Location and Extent of India
Location of India in Asia and the world.• Extent and Frontiers of India.• Neigbouring countries of India.
Location: Geographically India is located in the Northern Hemisphere and is at the centre of the Eastern Hemisphere. It is a peninsula situated in South-East Asia. The mainland of India extends from 80.4′ to 370.6′ North latitude and from 680.7′ to 970.25′ East longitude. The Andaman and Nicobar islands extend further southwards and add to India’s latitudinal extent. The Indira Point, the southern most point is located in the Nicobar island at 60.45′ N. Latitude. The northern tip of India is Indiracol in Jammu and Kashmir.
Location of India in Asia and the WorldArctic OceanAntarcticaEurope
The Tropic of Cancer (23
0N.) passes through the middle of the country and 82
0E. longitude is the central meridian of India. The Indian Standard Time (IST) is based on this longitude.
India is the seventh largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China, the USA, Brazil and Australia. It has a total area of 32, 87, 263 Km2. It accounts for only 2.42% of the world’s total area. The east to west extent of India is over 2933 km and from the north to south extent is 3214 km.
820.30′ Longitude East 370.6′ North LatitudeIndiracolSouthern most lat.60.45’Tropic of Cancer
India has both land and water frontiers. The land frontiers of the country is about 15,200 km. Except in some places India has natural frontiers almost on all side. The Himalayan ranges form a natural frontier in the north between India and China.
The mainland of India has water frontier of about 6100km. The total length of India’s coast line including the Andaman and Nicobar islands as well as Lakshadweep islands, is 7516.5 km. The Arabian Sea in the west, the Indian Ocean in the south and the Bay of Bengal in the east form the water frontiers. They are also natural frontiers.
Neighbouring countries : India has 7 neighbouring countries. Pakistan and Afghanistan are to the north-west, Nepal, Bhutan and China are to the north and Bangladesh and Myanmar are to the east. To the south-east is Sri Lanka, which is separated from the mainland of India by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.
Do you Know?
• The Radcliff line: The boundary line between India and Pakistan.
• The Durand line: The boundary line separating India from Afghanistan.
• The Mc Mahon line: The boundary line between India and China.
India is a Democratic Republic, keeping in views the primacy of regional languages and the administrative exitency India is divided into 29 states and 7 Union Territories which includes the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Telangana is the new state. Among the states Rajasthan is the largest state and the Goa is the smallest state.
• General features of the landforms of India.• Physiographic divisions of India.• Important features of the physical divisions.
India is a vast country and it has a variety of landforms. They include mountains, plateaus, plains, valleys and coastal plains. These have influence on the rivers system, climate, natural vegetation, land use, agriculture, transport, distribution of population etc.
Physiographic Divisions of India
On the basis of physiography India can be divided into four major divisions. They are : 1) The Northern Mountains. 2) The Northern Great plains. 3) The Peninsular Plateau. 4) The Coastal Plains and Islands.
1. The Northern Mountains
They comprise of the Himalayas which are a group of young fold mountains. They extend as a continous chain along the northern boundary of India. They are the highest mountain ranges in the world. They have highest peaks, deep valleys and gorges, glaciers, passes etc. In India they extend from the Indus gorge in the west to the Brahmaputra gorge in the east for 2400 kms. The width varies from 240 to 320 kms. They broader in the west and narrower in the east. They covered an area of about. 5 lakh km2. Generally they have steep slopes towards India (South) and gentle slopes towards Tibet (North).
The Himalayas consists of three parallel ranges:- i) Greater Himalayas ii) Lesser Himalayas and iii) Siwalik hills.
i. The Greater Himalayas : They are the inner most, continuous and highest ranges. The average height of the range is 6100mts. These ranges have many high peaks. Of which Mt. Everest (8848mts) is the highest peak in the world. The other peaks are Kanchanajunga (8559mts), Makulu (8481mts), Dhaulagiri (8172mts) Manaslu (8156mts) Nandadevi etc. As the Greater Himalayas are covered with snow throughout the year, these ranges are called ‘Himadri’. They are the home of many glaciers, such as Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers. There are many passes, such as Burzil, Lozi-la, Shipkila etc.
The mountains lying to the north west of the Himadri are called Trans-Himalayas. They comprise of Karakoram range, where the highest peak K2 or Mt. Godwin Austin is located. It is the highest peak in India.
Northern MountainsNorthern PlainsPeninsular PlateauEastern & Western GhatsCoastal plains
Do you Know ?Mt. Everest : Its Nepalese name is ‘Sagarmatha’ meaning ‘The Goddess of the sky’. The Tibetans call it ‘Chomolungma’.
ii. The Lesser Himalayas: These ranges are located to the south of the Greater Himalayas. They are also known as ‘Himachal’. They are 60 to 80 kms wide and 1500 to 4500 mts high. The eastern part is covered with forests. There are many parallel ranges in the lesser Himalayas. eg. the Pirpanjal, the Dhaula Dhar, the Naga Tiba, the Mussorie, the Mahabharat and the Darjeeling ranges. They contain many valleys such as Kashmir valley, Kangra valley, Kulu valley etc. These are also noted for hill stations, such as Shimla, Ranikhet, Mussorie, Nainital and Darjeeling.
iii. The Siwalik Hills :They are the outer most ranges or foot hills located to the south of the main Himalayas. Therefore they are also known as ‘Outer Himalaya.’ They are the lowest range of the Himalayas, with a height of 600 to 1500mts and width varying from 15-150 km. They extend from Jammu and Kashmir in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east. They have flat-bottom, structured valleys, which are known as ‘Doons’. eg. Dehradoon.
Importance : The Himalayas act as natural frontiers and prevent foreign invasion, they prevent the cold winds from central Asia. They obstruct the rain bearing winds and this causes heavy rainfall. Their slopes have thick forests and are ideal for plantation crops. eg. Tea in Assam. They are a store house of minerals and the birthplace of many rivers and water falls which are used to generate hydro-electric power.
2. The Northern Great Plain
It lies between the Himalayas and the peninsular plateau of India. It is formed by the depositional work of three river systems namely the Sutluj, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. It is the largest alluvial soil tract in the world, extending east to west – a length of 2500 kms. Its average width varies from 240 to 340 kms. It covers an area of about 7 lakh km2. The plain is formed from the fertile alluvium deposited by the rivers, flowing from the Himalayas. The plain is very flat and the rocks are not exposed on the surface.
Importance : The Northern Great plain is very suitable for irrigation and agriculture as it has pernnial rivers and vast fertile alluvial soil. Its level land supports a network of roads, railways and means of communication. They are useful for industrialization, urbanization and trade. A number of pilgrim centres are located here.
3. The Peninsular Plateau
This is the largest physical divisions of India. It is the oldest landmass. It was being a part of the Gondwanaland. It lies to the south of the Great Plains and occupies about 16 lakh km2. It is roughly traingular in shape and its apex is formed by cape Kanyakumari in the southern extremity. It is bounded by many hills and plateaus namely the Aravalli, Vindhyas, Satpuras, Western Ghats, Eatern Ghats, Chotanagapur ranges, Deccan plateau, Malawa plateau etc.
The Aravalli range, the oldest fold mountain, lies to the north – west. Guru Shikhar (1772mts) is the highest peak on the Abu hills of the Aravalli range. The Vindhyan range flanks the Northern edge of the Narmada Valley. The Satpura range runs in an east – west direction south of the Vindhyas, in between the Narmada and the Tapi rivers.
The Western Ghats are a continuous range running parallel to the west coast of India from the Tapi valley to Kanyakumari. They are also known as the Sahyadri’s. They are very steep on the western side and gentle on the eastern side. Borghat, Talghat and Palghat are important passes across the Western Ghats. South of the Palghat gap the Western Ghats continue as the Anaimalai, the Palani and the Cardamom (Elaimalai) hills. ‘Anamudi’ (2695 m) in the Anaimalai hills, is the highest peak in South India.
The Eastern Ghats run almost parallel to the east coast of India. They extend from the Mahanadi Valley in the north, towards the Niligiri hills in the south where they join the Western Ghats. They are lower than the Western Ghats and are not continuous. The highest peak in the Eastern Ghats is ‘Armakonda’.
The Deccan plateauis bounded by Satpur and the Vindhyas in the north-west. The Western Ghats in the west and Eastern Ghats in the east, the Mahadev and the Maikal ranges in the north. The Chotanagapur plateau lies in the north – eastern part of the peninsular.
Do you know ?• The Satpur : ‘Sat’ in Sanskrit means ‘seven’ and ‘pur’ means mountains.• The Bhabar : A narrow belt running in east-west direction along the foot of Siwaliks.• The Thar Desert : A desert of India, situated in north-western part.
Importance : Peninsular plateau is rich in minerals, thick forests and bio-diversity. It has influence on south-west monsoons, and it is covered with black soil which is useful for agriculture. The western ghats are the birth place of many south Indian rivers, which are useful for the generation of hydro-electricity. It is also well known for hill stations. Such as Ooty.
4. The Coastal Plains
The plateau of peninsular India is fringed by coastal plains on either side. It extends from the Rann of Kutch in the west to the delta of the Ganga in the east. The coastal plain can be divided into two Parts-the Western Coastal Plain and the Eastern Coastal Plain.
i) The Western Coastal Plain: It lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian sea. It extends from the Rann of Kutch to Kanyakumari. It is narrow, steep and rocky. It can be divided into 3 parts; a) The Konkan coast which lies to the south of the Gujarat plain, extends from Daman to Goa. b) The Karnataka coast which extends from Goa to Mangaluru and c) The Malabar coast, which extends from Mangaluru to Kanyakumari.
ii) The Eastern Coastal Plain: This extend from the north of river Subarnarekha to Kanyakumari. It lies between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal. It is broader than the western coastal plain. Many rivers of south India flow across the plain and they have formed deltas. ie. the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Kaveri.
Traditionally the eastern coastal plain is divided into two Parts-the Northern Circar which lies to the north of river Krishna and the southern part which is called Coromandal coast. Some lagoons are formed in this coastal plain, such as Lake Chilka, lake Pulicate and lake Kolleru.
Importance : The Coastal plains of India provide some natural harbours which help in carrying on foreign trade. They are Kandla, Mumbai, Marmagoa, Kochi, Vishakhpatnam, Kolkata etc. The coastal plain are useful for fishing, shipbuilding, agriculture and production of salt. Many beaches are found along the coast and they attract tourists. The backwaters are useful for navigation.
Islands of India : There are about 247 islands in India. Of these, 204 are in the Bay of Bengal and 43 are in the Arabian sea. The Andaman and Nicobar islands are in the Bay of Bengal. The Lakshadweep islands are in the Arabian sea and are formed by corals.