Physical Geography of India #2
As we have already discussed the diversity in physical features on India in previous part, it is clear that its impossible to study India’s physical features without dividing it into zones. So, India on basis of various physiographic regions is divided into 5 zones.
Physical features of India
Physiographic zones of India
The Northern Mountains
Indo Gangetic Plains
The Peninsular Plateau
The Coastal Plains
The Northern Mountains
- A great arc of mountains, consisting of the Himalayas, Hindu Kush, and Patkai ranges define the northern Indian subcontinent.
- Formed by the ongoing tectonic collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates.
- Act as a natural barrier to cold polar winds.
- Facilitate the monsoon winds which in turn influence the climate in India.
- Rivers originating in these mountains, flow through the fertile Indo–Gangetic plains.
- India has eight major mountain ranges having peaks of over 1,000 m (3,300 ft)
- They are divided into three groups. They are
Mountains of India
(i) The Himalayas
(ii) The Trans-Himalayas
(iii) Purvachal or the hills of the North-East.
- Dominated by three main rivers, the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra.
- Run parallel to the Himalayas, plains encompass an area of 700,000 km2 (270,000 sq mi).
- Major rivers in this region are the Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra along with their main tributaries–Yamuna, Chambal, Gomti, Ghaghara, Kosi, Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab, and Tista—as well as the rivers of the Ganges Delta, such as the Meghna.
- The great plains are sometimes classified into four divisions:
- The Bhabar belt is adjacent to the foothills of the Himalayas
- The Terai belt lies south of the adjacent Bhabar region and is composed of newer alluvium.
- The Bangar belt consists of older alluvium and forms the alluvial terrace of the flood plains.
- The Khadar belt lies in lowland areas after the Bangar belt. It is made up of fresh newer alluvium which is deposited by the rivers flowing down the plain.
- Can be divided into four parts:
(i) Western Plain
(ii) North Central Plain
(iii) Eastern Plain
(iv) Brahmputra Plain
- By some calculations the world’s seventh largest desert, by others the tenth.
- Forms a significant portion of western India and covers an area of 200,000 to 238,700 km2
- Continues into Pakistan as the Cholistan Desert.
- Most of the Thar Desert is situated in Rajasthan, covering 61% of its geographic area.
- About 10 percent of this region comprises sand dunes, and the remaining 90 percent consist of craggy rock forms, compacted saltlake bottoms, and interdunal and fixed dune areas. Annual temperatures can range from 0 °C (32 °F) in the winter to over 50 °C (122 °F) during the summer.
- Rainfall is precarious and erratic, ranging from below 120 mm (4.7 in) in the extreme west to 375 mm (14.8 in) eastward. The only river in this region is Luni.
The Great Indian Plateau
- Lies to the South of the Great Northern Plains
- Covers an area of about 16 lakh square km, i.e., about half of the total area of the country.
- Aravalli hills mark the north-western boundary
- Northern and north-eastern boundary is marked by the northern edge of the Bundelkhand Plateau,Kaimur and Rajmahal Hills.
- The Western Ghats (Sahyadry) and the Eastern Ghats mark the western and eastern boundaries respectively of this Great Plateau.
- Most of the area of the plateau has a height of more than 400 metres above sea level. The highest point of plateau region is the Anaimudi peak (2965 m).
The Central Highlands:
- Extends between river Narmada and Great Northern Plains
- Aravallis form the west-northwestern edge of the Central Highlands.
- Extend from Gujarat, through Rajasthan to Delhi in the north easterly direction for a distance of about 700 km.
- Highest peak of the Aravalli hills is Gurushikhar (1722 m) near Mt. Abu on the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan
- The Central Highlands consists of three main plateaus —
- the Malwa Plateau in the west,
- the Deccan Plateau in the south (covering most of the Indian peninsula) and
- the Chota Nagpur Plateau in the east.
The Aravali Range
- Oldest mountain range in India, running across Rajasthan from northeast to southwest direction, extending approximately 800 km (500 mi).
- Northern end of the range continues as isolated hills and rocky ridges into Haryana, ending near Delhi.
- Highest peak in this range is Guru Shikhar at Mount Abu, rising to 1,722 m, lying near the border with Gujarat.
- Eroded stub of an ancient fold mountain system.
- Range rose in a Precambrian event called the Aravali–Delhi orogen.
The Vindhya & Satpura Range
- Runs across most of central India, extending 1,050 km (650 mi); average elevation of these hills is from 300 to 600 m (980 to 1,970 ft) and rarely goes above 700 metres
- believed to formed by wastes created by weathering of the ancient Aravali mountains.
- western end of the range lies in eastern Gujarat, near its border with Madhya Pradesh, and runs east and north, almost meeting the Ganges at Mirzapur.
- The Satpura Range begins in eastern Gujarat near Arabian Sea coast and runs east across Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It extends 900 km (560 mi) with many peaks rising above 1,000 m (3,300 ft).
- triangular in shape, with its apex at Ratnapuri and two sides being parallel to Tapti and Narmada rivers.
- runs parallel to the Vindhya Range, which lies to the north
The Western Ghats
- The Western Ghats or Sahyadri mountains
- run along the western edge of India’s Deccan Plateau
- separate it from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea.
- 1,600 km (990 mi)from south of the Tapti River near the Gujarat–Maharashtra border and across Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu to the southern tip of the Deccan peninsula.
- average elevation is around 1,000 m (3,300 ft).
- Anai Mudi in the Anaimalai Hills 2,695 m & (8,842 ft) in Kerala is the highest peak in the Western Ghats.
The Eastern Ghats
- discontinuous range of mountains, which have been eroded and vivisected by the four major rivers of southern India, the Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Kaveri.
- extend from West Bengal to Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, along the coast and parallel to the Bay of Bengal.
- peaks are over 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in height.
- The Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu lies at the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats.
- Arma Konda (1,680 m (5,510 ft)) in Andhra Pradesh is the tallest peak in Eastern Ghats
- The Eastern Coastal Plain is a wide stretch of land lying between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal.
- stretches from Tamil Nadu in the south to West Bengal in the east.
- The Mahanadi, Godavari, Kaveri, and Krishna rivers drain these plains.
- Temperature in often exceeds 30 °C (86 °F), with high levels of humidity.
- The region receives both the northeast monsoon and southwest monsoon rains.
- Annual rainfall in this region averages between 1,000 and 3,000 mm
- Width of the plains varies between 100 and 130 km (62 and 81 mi).
- The plains are divided into six regions—the Mahanadi delta, the southern Andhra Pradesh plain, the KrishnaGodavari deltas, the Kanyakumari coast, the Coromandel Coast, and sandy coastal.
- The Western Coastal Plain is a narrow strip of land sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea
- Ranging from 50 to 100 km (31 to 62 mi) in width.
- Extends from Gujarat in the north and extends through Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, and Kerala.
- Major rivers flowing into the sea are the Tapi, Narmada, Mandovi and Zuari.
- Vegetation is mostly deciduous, but the Malabar Coast moist forests constitute a unique ecoregion.
- Plain can be divided into two parts, the Konkan and the Malabar Coast.
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