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Physiographic Divisions & Features of India - Geography & Geology.

Physiographic Divisions & Features of India - Geography & Geology
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Physiographic Divisions & Features of India - Geography & Geology

Posted On : 29-August-2023 : 10:58AM

Physiographic Divisions & Features of India - Geography & Geology.

Physiographic Divisions & Features of India

India is divided into six physiographic divisions on basis of the varied physiographic features: units as follows: Northern and North-eastern Mountain; Northern Plain; Peninsular Plateau; Indian Desert; Coastal Plains; and Islands.

#.Loaction of India :

Latitudinal and the Longitudianal Location of Indian mainland
Latitudinal and the Longitudianal Location of Indian mainland

#1. The Indian mainland extends between 8°4′ North and 37°6′ North latitudes and from 68°7′ East and 97°25′ East longitudes. Thus, the latitudinal and the North-south extent is 3214 km and East-west extent is 2933 km. India accounts 2.42% of the total world land area.

#2. India lies entirely in the northern hemisphere, and eastern hemisphere. The Tropic of Cancer (23°30′ North) passes through the centre of the country. It divides the country into almost two equal parts Northward of this latitude is North India and South of it is known as south India. Similarly 82°30′ East longitude passes almost from the middle of the country. It is known as Standard Meridian of India.

Latitudinal and Longitudinal extent of mainland of India
Latitudinal and Longitudinal extent of mainland of India

#3. Latitude: Latitude is the angular distance, north or south from the equator, of a point on the earth’s surface.

#4. Longitude: Longitude is an angular distance on the earth’s surface, measured east or west from the prime meridian at Greenwich.

#5. Angular distance : The angular distance between the points from the centres is called angular distance.

#6. Now determine the relative location of India and then record it in the space given below: Remember relative location is given in relationship to other places (north of, south of, northeast of, next to, across from).India is part of Asian continent. India is surrounded by water from three sides. Arabian sea in west, Bay of Bengal in the east and Indian ocean in the south. Towards its north west is Pakistan and Afghanistan. China, Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal lies to its north. Bangladesh and Myanmar lies to its east. Srilanka and Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean towards its south. The southern most point of the country is Indira Point (Nicobar Islands) which lies on 6°4′ N latitudes and Kannya Kumari is southern most point of Indian mainland which lies on 8°4′ N latitudes.

#7. The 82°30′E longitude passes through Mirzapur (in Uttar Pradesh). This is the Standard Meridian of the country. The 82°30′ East has been selected as standard Merdian because there is a time lag of almost two hours between Gujarat and Arunanchal Pradesh. Therefore, a Central Meridian is selected to determine the time for the whole country

#.Locational Significance of India :

#1. India is the largest country in terms of area and population in South-Asia. It is surrounded by ocean. India is strategically located in Indian Ocean. It commands sea routes between Europe and Africa, SouthEast Asia, far East Asia and Oceania. It is because of this that India shares good trade relation between many countries since ancient times. India has a good location in terms of sea and also well connected by land. Various passes like Nathu-La (Sikkim), Shipki-La (Himachal Pradesh), Zoji-La and Burji la pass (Jammu & Kashmir) have their own importance. The main India-Tibet trade route that connects Kalimpong near Darjeeling with Lhasa in Tibet passes through Jelepa La. Several passes have provided a passage to many ancient travelers. These routes are not only important for trade but also to exchange ideas and culture.

Location of India with respect to important trade routes
Location of India with respect to important trade routes

#.States And Union Territories of India :

#1. India is the seventh largest country in the world. It has land boundaries of 15,200km and 6100km long coast line. India’s landmass covers 3.28 million square kilometer of area. This accounts for nearly 2.42 percent of the total geographical area of the world. For good governance, India has been divided into 28 states and 7 union territories.

Political Map of India
Political Map of India

#2. This map clearly indicates that each state and union territory has its own capital. It is interesting to note that while New Delhi is the capital of India, Delhi is the capital of Union Territory Delhi.

#.Physical Division of India :

#1. India has the topographical diversity. This includes the Great Himalayas, the Northern Plain, the Thar desert, the coastal plains and the Peninsular Plateau. The reasons for variation in the topography could be:

a. ) Differences in the rock formations. These landmasses have been formed in different geological periods.
b. ) Number of processes such as weathering, erosion and deposition has modified these features to their present forms.

#2. Weathering: Weathering is the process of gradual destruction of rocks at or near the earth’s surface through physical, chemical and biological processes caused by wind water, climate change etc.

#3. Erosion: Erosion is the process of gradual transportation of weathered rock materials through natural agencies like wind, river, streams, glaciers etc.

#4. Note 1: Weathering is distinguished from Erosion as no transportation of material is involved in case of weathering.

#5. India is a country of physical diversity. There are high mountain peaks in some areas while in others, lie the flat plains formed by rivers. On the basis of physical features, India can be divided into following six divisions:

Physiographic Divisions of India
Physiographic Divisions of India

1. The Northern mountains
2. The Northern Plains
3. The Peninsular Plateau
4. The Indian Desert
5. The Coastal Plains
6. The Islands.

1. The Northern Mountain : It is divided into three groups. They are :
(i) The Himalayas
(ii) The Trans Himalayas
(iii) The Puranchal hills

#6.Note 2: Pass: It is a natural gap or a route between a ridge, hill.

Note 3: Range: large landmass consisting of mountains, ridges and peaks.

Note 4: Peak: highest point or tip of a mountain range.

Note 5: Valley: a depression or a flat land between two elevated areas.

Note 6: Dun: Longitudinal valleys existing beween himachal and shiwaliks.

The Himalyan Mountains
The Himalyan Mountains

#7. 1. The Himalayan Mountains :

Himalayas are the young fold mountains. This is the highest mountain range of the world. Himalayas act as natural barrier. The extreme cold, snow and rugged topography discourage the neighbors to enter India through Himalayas. They run from west-east direction from Indus to Brahmaputra along the northern boundary of India covering a distance of 2500 KM. Their width varies from 400 in the west and 150 KM in the East. The Himalayas may be divided into three parallel ranges:

(a) Greater Himalayas or Himadari
(b) Lesser Himalayas or Himachal
(c) Outer Himalayas or Siwaliks.

(a) The Greater Himalayas or Himadari:
The Greater Himalayas comprises of the northern most ranges and peaks. It has an average height of 6000 metres and width lies between 120 to 190 Kms .It is the most continuous range. It is snow bound and many glaciers descend from this range. It has high peaks like Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat etc. having a height of more than 8000 metres. Mt. Everest (8848 m) is the highest peak of the world and Kanchenjunga is the highest peak of Himalaya in India. High Mountain passes also exist in this range, namely, Bara Lacha-La, Shipki-La, Nathu-La, Zoji-La, Bomidi-La etc. The Ganga and Yamuna rivers originates from this Himalayas.

(b) The Lesser Himalayas or Himachal:
The altitude of this range lies between 1000 and 4500 metres and the average width is 50 KM. The Prominent ranges in this are Pir Panjal, Dhaula Dhar and Mahabharata ranges. It compresses of many famous hill stations like Shimla, Dalhousie Darjeeling, Chakrata, Mussoorie, Nanital etc. It also comprises of famous valleys like Kashmir, Kullu, Kangra etc.

(c) The Outer Himalayas or the Siwaliks:
It is the outer most range of the Himalayas. The altitude varies between 900-1100 meters and the width lies between 10-50 KM. They have low hills like Jammu Hills, etc.The valleys lying between Siwalik and Lesser Himalayas (Himachal) are called 'Duns' like Dehra Dun, Kotli Dun and Patli Dun.

(ii) The Trans-Himalayan ranges:
It extends north of greater Himalaya and parallel to it is called zaskar range. North of Zaskar range lies Ladakh range. The Indus river flows between Zaskar and Ladakh range. The Karakoram range lie extreme north of the country. K2 is the second highest peak of the world.

(iii) The Purvanchal hills:
It comprises Mishami, Patkoi, Naga, Mizo hills which are located in eastern side. The Meghalaya plateau is also part of these hills which includes the hills of Garo, Khasi and Jaintia.

#8. 2. The Northern Plains :
Let us try to locate and label the states lying in the Northern Plains of India. The Northern Plains are located between south of the Himalayas and north of the Peninsular plateau. It is formed by the deposition of the sediments brought by three main river systems namely : the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. From Punjab in the west to Assam in the east, this plain is about 2400 km long. Its width varies from about 300 km in the west to about 150 km in the east. It mainly includes the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. This plain is very fertile due to alluvial sediments brought by the rivers from the Himalayas. This plain is one of the largest and most fertile plains of the world. Major crops such as wheat, rice, sugarcane, pulses, oil seeds and jute are grown here. Due to proper irrigation, the plain makes significant contribution in the production of food grains. The Northern plain is broadly divided into two parts :

(a) The Western plain
(b) The Ganga-Brahmaputra plain

(a) The Western Plain :
This plain is formed by the river system of the Indus. It lies to the west of Aravallis. This plain is formed due to deposits brought by the rivers like the Satluj, the Beas and the Ravi. This part of the plain has doabs.

(b) The Ganga-Brahmaputra plain :
It is also formed by the deposition of the sediments brought by two main river systems, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. The early civilizations like Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa also called river valley civilizations, were spread over plain areas. This is because of the availability of fertile land and water through the river networks.

Note 7:Doab: the alluvial land between two converging rivers. Example doab area in Punjab.

Note 8:Khadar: The area flooded by rivers almost every year

Note 9:Banger: The area never flooded by rivers.

#9. 3. The Peninsular Plateau :
The Peninsular plateau is a triangular shaped table land. It is part of ancient land mass called Gondwana level. It covers an area of nearly 5 lakh It is spread over the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. River Narmada divides the peninsular plateau into two parts : The central highlands and Deccan Plateau

The Peninsular plateau of India
The Peninsular plateau of India

(i) The central Highlands:
It extends from Narmada river and the northern plains. A ravallis is the important mountain which extends from Gujrat through Rajasthan to Delhi. The highest peak of the Aravallis hills is Gurushikhar (1722m) near Mt. Abu. The Malwa Plateau and Chhota Nagpur plateau are parts of the central highlands. River Betwa, chambal and Ken are the important river of Malwa plateau while Mahadeo, Kaimur and Maikal are the important hills of chhota Nagpur plateau. The valley of Narmada is lies between the Vindhyas and the satpura which flows east to west and joins the Arabian sea.

(ii) The Deccan Plateau:
The Deccan plateau is separated by a fault (A fracture in the rock along which rocks have been relatively replaced), from Chota Nagpur plateau. The black soil area in the Deccan plateau is known as Deccan trap. It is formed due to volcanic eruptions. This soil is good for cotton & sugarcane cultivation. The Deccan plateau is broadly divided into:

(a) The Western Ghats
(b) The Eastern Ghats

(a) The Western Ghats:
The Western Ghats or Sahyadris lie on the Western edge of the Deccan plateau. It runs parallel to the western coast for about 1600 km. The average elevation of the Western Ghats is 1000 metres. The famous peaks in this area are Doda Betta, Anaimudi amd Makurti. The highest peak in this region is Anaimudi (2695m.). Western ghats are continuous and can be crossed through passes like Pal Ghat, Thal Ghot and Bhor Ghat. The rivers like Godavari, Bhima and Krishna flow eastward while the river Tapti flows westward. The streams form rapids & water falls before entering the Arabian Sea. The famous water falls are Jogfalls on Sharavati, Shiva Samudram falls on Kaveri etc.

(b) The Eastern Ghats:
The Eastern Ghats are discontinuous low belt. Their average elevation is 600 m. They run parallel to the east coast from south of Mahanadi valley to the Nilgiri hills. The highest peak in this region is Mahendragiri (1501 m). The famous hills are Mahendragiri hills, Nimaigiri hills in Orissa, Nallamallai hills in Southern Andhra Pradesh, Kollimalai and Pachaimalai in Tamilnadu. The area is drained by the Mahanadi, Godawari, Krishna and Kaveri river systems. The Nilgiri hills join Western & Eastern Ghats in the south.

#10. 4. The Indian Desert :
The Indian Desert lies towards the western margin of Aravali Hills. It is also called Thar Desert. It is the ninth largest desert in the world. It spreads over the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. This region has semi-arid and arid weather conditions. It receives less than 150 mm of rainfall per year. The vegetation cover is low with thorny bushes. Luni is the main river in this area. All other streams appear only at the time of rainfall otherwise they disappear into the sand.

The Indian Desert
The Indian Desert

I am Thar ‘The Indian Desert’:
1. I remain dry most of the year. The moisture bearing winds goes parallel to Aravalli so I receive scanty rainfall.
2. I am pierced by cactus and other thorny bushes on my body.
3. If you are thirsty, you will have to walk several kilometers to reach an oasis and sinduates (small water body).

#11. 5. The Coastal Plains :
The coastal plains in India run parallel to the Arabian Sea & Bay of Bengal along the Peninsular Plateau.The western coastal plain is a narrow belt along the Arabian sea of about 10-20km wide. It stretches from Rann of Kachchh to KanyaKumari. Western coastal plains comprises of three sectors (i) Konkan Coast (Mumbai to Goa), (ii) Karnataka coast from Goa to Mangalore (iii) Malabar Coast (Mangalore to Kanya Kumari). The eastern coast runs along Bay of Bengal. It is wider than the western coastal plain. Its average width is about 120Kms. The northern part of the coast is called Northern Circar and the southern part is called Coromandal Coast. Eastern coastal plain is marked by Deltas made by the rivers Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna amd Kaveri. The Chilka largest salt water lake in India in Odisha is located to the south of Mahanadi Delta. The coastal plains are belts for growing spices, rice, coconut, pepper etc. They are centres of trade & commerce. The coastal areas are known for fishing activities, therefore large number of fishing villages have developed along the coasts. Vembanad is famous lagoon which is located at Malabar coast.

#12. 6. The Islands :
India has two main groups of Islands. There are 204 islands in Bay of Bengal called as Andaman and Nicobar islands and 43 islands in Arabian Sea called as Lakshadweep islands The Andaman & Nicobar island extend from north to south in Bay of Bengal. They are bigger in size. An active volcano is located on the Barren Island in Andaman & Nicobar group of islands. Lakshadweep islands are located near Malabar coast of Kerala in the Arabian sea. They cover an area of 32 sq km. Kavarati is the capital of Lakshdweep. These islands are formed by corals and endowed with variety of flora and fauna. These islands are important tourist attraction under water activities like snokling, such diving, deep sea diving and other sports make these island more popular.

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