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Location and Physical Features of India

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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

India Location on Earth

  • India is part of South Asia, located in the Northern Hemisphere
  • Extends from 8°4’N to 37°6’N latitude and from 68° 7’E to 97° 25’E Longitude, roughly about 30° location of India in latitude and Longitude
  • The Tropic of Cancer at 23° 30’N cuts the country in almost two halves
  • The Indian location extends from Arunachal Pradesh in the east to Gujarat in the west and Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the South
  • The northernmost point is Indira Col in Siachen Glacier in the eastern part of Karakoram ranges, and the Southernmost point is Indira Point in the Nicobar Islands in the Andaman Sea
  • The easternmost point of India is a tiny town in Arunachal Pradesh
  • Distance from South to North is 3214 km. and that from west to east is 2933 km
  • Latitudes are equidistant. The distance between the two latitudes is 111 km
  • Longitudes are basically not equidistant from each other at all places. They bulge at the equator and converge at the poles. The average distance between two longitudes is 100 km
  • With the 30° difference or variation between the longitudes, there is almost a difference of two hours between the easternmost and westernmost part of the country
  • To avoid any complications, the 82° 30’E longitude is selected as the Indian Standard Meridian as per the India location. The Indian Standard time is 5 hours and 30 minutes in advance of Greenwich Mean Time

India Extent and Size

  • India has 2.4% of the total geographical area of the world making it the 7th largest in the entire world
  • It comprises a total area of 3.28 million sq. km
  • India has 7516.6 km. coastline (including the coastlines of the islands of Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal and that of Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea)
  • The coastline of India’s mainland is 6100km
  • India has a land boundary of about 15,200 km
  • India’s incredible size is blessed with biological diversity. In the North, India is guarded by the mighty Himalayas, the hills in the North East, the Peninsular block in the South, and the Marusthali great sandy expanse
  • Hindukush bounds the Himalayas and Suleiman ranges in the northwest, the northeast Purvanchal Hills, and the Indian Ocean in the South. This entire area, taken together, forms the geographic entity called “The Indian Subcontinent”
  • The Indian subcontinent includes countries like Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and India’s mainland
  • The Tropic of Cancer passes through eight states in India: Gujarat (Jasdan), Rajasthan (Kalinjarh), Madhya Pradesh (Shajapur), Chhattisgarh (Sonhat), Jharkhand (Lohardaga), West-Bengal (Krishnanagar), Tripura (Udaipur) and Mizoram (Champhai)
  • The Standard Meridian of India passes through 5 states of India, namely: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh

Physical features of india

  • Peninsula plateaus are made by basalt lava, and igneous and metamorphic rocks. It is one of the oldest stable landmasses in the world.
  • Himalayan is an unstable and very youthful topography with high peaks, deep valleys, and a fast-flowing river.
  • Northern plains are the latest landforms made by alluvial deposits.

Major physiographic division of India

  • Himalayan mountain
  • Northern Plains
  • Peninsula plateau
  • Great Indian desert
  • Coastal plains
  • Islands.

I. Himalayan mountains

Geographically: Young mountain, made of granite sedimentary Rock.

Structurally: Fold mountain

It stretches from west to east as an arc from Indus river to Brahmaputra river about 2400 km.

  • Width varies from 400 km in Kashmir to 150 km in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Altitude variations are greater in the Eastern half than the western half.

Latitudinal division

  • Karakoram, Ladakh, and Zanskar ranges lie northern to Himalayan.
  • Himalayan comprises of three parallel ranges, a number of the valley lies between these ranges.
  • Greater or inner or Himandri: 
    • lies on the northern side.
    • The average height is about 6000 km.
  • Himachal or lesser Himalayan or Dhauladhar range
  • Shiwalik.

Longitudinal division

  • Punjab Himalayan lies between Indus and Satluj river
  • Kumaon Himalayan lies between Satluj and Kali river
  • Nepal Himalayan lies between Kali and Teesta river
  • Assam Himalayan lies between Teesta and Dihang river.
  • Beyond the Dihang gorge in the east, Himalayan bend in South and spread along the Eastern boundary between India and Myanmar known as Puruvachal or eastern hill. It is made of sandstone or sedimentary rock.
  • Puruvachal comprises of from north to South:
    • Patkai hills
    • Naga hills
    • Manipur hill
    • Mizo hills

II. Northern Plains

  • It is formed by three major river systems and its tributaries that is Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra.
  • Spread in 2400 km long and 240 to 320 km broad areas comprising of 7 lakh square km.
  • It is made by alluvial soil and having adequate water and favorable climate support the dense population.
  • Due to gentle slope and velocity of water decreased; at the result, riverine islands formed. For example, Majuli island in Brahmaputra river is the largest river island in the world.
Northern plain is divided into three parts
  • Punjab plains on western parts:
    • it is made by the Indus river and its tributaries. The land between two water bodies is called Doab.
  • Gangas plain:
    • It is made by Gangs, Ghaghra and Teesta river, and their tributaries.
  • Brahmaputra or Assam plains

According to the variation in relief features; the northern plain can be divided into four regions:

1. Bhabar

it is lying parallel to the southern side of the Shivalik range. It is about 8 to 16 km narrow belt. The river disappeared in the Bhabar belt.

2. Terai

It is in the south of the Bhabar belt. The stream of river re-emerged and create wet, swampy, marshy region known as Terai. It is a thick forest region and full of wildlife. Dudhwa nation park is located in this region.

3. Bhangar

Older alluvial soils lying above the flood plains of the river and present terrace-like features called Bhangar. It is the largest part of the northern plain. It contains calcareous deposits known as Kankar.

4. Khadar

It is newer and younger deposits of flood plains. It is renewed almost every year and it is so fertile that ideal for intensive agriculture.

III. The peninsula plateau

It is a table-land composed of old crystalline, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. It is the oldest landmasses due to the breaking and drifting of Gondwanaland. Shallow valley and rounded hills are important features of the peninsula plateau.

Two broad division peninsula plateau:

  • Central highlands
  • Deccan plateau in triangular shaped
Central Highlands
  • It is lying north of the Narmada river, coverings major areas of Malwa plateau called central highlands.
  • Vindhya and Satpura as south
  • Aravali as north
  • Sand and rocky desert in the west.
  • River flow: Chambal, Sindh, Betwa, and Ken
  • The slope from the southwest to the northeast.
  • It is wider in the west and narrows in the east.
  • Eastern extension of the plateau is known as Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand.
  • Chhota Nagpur in eastern extensive drainage by Damodar river.
Deccan plateau
  • Lies to the south of Narmada.
  • Satpura in north
  • Eastern extensions are Mahadev, Kaimur hills, and maikal hills.
  • Higher in west and slope gently in Eastward.
  • Extension of a plateau in the northeast also known as Meghalaya’s, Karbi angling plateaus. It is separated by a fault from Chhota Nagpur plateau. Garo, Khasi, Jaintia are important hills from west to east in this plateau.
  • The unique fertile soil of volcanic origin found in the Deccan trap.
  • Western ghats and eastern ghats mark the western and eastern boundaries of the Deccan plateau.
Western Ghats
  • The average elevation is about 900 to 1600 meters.
  • The highest peak is the Anaimudi 2,637 meters.
  • It continues to range causes orographic rainfall.
Eastern Ghats
  • The average elevation is about 600 meters.
  • Spread from Mahanadi valley in the north to Nilgiri hills in South.
  • It is a discontinuous range.
  • The highest peak is Mahendra Giri about 1501 meters.
  • Shevroy and Javed hills are located in southeast
  • Ooty or Udaga Mandalam is in the Eastern Ghats.

IV. Great Indian Desert

  • It lies towards the west to Aravali hills
  • Covered with sand plains with sand dunes.
  • Dunes are two types:
    • Barchans dune is in Crescent shape and it is more prominent in these regions.
    • Longitudinal dune.
  • Rainfalls below 15 cm or 150 mm
  • Arid climate with low vegetation cover
  • The stream disappears into the sand as do not has enough water to reach the sea.
  • Luni is only a large river in this region.

V. Coastal plains

The narrow strip of coastal plains is found along with the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.

Western coastal plains
  • Narrow width divided into three parts Konkan ( Mumbai to Goa)
  • Kannada central plains
  • Malabar coast in Kerala.
Eastern plains
  • It is broader as compare to western coastal plains.
  • The largest salt lake is Chilika lakes located in eastern parts.
  • Can be divided into parts:
  • Northern circle
  • Coromandel coast
  • Delta made by Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri

VI. The islands

Two groups of islands.

  • Lakshadweep island
  • Andaman and Nico bar
Lakshadweep island
  • Comprises of Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi.
  • It is close to the Malabar coast.
  • It is made by Coral.
  • Kavaratti Island is the administrative headquarters of Lakshadweep.
  • Pitti island uninhabited and has a bird sanctuary.



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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

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