Location of Size :
     India lies in the south of Asia, at the head of the Indian Ocean between 8° 4' and 37° 6' North latitudes and 68° 7' E and 97° 25' E longitudes. It lies in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. The Tropic of Cancer passes nearly midway across India and               divides it into two parts – the Northern India and the Deccan and Peninsular India. India is bounded by the great Himalayas in the north, the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west and Indian Ocean in the south.

    With a total land area of 3.3 million sq km, India accounts for about 2.4 percent of the total land area of the world. It has a land frontier of  15,200 km and a coastline of 7,516.5 km of which, 5,423 km belongs to peninsular India, and 2,094 km to the island off      shore. The Andaman and Nicobar Island in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea are parts of India. The north-south extent from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is about 3,200 km, and the east-west extent from Arunachal Pradesh to Kutch is              about 2,900 km. Cape Comorin in Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of the mainland, while Indira Point in the Andaman and Nicobar island is the farthest point in the south.

    Due to India's great longitudinal extent there would be a wide difference in its local time from west to east. To avoid any confusion with respect to time at different places in India, the centrally located longitude 82.5° E  has been selected as the standard                meridian for the whole country. Nepal and Sri Lanka also use this meridian for their standard time. The local time of the standard meridian is called the Indian Standard Time (IST).

India's Neighbours
    India has common land boundaries with seven countries-Afghanistan and Pakistan to the north-west, China. Nepal and Bhutan to the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. To the south, across the sea lies the island of Sri Lanka separated by the      Palk Strait and the Maldives. The landmass comprising Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives is isolated in a remarkable way from the rest of Asia forming a sub-division of the continent. This landmass is                known as the Indian subcontinent.

Physical Features
    The great landmass thus is divided into six major physical division : The Great Mountain Wall bordering the north, The Great Northern Plains stretching across the central and eastern part, The Great Indian Desert lying in the west, The Great Peninsular              Plateau spreading across southern India, The Coastal Plains bordering it and the chain of island off the coast.


The Great Northern Mountain Wall

The Great Northern Mountain Wall 
    The Hindu Kush, the Karakoram and the Himalayas extend from the Pamir Knot of Central Asia and from a continuous stretch of mountains from Kashmir in the west to Assam in the east, thus shielding the north like a wall.
    The Karakoram Mountains enter India in Kashmir and extend towards Tibet in the east where they are known as the Kailash range. Mount Godwin-Austin or K2 lies in this mountain range in the 
    Gilgit-Baltistan part of disputed Kashmir. It is the second highest peak in the world and 8,611 metres high. Baltoro and Siachen are important glaciers found in the range. Towards the south of the Karakoram range are the Laddakh and Zaskar ranges. The      River Indus flow between these ranges.















The Himalayas stretch from Kashmir in the west to Arunachal in the east covering a distance of 2,400 km in a gigantic arc. They vary in width from 240 to 320 km. The Himalayas can be divided into three zones –– The Himadri or the Greater Himalayas with the highest and oldest peaks, the Himachal or the Middle Himalayas where most hill stations are located and the Shiwalik or the outer Himalayas, which are the southernmost range.    
The Himachal also called the Greater Himalayas has an average height of 6,000 m and comprises the zone of high snow-capped peaks-apt for its name Him-alaya meaning abode of snow. It has the loftiest peak of the world-Mount Everest with a height of 8,848 m, located in Nepal. Some of the other important peaks are Kanchenjunga in Sikkim (8,598 m), Dhaulagiri (8,177 m), Nanga Parbat (8,126 m) and Nanda Devi (7,818 m). The Gangotri and Jamnotri glaciers are found here and the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna originate from these glaciers.

The Shiwalik also called the Outer Himalayas has an average height of 1,200 m. They extend along the foot of the Himachal from the Potwar plateau and the Bannu plains on the west to the Brahmaputra Valley on the east. There are broad valleys between the Himachal and Shiwalik ranges known as duns. Dehradun and Patli dun are two such duns. The northern parts of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar and a small portion of Bengal lie here. The eastern part of Shiwalik is known as Poorvanchal. It consists of the Khasi, Jaintla, Mizo and Naga hills, and the Patkai Bum, spanning across the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh. Along the foothills of the Shiwaliks, the plains have a deposition of gravel, pebbles and sand brought down by the rivers. It is known as Bhabar. To the south of bhabar is the Terai plain, a belt of marshy grasslands where water flow down making it a marshy land. The Terai is an agriculturally productive and heavily forested area.


The Great Northern Plain

The Great Northern Plain :
It lies to the south of the Himalayas. It extends from the Punjab Plain in the west to the Brahmaputra valley in the east for a distance of about 2,500 km . It is 145 to 480 km broad. It is bound by the mighty Himalaya in the north and by the Vindhyas in the south. It is one of the richest plains of the world. It is made up of the fertile alluvial soil brought down by the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra rivers and their tributaries. This plain is extremely level and is the most thickly populated region of India.

The Great Plain has two river basins. The Indus Basin is drained by the Indus and its tributaries -the Satluj, the Beas, the Ravi, the Chenab and the Jhelum. All these river flow into the Arabian Sea.

The Ganga Basin is drained by the Ganga and its tributaries, i.e. the Yamuna, Ghaghara, Gandak, Kosi and the Tista, which rise in the Himalayas and the Chambal, Betwa, Son and the Damodar which rise in the Vindhyas or the Chhota Nagpur region. The Ganga and the Brahmaputra join together before falling into the Bay of Bengal and form a very fertile delta which is the largest delta in the world . The density of population is the highest in this basin. 

The Ganga and the Brahmaputra rivers drain into the Bay of Bengal. They form a delta when they join the sea. A delta is a triangular area of land which is formed at the mouth of the river when it falls into the sea. The Ganga-Brahmaputra rivers form the Sundarbans Delta.

The Thar Desert : 
 As we proceed westward in the Great Northern Plain, we find trees disappearing and the climate becoming somewhat hotter. This part is called the Thar Desert which is devoid of plants and trees. The rocky terrain is covered with sand.

The Coastal Plain : 
The Deccan Plateau is flanked by the narrow coastal plains in the east and the west. The Western Coastal Plain lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. Its northern part is called Konkan and the southern part Malabar. The natural harbours of Mumbai and Marmagao are located on the western coast. The Eastern Coastal Plain lies between the Bay-of Bengal and the Eastern Ghats. Its southern part is called the Coromandel Coast. It contains deltas of the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and the Kaveri. The northern part of the eastern coast is called the Northern Circars. In this part lie West Bengal and Orissa.

Various rivers flow in the plateau of Deccan. The Narmada and Tapi rivers flow from east to west and fall into the Arabian Sea. On the other hand, the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri rivers flow from west to east and fall into the Bay of Bengal. The Godavari is the longest river of the Deccan Plateau.


The Central Highlands and Southern plateaus

The Central Highlands and Southern plateaus :
The highlands comprise mainly of three plateaus-the Malwa Plateau in the west, the Chhota Nagpur Plateau in the east and the Deccan Plateau in the south covering most of the Indian peninsula.

The Malwa Plateau is flanked on the north-west by the Aravalli ranges. It spreads across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The average elevation of the Malwa Plateau is 500 metres, and the landscape generally slopes towards the north. Most of the region is drained by the Chambal and its tributaries and the Mahi. The Chhota Nagpur Plateau situated in eastern India covers much of Jharkhand and adjacent parts of Odisha, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. It is made up of three smaller plateaus-the Ranchi, Hazaribagh and Kodarma plateaus. The plateau has reserves of coal, mica and metal ores of iron and manganese.

The Deccan Plateau is a large triangular plateau, bounded by the Vindhyas to the north and flanked by the Eastern and Western Ghats. The Deccan covers a total area of 1.9 million sq km. It is mostly flat, with elevations ranging from 300 to 600 m. It slope gently from west to east and gives rise to several peninsular rivers such as the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Kaveri which drain into the Bay of Bengal, and the Narmada and Tapi that flow into the Arabian sea.

The plateau is the broadest in the north and is covered by lava flows. It has black soil which is good for cotton cultivation. The plateau spreads across the whole of Maharashtra, parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. There are natural harbours and lagoons in Mumbai and Marmagoa, and backwaters in Kerala. The rivers of the Deccan Plateau are not perennial and depend on the monsoon rains for water.

They are less suitable for irrigation and are not easily navigable

India's Island Chains :

Off the cost of the land lie a string of  islands – the Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea and the Andaman and Nicobar Island in the Bay of Bengal.

Lakshadweep meaning a  'hundred thousand island '  is a group of 36 coral islands in the Arabian Sea, 200 to 440 km off the west coast of Kerala. The islands with the total land area of 32 sq km form the smallest union territory of India. Ten of the islands are inhabited.

The Andaman and Nicobar archipelago is a string of  572 islands lying in the Bay of Bengal. 1,190 km from Chennai. Andaman and Nicobar Islands are separated by a sea known as the Ten Degree Channel. The sea coincides with the 10° N  latitude, hence the name. These island are the remnant of submerged mountain range extending from the Arakan Mountains of Myanmar continuing farther to the island of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. Only 36 of these island are inhabited, out which 24 are in Andaman and 12 in Nicobar.

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