Competitive Exams: Indian Geography Physiography

Get top class preparation for competitive exams right from your home: get questions, notes, tests, video lectures and more- for all subjects of your exam.

Get video tutorials on geography @ Youtube Examrace Channel

6 Physiographic Divisions of India


Physiographic distribution can be expressed in percentage of total area as follows: 10.6 % Mountains 18.5 % Hills 27.7 % Plateaus 43.2 % Plains

Indian physiography can be divided into four major categories:

  1. The Northern Mountains
  2. Great Plains
  3. Peninsular Uplands
  4. Indian Coasts and Islands

The Northern Mountains

It can be divided into Himalayas and the Purvanchal (North Eastern Highlands) Himalayas can further be divided into Western, Central and Eastern Regions, Western Himalayas consists of:

Kashmir Himalayas include Karakoram, Laddakh Plateau, Kashmir Valley and Pir Panjal Range.

Punjab Himalayas include Kangra, Lahul and Spiti (Longitudinal Valleys) .

Kumaon Himalayas include Gangotri, Yamunotri and Badrinath.

  • Central Himalayas consist of Nepal Himalayas.
  • Eastern Himalayas consist of Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling Himalayas and Arunachal Pradesh except Tirap district,
  • All the three regions that is Western, Central and Eastern Himalayas can further be classified into:
  • Siwaliks (outer Himalayas) , Himachal (Lesser Himalayas) , and Himadri (Greater Himalayas) .

Western Himalayas

  1. Siwaliks of Western Himalayas include Jammu Hills
  2. Himachal of Western Himalayas include Pir Panjal, Dhaula Dhar, Nag Tigga, Mussorie Range and flat structured Valley (Doons Dehradun, Kothri, Patli)
  3. Himadri (Bahirgiri) of Western Himalayas include snowbound ranges and glaciers of Jammu and Kashmir, Zauskar range having mounts Nanga Parbat, Mt. Kamet, Nanda Devi, Gurla Mandhata and passes Burzil and Zoji La (J and K) and Bara Lacha La and Shipki La (H. P) .

Central Himalayas

  1. Siwaliks of Central Himalayas include Dhang, Dundwa and Churia Ghati
  2. Himachal of Central Himalayas include Mahabharat Range and Valley of Kathmandu. 3. Himadri of Central Himalayas include some of the highest peaks include: Mt. Everest, Dhaulagiri, Makalu, Manaslu, Annapurna.

Eastern Himalayas

  1. Siwaliks of Eastern Himalayas include Miri, Abhor, Mishmi in Arunachal along with Gorges of Tista and Raidak
  2. Himachal is very indistinctly present in the eastern Himalayas.
  3. Himadri includes Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling and Arunachal Pradesh. It also includes passes Nathu La and Jelep La
  4. Siwaliks (6001500m) : These are characterized by fault scarps, anticlinal Crests and Synclinal Hills. Himalayan Rivers have formed deep gorges in them,
  5. Himachal or Lesser Himalayas (10004500m) : Linear Longitudinal Ranges with Orthoclinal structural plan (steeper southern and gentler northern slopes) which gives it a Hogback type look.
  6. Himadri or Greater Himalayas (45006100m) : Orthoclinal structural plan.


  1. Trans Himalayas: Karakoram (abode of largest glaciers in the world Siachen, Baltoro, Biafo, Hisper and Rimu of Pakistan, It also contain ranges like Mt. K2 and Gasherbrum) and Ladakh range, uplands, Madhya Bharat Pathar, Bundelkhand uplands, Malwa plateau, Vindhyan scarpland and range.
  2. Deccan Plateau including Satpura and Maikal Range, Maharashtra Plateau. Tejangana. Plateau and Karnataka Plateau (Malnad and Maidan) .
  3. 3. Western Plateau: including Baghelkhand Plateau, Chhotanagpur Plateau and Garhjat Hills, Mahanadi Basin and Dandkarnya Region.
  4. 4. Eastern Ghats: including Khondlite, Charnokite, Madugula Konda Range, Cuddapah Kurnool Region, Nallamalai, Velikonda, Shevroy and Javadi Hills.
  5. Western Ghats this can be divided into regions lying north of 16°N and South of 16°N.


It lies south of Bhabar and runs parallel to it

  • 2030 km wide
  • Composed of comparatively finer alluvium
  • Underground stream of the Bhabar reemerge on the surface and give birth to marshy areas.
  • Most part of the terai area is reclaimed for agriculture.

Indian Coasts and Islands

It includes:

  1. Eastern Coastal Plains
  2. Western Coastal Plains
  3. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  4. Lakshadweep Islands.

More on Great Plains

  • The great plain extends for 3200 Km between the mouths of. Ganga and Indus all along the foot of the mountains with a width varying between 150 300 Km.
  • Great Plains are classical examples of an aggradational plain which resulted form an infilling of initial depression by the incessant work of the Himalayan rivers.
  • Generally the plain is recognized as consisting of 4 division each characterized by surface relief and known as Bhabar, Terai, Bhangar and the Khadar.
  • Marusthali i.e.. desert proper: Arid Region.
  • Rajasthan Bagar i.e.. Semi Desert: Semi Arid Region Western Marusthali is land covered by shifting sand dunes locally known as the Dhrian. (To the south of Jaislmer, a number of playa lakes occur which are called Ranns and are characterized by centripetal drainage) .
  • Bagar contains salt soaked playa lakes locally known as Bagar is drained by a number of short streams originating from the Aravalli .
  • Fertile tracts in Bagar are known as Rohi. Commonest type of dune in Thar U Shaped Parabolic Dunes.
  • These are few simple longitudinal dunes (siefs) locally know as Bhits.
  • Large numbers of depressions occupied by alkaline lakes are called Dands or Dhands.
  • The altitude of the Punjab plain varies from 300m in the North to 200m in the South.
  • Broad flood plains of Khadar flanked by bluffs are called Dhaya in Punjab. The northern part of the PunjabHaryana Plain adjoining the Siwalik Hills has witnessed intensive erosion leading to gully formation by network of streams called Chos.
  • Like N. Bihar, the south Bihar plains also has swamps and marshes called Jal near Patna and Tai in east of Mokama.
  • The Ganga delta has its seaward face more influenced by the tidal activity than by the waves with the result that the indented coastline has a maze of sandbanks, mudflats, mangrove swamps, islands and forelands
  • Ganges Deltaic Tract: Extends for 430 kms and Width 480 Kms

Doab of 5 Rivers in Punjab

  1. Sindh Sagar Doab Indus and Jhelum
  2. Chaj Doab Chenab and Jhelum
  3. Rechna Ravi and Chenab
  4. Bari Beas and Ravi
  5. Bist (Jalandhar Doab) Beas and Sutlej.

More on the Himalayas

  • Mt. Everest 8848m
  • Godvin Austen (K2) 8611 m
  • Kanchenjunga 8598m
  • Makalu 8481m
  • Dhaulagiri 8172m
  • Mansalu 8156m
  • Nanga Parbat 8126m
  • Annapurna 8078m
  • Gasherbrum 8086m
  • NandaDevi 7817m
  • Kamet 7756m
  • Gurla Mandhata 7728m

Developed by: