India is the seventh largest country in the world, deriving its name from the river Indus which flows through the north western part of the country.
Indian mainland extends in the tropical and subtropical zones from latitude 8°4' north to 37°6' north and from longitude 68°7' east to 97°25' east.
The southernmost point in Indian territory, the Indira Point (formerly called pygmalion Point) ,is situated at 6°30' north in the Nicobar islands.
The northernmost point of India lies in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and it is known as Indira Col.
Area Dimensions
Distance from north to south 3214 km.
Distance from east to West 2933 km.
Length of coastline including Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep island is 7516.6 km. (Main land Coast line length: 6,100 kms).
Length of land frontier 15200 km.Total geographic land area 32,87,263 which is roughly 0.57% of the area of the earth and 8.4% of total area of the land hemisphere.
North - The Himalayan range and Nepal separate India from Tibet. The protected state of Bhutan also lies in the north-east. The boundary line between India and China is called MacMahon Line.
East - Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh forming an enclave within India and the Bay of Bengal
West - In the north-west India shares a boundary mainly with Pakistan and the Arabian Sea in the west.
North-West - Afghanistan and Pakistan are situated on the north-west of India.
South - To the south of lndia are the Indian Ocean and Sri Lanka. The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait separate India from Sri Lanka on the eastern side.
Physical Features
India comprises five well-marked physical divisions,viz.:
  1. The Himalayan Range
  2. The Northern Plains
  3. The Deccan Plateau
  4. The Coastal Plateau
  5. The Deccan Mountains
The Himalayan Range
The Himalayan Range
The Karakoram mountain ranges rise from the Pamir Knot in the north-west and stretches towards south-east up to the Indus Gorge in Jammu and Kashmir.
The world's second highest mountain peak K2 (Godwin Austen) which has a height of 8.610 metres, belongs to this chain of mountains.
Famous Baltoro Glacier also lies in the high valleys of Karakoram ranges. To the south of the Karakoram mountains is the Ladakh range and further below southwards is the Zaskar range of mountains, both of which lie in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Himalayas, which form almost a 2,500 kilometre long continuous mountain wall on India's north, extending from Indus in the west to Brahmaputra in the east, can be divided into western, central and eastern Himalayas.
The Himalayan Range Cont.
The Himalayas broadly consist of three parallel ranges of mountains viz.

  1. The Himadri
  2. The Himachal
  3. The Siwaliks
Greater Himalayas (Himadri Range):
The Himadri or the Greater Himalayas comprise the northern most range and lie on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau.
It is the highest mountain peak, Mount Everest (8, 848 metres) in Nepal, belongs to the Greater Himalayas.
Kanchenjunga (8,597 metres), Nanga Parbat (8,125 metres) and Nanda Devi (7, 816 metres) are the highest peaks of the Greater Himalayas in India.
Lessor (or) Middle Himalayas:
South of the Himadri lies the Himachal range, which is also known as the Middle or the Lesser Himalayas, which has a height varying between 3, 700 and 4, 500 metres above sea level.
This range of alternating ridges and valleys and highly dissected uplands contains many of India's important hill stations.
The beautitul Kashmir, Kulu and Kangra valleys of India and Kathmandu valley in Nepal, lie in this mountain range.
The popular hill stations of Shimla, Mussoorie, Nainital and Darjeeling are also located on the Himachal range.
The Siwalik Range:
The Siwalik range is the southern most range of Himalayas which is the lowest among the Himalayan ranges with a height of between 900 to 1,200 metres above the sea level.
Made up of mud and soil rocks, it is a discontinuous range which lies on the northern border of the Ganga plain and extends towards east to merge with the main mountains.
The Northern Plains
The Northern Plains:
These Great Northern Plains consist of the Indus basin, the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin and the tributaries of these mightly,river systems.
The bulk of the Indus basin falls within Pakistan but a part of it is shared by Punjab and Haryana. The Ganga-Brahmaputra basin is larger of the two and covers a large number of States in northern India.
There is practically no difference in geomorphological features of the two parts, viz., the Indus basin and the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin-except the water divide is made by a low narrow ridge or Aravalli range passing through Delhi and Ambala.
The Northern Plain Cont,
According to the terrain characteristics, this plain can be divided into two parts:
(i) The upland plain ,which lies above the flood level and is made up of old alluvium soil. This plain is called the Bangar Land; and
(ii) The lowland plain, which is liable to inundation during floods and thus acquires fresh doses of new alluvium. This is also called the Khadar Land.
The Deccan (Peninsular) Plateau
The Deccan (Peninsular) Plateau:
To the south of the Great Plains of northern India lies the old landmass of the Peninsular India which is made up of hard metamorphic rocks.
This part of land adjoining northern plains,is known as the Great Plateau of Peninsular India.
This Great Plateau has two distinct parts, viz.,

  1. The Malwa Plateau
  2. The Deccan Plateau
The Malwa Plateau
The Malwa Plateau which comprises the northern region of the Great Plateau of Peninsular India is bounded by the Aravalli hills in the north-west and the Vindhyas in the south, both these low old mountains forming the sharp edges of this plateau.
The valley of the river Narmada forms the southern boundary of the Malwa Plateau, while its extensions to the east form the Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand in southern Uttar Pradesh and Chota Nagpur in southern Bihar.
The Malwa Plateau, particularly its north-eastern part called Chota Nagpur plateau,,is the richest mineral producing region of lndia.
The Decccan Plateau
The Deccan Plateau, which is roughly of a triangular shape, extends from the Satpura hills in the north to Kanyakumari,the southern most tip of India ending in the Indian Ocean.
On the western edge of the Plateau lie the Sahyadri, the Nilgiri, the Annamalai and the Cardamom Hills, commonly known as the Western Ghats.
Anaimudi peak in Kerala, with a height of 2,695 metres above the sea level, is the highest peak of the Peninsular India. In the Nilgiris lies the Ootacamund, the most well-known hill station of southern India.
The Deccan Plateau Cont.,
The eastern edge of the Deccan Plateau is less marked as the Eastern Ghats have discontinuous low hills called Mahendra Giri.
All the major rivers of the Deccan Plateau, viz., Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery, flow from west to east and piercing through these low discontinuous ranges of the Eastern Ghat hill merge into the Bay of Bengal.
Only Narmada and Tapti are the two major rivers which flow from east to west and fall in the Arabian Sea.
The north-western part of the Great Plateau is made up of lava flows or the igneous rocks called Basalt, also known as Deccan Trap.
Regur or Black soil is especially suited to cotton cultivation and makes this region the most important cotton growing belt in India.
The Great Desert of Rajasthan:
To the north-west of the Malwa Plateau lies the Thar Desert or the Great Desert of Rajasthan.
The desert, which is made up of sand, interrupted by rocky hills and waterless valleys begins from the west of the Aravalli ranges and extends deep into Pakistan.
This desert is the region of inland drainage system, as the few rivers that flow in this area either drain into the salt lakes or disappear into the sands.
Coastal (Plains) Plateau
Coastal (Plains) Plateau:
The Deccan Plateau is flanked, on its west and east, by narrow coastal plains along the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The Western Coastal Plain lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea.
The southern part of the Western Coastal Plain, called the Malabar Coast, is narrow, uneven and gradually dissected by a number of fast flowing streams and rivers.
The northern part of the Western Coastal Plains, called the Konkan Coast and the southern portion is called the Malabar
The eastern coastal plain, lying between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal, is wider and more levelled and it contains some of the most fertile and well-watered deltas formed by Krishna, Cauvery, Godavari and Mahanadi rivers.
The southern part of the Eastern Coastal Plain is known as Coromandel Coastand its northern part is known as the Northern Sircars. The soils of eastern coast are deep and fertile.
The Deccan Mountains
The Deccan Mountains:
The mountains of peninsular India include:
The Aravallis The oldest mountain range in India, reach an elevation of 5650 ft.
The Vindhyas Separate the southern part of India from its northern part, with an average height of 2500-4000 ft.
The Satpuras are situated between the river Narmada and Tapti.
Western Ghats The western flank of the Deccan tableland is guarded by Western Ghats, a portion of which is called the Sahyadari hills.
Eastern Ghats Flank the eastern part of peninsular India.
Indian Islands
There are two groups of Islands, viz.
Andaman and Nicobar the northern cluster of 204 small islands are the Andaman and the southern cluster of 19 small islands are the Nicobar islands. Together they form the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar with Port Blair as its capital.
Lakshadweep are a group of 27 coral islands scattered in the Arabian sea, 300 km to the west of Kerala coast; only 10 of which are inhabited. Together they form the Union Territory of Lakshadweep with Kavaratti island as its capital.