Table of Contents
Indian Geography – Overview
India shares its border with Afghanistan and Pakistan to the north-west, China, Bhutan and Nepal to the north, Myanmar to the far east and Bangladesh to the east. Sri Lanka is separated from India by a narrow channel of sea formed by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar. Indian subcontinent covers an area of 32,87,263 sq. km and is divided into six zones mainly north, south, east, west, central, and northeast zone with 28 states and 8 union territories. India is the 7th largest country in the world in terms of area and ranks second in terms of population.
Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the mainland extends between latitudes 8°4’ and 37°6’ north, longitudes 68°7’ and 97°25’ east and measures about 3,214 km from north to south between the extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme longitudes. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of the coastline of the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman and Nicobar Islands is 7,516.6 km.
Physical Features of India
- The mainland comprises four regions, namely, the great mountain zone, plains of the Ganga and the Indus, the desert region and the southern peninsula.
- The high altitudes of Himalayas allow travel only through a few passes, notably the Jelep La and Nathu La on the main Indo-Tibet trade route through the Chumbi valley, north-east of Darjeeling and Shipki La in the Satluj valley, north-east of Kalpa (Kinnaur).
- The plains of the Ganga and the Indus, about 2,400 km long and 240 to 320 km broad, are formed by basins of three distinct river systems—the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.
- The desert region can be divided into two parts—the ‘great desert’ and the ‘little desert’. The great desert extends from the edge of the Rann of Kutch beyond the Luni river northward. The little desert extends from the Luni between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur up to the northern west.
- The Peninsular Plateau is marked off from the plains by a mass of mountain and hill ranges. Prominent among these are the Aravali, Vindhya, Satpura, Maikala and Ajanta. The Peninsula is flanked on the one side by the Eastern Ghats and on the other by the Western Ghats.
- Between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea lies a narrow coastal strip, while between Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal, there is a broader coastal area.
- The southern point of the plateau is formed by the Nilgiri Hills where the Eastern and the Western Ghats meet. The Cardamom Hills lying beyond may be regarded as a continuation of the Western Ghats.
Geographical Structure – India
- The geological regions may be grouped into three regions: the Himalayas and their associated group of mountains, the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the Peninsular Shield.
- The Himalayan mountain belt to the north and the Naga-Lushai Mountain in the east, are the regions of mountain-building movement.
- The Indo-Ganga plains are a great alluvial tract that separate the Himalayas in the north from the Peninsula in the south.
- The Peninsula is a region of relative stability and occasional seismic disturbances.