Physiographic Division of India Notes
Baljit Dhaka

Physiographic Division of India Notes

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Physiographic Division of India Notes 

 As we know that geography is a vast subject because of its diverse and dynamic nature and to study that we have to be focused on what we are studying and what's actually we need to study, there's a difference between these two statements. To crack any competitive exams we should always keep one thing in our mind that there is no need to learn an entire subject, but we have to choose what's relevant and what's not, just to get knowledge and to crack that particular exam. 

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 This article is exactly what you need because of its relevant, precise, and knowledgeable content. In this article, we are going to discuss one of the important topics of geography i.e Physiographic Division of India.

[Geography Notes For Competitive Exams: Geological History of India]

Physiography Division of India:-

  • India, being a vast country, lies in the Northern and Eastern hemispheres.
  • One important latitude passes through it i.e. Tropic of Cancer (23°30’N) and it bifurcates India into two halves.
  • Tropic of Cancer passes through the following states- Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tripura, Mizoram.

  • Mainland extends between 8°4’N and 37°6’N latitude and 68°7’E and 97°25’E longitude.
  • North-south extent- 3214 km
  • West-East extent- 2944 km
  • The standard meridian of India passes through (82°30’E) which is situated in Naini, Allahabad (U.P.).It also passes through M.P, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Time of India is ahead of Greenwich Mean Time by 5 hours and 30 minutes because IST is based on 82°30’E longitude

  • Area- 3,287,263 square km
  • In terms of area, India is the 7th largest country in the world i.e. 2.4% of the total geographic area.
  • Coastline-7500 km approx.
  • Islands- Andaman & Nicobar group and Lakshadweep
  • North- Young fold mountains
  • South- Peninsular Plateau
  • West- Desert
  • East- Purvanchal

Neighboring countries of India

  • Afghanistan- India shares the smallest boundary with Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • China
  • Nepal
  • Bhutan
  • Bangladesh- India shares the longest boundary with Bangladesh
  • Indian Subcontinent-India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives

India is divided into six physiographic divisions:

  • Northern mountain complex
  • Northern Plain
  • Peninsular Plateau
  • Indian Desert
  • Coastal Plains
  • Islands

Northern Mountain complex

  •      Trans-Himalayas
  •      Greater Himalayas
  •      Lesser Himalayas (Himachal)
  •      Outer Himalayas (Shivalik)
  •      Purvanchal

Northern Plains

  •      The Ganga Plains
  •      Brahmaputra Plains

Peninsular Plateau

  •       Central Highlands
  •       Chotanagpur Plateau
  •       Deccan Plateau

Coastal Plains

  •      Western coastal plains-      Malabar coast
  •      Eastern coastal plain- Coromandel coast

Trans Himalayas

  • Created due to the collision with the Eurasian plate.
  • Northernmost area in the country in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
  • Extension of Tibetan plateau around the Himalayas.
  • The Zaskar, the Ladakh, the Kailas and the Karakoram are the main ranges.
  • Average elevation = 3000 m above mean sea level.
  • Average width= 40 km at the extremities and about 225 km in the central part.

The northernmost range is the Great Karakoram Range also known as the Krishnagiri range.

The Himalayas

  • Himalayas are formed due to the C-C collision between the Indian plate and the Eurasian plate which began 50 million years ago and continues even today.
  • The Himalayas are developed in 3 phases-
  1. Great Himalayas (Oligo-Eocene period)
  2. Middle Himalayas (Miocene period)
  3. Outer Himalayas (Pleistocene period)

Properties of Himalayas

  • The Himalayas are a fold mountain that is formed mainly of sedimentary rocks of marine origin. (Tethys Sea)
  • The Himalayas are not a single mountain but a series of ranges which is bordered on North-West by the Karakoram and Hindu-Kush ranges, on North by Tibetan Plateau and in South by Indo Gangetic plains.
  • The Himalayas can be divided North-South as well as West to East.

 North-South division of Himalaya

  • The great Himalayas
  • Middle/ Lesser Himalayas 
  • (Himachal)
  • Outer Himalayas (Shivaliks)

Himadri or Greater Himalaya

  • Northernmost region of the Himalayas
  • The highest and most continuous range of Himalaya
  • Average height- 6,000 km
  • All important peaks are situated in this region
  • The highest peak of the world -Mount Everest(8,848.86)
  • Snow-bound area and a number of important rivers originate from this region

Important peaks of Greater Himalaya

  1. Mount Everest
  2. Kanchenjunga
  3. Nanga Parbat
  4. Nanda Devi
  5. Kamet
  6. Namcha Barwa

Important Passes of Greater Himalaya

  • Karakoram- it is situated in the Ladakh region of J & K, the highest pass of India
  • Burzil- situated in the Greater Himalayas of J and K. It connects Srinagar and Gilgit.
  • Zoji la- situated in Zaskar range in J and K. Srinagar-Leh highway passes through it
  • Pir Panjal- situated in Pir panjal range
  • Banihal-Situated in Ladakh region. Jawahar tunnel is here.
  • Shipki la- in Zaskar range, Himachal Pradesh
  • Bara-Lacha la- in Zaskar, Himachal Pradesh
  • Mana la- in Kumaon range, Uttarakhand.
  • Niti La, Thaga la and Lipu lekh- in Kumaon range, UK
  • Nathu la and Jelep la-Sikkim

Himanchal or Lesser Himalayas

  • Middle Himalayas
  • width-80 to 100 km
  • Average height- 1300-1500 m
  • Main rocks- quartzites, limestone and slate
  • Alpine grasslands are located which are known as marg i.e. Sonmarg, Gulmarg
  • Famous for its scenic beauty and hill stations like Kullu-Manali, Mussoorie, Darjeeling etc.

Important ranges

  • Pir Panjal range
  • Dhauladhar range 
  • Mahabharat range


  • Kangra valley
  • Kullu valley

  Shiwalik or Outer Himalayas

  • Southernmost Himalayas
  • Width- 10 to 50 km
  • Height- 900 to 1200 m
  • This is not a continuous range
  • The most recent part of the Himalayas
  • Between Shiwalik and Himachal there are a number of valleys like Kathmandu valley
  • Western side- Duns or Duar like Dehradun, Kotli dun and Patli dun and Haridwar (Dehradun largest of them)
  • The lowermost part is called the Terai region which is a marshy area with dense forests

Division on the basis of Rivers

  • Besides the longitudinal divisions, the Himalayas have also been divided on the basis of regions from west to east. These divisions have been demarcated by river valleys
  • West-East
  1. Indus-Sutlej- Kashmir/Punjab Himalayas
  2. Sutlej-Kali- Kumaon Himalayas
  3. Kali-Kosi-Nepal Himalayas
  4. Kosi-Teesta- Sikkim Himalaya
  5. Teesta-Dihang-Assam Himalayas

   Purvanchal hills

  • The southward extension of the Himalayas running along the north-eastern edge of India.
  • At the Dihang gorge, the Himalayas take a sudden southward bend and form a series of comparatively low hills which are collectively called as the Purvanchal.
  • Purvanchal hills are convex to the west.

Run along the India-Myanmar Border extending from Arunachal Pradesh in the north to Mizoram in the south.

The main hills are:

  • Patkai hills
  • Naga hills
  • Barail range
  • Mizoram hills



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