(Last Updated on : 14/11/2014)
Plains of Northern India, also known as Indo-Gangetic Plain
or the North Indian River Plain, are a flat and enormous plain. These plains extend in the east west direction between the Himalayan in the north and Great Indian Peninsular Plateau
in the south. These plains form an unbroken belt of alluvium varying in thickness from east Bihar
Plain to Punjab
and northern Rajasthan
. Sutlej Plain in the west, the Ganga Plain in the middle, the Ganga
Delta and the Brahmaputra Valley in the east constitute the northern plains.
The Thar Desert in India
is located in the west of the Aravalli Mountain Ranges
being largely a plain formed partly by corrosion and partly by deposition is also included in the plains of Northern India. These plains continue to the west beyond Punjab and Rajasthan
and merge into the Indus Plains in neighbouring country Pakistan.
Extension of the Plains of Northern India
The Plains of Northern India, also known as the Gangetic Plains, is situated in the southern Himalayan Region. The Northern Plains spreading from Assam to Punjab has a length of around 2400 km and the width ranges between 150 km to 300 km, varying in different regions. It can be found in Bihar, Punjab, Assam
, West Bengal
, Uttar Pradesh
, parts of Delhi
Features of Plains of Northern India
The plains of Northern India are consistently level plains without any interruption except for a few outliers of the Aravalli Mountain Range
, such as, in the environs of Delhi
. Formerly deep trenches of around 6 to 8 km in depth, these plains outline the isolated low hills or ridges and come out of the adjacent alluvium as islands in the ocean. The trench was formed as a fore deep, when the Himalayas rose as fold mountains. This east-west depression received drainage from the Himalaya Mountains
in the north and the plateau in the south.
Owing to continued silting, the depression was filled up with sediments. Stability in the level of these plains is mainly due to two basic facts. Firstly, no earth movement disturbed their flatness later and secondly the deposition took place in water. The watershed that divides the Sutlej Plain from the Ganga Plain is low as one enters the Haryana-Punjab Plain from the Uttar Pradesh Plain.
Division of Plains of Northern India
The Plains of Northern India are generally divided into 2 river systems-
* The Indus in the west, and
* The Ganga-Brahmaputra
in the east.
Less than 1/3rd of the Indus basin is situated in India (Jammu and Kashmir
, Himachal Pradesh
). It is approximately 2900 km long and its primary tributaries include the Sutlej River
, Beas River
, Ravi River
, Chenab River
and Jhelum River
. A glimpse into the map of India will show how these rivers unite together before finally merging the in the Indus River
. The northern plain stretches over 1200 km between the Arabian Sea
in the south-west and foothills of the Western Himalaya in the north-east having a total covered distance, of hardly 300 m. Interestingly, these rivers have turned the plain of country's northern region pretty productive and it now bears the testimony of the densest systems of irrigation canals.
The Sutlej Basin is situated in the west of the Northern plains covering both Haryana Punjab, as well as parts of Chandigarh
, a tributary of Sutlej, adjoins the river at Harike. In the Sutlej Basin, crops like Wheat, sugarcane
, gram, oil seeds and cotton
are cultivated. Rice and wheat, 2 of the major crops are supplied from here, to the rest of the country.
has two primary origins in the Himalaya the Bhagirathi River
and the Alaknanda River
. Both merge in Dev Prayag
and flow as the Ganga afterward. It enters the northern plains at Haridwar
. Yamuna River
joins it in Allahabad. It is believed that Ganga has originated from the jota or head gear of Shiva according to the mythical references. Chambal River
, Sindh River
, Betwa River
and Ken River
in turn join the Yamuna River. They all stream through the Malwa Plateau
before entering into the northern plains. The Son River
is the only big river that joins Ganga immediately from the southern plateau. Further east, the Damodar River
, irrigating the entire region of Chota Nagpur Plateau
, joins the Hooghly River
, another tributary of the Ganga River
The Himalayan Rivers uniting with the Ganga downstream of Allahabad
from west to east comprise of the Gomti River
, Ghaghara River
and Kosi River
. The Ganga serves as the tank watering most of Haryana, southeast Rajasthan, and northern Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh
and most parts of West Bengal
, located on the water divide between the river systems of Indus and the Ganga in the northwest to Sundarban in the east expands over almost 1800 km. During its total expansion from Haryana to Bangladesh; there is descend of barely 300 metres in its slope.
Brahmaputra initiates in Tibet near the source of the Indus River
and Sutlej River
. Brahmaputra River
is longer compared to the Indus, most of its course lying in Tibet. It streams parallel to the Himalaya Mountains
in Tibet, where it is referred to as Tsangpo. In Arunachal Pradesh
it is called Dihang. After the convergence of the Lohit River, Dihang and Dibang River
, it is named the Brahmaputra. Leaving a huge volume of water, it also transports a gigantic amount of silt with it accumulating debris which paves the way for a fertile land with alluvium soil.
The Ganga-Brahmaputra delta is the largest and the fastest developing delta of the world; not only well-watered, even the most productive area of the region. Ganga and Brahmaputra Rivers gets divided into several distributaries during their lower meandering courses. Due to the mild slope or incline, the 2 rivers decrease their acceleration, and islands of sediment and mud expand in their channel.
To avoid these obstacles, the rivers generally divide into numerous channels. The process is an oft- recurred one to build up a classical delta. The lower part of Ganga Brahmaputra delta goes sloppy, where fresh water and sea water gets merged, because of the high and low tides.
Composition of Northern Plains of India
The northern plains of India are composed of the excellent silt - alluvium. The main rivers of the region bring it down from the Himalayas in the north and the peninsular plateau in the south. Such a plain is also termed as alluvial plain that is rich in alluvial soil
. The rivers being heavily charged with boulders, sand and mud unexpectedly loosen in speed as they debouch on these plains depositing their load in the form of gravel fans along the foot of the Himalayan ranges.
The southern edge of the Gangetic Plain is broken by several gorges turning the productive alluvial land into unusable barren waste lands. In states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, which is fed by deficient rain, the main rivers of the region have been tapped for irrigational purposes.
The Plains of Northern India are very essential and have their great contribution in the economic development of the country. The land, being even, has stimulated and sustained the growth of improved transportation and communication system. Some of the major industries that have developed, evenly, over the whole region include Iron and Steel, Jute, Cement, Sugar and Textile Industries.