Physical Features of India

Physical Features of India

One of the essential topics in class 9 Geography syllabus is ‘The Physical Features of India.’ It includes the careful study of the geological structure of the country as displayed in the physical features of India map. It highlights the underlying geological structure of India and also delves into what makes it so diverse and different. In this blog, we have highlighted some important points of every sub-topic which will help in your revision!

Introduction to the Physical Features of India

India is not only a diverse country culturally but geographically as well. From mountains,  plains, and plateaus to islands and deserts, the physical features of India are very vast and diverse. Formations of these varied features can be attributed to the ‘Theory of Plate Tectonics’ which states that the movement of these plates resulted in folding and faulting in continental rocks and volcanic activity. This occurred due to 3 types of plate movements:

  • Divergent
  • Convergent
  • Transform

Physical Divisions of India

When it comes to the physical features of India, the country can be divided based on geological and physiological divisions. While the former consists of Peninsular Block, Indo Ganga-Brahmaputra plain, and the Himalayas. The Physiographic Divisions have 6 major divisions:

  • The Himalayan Mountains
  • The Northern Plains
  • The Peninsular Plateau
  • The Indian Desert
  • The Coastal Plains
  • The Islands
Physical Features of India Map

The Himalayan Mountains

The Himalayas are mountain barriers that stretch over the borders of northern India. These are one of the most rugged and the loftiest mountains of the world and are one of the major landforms of earth. The Himalayas form an arc that covers a distance of 2,400 Km. The Himalayas primarily consists of three parallel ranges which are divided into: 

  • Great or Inner Himalayas or the ‘Himadri’
    Perennially snowbound, the Great Himalayas have the loftiest peaks. The Himadri has an average height of 6,000 meters and consists of all the major Himalayan Peaks. It is one of the most prominent physical features of India.  
  • Himachal or Lesser Himalaya
    The more rugged parts of the mountain range are often known as the lesser Himalaya or Himachal. Himachal is also widely known for its hill stations. These ranges have an average height of 3700 to 4500 meters. Pir Panjal is the longest range. 
  • Outer Himalayan Range or Shiwaliks
    These are comparatively lower ranges, with altitude varying from 900 to 1,100 meters. They comprise the unconsolidated sediments that get brought down by rivers from the Himadri ranges.
  • 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. 

The Himalaya are also divided on the basis regions of west to east:

  • The part of the Himalayas lying between Indus and Satluj has been traditionally known as Punjab Himalaya but it is also known regionally as Kashmir and Himachal Himalaya from west to east respectively. 
  • . The part of the Himalayas lying between the Satluj and Kali rivers is known as Kumaon Himalayas. 
  • The Kali and Tista rivers demarcate the Nepal Himalayas and the part lying between Tista and Dihang rivers is known as Assam Himalayas. 
  • The Brahmaputra marks the easternmost boundary of the Himalayas.

The Northern Plains

The three major river systems, the Indus, the Brahmaputra, and the Ganga have resulted in the formation of the northern plain. Spreading over 7 lakh sq. km, it is a vast area of alluvial soil.

The northern plain is divided into 3 sections:

  • The Western part of the Northern Plain is referred to as the Punjab Plains. 
  • The Indus and its tributaries–the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj originate in the Himalaya.
  • The Ganga plain extends between Ghaggar and Teesta rivers. 
  • It is spread over the states of North India, Haryana, Delhi, U.P., Bihar, partly Jharkhand and West Bengal to its East, particularly in Assam lies the Brahmaputra plain.

The physical features of India, in context to the northern plans, have been given a rundown below: 

Relief Features of Northern Plains Description
Bhabar It is a narrow 8 KM to 16 KM wide range of boulders and pebbles. It is in the foothills of Shivaliks or the outer Himalayan range. In this, the streams disappear. 
Khadar The more fertile part of the plains, this region comprises newer and younger deposits of alluvial soil. 
Bhangar This is the largest part of the Northern plain, which is formed of older alluvial soil. It forms a terrace-like structure that lies above the flood plains. The soil here consists of calcareous deposits called “Kankar”
Terai The Terai region is wet and swampy. It is created by the rivers when they re-emerge.  The thickly-forested Dudhwa National Park is located here.

The Peninsular Plateau

The Peninsular Plateau defines the physical features of India. It is mainly composed of old igneous, crystalline, and metamorphic rocks and is also one of the oldest landmasses. The three major divisions of the Plateaus are the Central Highlands, Deccan Plateau, and NE Plateau. 

  • The Central Highlands
    Spreading over the major area of the Malwa Plateau, The Central Highlands lie next to the north of the Narmada river. If you look closely at the physical features of India map, you will find that these highlands are narrower in the east and broader in the west.
  • The Deccan Plateau
    The Deccan Plateau forms a broad base of a triangular landmass that falls to the south of the Narmada river. The Satpura range, the Kaimur hills, and the Maikal range, which forms its eastern extensions as can be seen in the physical features of the India map. Furthermore, the slope moves gently eastwards. 
  • NE Plateau
    Also called Meghalaya/Karbi-Anglong Plateau/N-central Chachar Hills, this is the extension of the main peninsular plateau. 
Western Ghats Eastern Ghats
Western Ghats lie parallel to the western coast. The Eastern Ghats stretch from the Mahanadi Valley to the Nigiris in the south
Their average elevation is 900– 1600 metres Their average elevation is 600 metres
The Eastern Ghats are discontinuous and irregular and dissected by rivers draining into the Bay of Bengal The Western Ghats cause orographic rain by facing the rain bearing moist winds to rise along the western slopes of the Ghats.
The highest peaks include the Anai Mudi (2,695metres) and the Doda Betta (2,637 metres). Mahendragiri (1,501 metres) is the highest peak in the Eastern Ghats

Quick Fact: The point at which the Eastern and Western ghats meet, it is called the Deccan Trap. Bering volcanic in nature, its has black soil and igneous rocks. 

The Indian Desert

  • The entire expanse of the Indian desert lies in the western margins of the Aravali hills (demarcated in the physical features of the India map).
  • It is covered in sandy plains and dunes, this region receives rainfall below 150 mm every year.
  • Hence, there is minimal vegetation cover. The largest river that flows here is Luni. 

The Coastal Plains

The coastal plains are narrow stretches of land across the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. As seen on the physical features of India map, the Coastal Plains in the southern part are broadly divided into, The Konkan, The Kannada Plain, and the Malabar coast. On the eastern side, across the Bay of Bengal, the plains are further classified into Northern Circar and the Coromandel Coast. Tabulated below are some of the major differences between the western and eastern coastal plains:

Western Plains Eastern Plains
Narrow Broad
Submerged Plain Emerged Plain
Rivers don’t form Deltas here Well Developed Deltas

The Islands

India mainly comprises two major Island groups, the Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea and The Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Andaman Island groups include 204 smaller islands. Furthermore, the A&N islands are divided by 10-degree channels. 

The group of islands is divided into two sections:

  • Andaman in the North
  • Nicobar in the South

These islands are close to the equator, have thick forest covers and experience equatorial climate

  • There is a great diversity of flora and fauna in this group of islands. 
  • These islands lie close to the equator and experience equatorial climate and have.
  • This island group has a great diversity of flora and fauna. thick forest cover.

Physical Features of India PPT

Credit: indrani97321

Physical Features of India – Important Questions 

  1. Which is the most fertile part of the northern plains?
  2. Which part of the Himalayas lies between Indus and Satluj?
  3. Where does the Brahmaputra plain lie?
  4. Where is Lake Chilika located?
  5. The Malabar coast is also referred to: _________
  6. What is the outermost range of the Himalayas called?
  7. Which is the highest peak of the Western Ghats.
  8. The Nicobar lie in the:
  9. What does the core of the Himadri consist of?
  10. The Jhelum is a tributary of: ___________

Physical Features of India – Answers

  1. Khadar
  2. Punjab Himalayas
  3. The state of Assam
  4. Eastern Coast
  5. Southern Stretch
  6. Shiwalik
  7. Anamudi
  8. South
  9. Granite
  10. The Indus

Hence, the physical features of India are very diverse and spread across the length and  breadth of the country. Sign up with Leverage Edu where our experts will \help you choose the right stream that will lead you to a fulfilling career!

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