India Physiography – Indian Desert, Coastal regions , Indian Islands

Physiography of India



India can be divided into following physical divisions viz.

  • The Northern Mountains
  • The North Indian Plain
  • The Peninsular Plateau
  • Great Indian Desert
  • The coastal Regions
  • Islands

The Great Indian Desert

  • Extends from the western margins of the Aravali Hills
  • Luni is the only prominent river

Physiography of India

The Coastal regions

  • Excluding the islands, the mainland of India has 6,100 kms length of coastline
  • Extends from Kutch in Gujarat in the west to the Gangetic delta in the east
  • The coast of India is divided into western coast and eastern coastal plains.
  • The coastal regions of India are known for agriculture, trade, industrial centres, tourist centres, fishing and salt making
  • They also provide important hinterlands for the ports

Coastal plains of India

Western Coastal Plains

  • Lies between Western Ghats & Arabian sea from Gujrat in north to Kanyakumari in south
  • Narrower & wetter than Eastern plains
  • Divided into Malabar coast, Kannada Coast, Konkan coast, Kanyakumari Coast, Kachchh and Kathiawad peninsulas
  • Kathiawar Coast Kutch to Daman (Tapti, Narmada, Sabarmati & Mahi river deposit huge load of sediments in the Gulf of Cambay & form estuaries)
  • Konkan Coast Between Daman & Goa
  • Kannada Coast Goa to Cannanore
  • Kanyakumari Coast    Cannanore to Cape Camorin
  • Malabar Coast Kannada + Kanyakumari Coast 
  • Important Ports Mumbai, Marmagoa, Cochin, Mangalore, Nhava-Sheva and Kandla
  • Marked with Lagoons Ashtamudi & Vembanad called Kayals Kerala


Eastern coastal Plains

  • Lies between Eastern Ghats & Bay of Bengal from Gangetic delta in north to Kanyakumari in south
  • Known as Land of Deltas viz. of Mahanadi, Krishna, Kaveri & Godavari
  • Broader but drier than Western plains
  • Consists of following sub coasts
  • Utkal coast →  Deltaic plains of Ganga to Mahanadi delta (Famous Chilka lake is located in this plain)
  • Andhra Coast          Utkal plains to Pulicat lake (Contains deltas of Godavari & Krishna Rivers, & famous Kolleru lake)
  • Northern Circars Utkal Coast + Andhra Coast (Between Mahanadi & Krishna)
  • Coromandal Coast Between Krishna & Kanyakumari (Consist of Kaveri Delta)
  • Freshwater Kolleru Lake Between Godavari & Krishna
  • Marked with Famous Lagoons Chilka lake (Orissa) & Pulicat (Tamilnadu)
  • Chilka Lake is the largest salt water lake in India
  • It lies in the state of Odisha, to the south of the Mahanadi Delta


Indian Islands

  • Total 247 islands in India 204 islands in Bay of Bengal and 43 in the Arabian Sea
  • Few coral islands in the Gulf of Mannar also
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands in Bay of Bengal consist of hard volcanic rocks
  • The middle Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the largest islands of India
  • Lakshadweep islands in the Arabian Sea are formed by corals
  • The southern – most point of India is in Nicobar Island, known as Indira Point
  • Formerly Indira point was called Pigmalion Point, it is submerged now, after 2004 Tsunami

Indian Islands

Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Lakshadweep Islands

  • Volcanic islands representing submarine volcanism
  • Represent the surfaces of submerged folds viz. extension of Himalaya, precisely Arakan yoma fold mountains of Myanmar
  • Formed of Granite rocks & have high hills &l peaks for ex. Saddle peak
  • Equatorial climate with tropical rain-forests
  • a union of coral islands, entirely different from A & N islands
  • comprises of large number of dead corals, fringing, barrier and atoll coral reefs
  • Have calcium rich soils filled with organic limestone
  • Have scattered vegetation of palm species

Prominent Indian Islands

A & N Islands Continuation of Arakan Yoma mountain range of Myanmar
Nicobar Just 147 km from Sumatra island (Indonesia)
Saddle Peak Highest Peak of Andaman
Pamban Island Between India & Srilanka
Salasette Group of 7 islands, known as Mumbai today
Diu Fishing Island
New Moore Island Disputed site b/w India & Bangladesh
Wheeler Island Missile launching island in BOB Near Odisha coast
Sriharikota Split Island Rocket launching site in BOB in Andhra Pradesh
Wellington Naval Station Kerala

Significance of Indian Ocean for India 

  • Strategic significance India overlooks some of the most important sea lanes viz. Suez Canal, Malacca Strait
  • Economic significance Long coastline, 2.02 million sq km EEZ (Exclusive economic zone)
  • Tourism Significance Marine biodiversity and rich ecosystem with coral reefs, mangroves
  • Large Fishing potential, Wave energy & Tidal energy potential, Zone of Hydrocarbons
  • Generation of south west Monsoon
India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017


  1. thankyou very much to share the knowledge.

  2. sir , i think largest saltwater lake is sambhar lake not chilka lake.

    • chilka lake is largest salt water lake…

      • chilka is the largest brackish(partially saline) water lake,while sambar of rajasthan is the largest inland salt water lake.

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