and that was a complete set of information and I didnt need to refer any book especaially during the exam peak time.. It worked like a life saver for me..

  33. sir,
    m doing btech from computer science
    will u please helpe me to suggest that which optional subject should i choose..

  34. sir,
    m doing btech from computer science
    will u please helpe me to suggest that which optional subject should i choose..

  35. hello sir i am B.E computer science student .what subject i should choose fr ias .i was good in history and geographyor whether i should choose public admin?

  36. hello sir i am B.E computer science student .what subject i should choose fr ias .i was good in history and geographyor whether i should choose public admin?

  37. sir, i have completed B E in e&c,now am preparing for preliminary exams for next year(2013),but am confused in choosing the text books plz help me…..and am interested in physics shall i choose that as my mains sub with pub adm or what subs can i take up……plz give information.

  38. Sir, for every topic in Geography a spcial book is referred when i surfed thru internet in many websites and blogs.
    like masjid husain for human geo and Evolution og geo thiught, savindra singh for phy geo,kullar for indian geo,k siddarth for some other topics.And for Public ads also i have seen 10 books referred .and GS 15 books .Is there any other choice that i can cover 3/4 topics in one book.What i need is to minimise the cost (not probably) or to save time searching/ordering for those books .pla help me in this.

  39. well i’ve juz decided 2 give it a shot at cse 2013. would u plz guide me the subjects 2 choose as optional. i ‘ve an engg background, bt d tym is less. pls could u also suggest d books needed 4 dose subjects.

  40. well i have decided 2 give cse 2013 a try. as i m frm an engg background and dont have enough tym wud u recommend me d subjects to choose as optional, and also d books needed to prepare for cse mains (all including general studies,english,hindi+2 optional). pls also recommend me the books for prelims(already have tata mcgraw* general studies and csat).
    REPLY ASAP. Plzzzzzzzzzz

  41. Respected sir
    at this time i m working in deffence and i m prepairing for ias i have chosen subject politicalscience and geography and no one ir here to guide me so sir plz tell me that have i choose correct suaject or not n suggest me good book for these subjects

  42. Sir,

    My DOB is 04.12.1983… Am a serious civil service aspirant.I am taking up this year’s prelims(2013) and i am confident of clearing it in first attempt but if i fail in this attempt i donot want to give up … but what worries me more is my age since I belong to OBC i read through the previous yr’s age relaxation which says that OBC category can try till 33 yrs.Kindly guide me how many more attempts could i give going forward.Thank you so much sir.

  43. sir,
    for Human geography I have,
    1) notes of my CRASH COURSE, which certainly are not sufficient and i doubt whether all the topics are covered in those.
    2) Human geography (MAJID HUSSAIN)
    I am planning to have “model and theories by hussain” once i will finish upto regional planning.

    But sir I am having these problems after reading few chapters (till population) in hussain and comparing with notes…
    1) not confident about my crash course notes.
    2) not able to fing all topics in Hussain book :
    Perpective in human geography : areal differentiation, dichotomy vs dualism , quantitative reoution, radical approach, regional synthesis.
    economic geography
    HDI
    don’t know whether chapter 5- Mosaic of culture, language, religion and costums is relevent to topics under perpective in human geography or not
    3) don’t want to study one book for each topic especially those which don’t have significant weightage in last few years.
    4) few had said proper coaching notes are must for human geography.

    Sir, kindly provide some advice on this regard as soon as you please…

  44. Sir
    I want to know the strategy and books to begin with while preparing for geography . As i am not taking any coaching , so plz suggest me how to approach for geography mains (books topics).Is it necessary to read khullar completely? or some selected topics.

  45. Sir,
    I had appeared for UPSC last year following your blog , i got through the prelims but in case of mains i missed the cutoff by 43 marks . i scored 657 but had taken two optionals pub ad. and geo. I am working and cud manage only three weeks time to study , I have appeared this year too but am confused what to decide for my optional if i get through prelims .I scored 206 in geog and 190 in pub ad but felt i prepared for pub ad better last time

  46. Sir,
    I am a Bsc(C.s),MBA(HR),graduate.IAS is my passion,but I don’t know how to prepare or how to choose papers.Please guide me for my preparation for 2013 prelims and in choosing text books.I am interested in geography.whether its ok or I can choose any other subject.Waiting for your suggestion sir.

  47. Sir,
    I am a Bsc(C.S),MBA(HR)graduate.IAS is my passion.But I don,t know how to prepare and choose papers.I am interested in Geography.I need your guidance for my preparation for 2013 prelims.Please suggest me some text books and whether I have to choose any other subject.

  48. hi sir…i am an ias aspirant… i am going to take history as optional. is it gud optional for scoring plz explain me sir………

  49. hi lazy lord,
    i have a question regarding ias preparation.
    plz suggest me some books for geography for prelims…
    and plz send me your email id so i can easily contact you…
    i have some doubts regarding books..
    plz plz plz..

  50. sir ,
    please write a blog regarding how to select the material from standard books while making notes out of them .
    so that it will focused and relevant for civil services preparation.
    thankyou

  51. sir the content in ”geography of india by majid hussain ” is almost the same as in khullar.
    should I purchase khullar or majid hussain will serve the pupose

  52. Hello Sir,

    I am planning to give IAS exams in 2015, but the mains syllabus is going to change. Can you please let me know about the changes in mains syllabus and guide me for the preparation of the exams?

    1. The mains syllabus has already changed and new changes are already posted on this site 2 months back. Use the search form

  53. karamdeep singh danodia

    sir, i am student of b.tech 4th year of ece tred . i want to take prepare of ias exam.
    which optional subject is good for me

  54. sir plz. suggest me all important books on public Ad. & Geography especially in Hindi medium. I cannot find out this book list, all sources provides only english medium books list. so plz. help me sir.

  55. what about G.C Leong- geography? I feel it is most recommended book for geography even to cover GS geography syllabus!

  56. sir plz tell me about hindi lit what hindi could be scoring sub in ias exm nd if possible tell me how was the max no gained by any student in ias2013 exm

  57. That e-book on preparation was fantastic.All my doubts were cleared when i read that book.Thank you so much. I am not yet 18 years old but i wish to start preparation from now itself. Do you recommend me to join as a member now itself or is it better to join after a year?

    1. Thanks for your feedback. Test series is helpful when you are actually preparing for Prelims. So I suggest you wait until you are ready to attempt your first Prelims!

  58. Hi sir i am planning to srart prepration for ias mains with geography as optional but i am not able to select some good books.please suggest me some good study material or provide me the way to some source from where i can avail complete study material for geography.Hope you reply soon.waiting for your response eagerly.

  59. hlo sir i am study in b.a. 1st yr and i want to became ias officer . sr told me about the ias studies , books, & how i became an I.A.S. OFFICER

  60. Sir, can you please help me suggest me whether to take optional of pub.ad or political sciences & international relations since am having some what intrest in politcs could you suggest me which is the better option…. thank u

  61. sir what books should i prefer keeping just prelims in my mind???
    Geography is NOT my OPTIONAL
    SIR PLEASE DO ANSWERR PLZZ
    thanku☺☺

  62. Sir, I hv read all ur informations provided in ur site… I m very thankful for ur care to us (as aspirant). I hv graduate in chemistry and i even completing my M.sc(Chem) this year. Going through all ur information but still confuse to choose subject, whether i choose my own subjct or other as geography.

  63. SIR,
    I WANT TO TAKE Geography AS MY OPTIONAL SUBJECT. IS THE BOOK LIST GIVEN BY YOU
    ALSO AVAILABLE IN HINDI. IS IT GOOD TO GO WITH HINDI MEDIUM FOR GEOGRAPHY AS OPTIONAL SUBJECT. PLEASE GUIDE ME SIR

  64. Sir please notify me best book for uppsc geography paper 2 mains topic regional development and planning..other than regional planning in india by vk puri

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