Name the physiographic units of India and briefly explain their formation

Broadly, India may be divided into four major geomorphological components namely,

1. The Himalayas and their associated mountain chains
2. The Indo-gangetic plains
3. The peninsular plateau
4. The Coastal plains


a. The Himalayas are the youngest folded mountains in the world.

b. According to Geologists, during Mesozoic times (about 225 to 70 million years ago), the entire Himalayan area as well as the Great Indo-Gangetic plains were occupied by Tethys sea.

c. To the north of Tethys sea, the then land-mass was called as Angarland and to the south of it, it was called Gondawanaland which contained the present peninsular India.

d. In course of time, these two land masses split up and began to move apart.

e. In the process of movement of these two land masses, the weaker Tethys sea region began to get compressed and buckled up(give away under longitudinal pressure).

f. Over the next few million years, due to immense compressional force, the sediments deposited in the Tethys sea were folded to acquire the present form of the Himalayas.


a. The Indo-gangetic plains have occupied the intervening space between the peninsular plateau and the Himalayan Mountains.

b. Intially, it was a part of Tethys sea and later it is believed to be a ‘foredeep’ formed in the wake of the Himalayan uplift.

c. The rivers rising from the Himalayas brought an immense amount of detrital material and deposited it in this depression.
d. The deposition of the alluvium, that is fine silt, sediments deposited by water through out the Pleistocene period(The last million years or the last 600,000 years), up to the present has led to the formation of the Great plain.

e. The Great plains are named after the two major Himalayan river systems are the Indus and the Ganges which drain the entire plains.


a. The Peninsular plateau is situated to the south of the Great plains. Covering an area of 16 lakh sq.Kms.

b. This Plateau constitutes the largest physiographic component of the country.

c. Once it was a part of Gondawana land made up of hard igneous and metamorphic rocks.

d. According to Geologists, this plateau is a block of the old crystal rocks lifted above the sea level in the pre-cambrain times (about 600 million years ago) and never submerged again.

e. It is an old Great landmass from very early times. With a general elevation of 600-900mts. The plateau has an irregular triangular shape.


a. The Deccan Plateau is flanked by the coastal plains of varying width all along the Arabian sea and the Bay of Bengal.

b. The West coastal plains is narrow and uneven and interspersed(spread or distributed) by hilly terrain.

c. The Eastern Coastal Plains have large rivers, deltas and lakes.

What are the parallel ranges of the Himalayas? Explain

The Himalayas comprise three parallel ranges

a. The Himadri(Greater Himalayas)
b. The Himachal (Lesser Himalayas)
c. The Siwaliks (outer Himalayas)


1. Out of all the Himalayan ranges, this is the highest and most continuous range found with an average elevation of about 6100mts.
2. This range has the World’s highest and prominent peaks which exceed 8000mts height such as
1. Mt. Everest(8848mts)
2. Kanchenjunga(8598mts)
3. Makalu(8481 mts)
4. Dhaulagiri(8177 mts)
5. Manaslu(8156 mts)
6. Cho Oyu(8153 mts)
7. Nanga Parbat(8126 mts)
8. Annapurna(8078 mts)
9. Nanda Devi(7817 mts) and
10. Namcha Burwa(7756 mts).

3. The Himadri range is formidable fearful and snowbound throughout the year.

4. This range is mainly composed of crystalline and Metamorphic rocks, such as granites, schists and gneisses.


1. The range south of the Himadri is known as Himachal with a varying width of 60-80kms. And an altitude of 1000-4500 mts.

2. The Pir Panjal Range of Kashmir is the longest (400 kms) and the most important Himachal range. The average height of this range is about 4000mts.

3. The famous valley of Kashmir lies between the Greater Himalayas and the pir panjal range of lesser Himalayas.

4. The south- west ward extension of pir panjal range is called the Dhaula Dhar Range on which simla is situated.

5. Many of the hill stations like simla, Mussoorie, Nainital, Chakrata and Ranikhet are situated in the Himachal ranges at an altitude between 1500 and 2000mts.


1. The southern most range of Himalayas is the siwalik. It forms a continous chain of hills extending from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh.

2. The siwaliks are also called by different names in different regions. In jammu region, they are named Jammu hills and in Arunachal Pradesh Mishmi Hills.
3. The Siwalik hills have been made up of tertiary sediments like sands, gravels and conglomerates which are all erosion products brought about by the Himalayan rivers.

3. Describe the importance of Himalayas?


1. The Himalayan mountains act like barriers protecting the great plains of India from the cold winds of central Asia during winter.

2. They are responsible for causing rainfall in the plains during summer and ultimately to have a monsoon type of climate in the country, without which India would have been a tropical desert.

3. The rivers originating in the glaciers of these mountains resulted in the perennial flow of water which ultimately had a great significance on the economic development of the Great plains.

4. The Himalayas are also known for having some beautiful valleys like Kashmir, Kulu, Kangra, Katmandu and others and some hill stations have been attracting people from all over the world and promoted ‘tourism’ and foreign exchange earnings.

5. The Himalayan valleys are also known for the cultivation of fruits.

6. The Alpine vegetation of these mountains is an important contribution to the forest economy.

7. There are some gaps in these mountain ranges providing a natural route across. They are called passes.

8. Some important passes are Khyber, Bolan, Karakoram, Shipkila, Nathula, and Bomidila through which there was a great exchange of culture and commerce with the neighbouring countries in the ancient times.

9. They provide an opportunity for the mountaineers to satisfy their sporting desire of climbing up mountains and establish records.

10. Himalayas provides large potential for hydro electric power.

What is a Pass? Give examples

a. There are some gaps in the Himalayan mountain ranges providing a natural route across. They are called passes.

b. Some important passes are Khyber, Bolan, Karakoram, Shipkila, Nathula, Bomidila through which there was a great exchange of culture and commerce with the neighbouring countries in the ancient times.

What is a’DUN’? Give examples for the Himalayan Region

a. The Siwaliks are backed by a discontinuous series of narrow longitudinal flat-bottomed strike valleys, termed ‘DUNS’ which separate the siwalik range from the Himachal.

b. The prominent ‘dun valleys’ are Dehardun in Uttaranchal and Patli Dun in Uttar Pradesh and Kotli Dun in Jammu.

c. The Duns are covered with deep deposits of silt and rock brought down by the Himalayan rivers.

Name the important peaks of the Himalayas

The important peaks in the Himalayas are:

d. Mount Everest(8848mts)
e. Kanchenjunga(8598mts)
f. Makalu (8481mts)
g. Dhaulagiri (8177mts)
h. Manaslu (8156mts)
i. Cho oyu (8153mts)
j. Nanga parbat (8126mts)
k. Annapurna (8078mts)
l. Nanda Devi (7817mts)
m. Namcha burwa (7756mts).

What is a Plain? Describe the surface differences recognized with the geomorphology of Great plains


A Plain is generally a fertile land and level surface, gentle and with heights for less than a plateau. Most of them are good for agriculture since they have fertile land. four important surface differences are recognized with the geomorphology of the plains. They are:

1. Bhabar
2. Terai
3. Bhangar
4. Khadar


a. Rivers flowing from the Himalayas deposit gravel and unassorted sediments in
fans along the foot of the siwaliks.
b. This pebble studded zone porous beds is known a Bhabar.

c. It forms a narrow belt, only 8 to 16 kms. Width in northern boundary of the
great plains of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.


a. Many small Himalayan rivers flow under ground through Bhabar zone and
re-emerge on the surface from the bhabar belt and flood regularly creating
15-30 kms wide marshy tract called Terai.

b. This zone is found with excessive dampness with a thick growth of forest and
a variety of wild life.


The older alluvium of the flood plain is called the Bhangar.


The newer alluvium of the flood plain is called the Khadar. The alluvial beds
of both older and newer of the flood plains are very fertile and important for
the development of agriculture in the Great plains.

Explain the different divisions of the Great plains

The great plains of our country comprise of

1. The Punjab-Haryana plains.
2. The Rajasthan plains
3. The Ganga plains of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal and
4. The Brahmaputra valley of Assam.


a. The Punjab-Haryana plains begin from the west bank of the yamuna on the
east and joining slightly into the Rajasthan plains on the south and the plains of
Pakistan on the west.

b. These plains cover an area of 1.75 lakh

c. Rivers like the Ravi, the Bias and the Sutlej drain most of these plains.

a. The Rajasthan plains include the Marusthali or Marwar and the adjoining
areas to the west of Aravallis stretching an area of 1.75 lakh sq.kms.

b. These plains consist vast stretches of sand dunes with few out crops of
bedrock or gneisses, schists and granites.


a. The Ganga plains of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal cover an area of 3.57 lakh sq.kms. and drain south-east to the Bay of Bengal.

b. The Ganga and its tributaries, Yamuna, Son, Ghaghara, Gandak and Kosi drain these plains.

c. The Upper Ganga plain in Uttar Pradesh is relatively steeper in slope and causes devastating floods.

d. The Middle Ganga plain includes the portion of Uttar Pradesh plains and the whole of Bihar plains.

e. The Lower Ganga plain includes the whole of West Bengal.

f. A wide belt of the delta running along the sea is covered with tidal forests called sundarbans.


a. The Bramhaputra valley of Assam is a low level plain with a general width of 90 to 100kms surrounded by high mountains on all sides except on the west.

b. Terai and semi-terai conditions exist mostly on the northern part of the valley resulting in wet soil and dense forests.

Discuss the structural characteristics of the peninsular plateau

a. The peninsular plateau is situated to the south of the great plains covering an
area of 16 lakh sq km

b. This plateau constitutes the largest physiographic component of the country.

c. Once it was a part of the Gondwana land made up of hard igneous and
metamorphic rocks.

d. According to Geologists, this plateau is a block of the old crystal rock lifted above the sea level in the pre-cambrain times(about 600 million years ago) and never submerged again.

e. It has a general elevation of 600-900mts the plateau has an irregular triangle

f. The Aravallis form its boundary on the North-west, part of this pleatue.

g. On the South, the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats form the western and eastern edges respectively and the southern most apex formed by Cape Comorin.

h. The topography of the plateau is slightly tilting towards east and it comprises a series of large and small plateaus and hill ranges interspersed with river basins and valleys.

i. Broadly speaking, the great Indian plateau can be divided into two namely, the Malwa plateau on the north and the Deccan plateau on the south.

j. The river Narmada forms the line of demarcation between the two plateaus.

Compare and contrast the geomorphological features between the Malwa plateau and Deccan plateau
Geomorphological features between the Malwa plateau and Deccan Plateau?


1. The Malwa plateau is bounded by the Aravallis on the north-west and by the vindhyas on the south.

2. Towards the north-eastern corner of the Malwa plateau are the Bundi hills.

3. On the east, the extensions of Malwa plateau are locally known as Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand up lands in southern Uttar Pradesh and Chota Nagpur plateau in southern Bihar.

4. In the Interior parts of Malwa plateau, the surface is flat with isolated low hillocks.

5. The slope of the larger part of the Malwa plateau is gradually sloping towards the Gangetic plains.


1. The Deccan plateau is bounded by the Satpura range on the north, Western Ghats on the west and Eastern Ghats on the East.
2. This plateau has generally a homogeneous relief. The elevation of the plateau varies from 900mts in the west to 300mts in the east.

3. In the north and north-western part of Deccan lies the Maharastra plateau. It is made up of lava flows or the igneous rock called basalt which is a typical characteristic feature of Deccan Trap tropography.

4. The other parts of Deccan are the Andhra plateau in the south-east and the karanatak plateau in the south are built in the Archaean gneisses.

Distinguish the differences in Physiography of Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats.


1. The Western Ghats begin in Khandesh (Maharashtra) south of the Tapti valley run southwards close and parallel to the west coast for 1600kms upto Kanyakumari.

2. The Western Ghats are a continuous chain of hills running in a north-south direction but here and there disturbed by the gaps of which the prominent are Palghat, Thalghat and Bhorghat gaps.

3. The physical appearance and structure of the ghats to the north of Goa is seen as the Deccan lavas form.

4. To the south of the Goa, the Ghats are formed of old gneisses and granites, have a more uneven topography with dense forests and run closer to the coast.

5. In the south, the Nilgiris hills join the Sahyadris near Gudalur, which rise to over a height of 2000mts.

6. The Western Ghats which include the Annamalai hills, Palani hills and cardamom hills with an elevation of 2695mts.

1. The Eastern Ghats, Which form the Eastern boundary of the Deccan Plateau, are much less strongly marked than the Western Ghats and are in fact represented by irregular line of hills.

2. They do not have any structural unity or continuity.

3. The Eastern Ghats join the hills of Chota Nagpur plateau on the north and Nilgiris on the south.
4. Throughout their north-South extent, the Eastern Ghats keep away from the sea, the Bay of Bengal and thus leaving a broad coastal plain.

5. The altitude of these Ghats rarely exceed 900mts. The highest point of Eastern Ghats is found at Chintapalli Village of Vishakapatnam district(1680mts) While Mahendragiri(1501mts)in Ganjam district of Orissa is the second highest point.

6. In View of heterogenic structural formations the Eastern Ghats can be called the Eastern hills classified as `Northern hills for the northern sector; `Cuddapah ranges` for the central and ` Tamilnadu hills` for the southern sector

Compare the Coastal plains of east and west
Eastern Coastal Plain Western Coastal Plain
1. It is situated between Eastern Ghats and Bay of Bengal It is situated between Western Ghats and Arabian Sea.
2. It extends from Bengal to Cape-town It extends from Gujarat to Cape town.
3. It is divided into four segments namely Bengal Coast, Utkal Coast, Circar Coast and Coramandal Coast. It is divided into four segments namely Gujarat Coast, Konkan Coast, Kanara Coast and Kerala Coast.
4. It is very wide. It extends from 75 to 240 kms. It is very narrow. It extends from 60 to 100 kms.
5. There are large rivers in this plan There are no large rivers in this plain.
6. There are deltas in this region There are no deltas in this region.
7. There are lakes in this region.
Examples: Chilka lake, kolleru lake and pulicot lake. There are no lakes in this region.
8. This region has more irrigation facilities This region has less irrigation facilities.
9. This region receives heavy rainfall from both South-West and North-East monsoons. This region receives heavy rainfall only from South-West monsoons.

Name the three major river systems of the Great Plains

Ans. The Himalayan rivers consists of three major systems:-
The Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra.
The Indus:-

1. The Indus raises at Kailashgiri in Tibet.

2. Out of the total length of 2880 kms the river flows 709 kms in India through Jammu and Kashmir and reaches the Arabian sea through Pakistan.

3. The Indus has a large drainage system with an area 3,21,290 Sq.kms.

4. The important tributaries of the Indus are the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej and they join the Indus in Pakistan.

The Ganga:-

1. The main stream of the Ganga is formed by two head streams – Alaknanda and Bhagirathi uniting at Devaprayag.

2. The Alaknanda raises near Garhwal in Tiber border where as Bhagirathi has its source near the Gangotri peak.

3. The total length of the Ganga, 2525 kms is shared by Uttar Pradesh (1450 kms) Bihar (445 kms) and West Bengal (520 kms)

4. The Ganga has the largest drainage basin in India and encompasses an area of 8, 61,404 sq. kms in India alone.

5. Beyond Farakka, the main stream of the Ganga enters Bangladesh and there it is called Padma. Before joining the Bay of Bengal, the Brahmaputra joins Padma.

The Brahmaputra:-

1. The Brahmaputra river rises in Manasarovar and flows in Tibet and first enters Arunachal Pradesh where it is called Dihang.

2. Later it flows into the Assam valley and enters Bangladesh.

3. Out of the total length of 2900 kms. Brahmaputra flows 725 kms within India.

4. In view of its perennial nature as well as heavy rainfall in Assam valley, this river is noted for its floods.

14. Name the important river systems of Peninsular India?

Ans. The Peninsular rivers:- The peninsular India consists of both east flowing and
west flowing rivers.

East flowing rivers:-

Major rivers of the peninsula such as Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Cauvery flow eastwards and drain into the Bay of Bengal.

1. Godavari:-

1. The Godavari is by far the largest and rises at Trayambak in Nasik district of Maharashtra and flows eastwards for a distance of 1465 kms and joins the Bay of Bengal near Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh.

2. The total drainage basin area of the river consists of 3,12,812 sq kms spread over Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa states.

2. The Krishna:-

1. The Krishna, the second largest peninsular river, rises from a spring near Mahabaleswar and flows for a distance of 1400 kms through Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

2. The Krishna drains an area of 2,58,948 sq. kms.

3. The Mahanadi:-

1. The Mahanadi river rises in Madhya Pradesh and flows a distance of 857 kms through Orissa and joins the Bay of Bengal.

2. The Drainage basin of 1, 41,600 sq.kms. is shared by Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar and Maharashtra.

4. The Cauvery:-

1. The Cauvery rises in the Bramhagiri hills of Coorg district in Karnataka and flows, a distance of 800 kms and joins the Bay of Bengal near Kaveripatnam in Tamil Nadu.

2. The drainage basin of 87,900 sq.kms. is shared over by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala states.

West flowing rivers:-

Among the west flowing rivers, the Narmada and the Tapti are the most important.

The Narmada:-

1. The Narmada takes its origin near Amarantak and flows westwards through a rift valley between the Vindhyan and Satpura ranges for a distance of 1310 kms. and finally reaches the Arabian Sea.

2. About 87 percent of its drainage basin is found in Madhya Pradesh and the rest in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

2.The Tapti:-

1. The Tapti rises near Multai in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh and flows westwards for a distance of 730 kms which almost run parallel to the Narmada and finally joins the Arabian Sea.

2. About 79 percent of its basin lies in Maharashtra and the remaining in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Other west flowing rivers are Mahi and Sabarmathi.

What would have happend if Himalayas were not there

Ans If Himalayas were not there the following disadvantages would have been there.
1. There would have been no natural barriers to protect the country from easy foreign invasion.
2. The northern plain would have turned into a cold desert by the entry of the cold winds from central Asia.

3. There would have been no summer rainfall.

4. India would not have experienced monsoon type of climate.

5. The great perennial rivers like Indus, Ganga and Bramhaputra would not have originated.

6. There would have been no scope for the Alpine vegetation of the Himalayas. Forest economy would have suffered.

7. The valleys like Kashmir, Kulu, Khatmandu and the summer resorts like Nainital, Mussorie would not have formed. India would have been deprived of getting foreign exchange from tourists.

8. There would have been no orchards.

9. Employment opportunities like Forest Departmetns, hoteliers, fruit exporters, pulp and paper industries would not have been there if the Himalayas were not there.

What is reh or kallar

In drier areas of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, there are streches of barren saline efflorescences celled Reh or Kallar.

What is the importance of the Trans Himalayan Zone

The World’s highest table land, Pamir Plateau is situated in Trans Himalayan Zone. The World’s second highest peak k2 and the longest ice field Siachen are located. This zone is the source of Great rivers of India.

Which rivers flow towards west

Narmada, Tapti, Mahi and Sabarmati are west flowing rivers.

What are Himalayas

Himalayas are the youngest fold mountains in the world located in
northern part of India.

What is a Bhabar


a. Rivers flowing from the Himalayas deposit gravel and unassorted sediments in
fans along the foot of the siwaliks.
b. This pebble studded zone porous beds is known a Bhabar.

c. It forms a narrow belt, only 8 to 16 kms. Width in northern boundary of the
great plains of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Name the important river systems of peninsular India

The important river systems of peninsular India are
1. The Godavari River System.
2. The Krishna River System.
3. The Mahanadi River System.
4. The Cauvery River System.

1. The Himalayas are the young folded mountains.

2. The Himalayas once occupied by the sea Tethys Sea.

3. The Himalayas from India’s northern frontier from Jammu and Kashmir state to Arunachal Pradesh.

4. The longitudinal distance of Himalayas is 2400 kms.

5. Greater Himalayas are also known as Himadri.

6. K2 mountain peak is in Karakoram ranges.

7. The highest mountain peak of the Himalayas in India is K2.

8. Pamir Plateau located in Trans Himalayan Zone.

9. The longitudinal extent of the Great Plains in India is 2400 kms.

10. The younger alluvium is known as Khadar.

11. Terai is a Marshy tract.

12. Bundelkhand upland is an extension Malwa plateau.

13. The peninsular plateau is slightly towards east.

14. The highest peak in peninsular India is Anaimudi (2695 mts.).

15. The Deccan Plateau is bounded on north by Satpura.

16. Narmada river flows through a rift valley

17. Alaknanda and Bhagirathi head streams formed the main stream of Ganga.

18. The Himalayas cover an area of 5 lakh

19. The height of the mount everest is 8848 m.

20. The Southwest extension of Pirpanjal range is Dhauladhar range.

21. Simla, a hill station is in Dhauladhar range.

22. The Siwaliks in Arunachal Pradesh are called Mishmi hills.

23. The longest ice field is Siachen is located in the Great Karakoram range or Trans Himalayas.

24. The Alpine vegetation of Himalayan mountain range is an important contribution to forest economy.

25. The Summer resort in Madhya Pradesh is Pachmarhi.

26. The highest peak in Nilagiris is DoddaBetta.(2637 mts)

27. The Largest desert of the Indian Sub continent is Thar desert.

28. The Thar desert is also known as The Great Indian desert.

29. The Southern Tip of India is Kanyakumari.

30. The oldest folded mountains in India is Aravalli ranges.

31. The mountain Aravali Ranges made up with older alluvium.

32. The Sediments deposited in the Tethys Sea were folded and took the form of The Himalayas.

33. Barren Saline efflorescences are called Reh (or) Kallar.

34. River Ganga is called as The Padma in Bangladesh.

35. The Second largest peninsular river Krishna.

36. River Godavari rises at Nasik.

IV. Match the following:-

1. Manasarover                           [b] a. Himachal

2. Older Alluvium                        [c] b. Bramhaputra

3. Marshy tract                            [d] c. Bhangar

4. Pir panjal range                       [a] d. Terai

5. West flowing river                   [e] e. Tapti






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