(Last Updated on : 09/08/2011)
Indian Physiography suggests the physical features of the country. The strategic location, physiographical divisions and other factors are a part of this section. The geographical coordinates of India are 8.4 degree to 37.6 degree North Latitude and 68.7 degree to 97.25 degree East Longitude. The neighbouring countries of India are Bhutan, Burma, China, Nepal and Pakistan. The surrounding components of the nation also form Indian Physiography. Arabian Sea
in the West, Bay of Bengal
in the East and Indian Ocean
in the South bound India. The main islands of India are Lakshwadeep Islands in Arabian Sea, Andaman and Nicobar Islands in Bay of Bengal. There are many mountain ranges in the country; however the most distinguished are the Himalayas in the north with its highest peak as the Kanchenjunga Peak
, which measures over 8000 meters.
Expanse, height and location of India's landforms such as the plains, hills, mountains and plateaus, have played a major role in influencing the climate, distribution of population, land-use and means of transportation, etc.
Divisions of Indian Physiography
There are four principal physiographic divisions of India and these are -
* High mountain barricade formed by the Himalayas in the north and eastern Highlands also called as Purvanchal in the east.
* Plateau of Peninsular India, stretching south of the plains of Northern India
* Great Plains of India or the Plains of Northern India
* Coastal Lowlands fringing the Plateau of Peninsular India
These four physiographic regions of India are noticeably different from one another in terms of surface configuration. Plains of Northern India are flat and alluvial without any local relief except bluffs of the old banks of the rivers. On the other hand, the Himalayas are young fold mountains with great magnitude of local relief, very steep slopes, highly uneven surface, little level land and young river valleys, the peninsular India is an old shield block having relict mountains and old river valleys.
The Himalayas form a highly rugged and continuous stretch of high mountainous country which flanks northern India for a considerable length and runs between the Brahmaputra
Gorge in the east and the Indus
in the west. They are relatively broad in Himachal Pradesh
region and the highest in eastern Nepal. It is rising abruptly from the plains in the south, the Himalayas rest against Ladakh
of Jammu and Kashmir
and the Tibetan Plateau in the form of an arc-like rim. Kashmir Himalayas have the average height of this section is around 3000m. Pir Panjal range and the valley of Kashmir belong to this section. Punjab
Himalayas characterised by rugged northern slopes and forested southern slope. High peaks are rare, Lakes like Manasarovara
, Rakas, passes like Zojila, Rohtang
, Bara Lapcha and valleys like Kangra
lies in this section. Kumaon Himalaya
ranges from Sutlej River
to Kali River. Pilgrimage centres like Badarinath and Gangotri Region
are situated in this section. Central Himalayas extends from Kali to Teesta, while Assam
Himalaya extends from Teesta River
to Brahmaputra River
Other than the Himalayas, Indian Physiography also includes other mountain ranges like Vindhya Mountain Range
that traverses nearly the whole width of peninsular India and Sahyadris Mountain Range
, along the Western Ghats, with an average height of 1200 metres. The Siwalik Range has low parallel ridges made up mainly of boulder and clay. The Lesser Himalaya rises north of the Siwalik Range. Being deeply cut by rivers, this belt of mountainous is highly rugged. The Great Himalaya or Himadari is a long, continuous range. It is the highest range of the world with an average height of 6100 metres above the sea level. The Eastern Himalaya consists of hill ranges which pass through eastern Arunachal Pradesh
and the states having coming border with Burma. Three important rivers of India namely like Brahmaputra, Sutlej and the Indus have their sources near Manasarovara Lake situated to the north of the Great Himalaya.
Peninsular Plateau is the oldest part of India known as the Indian Plate. The peninsular plateau can be sub divided into several physiographical parts in India like the Aravallis, Bundelkhand
, Malwa, Deccan Plateau
, Chhota Nagpur Plateau, Shillong Plateau
Plateau, Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats. Coastal Plains is the region between the coast and mountain ranges of the peninsular plateau. This part of Indian Physiography can be divided into western and eastern coast. With the exception of Gujarat
, the western coast is narrower than the eastern coast.
The Plateau of Peninsular India is fringed with narrow coastal lowlands. Raised beaches and wave cut platforms above the high water mark signify that these lowlands are essentially the emerged floors of the seas adjoining the land. In the north, topography is varied. There are marshes, mud-flats, creeks, lagoons, gulfs and island. The Rann of Kutch, the peninsulas of Kutch and Kathiawar and the Gujarat Plain stand out as major physiographic regions. East coastal lowland is broad in Tamil Nadu.
Physiography of India also includes the Indian islands that count up to 247 islands, of which 204 lie in the Bay of Bengal and the remaining in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Mannar
. Andaman and Nicobar
form two main groups in Bay of Bengal Group. This chain of Indian islands is formed by the submergence of Arakan Yoma Ranges. The Barren and Narcondam islands are situated north of Port Blair and are volcanic islands. Lakshwadeep islands are a group 27 of coral origin and are surrounded by fringing reefs with a total area of only 32 square kilometres. The Pamban Island is situated between India and Sri Lanka that has a rocky surface and is an extension of the peninsular surface in Ramnad district of Tamil Nadu
Further, Indian Physiography comprises varied climate conditions. India is so vast that the climatic conditions in the far north have little relation to those of the extreme south. India has a three-season year-the hot, the wet and the cool. Rainfall in India tends to be variable.