(Online Course) GS Concepts : Gist of N.C.E.R.T India – Location

Subject : Geography
Chapter : The Gist of N.C.E.R.T

Topic: India – Location

The mainland of India, extends from Kashmir in the north to
Kanniyakumari in the south and Arunachal Pradesh in the east to Gujarat in the
west. India’s territorial limit further extends towards the sea upto 12 nautical
miles (about 21.9 km) from the coast. (See the box for conversion).

Statute mile= 63,360 inches

Nautical mile= 72,960 inches

1 Statute mile= about 1.6 km (1.584 km)

1 Nautical mile= about 1.8 km (1.852 km)

Our southern boundary extends upto 6º45 N latitude in the Bay
of Bengal.

If you work out the latitudinal and longitudinal extent of
India, they are roughly about 30 degrees, whereas the actual distance measured
from north to south extremity is 3,214 km, and that from east to west is only
2,933 km. What is the reason for this difference?

This difference is based on the fact that the distance
between two longitudes decreases towards the poles whereas the distance between
two latitudes remains the same everywhere.

From the values of latitude, it is understood that the
southern part of the country lies within the tropics and the northern part lies
in the sub-tropical zone or the warm temperate zone. This location is
responsible for large variations in land forms, climate, soil types and natural
vegetation in the country.

There is a general understanding among the countries of the
world to select the standard meridian in multiples of 7º30 of longitude. That is
why 82º30 E has been selected as the ‘standard meridian’ of India. Indian
Standard Time is ahead of Greenwich Mean Time by 5 hours and 30 minutes.

There are some countries where there are more than one
standard meridian due to their vast east-to-west extent. For example, the USA
has seven time zones.
Now, let us observe the extent and its implications on the Indian people. From
the values of longitude, it is quite discernible that there is a variation of
nearly 30 degrees, which causes a time difference of nearly two hours between
the easternmost and the westernmost parts of our country. What is the use of the
standard meridian? While the sun rises in the northeastern states about two
hours earlier as compared to Jaisalmer, the watches in Dibrugarh, Imphal in the
east and Jaisalmer, Bhopal or Chennai in the other parts of India show the same
time. Why does this happen?

Name a few place in India through which the standard meridian

India with its area of 3.28 million sq. km accounts for 2.4
per cent of the world’s land surface area and stands as the seventh largest
country in the world.

Structure and Physiography

Current estimation shows that the earth is approximately 4600
million years old.
Based on the variations in its geological structure and formations, Indian can
be divided into three geological divisions. These geological regions broadly
follow the physical features:

  • The Peninsular Block

  • The Himalayas and other Peninsular Mountains

  • Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra Plain

The Peninsular Block

The northern boundary of the Peninsular Block may be taken as
an irregular the running from Kachchh along the western flank of the Aravali
Range near Delhi and then roughly parallel to the Yamuna and the Ganga as far as
the Rajmahal Hills and the Ganga delta. Apart from these, the Karbi Anglong and
the Meghalaya Plateau the the northeast and Rajasthan in the west are also
extensions of this block. The northeastern parts are separated by the Media
fault in West Bengal from the Chotanagpur plateau. In Rajasthan, the desert and
other desert-like features overlay this block.

The Peninsula is formed essentially by a great complex of
very ancient gneisses and granites, which constitutes as major part of it. Since
the Cambrian period, the Peninsula has been standing like a rigid block with the
exception of some of its western coast which is submerged beneath the sea and
some other parts changed due to tectonic activity without affecting the original
basement. As a part of the Indo-Australian Plate, it has been subjected to
various vertical movements and block faulting. The rift valleys of the Narmada,
the Tapi and the Mahanadi and the Satpura block mountains are some examples of
it. The Peninsula mostly consists of relict and residual mountains like the
Aravali hills, the Nallamala hills, the Javadi hills, the Veliconds hills, the
Palkonda range and the Mahendragiri hills, etc. The river valleys here are
shallow with low gradients.
Most of the east flowing rivers form deltas before entering into the Bay of
Bengal. The deltas formed by the Mahanadi, the Krishna, the Kaveri and the
Godavari are important examples.

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The Himalayas and other peninsular mountains

The Himalayas along with other peninsular mountains are
young, weak and flexible in their geological structure unlike the rigid and
stable peninsular Block, Consequently, they are still subjected to the interplay
of exogenic and endogenic forces, resulting in the development of faults, folds
and thrust plains. These mountains are tectonic in origin, dissected by
fast-flowing rivers which are in their youthful stage. Various landforms like
gorges, V-shaped valleys, rapids, waterfalls, etc. are indicative of this stage.

Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra Plain

The third geological division of India comprises the plains
form by the river Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. Originally, it was a
geo-synclinal depression which attained its maximum development during the third
phase of the Himalayan during the third phase of the Himalayan mountain
formation approximately about 64 million years ago. Since then, it has been
gradually filled by the sediments brought by the Himalayan and Peninsular
rivers. Average depth of alluvial deposits in these plains ranges from
1,000-2,000 m.


‘Physiography’ of an area is the outcome of structure,
process and the stage of development.
Based on these macro variations, India can be divided into the follow
physiographic divisions:

  1. The Northern and Northeastern Mountains

  2. The Northern Plain

  3. The Peninsular Plateau

  4. The Indian Desert

  5. The Coastal Plains

  6. The Islands.

North and North Eastern Himalaya:

Formation of Physical features of north and north-eastern
Himalay is a result of “Plate tectonics” According to Plate Tectonic theory
earth is divided into several plateau. The formation of Himalaya & north eastern
mountain is due to convergent of two plates Eurasia (North of Himalaya) and
Gondwana (Indian subcontinents Australia, South Africa, South America). Both the
plates came close to each other and tethys sediment called geosynclines was
pressed from two sides gave birth to current Himalaya mountains.

The Himalayan uplift out of the Tethys sea and subsidence of
the northern flank of the peninsular plateau resulted in the formation of a
large basin. In due course of time this depression, gradually got filled with
deposition of sediments by the rivers flowing from the mountains in the north
and the peninsular plateau in the south. A flat land of extensive alluvial
deposits led to the formation of the northern plains of India.
The land of India displays great physical variation. Geologically, the
Peninsular Plateau constitutes one of the ancient landmasses on the earth’s
surface. It was supposed to be one of the most stable land blocks. The
Himalayans and the Northern Plains are the most recent landforms. From the view
point of geology, Himalayan Mountains form an unstable zone. The whole mountain
system of Himalaya represents a very youthful topography with high peaks, deep
valleys and fast flowing rivers. The northern plains are formed of alluvial
deposits. The peninsular plateau is composed of igneous and metamorphic rocks
with gently rising hills and wide valleys.

The Himalayan Mountains

The Himalayas, geologically young and structurally fold
mountains stretch over the northern borders of India. These mountain ranges run
in a west-east direction from the Indus to the Brahmaputra. The Himalayas
represent the loftiest and one of the most rugged mountain barriers of the
world. They form an arc, which covers a distance of about 2,400 Km. Their width
varies from 400 Km in Kashmir to 150 Km in Arunachal Pradesh. The altitudinal
variations are greater in the eastern half than those in the western half. The
Himalaya consists of three parallel ranges in its longitudinal extent. A number
of valleys lie between these ranges. The northern most range is known as the
Great or Inner Himalayas of the ‘Himadri’. It is the most continuous range
consisting of the loftiest peaks with an average height of 6,000 metres. It
contains all the prominent Himalayan peaks.
The folds of Great Himalayas are asymmetrical in nature. The core of this part
of Himalayas is composed of granite. It is perennially snow bound, and a number
of glaciers descend from this range.
The range lying to the south of the Himadri forms the most rugged mountain
system and is known as Himachal or lesser Himalay. The ranges are mainly
composed of highly compressed and altered rocks. The altitude varies between
3,700 and 4,500 metres and the average width is of 50 Km. While the Pir Panjal
range forms the longest and the most important rage, the Dhaula Dhar and the
Mahabharat ranges are also prominent ones. This range consists of the famous
valley of Kashmir, the Kangra and Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh. This region
is well known for its hill stations.


Karewas are the thick deposits of glacial clay and other
materials embedded with moraines.

The outer most range of the Himalayas is called the Shiwaliks.
They extend over a width of 10.50 Km and have an altitude varying between 900
and 1100 metres. These ranges are composed of unconsolidated sediment brought
down by rivers from the main Himalayans ranges located farther north. These
valleys are covered with thick gravel and alluvium. The longitudinal valley
lying between lesser Himalaya and the Shiwaliks are known as Duns. Dehra Dun,
Kotli Dun and Patli Dun are some of the well-known Duns.

An Interesting Fact in Kashmir Valley, the meanders in Jhelum
river are caused by the local base level provided by the erstwhile larger lake
of which the present Dal lake is a small part.
There are large-scale regional variations within the Himalayas. On the basis of
relief, alignment of ranges and other geomorphological features the Himalayas
can be divided into the following sub-divisions:

Longitudinal division

  1. Kashmir or Northwestern Himalayas

  2. Himachal and Uttaranchal Himalayas

  3. Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas

  4. Arunachal Himalayas

  5. Eastern Hills and Mountains

Kashmir or Northwestern Himalayas

It comprise a series of ranges such as the Karakoram. Ladakh.
Zaskar and Pir Panjal. The northeastern part of the Kashmir Himalayas is a cold
desert, which lies between the Greater Himalayas and the Karakoram ranges.
Between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal range, lies the world famous
valley of Kashmir and the famous Dal Lake. Important glaciers of South Asia such
as the Baltoro and Siachen are also found in this region. The Kashmir Himalayas
are also famous for Karewa formations, which are useful for the cultivation of
Zafran, a local variety of saffron. Some of the important passes of the region
are Zoji La on the Great Himalayas. Banihal on the Panjal, Photu La on the
Zaskar and Khardung La on the Ladakh range. Some of the important fresh lakes
such as Dal and Wular and salt water lakes such as Pangong Tso and Moriri are
also in this region. This region is drained by the river Indus, and its
tributaries such as the Jhelum and the Chenab. The Kashmir and northwestern
Himalayas are well-known for their scenic beauty and picturesque landscape. The
landscape of Himalayas is a major source of attraction for adventure tourists.
Some famous places of pilgrimage such as Vaishno Devi, Amarnath Cave, Charar -e-Shariff,
etc. are also located here and large number of pilgrims visits these places
every year.

Srinagar, capital city of the Jammu and Kashmir is located on
the banks of Jhelum river. Dal Lake in Srinagar presents an interesting physical
feature. Jhelum in the valley of Kashmir is still in its youth stage and yet
forms meanders- a typical feature associated with the mature stage in the
evolution of fluvial land form (Figure).
The southernmost part of this region consists of longitudinal valleys known as
‘duns’. Jammu dun and Pathankot dun are important examples.

The Himachal and Uttaranchal Himalays

This part lies approximately between the Ravi in the west and
the Kali (a tributary of Ghaghara) in the east. It is drained by two major river
systems of India, i.e. the Indus and the Ganga. Tributaries of the Indus include
the river Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj, and the tributaries of Ganga flowing
through this region include the Yamuna and the Ghaghara. The northernmost part
of the Himachal Himalayas is an extension of the Ladakh cold desert, which lies
in the Spiti subdivision of district Lahul and Spiti. All the three ranges of
Himalayas are prominent in this section also. These are the Great Himalayan
range, the Lesser Himalayas (which is locally known as Dhaoladhar in Himachal
Pradesh and Nagtibha in Uttaranchal) and the Shiwalik range from the North to
the South. In this section of Lesser Himalayas, the altitude between 1,000-2,000
m specially attracted to the British colonial administration, and subsequently,
some of the important hill stations such as Dharamshala, Mussoorie, Shimla
Kaosani and the cantonment towns and health resorts such as Shimla, Mussoorie,
Kasauli, Almora, Lansdowne and Ranikhet, etc. were developed in this region.
The two distinguishing features of this region from the point of view of
physiography are the ‘Shiwalik’ and ‘Dun formations’. Some important duns
located in this region are the Chandigarh- Kalka dun, Nalagarh dun, Dehra Dun,
Harike dun and the Kota dun, etc. Dehra Dun is the largest of all the duns with
an approximate length of 35-45 km and a width of 22-25 km. In the Great
Himalayan range, the valleys are mostly inhabited by the Bhotia’s. These are
nomadic groups who migrate to ‘Bugyals’ (the summer grasslands in the higher
reaches) during summer months and return to the valleys during winters. The
famous ‘Valley of flowers’ is also situated in this region. The places of
pilgrimage such as the Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath and Hemkund
Sahib are also situated in this part. The region is also known to have five
famous Prayags (river confluences). Can you name some other famous prayags in
other parts of the country?

The Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas

They are flanked by Nepal Himalayas in the west and Bhutan
Himalayas in the east. It is relatively small but is a most significant part of
the Himalayas. Known for its fast-flowing rivers such as Tista, it is a region
of high mountain peaks like Kanchenjunga (Kanchengiri), and deep valleys. The
higher reaches of this region are inhabited by Lepcha tribes while the southern
part, particularly the Darjeeling Himalayas, has a mixed population of Nepalis,
Bengalis and tribals from Central India. The British, taking advantage of the
physical conditions such as moderate slope, thick soil cover with high organic
content, well distributed rainfall throughout the year and mild winters,
introduced tea plantations in this region. As compared to the other sections of
the Himalayas, these along with the Arunachal Himalayas are conspicuous by the
absence of the Shwalik formations. In place of Shwaliks here, the ‘duar
formations’ are important, which have also been used for the development of tea
gardens. Sikkim and Darjeeling Himalayas are also known for their scenic beauty
and rich flora and fauna, particularly various types of orchids.

The Arunachal Himalayas

These extend from the east of the Bhutan Himalayas upto the
Diphu pass in the east. The general direction of the mountain range is from
southwest to northeast. Some of the important mountain peaks of the region are
Kangtu and Namcha Barwa. These rangers are dissected by fast-flowing rivers from
the north to the south, forming deep gorges. Brahmaputra flows through a deep
gorge after crossing Namcha Barwa. Some of the important rivers are the Kameng,
the Subansiri, the Dihang and the Lohit. These are perennial with the high rate
of fall, thus, having the highest hydro-electric power potential in the country.
An important aspect of the Arunachal Himalayas is the numerous ethnic tribal
community inhabiting in these areas. Some of the prominent ones from west to
east are the Monpa, Daffla, Abor, Mishmi, Nishi and the Nagas. Most of these
communities practice Jhumming. It is also known as shifting or slash and Figure:
Eastern Himalayas communities. Due to rugged topography, the inter-valley
transportation linkages are nominal. Hence, most of the interactions are carried
through the duar region along the Arunachal-Assam border.

The Eastern Hills and Mountains

These are part of the Himalayan mountain system having their
general alignment from the north to the south direction. They are known by
different local names. In the north, they are known as Patkai Bum, Naga hills,
the Manipur hills and in the south as Mizo or Lushai hills. These are low hills,
inhabited by numerous tribal groups practicing Jhum cultivation.
Most of these ranges are separated from each other by numerous small rivers. The
Barak is an important river in Manipur and Mizoram. The physiography of Manipur
is unique by the presence of a large lake known as ‘Loktak’ lake at the centre,
surrounded by mountains from all sides. Mzoram which is also known as the
‘Molassis basin’ which is made up of soft unconsolidated deposits. Most of the
rivers in Nagaland form the tributary of the Brahmaputra. While two rivers of
Mizoram and Manipur are the tributaries of Barak river, which in turn is the
tributary of Meghna; the rivers in the eastern part of Manipur are the
tributaries of Chindwin, which in turn is a tributary of the Irrawaddy of

The Northern Palins

The northern plains are formed by the alluvial deposits
brought by the rivers- the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. These plain
extend approximately 3,200 km from the east to the west. The average width of
these plains varies between 150-300 km. The maximum depth of alluvium deposits
varies between 1,000-2,000 m. From the north to the south, these can be divided
into three major zones: the Bhabar, the Tarai and the alluvial plains. The
alluvial plains can be further divided into the Khadar and the Bhangar.
Bhabar is a narrow belt ranging between 8-10 km parallel to the Shiwalik
foothills at the break-up of the slope. As a result of this, the streams and
rivers coming from the mountain deposit heavy materials of rocks and boulders,
and at times, disappear in this zone. South of the Bhabar is the Tarai belt,
with an approximate width of 10-20 km where most of the streams and rivers
re-emerge without having any properly demarcated channel, thereby, creating
marshy and swampy conditions known as the Taraiu. This has a luxurious growth of
natural vegetation and houses a varied wild life.
The south of Tarai is a belt consisting of old and new alluvial deposits known
as the Bhangar and Khadar respectively. These plains have characteristic
features of mature stage of fluvial erosional and depositional landforms such as
sand bars, meanders, oxbow lakes and braided channels. The Brahmaputra plains
are known for their riverine islands and sand bars. Most of these areas are
subjected to periodic floods and shifting river courses forming braided streams.
The mouths of these mighty rivers also form some of the largest deltas of the
world, for example, the famous Sunderbans delta. Otherwise, this is a
featureless plain with a general elevation of 50-150 m above the mean sea level.
The states of Haryana and Delhi form a water divide between the Indus and the
Ganga river systems. As opposed to this, the Brahmaputra river flows from the
northeast to the southwest direction before it takes an almost 90º southward
turn at Dhubri before it enters into Bangladesh. These river valley plains have
a fertile alluvial soil cover which supports a variety of crops like wheat,
rice, sugarcane and jute, and hence, supports a large population.

The Peninsular Plateau

Rising from the height of 150 m above the river plains up to
an elevation of 600-900 m is the irregular triangle known as the peninsular
plateau. Delhi ridge in the northwest, (extension of Aravalis), the Rajmahal
hills in the east, Gir range in the west and the Cardamom hills in the south
constitute the outer extent of the peninsular plateau. However, an extension of
this is also seen in the northeast, in the form of Shillong Karbi-Anglong
plateau. The peninsular India is made up of a series of patland plateaus such as
the Hazaribagh plateau, the Palamu plateau, the Ranchi plateau, the Malwa
plateau, the Coimbatore plateau and the Karnataka plateau, etc. This is one of
the oldest and the most stable landmass of India. The general elevation of the
plateau is from the west to the east, which s also proved by the pattern of the
flow of rivers. Name some rivers of the peninsular plateau which have their
confluence in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea and mention some landforms
which are typical to the east flowing rivers but are absent in the west flowing
rivers. Some of the important physiographic features of this region are tors,
block mountains, rift valleys, spurs, bare rocky structures, series of hummocky
hills and wall-like quartzite dykes offering natural sites for water storage.
The western and northwestern part of the plateau has an emphatic presence of
black soil.

This peninsular plateau has undergone recurrent phases of
upliftment and submergence accompanied by crustal faulting and fractures. (The
Bhima fault needs special mention, because of its recurrent seismic activities).
These spatial variations have brought in elements of diversity in the relief of
the peninsular plateau. The northwestern part of the plateau has a complex
relief of ravines and gorges. The ravines of Chambal, Bhind and Morena are some
of the well-known examples.

On the basis of the prominent relief features, the peninsular
plateau can be divided into three broad groups: (i) The Deccan Plateau (ii) The
Central Highlands (iii) The Northeastern Plateau.

The Deccan Plateau

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. Western Ghats are comparatively higher in elevation
and more continuous than the Eastern Ghats. Their average elevation is about
1,500 m with the height increasing from north to south. ‘Anaimudi’ (2,695 m),
the highest peak of Peninsular plateaus is located on the Anaimalai hills of the
Western Ghats followed by Dodabetta (2,670 m) on the Nilgiri hills. Most of the
Peninsular rivers have their origin in the Western Ghats. Eastern Ghats
comprising the discontinuous and low hills are highly eroded by the rivers such
as the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna, the Kaveri, etc. 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

They 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 northeastern 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 Northeastern Plateau

In fact it is an extension of the main peninsular plateau, it
is believed that due to the force exerted by the northeastward movement of the
Indian plate at the time of the Himalayan origin, a huge fault was created
between the Rajmahal hills and the Meghalaya plateau. Later, this depression got
filled up by the deposition activity of the numerous rivers. Today, the
Meghalaya and Karbi Anglong plateau stand detached from the main peninsular
Block. The meghalaya plateau is further sub-divided into three: (i) The Garo
Hills; (ii) The Khasi Hills; (ii) The Jaintia Hills, named after the tribal
groups inhabiting this region. An extension of this is also seen in the Karbi
Anglong hills of Assam. Similar to the Chotanagpur plateau, the Meghalaya
plateau is also rich in mineral resources like coal, iron ore, sillimanite,
limestone and uranium. This area receives maximum rainfall from the south west
monsoon. As a result, the Meghalaya plateau has a highly eroded surface.
Cherrapunji displays a bare rocky surface devoid of any permanent vegetation

The Indian Desert

To the northwest of the Aravali hills lies the Great Indian
desert. It is a land of undulating topography dotted with longitudinal dunes and
barchans. This region receives low rainfall below 150 mm per year; hence, it has
arid climate with low vegetation cover. It is because of these characteristic
features that this is also known as Marusthali. It is believed that during the
Mesozoic era, this region was under the sea. This can be corroborated by the
evidence available at wood fossils park at Aakal and marine deposits around
Brahmsar, near Jaisalmer (The approximate age of the wood fossils is estimated
to be 180 million years). Though the underlying rock structure of the desert is
an extension of the peninsular plateau, yet, due to extreme arid conditions, its
surface features have been carved by physical weathering and wind actions. Some
of the well pronounced desert land features present here are mushroom rocks,
shifting dunes and oasis (mostly in its southern part). On the basis of the
orientation, the desert can be divided into two parts: the northern part is
sloping towards Sindh and the southern towards the Rann of Rachchh. Most of the
rivers in this region are ephemeral. The Luni river flowing in the southern part
of the desert is of some significance. Low precipitation and high evaporation
makes it a water deficit region. There are some streams which disappear after
flowing for some distance and present a typical case of inland drainage by
joining a lake or playa. The lakes and the playas have brackish water which is
the main source of obtaining salt.

The Coastal Plains

India has a long coastline. On the basis of the location and
active geomorphological processes, it can be divided into two: (i) the western
coastal plains; (ii) the eastern coastal plains.
The western coastal plains are an example of submerged coastal plain. It is
believed that the city of Dwaraka which was once a part of the Indian mainland
situated along the west coast is submerged under water. Because of this
submergence it is a narrow belt and provides natural conditions for the
development of ports and harbours. Kandla, Mazagaon, JLN port Navha Sheva,
Marmagao. Mangalore, Cochin, etc. are some of the important natural ports
located along the west coast. Extending from the Gujarat coast in the north to
the Kerala coast in the south, the western coast may be divided into following
divisions- the Kachchh and Kathiawar coast in Gujarat, Konkan coast in
Maharashtra. Goan coast and Malabar coast in Karnataka and Kerala respectively.
The western coastal plains are narrow in the middle and get broader towards
north and south. The rivers flowing through this coastal plain do not form any
delta. 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.
Some important mountain peaks in Andaman and Nicobar islands are Saddle peak
(North Andaman- 738 m), Mount Diavolo (Middle Andaman- 515 m), Mount Koyob
(South Andaman- 460 m) and Mount Thuiller (Great Nicobar- 642 m).

As compared to the western coastal plain, the eastern coastal
plain is broader and is an example of an emergent coast. There are well
developed deltas here, formed by the rivers flowing eastward in to the Bay of
Bengal. These include the deltas of the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and
the Kaveri. Because of its emergent nature, it has less number of ports and
harbours. The continental shelf extends up to 500 km into the sea, which makes
it difficult for the development of good ports and harbours. Name some ports on
the eastern coast.

The Islands

There are two major island groups in India- one in the Bay of
Bengal and the other in the Arabian. The Bay of Bengal Island groups consist of
about 572 islands/islets. These are situated roughly between 6ºN – 14ºN and
92ºE-94ºE. The two principal groups of islets include the Ritchie’s archipelago
and the Labrynth island. The entire group of island is divided into two broad
categories- the Andaman in the north and the Nicobar in the south. They are
separated by a water body which is called the Ten degree channel. It s believed
that these islands are an elevated portion of submarine mountains. However, some
smaller islands are volcanic in origin. Barren island, the only active volcano
in India is also situated in the Nicobar islands.

The coastal line has some coral deposits, and beautiful
beaches. These islands receive convectional rainfall and have an equatorial type
of vegetation.
The islands of the Arabian sea include Lakshadweep and Minicoy. These are
scattered between 8ºN and 71ºE- 74ºE longitude. These islands are located at a
distance of 280 km- 480 km off the Kerala coast. The entire island group is
built of coral deposits. There are approximately 36 islands of which 11 are
inhabited. Minicoy is the largest island with an area of 453 sq. km. The entire
group of islands is broadly divided by the Eleventh degree channel, north of
which is the Amini Island and to the south of the Canannore Island. The islands
of this archipelago have storm beaches consisting of unconsolidated pebbles,
shingles, cobbles and boulders on the eastern seaboard.

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