Coastal Plains of India- Eastern & Western Coastal Plains- Frontier IAS
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Coastal Plains of India- Eastern And Western Coastal Plains

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Coastal Plains of India- Eastern & Western Coastal Plains

The Coastal Plains of India lie on either side of the Peninsular Plateau, along the western and eastern coasts of India. They extend for about 6,150 km from the Rann of Kutch in the west to West Bengal in the east. They are broadly divided into the Western Coastal Plains and the Eastern Coastal Plains.

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Coastline of India: An introduction

  • India has a coastline of 7516.6 Km touching 13 States and Union Territories (UTs).
  • The straight and regular coastline of India is the result of faulting of the Gondwanaland during the Cretaceous period (the last of the three periods of the Mesozoic Era.
  • It began 145.0 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago.
  • Generally, the coast of India does not offer many sites for good natural harbours like the Indented coastlines of Europe which provides good natural harbours.
  • The Peninsular Plateau is flanked by stretch of narrow coastal strips, running along the Arabian Sea on the west and Bay of Bengal on the east. 

The West Coast of India:

  • Runs from Rann of Kutch to Kanyakumari and are confined to a narrow belt about 10 to 15 km wide.
  • It is made up of alluvium brought down by the short streams originating from the Western Ghats.
  •  It is dotted with a large number of coves (a very small bay), creeks (a narrow, sheltered waterway such as an inlet in a shoreline or channel in a marsh) and a few estuaries. The estuaries, of the Narmada and the Tapi are the major ones.

Division of Western Coastal plains of India:

  1. Kathiawar coast
  2. Konkan Coast
  3. Malabar Coast

 1. Kathiawar Coast:

  • Extends from Rann of Kutch to Daman in the south.
  • Kutch and Kathiawar, though an extension of Peninsular plateau they are still treated as integral part of the Western Coastal Plains as they are now levelled down.
  • The Kutch Peninsula was an island surrounded by seas and lagoons.
  • These seas and lagoons were later filled by sediment brought by the Indus River which used to flow through this area.    

2. Konkan coast:

  • Total length=500 km 
  • The west coastal plain between Daman in the north and Goa in the south is example of coast of submergence due to vertical movements and is consequently dissected.
  • Coastal lowland is uneven and is interspersed with river valleys, creek and ridges.

 3. Malabar Coast:

  • Also known as Kerala Coast.
  • Extends from Goa in the north to Kanyakumari in the south.
  • The existence of lakes, lagoons, backwaters, spits, etc. is a significant characteristic of the Kerala coast.
  • The backwaters, locally known as Kayals are the shallow lagoons or inlets of the sea, lying parallel to the coastline.
  • The largest among these is the Vembanad Lake .

The East coast of India:

  • Extends from the Deltaic plains of Ganga in the north to Kanyakumari in the south for 1100 km with an average width of 100 to 130 km.
  • A major part of the plains is formed as a result of the alluvial fillings by the rivers Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery comprising some of the largest deltas.
  • Known as the Northern Circars between the Mahanadi and the Krishna rivers and Carnatic between the Krishna and the Cauvery rivers.

Divisions of Eastern Coastal Plains:

  1. Utkal plains
  2. Andhra coastal Plains
  3. Tamil plains

1. Utkal Plains:

  • Extends for about 400 km from a little north of Subarnarekha river of the Ganga to the Mahanadi delta.
  • The Utkal Plain comprises coastal areas of Odisha.
  • The most prominent physiographic feature of this plain is the Chilka Lake.
  • It is the largest brackish water lake in the country and its area varies between 780 sq km in winter to 1,144 sq km in the monsoon months.
  •   South of Chilka Lake, low hills dot the plain.

2. Andhra Coastal Plain:

  • Extends from the southern limit of Utkal Plains to Pulicat Lake (Andhra Pradesh). 
  • The most significant feature of this plain is the delta formation by the rivers Godavari and Krishna.
  • These two deltas have merged with each other and formed a single physiographic unit.
  • This part of the plain has a straight coast and badly lacks good harbours with the exception of Vishakhapatnam and Machilipatnam.

3. Tamil Coastal plains:

  • Extends about 675 km from the north of Chennai to Kanyakumari in the south.
  • The most important feature of this plain is the Cauvery delta where the plain is 130 km wide.
  • The fertile soil and large scale irrigation facilities have made the Cauvery delta the “granary of South India”.

Significance of Coastal Plains:

  • Provides fertile soils on which different crops are grown. Rice is the main crop of these areas.
  • Coconut trees grow all along the coast.
  • The entire length of the coast has big and small ports which help in carrying out trade.
  • The sedimentary rocks of these plains contain large deposits of mineral oil (KG Basin).
  • The sands of Kerala coast have large quantity of Monazite mineral which is used for nuclear power.
  • Coastal plains provides fishing grounds.
  • Low lying areas of Gujarat are famous for producing salt.
  • Provides important tourist destinations like beaches in Goa and backwaters in Kerala.

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