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Physical Features of the India Map

Last updated date: 12th Apr 2024
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Prime Geographical Features of the Map of India

India, the 7th largest country in the world in terms of area, is the epitome of diversity. It is one of the best examples of diverse topography that can cite almost anything ranging from high-rise mountains and archipelagos. In this section, we will study the prime physical features of the India map. These features will be explained from the prehistoric age to the current geographical map we have seen. Learn the rich geographical features of India here and gather more knowledge to answer questions in your exams.

The Indian Map: A Brief Introduction

India is a country with remarkable topographical features that make it a great subject of study. You will be fascinated to learn that this country has almost every feature for a complete study of different geographical landforms. Ranging from the highest mountain ranges to plateaus, riverbeds to archipelagos, India is rich with such features. Read this section carefully and understand what points you can add to the physical features of India project.

The Origin of India

This is not a topic where you will find historical evidence of the empires and kingdoms. It goes way back to when the entire world had a single landmass divided into two massive segments. The Indian peninsula was a part of the Gondwana land segment. These segments formed due to the plate tectonic movements occurring beneath the sea level. The Indian peninsula was a part of the family that had Australia, South America, and South Africa as members.

The ocean currents and the tectonic actions separated these big landmasses and formed the continents. In fact, they are still moving apart from each other. It took millions of years to float apart from each other and to become a part of the big continents. The special features of India were drawn from the features of Gondwana Land. Some new features also evolved due to such movements of the tectonic plates and changes in the ocean currents.

The Indo-Australian tectonic plate(comprising the Indian peninsula and Australia) started moving north and eventually collided with the Eurasian Plate. This significant movement gave the country we are living in. If you follow the physical landscape of India, you will notice that the Himalayan ranges have formed as a barrier between the Eurasian Plate and the Indo-Australian plate. If you remember the features of the fold mountains, you will understand how the Himalayan Ranges formed due to the collision of these tectonic plates and the folding of the seabed to form a high-rise landscape. This is how India got her physical features. Let us now discuss these features elaborately.

Prime Physical Features of India Map

If you focus on the Indian map, you will find six different segments of physical features. These features are different from each other in terms of physical traits and formation.

1. The Himalayas

As mentioned earlier, the Himalayas are the prime feature of the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the prime physical characteristics of India that controls the climatic conditions of the entire northern part of the country.

The steepest and rugged mountain ranges in the world, the Himalayas stretch from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. It covers almost 2500 km forming a protective arc. It stops the chilly Arctic winds from entering the landmass and keeps the tropical region warm. The width of this landmass ranges from 150 to 400 km. The average peak height is 6000 m in the Greater Himalayas. The same for the Lesser Himalayas is 4000 m.

Himalayan Ranges in Parallel

The Himalayas are made up of three parallel ranges that are split into three categories:

The 'Himadri,' or Great or Inner Himalayas: The Great Himalayas, which are perpetually snowbound, have the highest peaks. All of the main Himalayan peaks are included in the Himadri, which has an average height of 6,000 metres. It is one of India's most visible physical characteristics.

Himachal or Smaller Himalaya: The lesser Himalaya or Himachal refers to the more difficult regions of the mountain range. Himachal Pradesh's hill stations are also well-known. The average height of these ranges is 3700 to 4500 metres. The Pir Panjal range is the longest.

The Shiwaliks, or Outer Himalayan Range, are lower mountains with altitudes ranging from 900 to 1,100 metres. They are made up of unconsolidated sediments carried down by rivers from the Himalayan peaks.

Himalayan Regional Classification

The Himalayas are divided into regions.

The Himalayas are further separated into western and eastern regions:

  • The Himalayan area between the Indus and the Satluj is known as the Punjab Himalaya, although it is also known as Kashmir and Himachal Himalaya in the west and east, respectively. 

  • The Kumaon Himalayas are located between the Satluj and Kali rivers in Himalayas.

  • The Nepal Himalayas are defined by the Kali and Tista rivers, whereas the Assam Himalayas are defined by the Tista and Dihang rivers.

  • The Brahmaputra is the Himalayas' easternmost frontier.

2. The Northern Plains

India has three main river systems made by the Ganga, Brahmaputra, and the Indus. It is the second most important physical feature of India on map. The rich alluvial deposit makes this place the cradle of civilization. The water flowing from the glacial origin of all these rivers helps civilizations to settle in their banks.

The Punjab plains cover the tributaries of Indus. A major part of this plain lies within the map of Pakistan. The Ganga Plains cover the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and North India. The Brahmaputra Plains cover Assam and a major part of the north-eastern states.

3. The Indian Peninsular Plateau

Considered as the oldest landform that dates back to the era of Gondwana Land, the Indian Peninsular plateau or the Deccan Plateau covers the Central Highlands ranging from Malwa Plateau to the northern part of the Narmada River. The rest of this landmass is the Deccan Plateau. It is a triangular landmass ranging from the Eastern Ghats to the Western Ghats.

4. The Indian Desert

The vast sand dunes in the arid western part of the country cover the Indian Desert. It ranges from the Aravali Hills to the western corridor of India covering the states of Rajasthan and North Gujarat.

5. The Indian Coastal Plains

The coastal plains of India are one of the major geographical features of India that ranges from the Bay of Bengal to the Indian Ocean and then to the Arabian Sea. The Arabian coastline is divided into the Konkan Coast, the Kannada Plains, and Malabar Coast. The Eastern Coast is divided into the Northern Circar and the Coromandel Coast.

6. Islands

India has two sets of archipelagos. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, surrounded by the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, are in the east. The Lakshadweep archipelago lies in the west guarded by the Arabian Sea. It is considered to be one of the special features of India.

Physical Characteristics-Based Classification

The physical geographic elements of the Northern Plain also separate it. It is separated into four regions from north to south: Bhabar, Terai, Bangar, and Kadar.

Bhabar Region: It is located in the Himalayan foothills and is around 8-16 kilometres wide. The area is largely made up of stones and pebbles. The rivers are swiftly flowing here.

Terai: Terai is a 15-30 km broad region south of Bhabar. It is densely forested, and the land is suitable for farming. The water is moving quickly here.

Bangar Region: Located south of Terai, this region is less fertile.

Kadar Region: Located south of Bangar, Kadar is a rich, flood-prone region.


  • Prime Geographical Features of the Map of India, the 7th largest country in the world in terms of area, is the epitome of diversity.

  • In this section, we will study the prime physical features of the India map.

  • Learn the rich geographical features of India here and gather more knowledge to answer questions in your exams.

  • The Indian Map: A Brief IntroductionIndia is a country with remarkable topographical features that make it a great subject of study.

  • Read this section carefully and understand what points you can add to the physical features of the India project.

FAQs on Physical Features of the India Map

1. How many important sections does Indian topography have?

General purpose maps, commonly known as topographical maps, are made at rather large scales. Relief, vegetation, water bodies, farmed land, towns, and transportation networks, among other things, are depicted on these maps.

Each country's National Mapping Organization creates and publishes these maps. According to the physical characteristics of the India project, the Indian Subcontinent has six primary topographical elements: mountains, deserts, plains, plateaus, and islands.

2. Why is the Indian landmass so diverse?

The diversity in the Indian topography resulted from the tectonic movements of the Gondwanaland and the continental plates underneath. According to a recent study by a team of Indian and German geologists, when it split out from its mother supercontinent, Gondwanaland, 140 million years ago, it was farther away than other landmasses.

When Gondwanaland disintegrated, its various pieces drifted apart at different speeds, eventually becoming India, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, and South America. India grew at a considerably faster rate than the rest of the world, approximately 18-20 centimetres each year. Australia and Africa, on the other hand, barely advanced 2 to 4 cm every year, while Antarctica stayed stable. Little was known before today about what drove the Indian landmass to migrate so quickly.

3. Why is the Indian subcontinent so densely populated?

For geological, sociological, religious, and economic reasons, the Indian subcontinent is densely inhabited.

Geographically, the subcontinent contains the world's largest delta, which is rich in alluvial silt. Every year, Mother Ganges gives fertile layers of alluvium to the soil. During the monsoon, enough rain falls to irrigate the crops, and rivers flow like breast milk to Mother Nature's children throughout the year. This is why people are reliant on agriculture, with about 60% of the population relying entirely on it for their bread and butter.

Most ancient civilizations were formed on the banks of the world's largest rivers, and the Indus Valley was no exception. People required their families to be large and united in order to farm such a wide territory. They stressed having a large number of children in order to retain the family's inherited farms.

4. What was the reason for India's split from Africa?

Some 140 million years ago, India was still a member of the supercontinent Gondwana. Modern-day South America, Africa, Antarctica, and Australia were all part of Gondwana. When this supercontinent broke up, a tectonic plate made of India and modern-day Madagascar began to move away. India then broke from Madagascar and drifted north-eastward at a rate of around 20 cm per year. Due to the resistance of the Eurasian plate, India is still migrating in the same direction today, but at a slower rate of roughly 4 cm/year.

5. What are the six physical features of India?

When it comes to India's physical characteristics, geological and physiological divisions can be used to classify the country. Peninsular Block, Indo Ganga-Brahmaputra plain, and the Himalayas make up the former. There are six major divisions in the Physiographic Divisions:

  • The Himalayan Mountains

  • The Northern Plains

  • The Peninsular Plateau

  • The Indian Desert

  • The Coastal Plains

  • The Islands

6. How many archipelagos does India have?

India has two sets of archipelagos, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep. There are 572 islands in the Andaman Nicobar Islands, with 80 percent of them being uninhabited. Here are a few of the most important.

  • South Andaman ( Port Blair & Bambooflat)

  • North & Middle Andaman ( Mayabunder, Rangat, Diglipur)

  • Little Andaman (Hutbay)

  • Campbell Bay (Mini Punjab)

  • Car Nicobar (Headquarters of Nicobar Island)

  • Kamorta

  • Katchal

  • Avis & Interview

  • Ross & Smith