Geography of India

India, the 7th largest country in the world in terms of geographic area, has been a highly visible fixture on the world map since time immemorial, primarily due to its peninsular structure along the ridged coastlines of South Asia. The Indian subcontinent, as it is widely known, is based upon the foundation of the Indian Tectonic Plate, once part of the ancient Gondwanaland structure during the pre-historic ages.

India occupies a prominent position on the southern end of the Asian Peninsula flanked by water bodies on three sides. While the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal are located on the western and the eastern parts of the peninsula respectively, the Indian Ocean is positioned at the extreme south of the country. The northern part of the country is dotted with a slew of mountain ranges, the most important of which is the Himalayan Range extending from the northern frontier all the way to the north eastern regions. The country borders Pakistan along the north-western region, Nepal, China and Bhutan along the north-eastern region, Myanmar at the extreme east and Bangladesh along the interior eastern region.

The northern and central parts of the country are teeming with mountains, plateaus and highlands with the Thar Desert covering significant portions of the north-western region, confined to the state of Rajasthan. With the Vindhya Mountains virtually drawing the mid-section of the country across Madhya Pradesh, the Aravali range spanning across the entire Rajasthan and the Satpura mountains stretching from the interiors of Gujarat till the central bounds of Chattisgarh, this part of the country is home to a medley of dry, non-arable terrains littered with occasional instances of fertile valleys. Similarity in terrain can also be observed along the Western Ghats running across Maharashtra and Eastern Ghats demarcating the border of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

The North-Eastern region sheltered under the heights of the Himalayan range is witness to mountainous terrains culminating in peaks and extreme highlands. Sunderban Delta, formed at the confluence of the rivers Hoogly and Padma in West Bengal has one of the highest concentrations of mangroves in the world. The southern part of the country is mainly composed of valleys alongside important water bodies in the form of rivers like Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery.

The northern region plays host to the fertile Indo-Gangetic plains stretching along the path of the river Ganges, one of the most important rivers in this region. Other major rivers in the north and north-eastern regions include the Brahmaputra, Yamuna, Beas, Rabi, Sutlej, Gomti, Soan among others. The central part of the country has Narmada, Taapi, Mahanadi, Suvernrekha lined up meandering through multiple states before meeting either the Bay of the Bengal or the Arabian Sea. Vast patches of cultivable lands can be observed along the banks of these great water bodies aiding the development of agriculture in this region. In the states of South India, rivers like Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery have contributed immensely to cultivation and generation of hydro-electric power, very similar to what some of the biggest rivers in the northern and central parts of the country have done.

The entire Indian subcontinent is dependent on the monsoon, a type of seasonal rainfall experienced during the months of June – October, to meet the necessary water replenishment. Climatic condition in most part of the country is tropical in nature, with intense humidity along the coastlines and absolute aridity in the interiors of northern and central India. In the extreme north and the north-eastern regions, areas surrounded by the hilly exteriors of the Himalayas, severe chill supplemented by seasonal snow-falls can be expected.