India is a country of vast geographical expanse bounded by the lofty Himalayas, Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. India has an area of about 3.28 million sq. km. The north-south extent from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is about 3,200 km. And the east-west extent from Arunachal Pradesh to Kuchchh is about 2,900 km.
The lofty mountains, the Great Indian Desert, the Northern Plains, the uneven plateau surface and the coasts and islands present a diversity of landforms. There is a great variety in the climate, vegetation, wildlife as well as in the language and culture. India has a population of more than one hundred twenty crores since the year 2011. It is the second-most populous country of the world after China.
- India is located in the northern hemisphere. T
- he Tropic of Cancer (23°30’N) passes almost halfway through the country.
- From south to north, mainland of India extends between 8°4’N and 37°6’N latitudes.
- From west to east, India extends between 68°7’E and 97°25’E longitudes. Due to great longitudinal extent of about 29°, there could be wide differences in local time of places located at two extreme points of India.
- As such, the difference between these two points would be of about two hours.
There are seven countries that share land boundaries with India.
Political and Administrative Divisions
India is a vast country divided into 29 States and 7 Union Territories. Telangana became the 29th state of India on 2 June 2014. It was previously a part of Andhra Pradesh. Delhi is the national capital. The states have been formed mainly on the basis of languages.
India has diversity of physical features such as mountains, plateaus, plains, coasts and islands. Himalaya mean ‘the abode of snow’. The Himalayan mountains are divided into three main parallel ranges. The northernmost is the Great Himalaya or Himadri. The world’s highest peaks are located in this range. Middle Himalaya or Himachal lies to the south of Himadri.
The Northern Indian plains lie to the south of the Himalayas. They are generally level and flat. These are formed by the alluvial deposits laid down by the rivers– the Indus, the Ganga, the Brahmaputra and their tributaries. These river plains provide fertile land for cultivation. That is the reason for high concentration of population in these plains.
In the western part of India lies the Great Indian desert, dry, hot and sandy stretch of land. To the south of northern plains lies the Peninsular plateau. This is a region with numerous hill ranges and valleys. Aravali hills, one of the oldest ranges of the world, border it on the north-west side. The Vindhyas and the Satpuras are the important ranges. The rivers Narmada and Tapi flow through these ranges. These are west-flowing rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats or Sahyadris border the plateau in the west and the Eastern Ghats provide the eastern boundary. The plateau is rich in minerals like coal and iron-ore. To the West of the Western Ghats and the East of Eastern Ghats lie the Coastal plains. The western coastal plains are very narrow. The eastern Coastal plains are much broader. There are a number of east flowing rivers. The rivers Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri drain into the Bay of Bengal. These rivers have formed fertile deltas at their mouth. The Sunderban delta is formed where the Ganga and Brahmaputra flow into the Bay of Bengal.
Lakshadweep Islands are located in the Arabian Sea. These are coral islands located off the coast of Kerala. The Andaman and the Nicobar Islands lie to the southeast of the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal.