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PHYSICAL FEATURES OF INDIA

MAJOR PHYSIOGRAPHIC DIVISIONS OF INDIA

The physical features of India can be grouped under the following physiographic divisions

 (i) The Himalayan Mountains

(ii) The Northern Plains

(iii) The Peninsular Plateau

(iv) The Indian Desert

(v) The Coastal Plains

(vi) The Islands

 

The Himalayan Mountains

The Himalayas run in a west-east direction from the Indus to the Brahmaputra. The Himalayas are the highest and one of the most rugged mountain barriers of the world. They are about 2,400 Km long and 400 Km in Kashmir to 150 Km in Arunachal Pradesh wide. The altitudinal variations are greater in the eastern half than those in the western half. The Himalaya consists of three parallel ranges in its longitudinal extent. The northern most range is known as the Great or Inner Himalayas or the ‘Himadri’. It is the most continuous range consisting of the loftiest peaks with an average height of 6,000 metres. The range lying to the south of the Himadri is known as Himachal or lesser Himalaya. The altitude varies between 3,700 and 4,500 metres and the average width is of 50 Km. This range consists of the famous valley of Kashmir, the Kangra and Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh. This region is well known for its hill stations. The outer most range of the Himalayas is called the Shiwaliks. They extend over a width of 10-50 Km and have an altitude varying between 900 and 1100 metres.

 

The Northern Plain

The northern plain has been formed by the three major river systems, namely– the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra along with their tributaries. This plain is formed of alluvial soil. Therfore, this is  very fertile plain. It spreads over an area of 7 lakh sq. km. The plain being about 2400 Km long and 240 to 320 Km broad, is a densely populated physiographic division.

 

The Peninsular Plateau

The Peninsular plateau is a tableland composed of the old crystalline, igneous and metamorphic rocks. It was formed due to the breaking and drifting of the Gondwana land and thus, making it a part of the oldest landmass. This plateau consists of two broad divisions, namely, the Central Highlands and the Deccan Plateau. The part of the Peninsular plateau lying to the north of the Narmada river covering a major area of the Malwa plateau is known as the Central Highlands. The Vindhyan range is bounded by the Central Highlands on the south and the Aravalis on the northwest. The further westward extension gradually merges with the sandy and rocky desert of Rajasthan. The Central Highlands are wider in the west but narrower in the east. The eastward extensions of this plateau are locally known as the Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand. The Chotanagpur plateau marks the further eastward extension,   drained by the Damodar river. The Deccan Plateau is a triangular landmass that lies to the south of the river Narmada. The Satpura range flanks its broad base in the north while the Mahadev, the Kaimur hills and the Maikal range form its eastern extensions. The Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats mark the western and the eastern edges of the Deccan Plateau respectively.

 

The Indian Desert

The Indian desert or Thar desert lies towards the western margins of the Aravali Hills. It is an undulating sandy plain covered with sand dunes. This region receives very low rainfall below 150 mm per year. It has arid climate with low vegetation cover. Luni is the only large river in this region.

 

The Coastal Plains

The Peninsular plateau is flanked by stretch of narrow coastal stripson both sides. The western coast, sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, is a narrow plain. It consists of three sections. The northern part of the coast is called the Konkan (Mumbai – Goa), the central part is called the Kannad Plain while the southern part is called the Malabar coast.

The plain along the Bay of Bengal are wide and level. In the northern part, it is known  as the Northern Circar, while the southern part is called  the Coromandal Coast. the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Kaveri are the main rivers flowing in this part and have farmed extensive delta on this coast.

 

The Group of Islands

There are two groups of islands i.e. Lakshadweep islands and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Lakshadweep islands are located in the Arabian Sea. Kavaratti Island is the administrative headquarters of Lakshadweep. This island group has great diversity of flora and fauna. The Pitli Island, which is uninhabited, has a bird sanctuary. The Andaman and Nicobar islands are situated in the Bay of Bengal. India’s only active volcano is found on Barren Island in Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands.

 



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