New Top India-Physiography notes for UPSC
1. Northern Mountains:
The Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range, form India’s northern border.
They include the Greater Himalayas, Lesser Himalayas, and Outer Himalayas.
Some prominent peaks are Mount Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga.
2. Indo-Gangetic Plain:
Lies between the Himalayas and the Deccan Plateau.
Fertile alluvial soil, making it a major agricultural region.
Major rivers like the Ganges and Yamuna flow through this plain.
3. Peninsular Plateau:
The Deccan Plateau covers a large portion of southern India.
Comprises volcanic formations, hills, and plateaus.
Western and Eastern Ghats are the boundary mountains.
4. Coastal Plains:
Western Coast: Lies along the Arabian Sea, with the Western Ghats running parallel.
Eastern Coast: Borders the Bay of Bengal and is wider and flatter compared to the Western Coast.
5. Thar Desert:
Located in the northwestern region of India.
It is a hot desert characterized by arid conditions and sand dunes.
India has two groups of islands – the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.
7. River Systems:
The major rivers in India include the Ganges, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Indus, Godavari, Krishna, and Mahanadi.
These rivers play a crucial role in India’s agriculture, economy, and culture.
8. Western and Eastern Ghats:
Western Ghats run parallel to the western coast and are known for their rich biodiversity.
Eastern Ghats run parallel to the eastern coast and are generally lower in elevation.
9. Plateaus and Hills:
Apart from the Deccan Plateau, other notable plateaus include Chota Nagpur Plateau and Malwa Plateau.
Aravalli Range is one of the oldest mountain ranges in India.
10. Climate Variation:
– India experiences diverse climates, ranging from tropical in the south to temperate in the north.
11. Natural Resources:
– India’s physiography hosts a variety of natural resources such as minerals, forests, fertile soils, and water bodies.
12. Geological Diversity:
– India’s geological history has contributed to its varied landscape, including plains, plateaus, mountains, and valleys.
These notes offer an overview of India’s physiography. The diverse geographical features have had a significant impact on the country’s culture, economy, and biodiversity.
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Most Important India-Physiography study material
1. THE NORTHERN MOUNTAINS: The Himalayan mountains form the northern mountain region of India. They are the highest mountain ranges in the world. They have the highest peaks, deep valleys, glaciers etc. These mountain ranges start from Pamir Knot in the west and extend up to Purvanchal in the east. They extend over 2,500 km. They have been formed during different stages of continental drift of the Gondwanaland mass. There are three parallel ranges in the Himalayas. They are (a) The Greater Himalayas or Himadri, (b) The Lesser Himalayas or Himachal and (c) The Outer Himalayas or Siwaliks.
2. NORTH INDIAN PLAIN: The North Indian plain is also called the Gangetic plain. The total area of this plain is about 6,52,000 sq. km. This plain is situated between the Himalayan Mountains in the north and the Peninsular plateau in the south and is formed by the alluvium brought down by the rivers. The plain is very fertile and agriculture is the main occupation of the people. Many perennial rivers flow across the plain. Since the land is almost flat, it is very easy to construct irrigation canals and have inland navigation. It has excellent roads and railways, which are helpful for the establishment of many industries. 40% of the total population of India lives here and it is called “The heart of India”.
3. PENINSULAR PLATEAU: It is the largest of India’s physical divisions. It is the oldest and is formed of hard rocks. The Narmada rift valley divides the peninsular plateau into two parts. They are the Malwa plateau and the Deccan plateau. The Malwa plateau is bounded by the Aravalli hills in the north-west and the Vindhya Mountains in the south. The total area of both these plateaus is 7,05,000 sq. km. and the shape is triangular. The Malwa plateau slopes towards the Gangetic Plain. The highest peak on the Aravallis is Mt. Guru Shikhar. The Deccan plateau is surrounded by the Satpura hills, the Mahadeo hills, the Maikala range, the Amarkantak hills and the Rajmahal hills in the north and the Western Ghats in the west and the Eastern Ghats in the east. The Western Ghats are called Sahyadris in Maharashtra and Karnataka and further south they are called Nilgiris in Kerala and Annamalai range, Cardamom and Palani hills in Tamilnadu. Anaimudi in Annamalai range (2,695 mts.) is the highest peak in South India. The Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats meet in the Nilgiri hills. The Peninsular plateau has economic importance because of its rich mineral resources and many rivers, which have waterfalls. They help in the generation of hydroelectric power. The plateau is also suitable for the cultivation of cotton and the dense forests are the home of many wild animals.
4. COASTAL PLAINS AND ISLANDS: Excluding the islands, the mainland of India has 6,100 kms length of coastline. It extends from Kachchh in Gujarat in the west to the Gangetic delta in the east. The coast of India is divided into western coast and eastern coastal plains. The western coastal plain lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea and from the Gulf of Kachchh in the north upto Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari) in the south, with a length of about 1,500 km. It is divided into Malabar coast, Karnataka coast(Canara), Konkan coast, Gujarat coast and Kachchh and Kathiawad peninsulas. The coast is straight and affected by the South-West Monsoon winds over a period of six months. So, there are only a few good harbours Mumbai, Marmagoa, Cochin, Mangalore, Karwar, Nhava-Sheva and Kandla are the important ports on the West Coast. The eastern coast extends from Kanyakumari to the Gangetic delta and between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal. It consists of the deltas of rivers Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri. It is a broad and flat land. There are some salt water lakes or lagoons. Chilka Lake of Orissa and Pulicat Lake of Tamilnadu are the best examples. The Eastern Coast is
divided into Coromandel coast in the south and Utkal coast in the north. The coastal regions of India are noted for agriculture, trade, industrial centres, tourist centres, fishing and salt making. They provide important hinterlands for the ports. These coastal plains play a very important role in the economic development of India.
ISLANDS OF INDIA: There are 247 islands in India, out of which there are 204 islands in the Bay of Bengal and 43 islands in the Arabian Sea. There are a few coral islands in the Gulf of Mannar also. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal consist of hard volcanic rocks. The middle Andaman and Great Nicobar Islands are the largest islands of India. Lakshadweep islands in the Arabian Sea are formed by corals. The southern – most point of India is in the Greater Nicobar Island. It is called Indira Point (formerly it was called Pigmalion Point),now submerged after 2004 Tsunami.
SIGNIFICANCE OF HIMALAYAS-
1) Strategic significance. A natural frontier of India with other countries(China, Pakistan, Afghanistan,etc)
2) Climatic significance. Prevent further northward movement of summer monsoon and also prevent cold northern winds from Siberia to enter into India.
3) Agricultural significance. Formation of Himalayas created a trough to its south which is later filled by the sediments from the Himalayan rivers which is today known as northern plains-Indo- gangetic plains- Rich agricultural grounds.
4) Economic significance- Himalayan rivers have huge hydro-electric power potential. Moreover, Himalyan timber and medicinal plants have economic significance.
5) Tourist spot- large ecological diversity and hill stations.
SIGNIFICANCE OF INDIAN OCEAN FOR INDIA-
1) Strategic significance- India overlooks some of the most important sea lanes viz suez canal, Malacca strait.
2) Economic significance- Long coastline, 2.02 million sq km EEZ ( exclusive economic zone)- Hydrocarbons, fishery potential, wave energy, tidal energy, OTEC.
3) Marine biodiversity and rich ecosystem with coral reefs, mangroves- Tourist attraction.
4) SW monsoon generates in Indian ocean.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WESTERN GHATS AND EASTERN GHATS- WESTERN GHATS
– More continuous
– Higher in elevation
– Sahayadris, anamalai, nilgiri and cardamom hills
– Form excellent escarpments Rich watersheds give birth to large peninsular rivers like Godavari and Krishna.
– Separated from coast by narrow coastal plains.
– Lower in elevation
– Do not develop steep escarpments, lack well developed peaks.
– Do not give birth to important rivers like western ghats.
– Separated from coast by very wide coastal plains.
– Geologically older than western ghats.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOB ISLANDS AND ARABIAN SEA ISLANDS-
ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS- These are volcanic islands representing submarine volcanism. These island represent the surfaces of submerged folds.( extension of Himalayas- and precisely Arakan yoma fold mountains of Myanmar). These islands are formed of granitic rocks. Have hills and tall peaks like saddle peak. Climate is equatorial. Andd comprise of tropical rain-forests.
LAKSHADWEEP ISLANDS- These are a union of coral islands, entirely different from A & N islands, comprising of large number of dead corals, fringing, barrier coral reefs and atolls. Thus these islands have calcium rich soils- organic limestones. Have scattered vegetation of palm species.
DECCAN TRAP AND ITS CHARACTERISTICS-
It is the deccan plateau region which includes Kathiawar plateau of Gujarat and most of Maharashtra, south west MP and NW Karnataka.
It is a volcanic plateau made up of horizontal layers of solidified lava forming trap structure which have a step like appearance. In between the layers of solidified lava, sedimentary layers are also found thus making it inter- trappean in structure. The deccan plateau slopes towards east and south and descends abruptly towards west making sahayadri ranges.
COASTAL ECOSYSTEM & ITS POLLUTION IN INDIA-
The coastal domain is from 200 m above to 200m below sea level. Coastal ecosystem presents a delicate equilibrium among different components, viz. estuaries, coral reefs, salt marshes, mangrove swamps, macrophyte dominated regions, continental shelves, etc. at a given time.
Most pollution in India arises from land-based sources – industrial & domestic wastes and agricultural run-off. Shipping and associated ship-building, breaking and port activities are becoming increasingly significant. The crop of recently started coastally located industries use sea-water as a resource and the coastal domain as a sink of altered sea-water [temperature and density]. These pose newer, more direct threats to sensitive eco areas.
Indian coasts have a large variety of sensitive eco-systems. Sand dunes, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds 7
wet lands are some that deserve special mention. Some of these are the spawning grounds and nurseries of a
number of commercially important fishes, gastropods and crustaceans. A critical feature of these ecosystems are
the variety of bioactive molecules that they host.
Thus, sustainable development of the coastal ecosystem is must. Sustainable development can be described as
“the proper use and care of the coastal environment borrowed from future generations”.
SHORT NOTES ON-
Bhabhar- a zone of porous and rocky soils made up of debris washed down from the higher ranges. The rivers usually disappear in this belt. The Bhabhar and the lower Shiwalik ranges have a subtropical climate. This belt is just above terai.
Terai- Above the alluvial plain lies the Terai strip, a seasonally marshy zone of sand and clay soils. The Terai has higher rainfall than the plains, and the downward-rushing rivers of the Himalaya slow down and spread out in the flatter Terai zone, depositing fertile silt during the monsoon season and receding in the dry season. The Terai has a high water table due to groundwater percolating down from the adjacent zone.
Natural Vegetation of India
The following are the principal types of natural vegetation in India: (1) Tropical Evergreen Rain Forests, (2) Deciduous or Monsoon Type of Forests, (3) Dry Deciduous Forests and Scrubs, (4) Semi Vegetations, (5) Tidal or Mangrove Forests and (6) Mountain Forests.
: These forests grow in areas where rainfall is more than 200 cm. They are mainly found on the slopes of the Western Ghats and the Northeastern regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, the Tarai areas of the Himalayas and the Andaman groups of Islan have dense growth. Important varieties of trees are sishu, chap lash, rosewood, mahogany, bamboos, garjan and Deciduous or Monsoon type of forests: These forests are found in areas where the rainfall is between 100 and 200 cm. These forests grow on the lower slope of the Himalayas, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and the adjoining regions. The trees of these forests shed their leaves during dry winter and dry summer. The main trees are teak, sal, sandalwood, deodar, blue gum, ebony, sis am, jackfruit, mahua, pal ash, arjun, khair and bamboo.
: These forests grow in areas where the rainfall is between 50 cm and 100 cm.
These are found in areas of central Deccan plateau, South-east of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar (1) Tropical Evergreen Rain Forests, (2) Deciduous or Monsoon Type of Forests, (3) Dry Deciduous Forests and Scrubs, (4) Semi- Desert and Desert rests grow in areas where rainfall is more than 200 cm. They are mainly found on the slopes of the Western Ghats and the Northeastern regions of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, the Tarai areas of the Himalayas and the Andaman groups of Islands. The trees in these belts have dense growth. Important varieties of trees are sishu, chap lash, rosewood, mahogany, bamboos, garjan and
: These forests are found in areas where the rainfall is between 100 cm and 200 cm. These forests grow on the lower slope of the Himalayas, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and the adjoining regions. The trees of these ter and dry summer. The main trees are teak, sal, sandalwood, deodar, Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Dwarf Deciduous trees and long- grasses grow in these regions. Most of the areas are used for agriculture. Semi- deserts and Deserts vegetations: These types of vegetation grow in areas where rainfall is less than 50 cm. Mostly thorny bushes, acacia, babul and sand binding grasses are found in this vegetation zone. The Indian wild date is common in these deserts. These plants grow far apart from each other. They have long roots and thick fleshy stems in which they store water ti survive during the long drought. These vegetations are found in
Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat’s, Punjab and Karnataka.
Tidal or Mangrove forests: These forests grow along the coast and on the edges of the deltas e.g., the deltas of the Ganga, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri. They are called ‘Tidal Forests’. In West Bengal these forests are known as ‘Sundarbans’. The ‘sundari’ is most significant tree in these forests. The other notable trees of these forests are hogla, garan, gewa, golpata, gilepata, pasur etc. These forests are supply timber and fire wood. Palm and coconut trees adorn the coastal strip.
Mountain forests: Mountain forests vary considerably along the slopes of mountain. On the foothills of the Himalayas unto a height of 1500 meters, evergreen trees, (Sal, teak, bamboo and cane) grow abundantly. On higher slope between 1,500 meters to 3,500 meters, temperate conifer trees, (pine, fir, oak, maple, deodar, laurel spruce, ceder) grow. At the higher altitude of the Himalayas, rhododendrons and junipers are found. Beyond these vegetation belts, alpine grasslands appear up to snowfield.
– Obstruct oncoming high waves and tides thus protect coastal erosion
– Absorb pollutants
– Reduce coastal erosion
– Absorb storm energy
– Rich breeding grounds for fish
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