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Structure and Physiography of Indian Geography Points+Notes

Structure and Physiography of India> Geography Notes


Structure and Physiography of Indian Geography

Structure and Physiography of Indian: Important points are given as a form of notes for your general knowledge. India has a great diversity in its physical features. India can be divided into the following physiography divisions:


  1. The Northern and North-Eastern Mountain
  2. The Northern Planes
  3. The Peninsular Plateau
  4. The Indian Desert
  5. The Coastal Plains
  6. The Islands

Himalay of Indian Geography

The Northern and North-eastern mountains:

The North and North-eastern Mountain consists of the Himalayas and the North-eastern Hills. The Himalaya is one of the youngest fold mountain ranges in the world. It consists of four mountain ranges, namely

(i) The Trans-Himalaya or the Tethys Himalaya

(ii) The Greater Himalaya

(iii) The lesser Himalaya and

(iv) The Shiwalik or the outer Himalayas.

The length of the greater Himalayan range is 2,500 Km from east to west. Width varies between 160-400 km from North to South. (500 km in Kashmir to 200 km in Arunachal Pradesh). The Trans-Himalayas is about 40 km wide. They contain the Tethys sediments.

The Himalaya can be divided into the following subdivisions

  1. Kashmir or Northwestern Himalayas
  2. Himachal and Uttaranchal Himalayas
  3. Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas
  4. Arunachal Himalayas
  5. Eastern Hills and Mountains

Kashmir or Northwestern Himalayas:

Orientation – Northwest to Southeast direction.

Mountain Ranges: Karakoram, Ladakh, Zaskar and Pir Panjal

Karakoram: Highest Peak K2

Ladakh: Situated at the Northeastern part of the Kashmir Himalayas. It is a cold desert. It lies between Karakoram ranges and the Greater Himalayas.

In between the great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal range, lies valley of Kashmir and Dal Lake

Karewa Formation: Kashmir Himalayas are also famous for Karewa formations. It’s deposit consist of silt, sand, and clay. Zafran, a local variety of saffron are cultivated here.

Important Passes:

  • Zoje La – On the Great Himalayas.
  • Banihal – Pir Panjal
  • Photu La – Zaskar
  • Khardung La – Ladakh
  • Fresh Lake: Dal and Wular.

Salt Water lakes: Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri

River: Indus, The Jhelum, the Chenab.

Dal Lake is in Srinagar. Srinagar is located on the banks of Jhelum.

Dun‘ – The southernmost part of this region consists of longitudinal valleys known as ‘duns’. e.g. Jammu dun, Pathankot dun.

Important Peaks: 

  • The Nanga Parbat – 8119 m
  • Nanda Devi – 7817 m
  • Trisul -7140m
  • Kamath 7756m

The Himachal and Uttarkhand Himalayas:

Orientation: North West to Southeast.

Expansion: Between the Ravi in the west and the kali in the east.

All three ranges of Himalayas are prominent in this region.. There is the Great Himalayan range, the lesser Himalayas(locally known as Dhaoladhar in Himachal Pradesh and Nagtibha in Uttarkhand) and the Shiwalik range. The northernmost part of the Himachal Himalaya is an extension of the Ladakh cold desert.

Important Peaks: Nanda Devi -7817 m, Kamath – 7756 m, Trisul – 7140 m, Badrinath -7138 m, Kedarnath- 6940 m

Important Rivers: The Indus, The Ganga, The Ravi, The Beas, The Satluj, The Yamuna, The Gharghara.

Distinguishing Physiography:

Shiwalik, Dun Formations

Important Duns: Chandigarh-Kalka dun, Nalagarh Dun.

Valley of flowers is situated in this region.

Pilgrimage: Gangotri, Yamunotri, kedarnath, Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib.

Five Prayags: Devprayag- The Bhagirathi meets the Alaknanda

Vishnu Prayag– Dhauli meets Vishnu Ganga

Karna Prayag– Pindar meets with Alakananda.

Rudra Prayag– Mandakini or kali Ganga meets with Alakananda.

Prayag (Allahabad) – Yumana meets with Ganga.

Darjiling and Sikkim Himalayas:

Orientation: West to East;

Expansion: Between Nepal Himalayas in the west and Bhutan Himalayas in the east

Important peaks: Kanchenjunga;

Important rivers: Tista.

There is an absence of the Shiwalik formations in Darjeeling Himalayas and Arunachal Himalayas. ‘Duar formation‘ is important in this region.

The Arunachal Himalayas:

Orientation: From the east of the Bhutan Himalayas up to the Diphu pass in the east.

Important Peaks: Kangtu and Namcha Barwa.

Important rivers: the Brahmaputra, the Kameng, the Subansiri, the Dihang, Dibong, and Lohit.

Tribal: Monpa, Abor, Mishmi, Nyishi and the Nagas

The eastern hills and Mountains:

Orientation: North to south direction;

Expansion: These hills have different local names, like, – in the north, they are known as Patkai Bum, Naga hills, the Manipur hills and in the south as Mozo or Lushai hills.

Important rivers: The Barak is in Manipur and Mizoram. The rivers in the eastern part of Manipur are the tributaries of Chindwin, which in turn is a tributary of the Irrawady of Myanmar.

The Northern Plains:

It is an alluvial deposit brought by the rivers - Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra.

Extension: East to the west extends approximately 3200 km, width is between 150 – 300 km.

These plans can be divided into three major zones:

  1. The Bhabar
  2. The Tarai and
  3. The alluvial plains

Bhabar: Extend parallel to the Shiwalik foothills.

Tarai Belt: South of the Bhabar is the Tarai belt.

Alluvial Plans: the south of Tarai has an alluvial deposit. It can be divided int the khadar and the Bhangar. Khadar is the new alluvium and is deposited by floods annually. Bhangar represents older alluvium, deposited away from the flood plains.

The Peninsular Plateau:

General elevation: 600-900 m above the mean sea level. Outer extent: Delhi ridge in the northwest, (extension of Aravalis), The Rajmahal hills in the east, Gir range in the west and the Cordamom hills in the south constitute the outer extent of the Peninsular Plateau. Besides, an extension of this plateau also seen in the northeast as Shillong and Karbi-Anglong plateau. The peninsular plateau is made up of patland such as The Hazaribagh plateau, the Palamu plateau, the Ranchi plateau, the malwa plateau, the Coimbatore plateau, and the Karnataka plateau, etc.


The peninsular plateau can be divided into three groups;

  1. The Deccan Plateau
  2. The Central Highlands
  3. The Northeastern Plateau;

The Deccan plateau

It is bordered by the western ghats in the west, eastern Ghats in the east and the Satpura, the Maikal range and Mahadev hills in the north. The local name of Western Ghats is Sahyadri in Maharashtra. Nilgiri hills in Karnataka and T.N. Anaimalai Hills and Cardamom hills in Kerala. The general elevation is about 1500 m with the height increasing from north to south.

Highest PeakAnaimudi (2695 m) on the Nilgiri hills.

Eastern Ghat: It is discontinuous and has low hills with highly eroded by the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna, the Kaveri, etc.

Important Ranges: The Javaki hills, the Palconda range, the Nallamala hills, the Mahendragiri hills, etc.

The Western Ghats are higher than the Eastern Ghats. The eastern and the western ghats meet each other at the Nilgiri hills.

The Central Highlands:

It forms the northernmost boundary of the Deccan Plateau. The central highlands are bounded to the west by the Aravali range, to the south by the Satpura range. The extension of the Peninsular plateau can be seen as far as Jaisalmer in the west. The central highlands slope towards the north and northeastern directions. An Eastern extension of the central highland is formed by the Rajmahal hills, to the south of which lies the Chotanagpur plateau.

The Northeastern Plateau:

Now the Meghalaya and Karbi Anglong plateau stand de-touched from the main peninsular Block. The Meghalaya plateau is further sub-divided into three:

(i) The Garo Hills;

(ii) The Khasi Hills

(iii) The Jaintia Hills;

An extension of this is also seen in the Karbi Anglong hills of Assam. The Meghalaya plateau is rich in mineral resources like coal, iron ore, sillimanite, limestone, and uranium.

The Indian Desert:

To the north-west of the Aravali hills lies the Great Indian desert. During the Mesozoic era, this region was under the rock structure of the desert is an extension of the Peninsular plateau. The desert can be divided int two parts; The northern part is slopping towards Sindh and the Southern part is slopping towards the Rann of Kachchh. Most of the rivers in this region are ephemeral. Luni is an important river in this desert.

The Coastal Plains:

It can be divided into two: The western coastal Plains and The eastern coastal plains.

The western coastal plains are narrow in the middle and get broader towards north and south. This plain is narrow and provides natural conditions for the development of ports and harbor.

The western coastal divided as the Kachchh and Kathiawar coast in Gujarat, Konkan coast in Maharashtra, the Goan coast and Malabar coast in Karnataka and Kerala respectively.

Kayal: The Malabar coast has got certain distinguishing features in the form of ‘kayals’ (backwaters), which are used for fishing and inland navigation.

The eastern coastal plain is broader than the western coastal plain. It is an emergent coast. The Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri form delta in this plain.

The Islands:

There are two major island groups in India – one in the Bay of Bengal and the other in the Arabian Sea.

The Bay of Bengal Island group consists of about 572 islands. These islands are divided into two categories the Andaman in the North and the Nicobar in the South. They have separated from the Ten-degree channel. These islands are an elevated portion of submarine mountains. Barren Island – The only active volcano in India is also situated in the Nicobar island.

Highest Peak - saddle Peak situated in the North Andaman (642 m).

The islands of the Arabian Sea include Lakshadweep and Minicoy. There are approximately 36 islands. Minicoy is the largest island. The entire group of islands is broadly divided by the eleventh-degree channel, north of which is the Amini island and to the south of the canannore island.


Hi, I am SOM, a State Added (WB) Lecturer in Physics at a College, Part-time blogger, and founder of, started blogging since 2015 and still learning.