Thursday, May 07, 2009

My India Series - II - Physical Features


Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the mainland extends between latitudes 8°4' and 37°6' north, longitudes 68°7' and 97°25' east, and measures about 3,214 km from north to south between the extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme longitudes. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of the coastline of the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is 7,516.6 km. Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea are parts of India. It is bounded on the south west by the Arabian Sea and on the south east by the Bay of Bengal. On the north, north east and north west lie the Himalayan ranges. Kanyakumari constitutes the southern tip of the Indian peninsula where it gets narrower and narrower, loses itself into the Indian Ocean.

Coastline: Claims and Boundaries
Coastline: 7,516.6 km
Maritime claims (Contiguous zone): 24 NM
Territorial sea: 12 NM
Continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM

India shares its political borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan on the west and Bangladesh and Burma on the east. The northern boundary is made up of the Sinkiang province of China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. India is seperated from Sri Lanka by a narrow channel of sea formed by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.

Total Land boundaries 14,103 km.

Border Shared With Countries
  1. Bangladesh 4,053 km
  2. Bhutan 605 km
  3. Burma 1,463 km
  4. China 3,380 km
  5. Nepal 1,690 km
  6. Pakistan 2,912 km

Physiographic regions
The mainland comprises seven regions. (1) Northern Mountains including the Himalayas and the North Eastern mountain ranges, (2) The Indo Gangetic plain, (3) The Desert, (4) Central highlands and Peninsular plateau, (5) East Coast, (6) West Coast, (7) Bordering seas and islands.

Mountain ranges
They are seven.
The Himalayas, the Patkai and other ranges bordering India in the north and north east, the Vindhyas, which separate the Indo Gangetic plain from the Deccan Plateau, the Satpura, the Aravalli, the Sahyadri, which covers the eastern fringe of the West Coast plains and the Eastern Ghats, irregularly scattered on the East Coast and forming the boundary of the East Coast plains.

Seas/Oceans: Arabian Sea (West), Bay of Bengal (East), Indian Ocean (South)

Islands: Lakshadweep Islands in Arabian Sea, Andaman and Nicobar Islands in Bay of Bengal


Upland Plain (Deccan Plateau) in South,
Flat to Rolling Plain along the Ganges,
Deserts in West,
Himalayas in North.

Elevation extremes

Lowest point Indian Ocean: 0 m
Highest point Kanchenjunga:
8,598 m

Natural resources
Coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), Iron Ore, Manganese, Mica, Bauxite, Titanium Ore, Chromite, Natural Gas, Diamonds, Petroleum, Limestone, Arable Land

Textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery.

principal crops- rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugar cane, potatoes;
livestock–cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, poultry;
fish catch of about 3 million metric tons ranks India among the world's top 10 fishing nations.

Climate: Varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north Terrain Upland Plain (Deccan Plateau) in South, Flat to Rolling Plain along the Ganges, Deserts in West, Himalayas in North.

Mainly tropical in Southern India but temperatures in the north range from sub-zero degrees to 50 degrees Celsius.

There are well defined seasons in the northern region :

Winter (Dec – Feb),

Spring (Mar – Apr),

Summer (May – Jun),

Monsoons (Jul – Sep) and

Autumn (Oct – Nov).

Time zone: GMT +5,5 hours.


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