India Table of contents

India"s complete land mass is 2,973,190 square kilometers and also is split into three main geological regions: the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the Himalayas, and the Peninsula region. The Indo-Gangetic Plain and also those portions of the Himalayas in ~ India are jointly known together North India. South India consists of the peninsular region, often termed merely the Peninsula. ~ above the basis of the physiography, India is divided into ten regions: the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the northern hills of the Himalayas, the central Highlands, the Deccan or Peninsular Plateau, the East coastline (Coromandel coast in the south), the West coast (Konkan, Kankara, and also Malabar coasts), the an excellent Indian Desert (a geographic feature known together the Thar Desert in Pakistan) and the Rann the Kutch, the sink of the Brahmaputra in Assam, the northeastern hill ranges surrounding the Assam Valley, and also the archipelago of the Arabian Sea and also the only of Bengal.

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Indo-Gangetic level

In social and also economic terms, the Indo-Gangetic plain is the many important region of India. The level is a great alluvial crescent extending from the Indus River device in Pakistan to the Punjab level (in both Pakistan and also India) and also the Haryana level to the delta that the Ganga (or Ganges) in Bangladesh (where that is dubbed the Padma). Topographically the level is homogeneous, with only floodplain bluffs and also other related features of flow erosion and also changes in river networks forming necessary natural features.

Two small terrain belts, jointly known together the Terai, constitute the north boundary of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Where the foothills the the Himalayas conference the plain, little hills recognized locally as ghar (meaning home in Hindi) have been created by outlet sands and also pebbles deposit by mountain streams. Groundwater from these areas flows on the surface where the levels begin and also converts huge areas follow me the rivers right into swamps. The southern boundary that the plain begins along the edge of the an excellent Indian Desert in the state that Rajasthan and continues east along the basic of the hills that the main Highlands to the bay of Bengal. The hills, differing in key from 300 to 1,200 meters, lie on a general east-west axis. The central Highlands are separated into northern and also southern parts. The northern component is focused on the Aravalli selection of east Rajasthan. In the northern component of the state the Madhya Pradesh, the Malwa Plateau comprises the southern component of the central Highlands and merges through the Vindhya range to the south. The main rivers that circulation through the southern part of the plain--the Narmada, the Tapti, and the Mahanadi--delineate north India from southern India.

Some geographers subdivide the Indo-Gangetic Plain right into three parts: the Indus sink (mostly in Pakistan), the Punjab (divided in between India and also Pakistan) and also Haryana plains, and also the middle and lower Ganga. These regional distinctions room based mainly on the access of water. By one more definition, the Indo-Gangetic plain is divided into 2 drainage basins by the Delhi Ridge; the western component consists the the Punjab Plain and the Haryana Plain, and also the eastern component consists the the Ganga-Brahmaputra drainage systems. This divide is just 300 meters over sea level, contributing to the perception that the Indo-Gangetic Plain appears to be constant between the two drainage basins. The Punjab plain is centered in the land in between five rivers: the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, and the Sutlej. (The surname Punjab comes from the Sanskrit pancha ab , meaning five waters or rivers.)

Both the Punjab and Haryana plains are irrigated through water native the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers. The watering projects emanating from this rivers have led to a decrease in the flow of water getting to the reduced drainage locations in the state of Punjab in India and also the Indus valley in Pakistan. The benefits that increased irrigation has carried to farmer in the state of Haryana room controversial in irradiate of the effects that irrigation has had on farming life in the Punjab locations of both India and also Pakistan.

The middle Ganga extends indigenous the Yamuna river in the west come the state the West Bengal in the east. The lower Ganga and the Assam valley are an ext lush and verdant than the center Ganga. The lower Ganga is centered in West Bengal from which the flows right into Bangladesh and, ~ joining the Jamuna (as the reduced reaches of the Brahmaputra are well-known in Bangladesh), develops the delta of the Ganga. The Brahmaputra (meaning boy of Brahma) rises in Tibet (China"s Xizang Autonomous Region) as the Yarlung Zangbo River, flows v Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, and also then crosses into Bangladesh. Average annual rainfall boosts moving west to east from around 600 millimeters in the Punjab level to 1,500 millimeters approximately the lower Ganga and Brahmaputra.

The Himalayas

The Himalayas, the highest possible mountain selection in the world, extend along the north frontiers the Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and also Burma. Lock were formed geologically as a result of the collision the the Indian subcontinent with Asia. This process of key tectonics is ongoing, and the progressive northward drift that the Indian subcontinent still causes earthquakes (see Earthquakes, this ch.). Lesser ranges jut southward native the main body that the Himalayas in ~ both the eastern and western ends. The Himalayan system, about 2,400 kilometers in length and varying in broad from 240 to 330 kilometers, is made up of 3 parallel ranges--the better Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas, and also the outer Himalayas--sometimes jointly called the an excellent Himalayan Range. The greater Himalayas, or north range, average around 6,000 meter in height and contain the three greatest mountains on earth: mount Everest (8,796 meters) on the China-Nepal border; K2 (8,611 meters, likewise known together Mount Godwin-Austen, and in China together Qogir Feng) in one area declared by India, Pakistan, and China; and also Kanchenjunga (8,598 meters) top top the India-Nepal border. Many significant mountains space located completely within India, such together Nanda Devi (7,817 meters) in the state that Uttar Pradesh. The snow line averages 4,500 come 6,000 meters on the southerly side of the higher Himalayas and also 5,500 to 6,000 ~ above the north side. Due to the fact that of climatic conditions, the snow line in the east Himalayas averages 4,300 meters, while in the west Himalayas the averages 5,800 meters.

The Lesser Himalayas, located in northwestern India in the states of Himachal Pradesh and also Uttar Pradesh, in north-central India in the state the Sikkim, and in northeastern India in the state that Arunachal Pradesh, selection from 1,500 to 5,000 meter in height. Located in the Lesser Himalayas room the hill stations of Shimla (Simla) and also Darjiling (Darjeeling). Throughout the early american period, these and also other hill train station were provided by the British together summer retreats come escape the intense warmth of the plains. The is in this transitional vegetation zone the the contrasts in between the bare southern slopes and the forested north slopes come to be most noticeable.

The external or southern Himalayas, averaging 900 come 1,200 meter in elevation, lie in between the Lesser Himalayas and also the Indo-Gangetic Plain. In Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, this southernmost variety is frequently referred to as the Siwalik Hills. It is possible to recognize a fourth, and also northernmost range, recognized as the Trans-Himalaya. This range is located entirely on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, phibìc of the great west-to-east trending sink of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Although the Trans-Himalaya selection is split from the great Himalayan range for many of the length, it merges v the good Himalayan selection in the western section--the Karakoram Range--where India, Pakistan, and also China meet.

The southern slopes of every of the Himalayan ranges are also steep come accumulate snow or support lot tree life; the northern slopes normally are forested below the eye line. In between the ranges are extensive high plateaus, deep gorges, and fertile valleys, such as the vales the Kashmir and also Kulu. The Himalayas serve a an extremely important purpose. They carry out a physical display within which the monsoon mechanism operates and also are the source of the an excellent river equipment that water the alluvial plains listed below (see Climate, this ch.). Together a result of erosion, the rivers comes from the mountains carry vast quantities the silt that enrich the plains.

The area of northeastern India adjacent to Burma and Bangladesh consists of countless hill tracts, averaging between 1,000 and 2,000 meter in elevation, that space not connected with the eastern component of the Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh. The Naga Hills, rising to heights of more than 3,000 meters, type the watershed in between India and Burma. The Mizo Hills room the southern component of the northeastern varieties in India. The Garo, Khasi, and also Jaintia hills are centered in the state that Meghalaya and, isolated native the northeastern ranges, divide the Assam sink from Bangladesh come the south and west.

The Peninsula

The Peninsula proper is an old, geologically stable an ar with an median elevation between 300 and also 1,800 meters. The Vindhya range constitutes the main splitting line in between the geological areas of the Indo-Gangetic Plain and also the Peninsula. This range lies phibìc of the Narmada River, and when regarded from there, it is feasible to discern the significant escarpments the rise between 800 and also 1,400 meters. The Vindhya variety defines the north-central and also northwestern border of the Peninsula, and also the Chota Nagpur Plateau of southern Bihar develops the northeastern boundary. The uplifting of the plateau the the main Peninsula and also its eastward tilt created the west Ghats, a heat of hills to run from the Tapti River southern to the tip of the Peninsula. The eastern Ghats note the eastern end of the plateau; they start in the hills the the Mahanadi flow basin and also converge with the western Ghats in ~ the Peninsula"s southerly tip.

The interior of the Peninsula, south of the Narmada River, regularly termed the Deccan Plateau or simply the Deccan (from the Sanskrit daksina , an interpretation south), is a collection of plateaus topped by roll hills and intersected by many rivers. The plateau averages approximately 300 come 750 meter in elevation. Its major rivers--the Godavari, the Krishna, and the Kaveri--rise in the west Ghats and flow eastward right into the bay of Bengal.

The seaside plain boundaries the plateau. ~ above the northwestern side, that is identified by tidal marshes, drowning valleys, and estuaries; and in the southern by lagoons, marshes, and also beach ridges. Coastal plains top top the east side are more comprehensive than those in the west; castle are concentrated on big river deltas that offer as the centers of human being settlement.

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Offshore islands

India"s offshore islands, constituting about one-quarter the 1 percent that the nation"s territory, lie in two teams located turn off the east and west coasts. The northernmost suggest of the union region of the Andaman and Nicobar islands lies 1,100 kilometers south east of Calcutta. Situated in the just of Bengal in a chain extending some 800 kilometers, the Andaman Islands make up 204 islands and also islets, and also their topography is identified by hills and also narrow valleys. Return their location is tropical, the climate that the archipelago is tempered by sea breezes; rainfall is irregular. The Nicobar Islands, i beg your pardon are south of the Andaman Islands, comprise nineteen islands, some through flat, coral-covered surfaces and also others v hills. The islands have actually a almost equatorial climate, hefty rainfall, and high temperatures. The union are of Lakshadweep (the name way 100,000 islands) in the Arabian Sea, comprises--from north to south--the Amindivi, Laccadive, Cannanore, and Minicoy islands. The islands, just ten of which space inhabited, are spread throughout an area of approximately 77,000 square kilometers. The islands space low-lying coral-based formations qualified of minimal cultivation.