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Chapter 02. India Physiography (Geography Notes)


The Himalayan mountain range and Tibetan plateau have formed as a result of the collision between the Indian Plate and Eurasian Plate (Plate tectonics) which began 50 million years ago and continues today.
1. The Himalayan Mountain Chain
2. The Northern Plains — (a) Great Planes, (b) Thar Desert
3. The Great Peninsula Plateau —(a) Central Highland, (b) Peninsula Plateau (c) Coastal Plains
The Himalayan Mountain Chain
Trans Himalayan :
➤ Trans Himalayans are the part of Himalayan system. It is also known as Tethis Himalayans.
➤ Pamir Knot is known as “the roof of the world”.
➤ Kunlun run into Tibet.
➤ Karakoram enters into Kashmir.
➤ Karakoram pass is situated in Karakoram range.
➤ Baltoro and Siachin are the glaciers of this range.
➤ Lengthwise glaciers of Karakoram — Siachin — Hispar — Biafo —
➤ Indus river originates from Chamayung dung Glacier near Kailash.
➤ Indus river flows between Ladakh and Zaskar ranges from south east to north west.
➤ Indus river make the deepest gorge in Gilgit.
➤ Trans himalayas are formed by sedimentary rock.
➤ The rocks from Tertiary age to Cambrian age are found here.
➤ Trans himalayas separate itself from great himalayas with Shuture zone.
➤ K2 (Godwin Austen) is the highest peak of Trans Himalaya (Karakoram Range) with range of 8611 meters.
Greater Himalayas
➤ It is called as Himadri.
➤ Mount Everest is the highest peak of the world.
➤ Mount Everest is located in Nepal. It is called Sagarmatha in Nepal. It’s height is 8848 meter.
➤ Tibetians call it Chamlungma.
➤ Kangchenjunga is the second highest peak of greater himalayas.
➤ Kangchenjunga lies in Sikkim.
➤ Namchabarva is an important peak in east overlooking the Bhramaputra where this range takes a sudden change and twist towards south to enter India.
➤ Namchabarva lies in Tibet (China).
➤ Several Passes are lie in this range like Bara Pass, Lapcha, Shipkila, Thangla, Nifila, Nathula.
➤ Hindustan-Tibet way which joins shimla to Gangtok, passes through ‘Shipkila Pass’ in Satluj Valley.
➤ Great Himalayas separate from middle Himalays with main central thrust.
➤ The great himalayan mountain range boasts of the tallest heads of the world.
➤ Most of the peaks remain under perpetual snow.
➤ In Greater Himalayas, the snow line is at lower elevation of the southern slopes than on the northern slopes because the southern slopes are steeper and received more rainfall.
Peak Country Heights (in mtrs)
1. Mt. Everest — Nepal — 8,848
2. Kangchenjunga — India — 8,598
3. Makalu — Nepal — 8,481
4. Dhaulagiri — Nepal — 8,172
5. Nanga Parvat — India — 8,126
6. Annapurna — Nepal — 8,078
7. Nanda devi — India — 7,817
8. Namchabarwa — Tibet (China) — 7,756
9. Gurla Mandhata — Tibet — 7,728
Middle Himalayas (Lesser Himalayas or the Himachal)
➤ Lie to the south of Great Himalayas.
➤ Mountains and valleys are disposed in all direction.
➤ Its important ranges are ; Dhauladhar, Pirpanjal, Niaga-Tibba, Mussoorie.
➤ Important hill stations are : Dharmshala, Dalhousie, Shimla, Mussoorrie, Nainital, Darjelling, Chakrata, Almora, Chhail, Ranikhet.
Shivaliks :
➤ Southern most ranges of Himalayas are called Shivalik.
➤ Shivaliks are made of unconsolidated deposits of rivers.
➤ Shivaliks are prone to earthquakes and land slides.
➤ This is the outer Himalayas.
➤ This is called the sub Himalayan.
➤ Shivalik is known as Jammu Hills in Jammu and Dafla, Mishimi, Abor, in Arunachal Pradesh.
➤ It is the newest range.
Highest peak of Himalayas in India : Kangchenjunga
Highest mountain peak in India : K2 or Godwin Austen
Highest peak of Aravalis : Gurushikhar
Highest peak of Western Ghats : Anaimudi
Highest peak of Nilgiri : Dodabeta
Highest peak of Eastern Ghats : Mahendragiri
Highest peak of Rajmahal hills : Parasnath
Highest peak of Andaman & Nicobar : Saddle peak
➤ The Great North Indian plain lies to the north of the peninsula and to the south of the Himalayas.
➤ The plain extends for 3200 km between the mouths of the Ganga and the Indus, all along the foot of the moutains, with a width varying from 150 to 300 km.
➤ The plain is narrowest in Assam with its width varying between 90 and 100 km.
➤ It is 160 km wide near the Rajmahal hills and 280 km near Allahabad.
➤ The plains were formed as a result of the filling of depression lying between the peninsula and the Himalayas by the depositional work of the Himalayan and peninsular rivers.
➤ It is erroneous to characterise the plains as an area of monotonous relief having little variety in its geomorphological features.
➤ Generally the plain is recognised as consisting of four divisions each characterised by important differences in surface relief. These divisions are : (i) Bhabar (ii) Terai (iii) Bhangar and ( iv ) Khadar.
➤ The Bhabar is a narrow belt of 8-16 km wide running east-west direction along foothills of Shiwaliks. The Himalyan rivers deposits their sediments creating alluvial fans along the foot hills. The fans consisting of gravel and unsorted sediments merge together to form the Bhabar belt.
➤ The Bhabar zone is studded with pebbles and it consists of porous beds.
The porosity is so high that all streams lose themselves in Bhabar.
➤ The Terai is marshy tract south of the Bhabar marked by reemergence of underground streams of the Bhabar belt. These streams convert large areas along the rivers into marshy lands of excessive dampness.
➤ The Bhangar refers to the upland formed by deposition of older alluvium in river beds. It is alluvial terrace above the flood plains, often impregnated with calcareous concentration known as Kankar.
➤ The Khadar is composed of newer alluvium and forms the flood plains along the river banks. It is a lowland formed by deposition of detritus of new alluvium in the river beds during floods every year.
Differences Khadar & Bangar

khadar is the newer and younger deposits of the flood plainsBhangar is the older alluvium. It forms the largest part of the Northern plains
This type of alluvial soil found in the lower levels in the plains near the rivers.Bhangar found in higher up in the plains at river terraces away from rivers
It is loamy and porous soil.It is clayey and non-porous soil
It is more fertile than Bhangar as new layers are deposited year after year during monsoonal floodsIt is less fertile than khadar as it is not renewed.
It is pale brown, sandy clays & loams, more dry & leached less calcareous & carbonaceousIt is generally dark coloured & of a more clayey composition.

➤ The Great Indian Plains of North India can be divided into the following four major regions.
(i) The Rajasthan or Western Plains (ii) The Punjab-Haryana Plains
(iii) The Ganga Plains (iv) The Brahmaputra Plains
The Rajasthan Plain : The plain consisting of Thar or Marusthali,& the arid plain of Rajasthan. Luni is the only river flowing through this desert region. North of the Luni basin, there is a large area of inland drainage.
Eastern Thar Desert has several saline lakes such as Sambhar, Didwana, Degana, Sargol, Khatu etc. Sambhar is the largest salt lake in India.
The Punjab Haryana plain : This part of the plain is formed as a result of deposits brought by five rivers ( Satluj, Ravi, Chenab, Jhelum & Beas) and known as Punjab. It is primarily made up of Doabs (interfluves ) – the land between two rivers.
➤ The important Doabs in this plain are :-
1. Bist -Jalandhar Doab between Beas and Satluj.
2. Bari Doab between the Beas and Ravi.
3. Rechna Doab between the Ravi and the Chenab.
4. Chaj Doab between Chenab and the Jhelum.
5. Sindsagar Doab between the Jhelum, Chenab and the Indus.
Ganga plain : The plain stretches between Punjab- Haryana plain to the Sundarbans Delta region. The Ganga along with Yamuna, Gomti, Ghaghara, Gandak and Kosi has deposited large quantities of alluvium to build this fertile and densely populated region.
➤ The important doabs in this plain are :
(i) Ganga-Yamuna Doab (ii) Ganga-Ghaghra Doab
(iii) Ghaghra-Gandak (iv) Gandak-Kosi Doab (Mithila Plain)
➤ The Ganga plain is further divided into, Upper Ganga plain, Middle Ganga plain, and the Lower Ganga plain.
The Brahmaputra plain : It is an aggradational plain built up by, depositional work of Brahmaputra and its tributaries. It is girdled by Purvanchal hills, Patkai Bum, Naga hills in the east, Garo-Khasi-Jaintia, Mikir hills and Meghalaya plateau in the south. Several islands have Originated because of the deposition of soil in the middle of the Brahmaputra.
‘Majuli’ is such island which is in Assam. It is the largest riverine island in the world.
The Peninsular Plateau
➤ It is a part of Gondvana land.
➤ Triangular in shape.
➤ Archaean age
➤ It is the oldest plateau not only in India but also in the World.
➤ Average height is 600-900 m.
➤ Its slopes towards north and east side and in southern part from west to east.
➤ It is a fold mountain
➤ Its elevation is 800-900 m.
➤ It is a residual mountain range.
➤ It is older than Himalayas.
➤ Broader in South as compared to north.
➤ Elevation goes on decreasing from south to north.
➤ Gurushikhar is the highest peak of Aravalli.
➤ Gurushikhar is near Mount Abu in Rajasthan.
➤ Extends from Delhi Ridge to Ahmedabad.
➤ Aravalli acts as Gangetic water divide.
➤ Nakki lake is located at Mt. Abu.
It is very famous for tourists.
➤ Lies between Aravallis and Vindhyan ranges.
➤ It is very affected by gully erosion.
➤ Rolling Plains are found on this plateau.
➤ Gwalior hills are lying to the north of this plateau.
➤ Chambal and its tributeries have turned the north of this plateau into ravines.
➤ The north-east side of Malwa Plateau is known as Bundelkhand
➤ Chambal and Yamuna rivers have made a bad land in Bundelkhand.
➤ Dhuandhar water falls is in Jabalpur.
➤ It is an outlier of the Peninsular Plateau.
➤ Important ranges and peaks:
1. Dafla, Miri Abor and Mishmi — Eastern Himalayas
2. Patkai, Naga, Mizo, Barail, Rengma, Mikir — East side
3. Garo, Khasi, Jaintia — Meghalaya Plateau.
➤ Lakes — Loktak in Manipur with floating island.
➤ Mynsynram receives highest rainfall.
➤ Parks — Namdapha, Keibul Lamjao, Dampa, Norkrek.
➤ Satpuras are fold mountains.
➤ Mahadeo hills forms the highest portion.
➤ Dhupgarh is the highest peak of Satpura. It is near Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh.
➤ River Tapi rises from Panchmarhi.
➤ Narmada and Tapi rivers are west flowing rivers.
➤ Son river is the biggest tributary
➤ Form a continuous barrier from north to south almost parallel to the Arabian sea.
➤ Extended in 1600 km. long.
➤ General altitude is 900 – 1200 m.and width 50-80 km.
➤ It is standing as a wall. One can across through the pass.
➤ It is vertical to the south-west monsoon.
➤ It is the source of many big rivers.
➤ It is known as Sahyadri in Maharashtra and Karnataka, Nilgiri in Tamilnadu.
➤ Nilgiri is the meeting point of Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats.
➤ Hills of Western Ghats from North to South — Kalsubai — Harishchandra — Mahabaleshwar — Bababudan — Nilgiris — Annamalai— Palani — Cardamom.
➤ Doda Beta (2637) is the highest peak of Nilgiris.
➤ Udagamandalam (Ooty) is a hill station located in Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu.
➤ Anai Mudi is the highest peak of Western Ghats.
➤ Anai Mudi is located in Annamalai hills.
➤ It is falls in Kerala.
➤ Famous hill station Kodaikanal lies in Palani hills in Tamil Nadu.
➤ Pariyar lake is situated in Palani hills.
➤ Western Ghats is divided into two parts named — North Sahyadri and South Sahyadri.
➤ Western Ghats act as a water divide.
➤ Eastern Ghats form a discontinuous line of hills Parallel to east coast.
➤ General altitude is 600 m.
➤ Width is 190km in north and 75 km is south.
➤ Its width decreases from north to south because Peninsular Plateau is triangle is shape.
➤ Mahendragiri is the highest peak is in Odisha.
➤ It is not a source of any big river.
➤ It receives less rainfall.
➤ It is known by different names at different places —
1. Northern circars north of Godavari
2. Palkonda and Nallamala between Godavari and Palar river.
3. Shevaroy and Javadi as Tamil Nadu hills.
➤ Hills from north to south — Nallamala — Erralmala — Velikonda — Palkonda — Javadi — Shevaroy.
➤ Extend from Gujarat to Kerala.
➤ Known by different names at different states —1. Konkan in Gujarat and Goa 2. Kanara in Karnataka. 3. Malabar in Kerala.
➤ Plains are wider in south and narrower in the north.
➤ Garsopa falls (Jog falls) on Karnataka coast are highest in India.
➤ In Kerala, Coast has salt water lakes called lagoons.
➤ Ashtamudi and Vembanad are important lakes located here.
➤ Coastal strip along with Bay of Bengal is broader as compared to the Western coast.
➤ Known as Utkal plains in Odisha.
➤ Chilka lagoon is located in Odisha.
➤ Kolleru lake lies in Andhra Pradesh.
➤ Pulicat lake is located here.
➤ Coromandal Coast is in Tamil Nadu in south.
➤ It is formed by alluvium brought by rivers.
➤ Rivers of this coastal plains are longer and less erosine.
➤ Rivers form deltas
➤ This coast is prone to cyclone and floods.
➤ Ports are lesser than that of Eastern Coast Plains.
➤ Extend from 8°N — 12° N.
➤ Consists of 30 small islands, only 10 of which are populated.
➤ Population consists of moppilis from Kerala.
➤ Some islands are called Attol because of horseshoe shaped.
➤ Minicoy islands lie to the extreme south, it is the largest island of Lakhadeewp.
➤ Extend from 6°39N to 13°34N.
➤ Consist of two groups — Andman Group and Nicobar Group
➤ They are submerged part of Arakanyoma (Myanmar). It is a mountain range.
➤ 10° channel separates Andman from Nicobar.
➤ Little Andman is separate from Great Andman by Duncan passage.
➤ Great Nicobar is the largest island in the group.
➤ Saddle peak is the highest peak of Andaman and Nicobar island located in North Andaman.
➤ Area is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis.
➤ Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is situated in South Andaman.
➤ The barren Island which is India’s only active volcano is situated in the east of Middle Andaman.
➤ Tribes : Onges, Senthelese, Jarawas, Shompens.

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