Physiographic Divisions of India: Outline

Physiographic Divisions of India: Outline

Question: India is a country with distinct and diverse geographical topography. Present an outline of the physiographic divisions of India.

Several physiographic divisions of India exist based on differences in relief features, tectonic history and stratigraphy:

i. Northern Mountains/Great Mountains of the North

• The northern boundary of India runs alongside the northern Himalayan mountain ranges which form a border between India and Tibet

• The Himalayan range is divided into following categories:

- Pir Panjal Range,
- Zaskar Range,
- Ladakh Range,
- Dhaula Dhar Range and
- East Karakoram Range.

• Other ranges include:

- Sivalik Range in the outer Himalayas
- Karakoram range
- Patkai Range in eastern India at the Burma border
- Vindhya Range covering Central India
- Satpura Range in Central India parallel to it
- Aravalli Range covering Haryana and Rajasthan
- Western and Eastern Ghats

Himalayan Range

• Pir Panjal range is the largest range of the lower Himalayan ranges It runs from east southeast to west northwest

• It lies to the west of J&K’s capital city

• It comprises the following passes:
- Banihal Pass,
- Sinthal Pass,
- Rohtang La,
- Munawar Pass and
- Haji Pir Pass

• Ladakh Range: This extends from Leh’s northern side to the border of Tibet. It comprises the following passes:
- Digar La Pass and
- Khardung La Pass

• Zaskar Range: extends from Kashmir’s southeastern boundaries to the eastern portion of Baltistan

• Some of the passes of this range are:
- Singge La Pass,
- Runrang La Pass,
- Fotu (Fatu) La Pass,
- Marbal Pass and
- Zoji La Pass

• Dhauladhar Range: This rises from the Indian plains to the north of Kangra. White Mountain is its highest peak

• East Karakoram Range: It has the second highest peak in the world, K2. This range separates India from Central parts of Asia

ii. Indo-Gangetic Plain

• Also known as the Great Plans
• Dominated by three major rivers: Ganga, Indus and Brahmaputra
• Rivers form the following tributaries: Yamuna, Chambal, Gomti, Sutlej, Kosi, Ravi, Beas, Chenab, Ghaghara and Tista.
• Plains are divided into 4 belts namely:
- Bhabar belt: Narrow belt in the Himalayan foothills comprising pebbles and rocks
- Terai belt: Located south of Bhabha; made of newer alluvium
- Bangar belt: Made of older alluvium and laterite deposit uplands
- Khadar belt: Made of newer alluvium brought by rivers; located on the lower side of the Bhabar belt
• The Plains cover 7,00,000 sq km in eastern and northern India

• This is a table land
• Its characteristic features include rounded hills and shallow valleys.
• It is divided into:
- Deccan Plateau: Triangular shaped and bounded by Vindhyas as well as Western and Eastern Ghats
- Stretches across 8 states covering 1.9 million sq km
- Malwa Plateau: Spread across MP, Gujarat and Rajasthan
- Chambal and its tributaries and Mahi are the rivers flowing here
- Chota Nagpur Plateau: Located in eastern India covering Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh; rich in coal and mental ores. Further subdivided into
A. Ranchi plateau,
B. Hazaribagh plateau and
C. Koderma plateau

iv. The Coastal Plains/ Eastern and Western Coastal Plains
• The eastern plains are divided into six regions:
- Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu,
- Kanyakumari Coast on the southern-tip of India,
- Krishna-Godavari delta southeast of Vijaywada,
- Mahanadi delta in Odisha, and the
- South Andhra Pradesh coastal plain covering eastern ghats and Bay of Bengal

• The western coastal plains lie in area of Western Ghats covering
• Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala.
• Narmada, Zuari, Tapi and Mandovi are rivers flowing through this plain.
• The plains are further divided into Konkan and Malabar Coasts

v. Thar Desert
• 7th biggest desert in the world
• Covering Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana
• Sand dunes and rocks form the topography of this desert
• Luni is the only river flowing through this desert

vi. The Islands

• There are following main groups of islands
- Andaman and Nicobar islands: Andaman Islands comprise 572 tiny islands. Nicobar islands are not accessible
- Lakshadweep islands: 35 tiny islands; located at 200 to 400 km from Kerala
- Daman and Diu
• All are UTs

Facts and Stats

• India covers an area of about 3.28 million sq km between 8°4' and 37°6' N latitude and 68°7' and 97°25' E longitude.
• The Tropic of Cancer 23°30' N divides the nation into almost two halves.
• Land frontier of the country is 15,200 km
• Length of coastline is 7,517 km
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