Table of Contents
Physiography of India
India is one of the world’s oldest and most advanced civilizations, and it has a distinctive culture. From the snow-capped Himalayas in the north to the sun-drenched seaside communities in the south and the humid tropical woods on the south-west coast, it reaches. In its east is the lush Brahmaputra river, while in its west is the Thar Desert.
The length of the Indian Mainland is between 8°4′ and 37°6′ north (latitudes). Likewise, the width is between 68°7′ East and 97°25′ East (longitudes). This results in an East-West extension of 2933 km and a North-South extension of 3214 km.
The Tropic of Cancer splits India into two equal sections, Northern India and Southern India, at a latitude of 23°30′ north. The eight Indian states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tripura, and Mizoram are located along the Tropic of Cancer.
The western- and eastern-most regions of the country are separated by a difference of around two hours due to a 30 degree difference in longitude between them. In the heart of the nation, at 82°30′ East longitude is where the Standard Meridian is located. The Indian Standard Time is established (5 and half hour ahead of GMT). The Standard Meridian travels through Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, close to Allahabad.
What are Major Physiographic Divisions of India?
India is a physically diverse country. India has six physiographic divisions based on the country’s diverse physiographic characteristics:
- Northern and North-eastern Mountain
- Northern Plain
- Peninsular Plateau
- Indian Desert
- Coastal Plains
Physiographic Divisions of India
Northern and North-Eastern Mountains Structure
The vast Himalayas are generally oriented from northwest to southwest (in Northwestern region). North-South oriented, the Himalayas can be found in Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram. The Himalayas are geographical, climatic, hydrological, and a source of cultural division. The Himalayas’ subdivisions:
Kashmir Himalayas: Ranges in the Karakoram, Ladakh, Zaskar, and Pir Panjal. Between the Greater Himalayas and the Karakoram ranges, the northern-most portion of the Kashmir Himalayas is a cold desert. Between the tall Himalayas, Pir Panjal, and Dal Lake is the Kashmir Valley. The Kashmir valley contains karewa formations that are ideal for growing the zafran kind of saffron. Dal and Wular lakes are freshwater lakes located in the Kashmir Himalayas. There are two salt water lakes: Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. Jhelum and Chenab rivers flow through this area of the Himalayas.
Himachal & Uttaranchal Himalayas: The Indus and Ganga river systems drain the region of the Himalayas between the Ravi and Kali rivers in the west and east, respectively. In the Spiti sub-division of Lahul and Spiti, the northernmost portion of the Himacahl Himalayas is an extension of the Ladakh cold desert. From north to south, it is made up of the Great Himalaya, the Lesser Himalayas, and the Shiwalik range, locally known as Dhaoladhar in Himachal Pradesh and Nagtibha in Uttarakhand. This area of the Himalayas is known for its “Dun formations” and “Shiwalik formations.” The location of all five Prayags is here:
Darjiling and Sikkim Himalayas: It is made up of the Himalayas of Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east. Despite being modest, this component is important. Tista is the area’s swift-moving river. Deep valleys and Kanchenjunga peak (Kanchengiri). Tribes of Lepcha in high places. Shiwalik formations are absent in this area, which is its defining feature. In their place, there exist “duar formations,” which are helpful for the growth of tea gardens.
Arunachal Himalyas: Shiwalik formations are absent. Himalayas in eastern Bhutan up to Diphu Pass in eastern direction. Ranges run from the southwest to the northeast. Mountain summits like Kangtu and Namcha Barwa are significant ones. Brahmaputra crosses Namcha Barwa and then continues into a narrow gorge. Indigenous groups have protected the region’s abundant biodiversity. Due to the rough geography, there are no transportation links between valleys. Most contacts take place in the duar region along the border between Arunachal and Assam.
Eastern Hills and Mountains: They are aligned from the north and the south. Manipur and Mizoram’s Barak River. Loktak, a sizable lake in the middle of Manipur, is encircled by mountains on all sides. Soft, unconsolidated deposits make up the Molassis Basin, often known as the Mizoram region. Nagaland’s rivers are tributaries of the Brahmaputra. The Barak River flows into the Meghna. Rivers in Manipur’s eastern region flow into Chindwin, which flows into Myanmar’s Irrawaddy.
Northern Plains Physiology of India
Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra rivers carried alluvial deposits that formed them. From east to west, the Northern Plains in Indian Physiography span 3200 km. Alluvium deposits can be found up to 2000 kilometres below the surface.
Bhabar (a narrow belt parallel to the Shiwalik foothills at slope break-up), Tarai (located south of Bhabar, re-emerging without any clearly demarcated channel, this region has lush growth of natural vegetation), and Alluvial plains (located south of Tarai, mature stage of fluvial erosional and depositional landforms like sand bars, meanders). Khadar and Bhangar are its two divisions.
India’s oldest and most stable continent, with a general incline toward the east. Tors, Block Mountains, rift valleys, spurs, bare rocky structures, a sequence of humpbacked hills, and wall-like quartzite dykes that provide a natural location for water storage are significant physiographic features. The occurrence of black dirt in the western and northern regions is pronounced.
Peninsular plateau continues to Jaisalmer in the west, where it is covered by Barchans, or crescent-shaped sand dunes, and lengthy sand ridges. By the occurrence of metamorphic rocks like marble, slate, gneiss, etc., metamorphic chain history can be determined. The Deccan Plateau, Central Highlands, and Northeastern Plateau are the threedivisions of the Peninsular Plateau.
The Central Highlands: Extends from the Narmada River to the northern plains, and is bordered by the Satpura Range in the south and the Aravalis in the west. The central highlands include the Malwa and Chhotanagpur Plateaus. Rajmahal hills comprise the Eastern Extension of the Central Highlands.
Deccan Plateau: A fault separates it from the Chhota Nagpur Plateau. The Deccan Plateau’s black soil region, sometimes referred to as the Deccan Trap because of the volcanic activity that created it, is used for the growth of cotton and sugarcane. Both Western and Eastern ghats are present. At the Nilgiri Hills, both Ghats converge.
Northeastern Plateau: In essence, it is a peninsular plateau expansion. It consists of the plateaus of Meghalaya and Karbi Anglong, which are cut off from the main block. Three regions make up the Meghalaya plateau: the Garo, Khasi, and Jaintia hills. The plateau of Meghalaya receives the most rainfall and is barren of any ongoing vegetation. It has abundant mineral resources as well..
The Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal both run parallel to India’s coastal plains. It is separated between Western and Eastern Coastal Plains based on location and active geomorphic processes.
The Western Coastal Plain: Extends from Rann of Kachchh to Kanyakumari. It has four divisions:
- Kachchh & Kathiawar coast in Gujarat
- Konkan coast in Maharashtra
- Goan coast in Karnataka
- Malabar coast in Kerala
The western coast widens towards the north and south but is narrow in the middle. Western Coast rivers do not form deltas.
Eastern Coastal Plain: Along the Bay of Bengal, it stretches. The eastern counterpart is narrower than this one. There aren’t many ports and harbours because it is a developing coastal plain. In the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri rivers, there are well-established deltas. Up to 500 kilometres into the sea, the continental shelf reaches.
The Islands in India
India’s physiography includes two significant island groups. They are in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. There are 204 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands group, which is part of the Bay of Bengal. The “Ten Degree Channel” divides the Andaman Islands from Nicobar Islands, which are located in the north and south, respectively. These islands’ coastlines contain coral reefs and lovely beaches. They have vegetation of an equatorial kind. The Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands are parts of the Arabian Sea Group. The Malabar Coast is not far from where they are. They are fully constructed from coral deposits. Minicoy is the largest of the 43 islands.
Bay of Bengal island groups: There are approximately 572 islands and islets in the Bay of Bengal island groups. They are basically located between 6°N and 14°N and 92°E and 94°E. The Ritchie’s archipelago and Labyrinth Island are the two main islet groups. The Andaman in the north and the Nicobar in the south make up the two main divisions of the entire group of islands. A body of water known as the 10° channel separates them.
Islands of the Arabian Sea: The Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands are located in the Arabian Sea. These are dispersed between latitudes 8°N and 12°N and 71°E and 74°E. These islands are situated between 280 and 480 kilometres off the coast of Kerala. The entire island chain is made of deposits of coral. There are about 36 islands, and 11 of them are populated. The largest island, Minicoy, has a surface area of 453 sq. km. The 11° canal roughly divides the entire collection of islands, with the Amini Island to its north and the Canannore Island to its south.
Physical Features of India in Map
Physiography of India Importance
Fold Mountains make form the Great Mountain Wall of the North, which stretches from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. Their width varies between 230 and 400 kilometres, and their length is approximately 2,500 kilometres. While the lowlands are renowned for their fertility because to alluvial soils, the Himalayas shield the country from frigid waves from Central Asia.
South of the Himalayas is the Great Northern Plain, which runs from the Punjab plain in the west to the Brahmaputra valley in the east. The northern plains are a riverine area with fertile soil, moderate temperatures, a level topography that facilitates the construction of roads and railroads, and slow-moving rivers. These factors all work together to make this point crucial.
With the central highlands in the north and the Deccan plateau in the south, the peninsular plateau is the Indian subcontinent’s oldest structure. The Plateau region is abundant in minerals and other resources. The West and East Coastal Plains, respectively, are the narrow coastal strips that stretch along the Western and Eastern Ghats.
They act as crucial hinterlands for significant ports. The development of the nation’s economy depends on these ports. They act as focal points for both domestic and foreign trade. Other than rice, a variety of crops are grown on the rich, fertile soil found in numerous areas of the Indian coastal plains. Along with the mainland, India also has two sets of islands: Andaman and Nicobar Island and Lakshadweep Island.
India is able to protect chokepoints thanks to its island territory. In Indian waters, pirate attacks are deterred by the presence of military troops on these islands. These islands are utilised for cooperative exercises with other navies to increase the security of India’s marine assets.
Physiography of India FAQs
Q What are the 7 physical divisions of India?
Ans. The 7 physical divisions of India are:
- The Himalayan Mountains.
- The Northern Plains.
- The Peninsular Plateau.
- The Indian Desert.
- The Coastal Plains.
- The Islands.
Q Which is the largest physiography of India?
Ans. The Peninsular Plateau or Deccan Plateau is the largest physiography of India. It covers an area of about 16 lakh sq km forms the largest and oldest physiographic division of India.
Q Which physiographic region is oldest in India?
Ans. The peninsular plateau was one of the parts of the Gondwana landmass which drifted away. Hence, it is the oldest landmass of the indian subcontinent.
Q Which physiographic region is youngest in India?
Ans. Northern plains are the youngest physiographic feature in India. They lie to the south of the Shivaliks, separated by the Himalayan Frontal Fault (HFF). The southern boundary is a wavy irregular line along the northern edge of the Peninsular India. On the eastern side, the plains are bordered by the Purvanchal hills
Q How many physiographic zones are there in India?
Ans. India is divided into six physiographic divisions on basis of the varied physiographic features: units as follows: Northern and North-eastern Mountain; Northern Plain; Peninsular Plateau; Indian Desert; Coastal Plains; and Islands.
Other Indian Geography Topics
Other Fundamental Geography Topics