Prepare Prelims-2017–Day-31-Indian Geography

Geographical Location of India:

Indian Geographical Location


  • Lying between latitude 4′ N to 37°6′ N and from longitude 68°7′ E to 97°25′ E, the country is divided into almost  equal parts by the Tropic of Cancer (passes from Jabalpur in MP).
  • The southernmost point in Indian Territory, (in Great Nicobar Island) is the Indira Point  (6°45′),  while  Kanyakumari, also known as Cape Comorin, is the southernmost point of Indian mainland. The country thus lies wholly in the northern and eastern

The 82°30′ E longitude is taken as the Standard Time Meridian of India, as it passes through the middle of India (from Naini, near Allahabad).

Area Geography & Boundaries Geography:

  1. India stretches 3,214 km from North to South & 2,933 km from East to
  2. Geography Area of India : 32,87,263 sq. km. Accounts for 2.4% of the total world area and roughly 16% of the world
  3. Mainland India has a coastline of 6,100 km. Including the Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the coastline measures about 7516.6
  4. In India, of the total land mass:
    • Plains Geography: 3%
    • Plateaus: 7%
    • Hills: 18.6%
    • Mountains Geography: 7%
  5. In the South, on the eastern side, the Gulf of Mannar & the Palk Strait separate India from Sri
  6. Total land neighbours: 7 (Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar).
  7. India’s Islands include the Andaman & Nicobar Islands in Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep, Minicoy & Amindive Islands in the Arabian Sea.

Physiography of India:

Physiographically, India can be divided into 3 units:

  1. Mountains in the North
  2. Plains in the Northern India & the Coast
  3. Plateau region of the South

To these can be added the fourth, namely, the coasts and islands

Mountains in North India

The Himalayas in India:

  • Means ‘Abode of Snow’. They are one of the youngest fold mountain ranges in the world and  comprise  mainly  sedimentary rocks.
  • They stretch from the Indus River in the west to the Brahmaputra River in the east. Total length is about 5000 km. The  width of the Himalayas varies from 500 km in Kashmir to 200 km in Arunachal Pradesh. Their average height is  2000m.
  • The Eastern Himalayas-made up of Patkai Hills, Naga Hills, Mizo Hills and the Garo, Khasi and  Jaintia  Hills-are  also known as Purvanchal.
  • The Pamir, popularly known as the Roof of the World, is the connecting link between the Himalayas and the high ranges    of Central Asia.
  • Can be divided into 3 parallel or longitudinal zones, each with separate features.
The Great Himalayas or The Himadri


  • Average elevation extends upto 6000m & some of the world’s highest peaks are here :
Mt Everest (or Sagarmatha or Chomo Langma) 8850 m (in Nepal)
Mt Kanchenjunqa 8598 m (in India)
Mt Makalu 8481 m (in Nepal)
Mt Dhaulaqiri 81 72 m (in Nepal)
Mt Cho Oyu 8153m (in Nepal)
Mt Nanga Parbat 8126m (in India)
Mt Annapurna 8078 m (in Nepal)
Mt Nando Devi 7817 m (in India)
  • There are few passes and almost all of them have a height above 4,500 m. they include Shipki La and  Bara Lapcha La in Himachal Pradesh, Burzil and Zozi La in Kashmir, Niti, Lipulekh and Thag La in Uttarankhand, and Jelep La and Nathu La in
Lesser Himalayas or The Himachal
  • Average height of mountains is 3700 – 4500
  • Mountains and valleys are disposed in all direction (mountains rising to 5000 m and the valleys touching 1000 m).
  • Its important ranges are : Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal, Nag Tibba,
  • Important hill resorts are : Shimla, Chhail, Ranikhet, Chakrata, Mussoorie, Nainital, Almora,
Outer Himalayas or The Shiwaliks
  • Lowest range (average elevation is 900-1200 m).

Forms the foothills and lies between the Lesser Himalayas and the plains. It is the newest  range.

Trans – Himalayan Zone
  • This range lies to the north of the Great Himalayas. It has some important ranges like Karakoram, Laddakh, Zanskar, etc. the highest peak in this region is K2 or Godwin Austin (8611m, in Pak occupied  Kashmir). Other  high peaks are Hidden Peak (8068 m), Broad Peak (8047 m) and Gasherbrum II (8035  m).
  • The longest glacier is Siachin in the Nubra valley, which is more than 72 km long (biggest glacier in the world). Biafo, Baltaro, Batura, Hispar are the other important glaciers in this
  • This area is the largest snow-field outside the Polar
Peninsular Mountains
  • While the Himalayas are Fold Mountains, they are
  • The Aravalli Mountains (Rajasthan) : World’s oldest. Guru Shikhar is the highest peak on which Mount Abu (1,722 m) is
  • The Vindhya Mountains
  • The Satpura Mountains (highest point at Dhupgarh [1,350 m] near Pachmarhi)
  • The Western Ghats or Sahyadris : Average height 1200mtrs, 1600km long. Its southern part is separated from the main Sahyadri range by Palghat Gap (link between Tamil Nadu & Kerala). Other passes are Thalghat (connects Nasik to Mumbai) and Bhorghat (connects Pune to Mumbai).
  • The Eastern Ghats (Highest peak : Mahendra Giri (1501 m)).
  • The Nilgiris or The Blue Mountains : Meeting place of the Western and the Eastern Ghats. Two highest peaks are Dodda Betta and
  • The highest peak of Peninsular India is Anaimudi (2695 m) in Anaimalai
  • Cardamom hills or Ealaimalai is the southernmost mountain range of
Facts about position of states
  • UP borders the maximum number of States-8 (Uttarakhand, HP, Haryana, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar). After UP is Assam, which touches the border of 7
  • Tropic of Cancer passes through 8 States : Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, WB, Tripuro, Mizoram.
  • Indian Standard Meridian passes through 5 States : UP, MP, Chhattisgarh, Orissa,

9 States form the coast of India. They are : Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu. Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal.

  • 2 Union Territories, viz. Daman & Diu and Pondicherry are also on the coast.
  • The Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep are made up of islands  only.

The Plains of India
  • To the south of the Himalayas and to the north of the Peninsula lies the great plains of North India. They are formed by the depositional works of three major river systems, Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra. The vast plains of north India are alluvial in nature and the westernmost portion is occupied by the Thar
  • The thickness of the alluvium is maximum in the Ganga plains and minimum in the Western
  • In the Kerala plains are the backwaters or ‘Kayak’, which are the shallow lagoons or inlets of the sea, lying parallel to the coastline. The largest among these is the Vembanad
  • The plains consist of four divisions:
  • Bhabar : Along the foothills of Shiwaliks. Highly porous
  • Tarai : Re-emergence of streams. Zone of excessive dampness
  • Bhangar : Older alluvium of the plains. Studded with calcareous formations called ‘kankar’
  • Khadar : New alluvium and forms the flood plains along the river banks.
Peninsular Plateau of India
  • Spreads south of the Indo-Gangetic plains flanked by sea on three sides. This plateau is shaped like a triangle with its base in the north. The Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats constitute its eastern and western boundaries,
  • Narmada, which flows through a rift valley, divides the region into two parts: The Malwa Plateau in the north & the Deccan Plateau in the
  • Most of the rocks are of the igneous
  • Vindhya Plateau is situated south of Malwa
  • Chhota Nagpur Plateau lies to the west of Bengal basin, the largest and most typical part of which is the Ranchi plateau.

The Deccan Plateau is the largest plateau in India. It is made up of lava flows in the Cretaceous-Eocene era through the fissure eruptions.

Islands of India:
  • Total coastline of India : 7516 km. Longest coastline: Gujarat (Second longest is of Andhra Pradesh)
  • Indian territorial limits include 248 islands.
The Andaman and Nicobar Group


  • Andamans is a group of 204 islands of which the largest is Middle
  • The Andamans are believed to be extensions of mountains system in the N.E. part of the
  • Saddle Peak (737 m) in N.Andaman is the highest
  • The Nicobars is a group of 19 islands of which the largest is Great Nicobar. Most of them are volcanic in
  • Great Nicobar is the southernmost island and is only 147 km away from Sumatra island of
  • Volcanic Islands: Barren and Narcondam Islands. Barren is in the process of eruption these days after lying dormant for 200
The Arabian Sea Group
  • All the islands in the Arabian Sea (Total 25) are coral islands and are surrounded by Fringing Reefs (North : Lakshadweep, South: Minicoy).
Note :
  • Ten Degree Channel separates Andamans from Nicobars (Little Andaman from Car Nicobar)
  • Duncan Passage lies between South Andaman and Little
  • Nine Degree Channel separates Kavaratti from Minicoy
  • Eight Degree Channel separates Minicoy Island (India) from Maldives.

Rivers of India 

In India, the rivers can be divided into two main groups:

  1. Himalayan Rivers
  2. Peninsular Rivers

Himalayan Rivers of India 

In this three major river systems are there:

The Indus System 
  • It has a total length of 2880 km (709 km in India). Rises in Tibet (China) near Mansarovar
  • In Jammu and Kashmir, its Himalayan tributaries are: Zanskar, Dras, Gartang, Shyok, Shigar, Nubra, Gilgit,  etc.
  • Its most important tributaries, which join Indus at various places, are: Jhelum (725 km), Chenab (1800 km), Ravi (720 km), Beas (470 km) & Sutlej (1050 km).
  • Sources: Jhelum from Verinag (SE Kashmir), Chenab from Bara Lacha Pass (Lahaul-Spiti, H.R), Ravi from Kullu Hills near Rohtang Pass in H. R, Beas from a place near Rohtang Pass in H.E and Satluj from Mansarovar – Rakas lakes in W.
  • In Nari Khorsan province of Tibet, Satluj has created an extraordinary canyon, comparable to the Grand Canyon of Colorado (US).
  • According to the Indus Water Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, India can utilize only 20% of the total discharge of Indus, Jhelum and
The Ganga System


  • It is 2525 km long of which 1450 km is in Uttarakhand and UP, 445 km in Bihar and 520 km in West
  • The Ganga, the head stream is constituted of two main rivers – Bhagirthi and Alaknanda, which combine at Devprayag to form
  • Before Alaknanda meets Bhagirthi at Devprayag, Mandakini meets Alaknanda at
  • Sources: Bhagirthi from Gaumukh, Alaknanda from Badrinath, Mandakini from Kedarnath (all from Uttarakhand).
  • Yamuna (1375 km) is its most important tributary (on right bank). It rises at the Yamunotri glacier in Uttarakhand. It runs parallel to Ganga for 800km and joins it at Allahabad. Important tributaries of Yamuna are Chambal (1050 km), Sind, Betwa (480 km) and Ken (all from south).
  • Apart from Yamuna, other tributaries of Ganga are Ghaghra (1080 km), Son (780 km), Gandak (425 km), Kosi (730 km), Gomti (805 km), Damodar (541 km). Kosi is infamous as ‘Sorrow of Bihar’, while Damodar gets the name ‘Sorrow of Bengal’ as these cause floods in these
  • Hooghli is a distributory of Ganga flowing through
The Brahmaputra system


  • It has a total length of 2900 km. It rises in Tibet (from Chemayungdung glacier), where it is called Tsangpo, and enters the Indian territory (in Arunachal Pradesh) under the name
  • Important Tributaries: Subansiri, Kameng, Dhansiri, Manas,
  • In Bangladesh, Brahmaputra is known by the name of Jamuna while Ganga gets the name   Their combined stream is known as Padma only. Meghna is the most important distributory before it enters the Bay of Bengal.
  • The combined stream of Ganga and Brahmaputra forms the biggest delta in the world, the Sundarbans, covering an area of 58,752 sq. km. Its major part is in Bangladesh.
  • On Brahmaputra is the river island, Majuli in Assam, the biggest river island in the
  • Brahmaputra, or the Red River, is navigable for a distance of 1384 km up to Dibrugarh and serves as an excellent inland water transport

Rivers of the Peninsula in India

  • Different from the Himalayan rivers because they are seasonable in their flow (while Himalayan rivers are perennial).
  • They can be divided into two groups:
  • East Flowing Rivers of India (or Delta forming rivers 
    • Mahanadi River (858 km) : Rises in Raipur distt. in Chhatisgarh. Main tributaries: lb, Seonath, Hasdo, Mand, Jonk, Tel,


    • Godavari River (1465 km) : Also called Vriddha Ganga or Dakshina Ganga. It is the longest peninsular river. Rises in Nasik. Main tributaries: Manjra, Penganga, Wardha, Indravati, Wainganga, Sabari,


    • Krishna River (1327 km) : Rises in Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar. Main tributaries: Koyna, Dudhganga, Panchganga, Malprabha, Ghatprabha, Bhima, Tungabhadra, Musi,


    • Cauvery River (805 km) : It is the largest peninsular river (maximum amount of water). Infact, it is the only peninsular river which flows almost throughout the year. Known as the ‘Ganga of the South’. It rises from the Brahmagir range of Western Ghats. Main tributaries: Hemavati, Lokpawni, Shimsa. It is less seasonal than others as its upper catchment area receives rainfall during summer by the S.W monsoon and the lower catchment area during winter season by the retreating N.E. monsoon. Its 90% – 95% irrigation and power production potential is already being


    Swarnarekha River (395 km) and Brahmani (705 km) : Rises from Ranchi  Plateau.

A. West Flowing Rivers in India
  • Narmada River (1057 km) : Has only l/10th part in Gujarat. Rises in Amarkantak Plateau and flows into Gulf of Khambat. It forms the famous Dhuan Dhar Falls near Jabalpur. Main tributaries: Hiran, Burhner, Banjar, Shar, Shakkar, Tawa,
  • Tapti River (724 km) : Rises from Betul distt in MR Also known as twin or handmaid of Narmada. Main tributaries: Purna, Betul, Arunavati, Ganjal,
  • Sabarmati River (416 km) : Rises from Aravallis in
  • Mahi River (560 km) : Rises from Vindhyas in MR
  • Luni River (450 km) : Rises from Aravallis. Also called Salt River. It is finally lost in the marshy grounds at the head of the Rann of Kuchchh.
  • Sharavati is a west flowing river of the Sahyadris. It forms the famous Jog or Gersoppa or Mahatma Gandhi Falls (289 m), which is the highest waterfall in India.

Inland Drainage
  • Some rivers of India are not able to reach the sea and constitute inland drainage. Ghaggar (494 km) is the most important of such
  • It is a seasonal stream which rises on the lower slopes of the Himalayas and gets lost in the dry sands of Rajasthan near Hanumangarh. It is considered the old Saraswati of the Vedic


The largest man-made lake in India is Indira Sagar Lake, which is the reservoir of Sardar Sarovar Project, Onkareshwar Project and Maheshwar Project in Gujarat-MP.

  • Chilka Lake (Orissa) is the largest brackish water lake of India. Otherwise also, it is the largest lake of  India.
  • Wular Lake (J & K) is the largest fresh water lake of India. Dul Lake is also there in J &
  • From Sambhar and Didwana Lake (Rajasthan), salt is
  • Other important lakes are Vembanad in Kerala and Kolleru & Pulicat in
  • The three important Gulfs in the Indian Territory are:
  • Gulf of Kuchch (west of Gujarat) : Region with highest potential of tidal energy generation
  • Gulf of Cambay or Gulf of Khambat (Gujarat) : Narmada, Tapti, Mahi and Sabarmati drain into
  • Gulf of Mannar (south east of Tamil Nadu) : Asia’s first marine biosphere reserve.


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