Geography of India
Geography of India very diverse and almost all type of geographical divisions can be found within the Indian subcontinent. The Geography of India is as diverse as its culture and languages. India is the largest country in South Asia and it entirely lies in the northern hemisphere covering an area of 3,287,264 Km². The diverse geography of India allows it to have a variety of plants and animals. North of India is surrounded by The Himalaya Mountain Range and in south India is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal surrounds it from west and east. Since India is surrounded by water bodies from three sides, it is also known as the Indian peninsula.
The Tropic of Cancer bisects India into two equal halves and it passes through the Indian state of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Neighboring countries of India include Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Excluding Sri Lanka, all the other countries share the land border with India whereas Sri Lanka and India are separated by Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar. From north to south total distance is 3,214 km whereas from east to west it is 2,933 km.
Geography of India
The geography of India can be divided into six main geographical divisions. They are as follow:
- The Great Mountain Range
- The Northern Plains
- The Desert Region
- The Peninsular Plateaus
- The Coastal Plains
- The Island Group
The Great Mountain Range: Mountain range in India separate it from its neighboring countries. The mountain ranges of India play an important role in the geography of India. Himalayan Mountain Range runs from Jammu & Kashmir in the north to Arunachal Pradesh in the east. Himalayan Mountain is a group of young fold mountain and it is world’s largest mountain range. The Himalayas includes nearly 100+ peaks having height more than 7000m and almost all the highest peaks of the world lies in it. In north-west India has Karakoram Mountain Range which lies mostly in the disputed area and K2 (Godwin-Austen) which is the second highest peak of the world lies in it. In eastern front India has Garo–Khasi–Jaintia and the Lushai hills.
The Himalaya mountain range has a great impact on India’s climate as it prevents the cold winds from entering in India and holds the monsoon winds within Indian Territory. The Himalayas is also the source of many perennial rivers of India like River Ganga, Indus, and the Brahmaputra.
The Northern Plains: Northern plains are also known as Indo-Gangetic plain and it is formed by alluvial soil deposited by rivers flowing in this area. Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra contribute mostly to these Great Plains. Northern plains cover an area of approximately 7 lac sq. km with length and width varying from 2400 km to 300 km. These plains are one of the most densely populated areas of the world and they have been used for the purpose of farming from past 5000 years. Other important rivers of the great plain are Yamuna, Chambal, Ghaghara, Kosi Gomti, Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, and Chenab. Out of three main rivers mentioned the only Ganges flows entirely through India. Primary crops are rice and wheat.
The Great Indian Desert: The desert region of India is mostly situated in the Indian state of Rajasthan and is known as “Thar Desert”. It is world’s 17th largest desert in terms of area. The desert region is surrounded by Aravali Hills in the east, Rann of Kuchh in south and Indus river in the west. This region receives very less rainfall as monsoon wind gets blocked by the Aravali Range. The only river that flows through this region is Luni, though now irrigation is also carried out by Indira Gandhi Channel. This region is also famous for Chinkara or Indian Gazelle.
The Peninsular Plateaus: This region is mostly dominated by three plateaus they are Malwa, Deccan, and Chota Nagpur Plateau. Deccan plateau is largest among these and Vindhya and Satpura ranges marks its northern boundary. The Deccan Plateau has an average elevation of 600m which gradually decreases in the east. Due to the decrease in slopes in the eastward direction, most of the rivers of India flows in east direction and empties into the Bay of Bengal. The peninsular plateau rivers include the Godavari, the Krishna, the Kaveri and the Mahanadi.
The Deccan Plateau is surrounded by the mountain range in east and west. These mountain ranges are known as the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats and they are considered as western and the eastern edges of the Deccan Plateau. The Western Ghats are higher than the Eastern Ghats as the average elevation of Western Ghats is 900– 1600m and that of Eastern Ghats is 600m.
The Coastal Plains: The Coastal plains are the landmass which is sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and Deccan plateau in west and Bay of Bengal and Deccan plateau in the east. Eastern coastal plains are wider than western coastal plains. Important rivers flowing in this region are Mahanadi, Godavari, Kaveri, and Krishna. The western coastal plain can be divided into Konkan Coast and Malabar Coast whereas the eastern coast is known by Coromandel Coast. Eastern coast has deltas of Mahanadi River and Krishna-Godavari River.
The Island Group: The Island group mainly consist of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in east and Lakshadweep in the west. Lakshadweep is comparatively smaller in size. India’s southernmost point i.e. Indira Point is situated in the Nicobar Islands. These island groups are very close to the equator so they experience an equatorial type of climate and hence they have a wide variety of flora and fauna, they are also a great center for tourist attraction. There are many other smaller divisions that constitute the geography of India, but the important six division of geography of India has been listed.