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PHYSICAL DIVISIONS OF THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT


Published on: 11/20/2020 4:36:30 AM

The physiographical regions of India make it a land of great diversity. India lies largely on the Indian Plate, the northern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, whose continental crust forms the Indian subcontinent Physical divisions, are marked by natural configuration. Indian sub-continent can be divided into following division:

  1. The Great Mountains of the north.
  2. The North Indian Plain
  3. The Peninsular Plateau
  4. The Coastal Plains
  5. The Islands

ORIGIN OF THE INDIAN LANDFORM

India is a country of diversity of landforms. Peninsula is the oldest land mass which was a part of Gondwana Land. Finally, this land mass was broken apart on shifting action of the plates and oceanic currents. Finally, the Indo-Australian plate started moving towards the North direction and collided with the Eurasian plate. This collision led to formation of the Himalayas. Many such changes occurred that designed the current physical features of India.

 

THE GREAT MOUNTAINS OF THE NORTH

  • The Himalayas, the highest mountain wall of the world, are situated on the northern boundary of India like arc.
  • From West to East the Himalayas are 2500 km long. The average breadth of the Himalayas is between 250 to 400 km. It started from Nanga Parbat (Western anchor) to Namcha Barwa (Eastern anchor).
  • Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, lies in these mountains in Nepal.
  • The Himalayas consist of three parallel mountain ranges: (1) The Greater Himalayas (2) The Lesser Himalayas (3) The Outer Himalayas.
  • The Greater Himalayas: It is also called Himadari. This is the loftiest among the three ranges of the Himalayas. The important mountain peaks of the this range are- Mount Everest (8848 m), Kanchenjunga (8598 m), Makalu (8481 m), Dhaulagiri (8172 m), Nanga Parbat (8126 m), Annapurna (8076 m), Nanda Devi (7817 m), Badrinath, Kedarnath, and Nandakot.
  • The Lesser Himalayas: It is also called Himachal Himalayas. It lies south of the Greater Himalayas. This ranges 60 to 80 km wide and its average height ranges between 3500 to 4500 meters. There are several small ranges under Lesser Himalayas- Pir Panjal Range (It extends from the Jhelum to the Beas rivers in Kashmir); Dhauladhar Range (The place where Alakananda river crosses the Great Himalayas near Badrinath, a range comes out from there towards the west in the south of the main range); Nag Tibba Range (The place where the river Kali Gandak near Dhaulagiri peak passes through the Great Himalayas, range comes out from there towards the west); and Mahabharata Range (Its extension is in Nepal). 
  • The Outer Himalayas: It is also called Shiwaliks. This is the southernmost and the third parallel range of the Himalayas with and average height 900 to 1200 meters. Its breadth is only 10 to 50 km. It extends from Potwar basin of Punjab in the west to the Kosi River in the east.

IMPORTANT MOUNTAIN PASSES IN INDIA

Name of mountain passes

Description

Zoji La (Pass)

It is in the Zaskar range of Jammu & Kashmir. The road route from Srinagar to Leh goes through this pass. It has been created by the Indus River.

Banihal Pass

It is in Jammu & Kashmir. The National Highway NO.1 A that links Srinagar to Jammu goes through it. It has been created by the Indus River.

Shipki La (Pass)

It is in Himachal Pradesh. The road from Shimla to Tibet goes through this pass. The Satluj River flows through this pass.

Bara-Lacha Pass

It is also in Himachal Pradesh. It links Mandi and Leh by road.

Rohtang Pass

It is also in Himachal Pradesh. It cuts through the Pir Panjal range. It links Manali and Leh by road.

Mana Pass

It is in Uttarakhand. The land route to the Kailash and the Manasarovar passes through it.

Niti Pass

It is also in Uttarakhand. The road to the Kailash and the Manasarovar passes through it.

Nathu La (Pass)

It is in Sikkim. It gives way to Tibet from Darjeeling and Chumbi valley.

Jalep La (Pass)

It is also in Sikkim and gives way to Bhutan.  The Tista River has created this pass.

 

THE NORTH INDIAN PLAIN

  • It is divided into three sub-divisions-Punjab & Haryana Plains; Ganga plains; and Brahmaputra Valley.
  • It is made up of the alluvium brought by the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their tributaries.

THE GREAT INDIAN DESERT

  • It lies to the west of the Aravali range.
  • It extends over major part of Rajasthan and Sindh in Pakistan.
  • This desert does not much rain as the Aravali range run parallel to the south-western monsoon winds.
  • It is in the rain shadow area of the Bay of Bengal current.
  • Lake Sambhar is found here.

 

THE PENINSULAR PLATEAU

  • It is roughly triangular in shape with its base parallel to the Ganga Valley and its apex pointing towards the southern tips of the country.
  • It is hard old mass of igneous and metamorphic rocks being part of the tectonic plate called the Gondwanaland.
  • This is bordered by the Western Ghats in the west, Eastern Ghats in the east and the Satpura, Maikal range and Mahadeo hills in the north. Western Ghats are locally known by different names such as Sahyadri in Maharashtra, Nilgiri hills in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and Anaimalai hills and Cardamom hills in Kerala. ‘Anaimudi’ (2,695 m), the highest peak of Peninsular plateau is located on the Anaimalai hills of the Western Ghats followed by Dodabetta (2,637 m) on the Nilgiri hills.
  • Some of the important ranges include the Javadi hills, the Palconda range, the Nallamala hills, the Mahendragiri hills, etc. The Eastern and the Western Ghats meet each other at the Nilgiri hills.
  • The Central Highlands of the Deccan Plateau regions are bounded to the west by the Aravali range.
  • The Satpura range is formed by a series of scarped plateaus on the south, generally at an elevation varying between 600-900 m above the mean sea level. This forms the northernmost boundary of the Deccan plateau. It is a classic example of the relict mountains which are highly denuded and form discontinuous ranges.
  • The extension of the peninsular plateau can be seen as far as Jaisalmer in the West, where it has been covered by the longitudinal sand ridges and crescent-shaped sand dunes called barchans. This region has undergone metamorphic processes in its geological history, which can be corroborated by the presence of metamorphic rocks such as marble, slate, gneiss, etc.
  • The general elevation of the Central Highlands ranges between 700-1,000 m above the mean sea level and it slopes towards the north and north-eastern directions.
  • Most of the tributaries of the river Yamuna have their origin in the Vindhyan and Kaimur ranges. Banas is the only significant tributary of the river Chambal that originates from the Aravalli in the west.
  • An eastern extension of the Central Highland is formed by the Rajmahal hills, to the south of which lies a large reserve of mineral resources in the Chotanagpur plateau.

THE COASTAL PLAINS

It is narrow strips of flat land which is consists of Eastern coastal plain; and Western coastal plain.

Eastern coastal plain

  • This border coastal plain spreads along the Bay of Bengal from Odisha in the north to Kanyakumari in the south.
  • Its northern part is known as Northern Circar plains and the southern part is called Coromandel Coast. Rivers like Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery form deltas on this plain.
  • This region is famous for rice cultivation.
  • This region is also popular for the lagoons. For example- Chilka, Pulicat Lake etc.

Western coastal plain

  • This plain lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats spreads from Gujarat in the north to Kanyakumari in the south.
  • This plain is divided into six sub-parts: Kachchh Plains; Kathiawar plains; Gujarat Plains; Konkan Coast; Karanataka or Kanara Coast; and Malabar Coast/Kerala Coast.
  • The Malabar coast has got certain distinguishing features in the form of ‘Kayals’ (backwaters), which are used for fishing, inland navigation and also due to its special attraction for tourists. Every year the famous Nehru Trophy Vallamkali (boat race) is held in Punnamada Kayal in Kerala.

THE ISLANDS GROUPS

There are two major island groups in India – one in the Bay of Bengal and the other in the Arabian Sea.

Lakshadweep Island

  • It is formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Aminidivi Islands.
  • It is a group of 36 islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km (120 to 270 mi) off the south-western coast of India which is known for its exotic and sun-kissed beaches and lush green landscape.
  • It is separated from Maldives by Eight Degree Channel.
  • It  has a tropical climate and it has an average temperature of 27° C – 32° C. April and May are the hottest with an average temperature of 32° C Generally the climate is humid warm and pleasant.
  • Kavaratti serves as the capital of the Union Territory and the region comes under the jurisdiction of Kerala High Court.

Andaman & Nicobar Island

  • It is a Union territory of India comprising 572 islands of which 37 are inhabited, are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
  • The Andaman and Nicobars are separated by the Ten Degree Channel which is 150 Kms. wide.
  • These islands are home to the Sentinelese people, an uncontacted people. The Sentinelese are the only people currently known to not have reached further than a Palaeolithic level of technology.
  • In 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi renamed three of the islands as a tribute to Subhas Chandra Bose. Ross Island was renamed as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island; Neil Island as Shaheed Island; and Havelock Island as Swaraj Island.
  • The islands have a tropical climate. The South-west Monsoon sets in Andaman Nicobar islands towards the end of May and the North-east Monsoon in November.

RIVER ISLANDS IN INDIA

Name of Island

Description

Majuli

  • It is River Island in the Brahmaputra River.
  • It is in Assam and is also the first island to be made a strict in India.
  • It had an area of 880 square kilometres at the beginning of the 20th century but now it is of 352 sq. km.

Nongkhnum Island

  • It is the biggest river island in Meghalaya and is also the second largest biggest river island in Asia.
  • This river island is encircled by the Kynshi River and also has some beautiful waterfalls in its vicinity.
  • The island covers the total area of about 20 to 25 sq. km.

Umananda

  • It is another popular river island in Assam. It is also located in the city of Guwahati in Asam. Umananda is also in River Brahmaputra and is known as the smallest inhabited river island in the world.
  • According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva created the island for his wife Parvati’s happiness and pleasure. Stories claim that Shiva also burnt Kamadeva with his third eye on Umananda when he interrupted his Meditation. British named the island Peacock Island for its structure.

Bhavani Island

  • It is one of the largest river islands in India. It is located on the Krishna River at Vijayawada and spread over an area of 133 acres.
  • This island is named after Kanaka Durga Temple which is dedicated to Goddess Bhavani.

Sriharikota

  • It is situated in the foremost part of Pulicat Lake which is made of coral reefs.

Pamban Island

  • It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar between India and Srilanka.
  • It is a part of the Adam’s Bridge.

New Moore

  • It is situated in the Bay of Bengal on the border of Bangladesh and India.
  • It is latest Island made up of deposition of silt at the mouth of the Ganga.

Parumala

  • It is located in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala.

Munroe

  • It is located at the confluence of Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada River. It is in Kollam district of Kerala.