Gokarna Beach in Karnataka State, India

INDIA: 10 FASCINATING GEOGRAPHY FACTS THAT WILL MAKE YOU EXCITED

India is a vibrant and colorful country in South Asia. Its rich history and culture span thousands of years and hundreds of generations. India is one of the countries which oozes a sense of mystery. It is very difficult to understand India for those who don’t live here.

India has a lot of important places to visit. Its geography is extremely diverse, ranging from high-rise mountains to tropical island beaches. It is also one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse countries on Earth. There is a lot to learn about India. Here, in this article, we present to you the 10 most fascinating geographical facts about India.


1. INDIA’S TOTAL COASTLINE MEASURES 7516.6 km

An Indian beach in Gokarna, Karnataka, India.
Halfmoon beach in Gokarna in the Karnataka State.

The bottom half of India forms a peninsula with water bodies on three sides. It is surrounded by the Arabian Sea in the west, the Bay of Bengal in the East, and the Indian Ocean in the south. It has two major groups of Islands; Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.

The closeness to the sea and international trade routes made India a major trading center historically. There was a lot of trade between India, Arabia, and other Asian countries. The opening of sea routes between India and Europe expanded the trade but ultimately lead to the colonization of India by foreign powers, mainly the British. In all, the total length of the Indian coastline measures 7516.6 km.


2. THE ONLY MAJOR DESERT IN INDIA, THE THAR, IS ALSO CALLED THE GREAT INDIAN DESERT

A camel in the Thar Desert, Rajastan, India.
A camel in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India.
Credits – ©Vyacheslav Argenberg/http://www.vascoplanet.com/. License – Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

The Thar desert is located mainly in the state of Rajasthan. It also stretches into Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, and even the Eastern part of Pakistan. The climate is very arid and is known as Subtropical. The temperature range is also extremely diverse.

It can experience extreme heat up to 50 degrees Celsius in Summers and drop to near Freezing Point in winters. The freshwater to the regions in the desert is provided by the Indira Gandhi Canal, which is the longest canal in India.

The surprising feature of this desert is that it is one of the most highly populated deserts in the world, with a population density of about 83 persons per square kilometer. Thar desert is also known as ‘The Great Indian Desert’.


3. THE WESTERN GHATS ARE STEEPER AND ON AVERAGE CLOSER TO THE SEA THAN THE EASTERN GHATS

Jog Falls, Karnataka, India. A waterfall is shown.
Jog Falls in Karnataka, located in the Western Ghats, is the third-highest waterfall in India.
Credits – Abhay kulkarni. License – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

Southern India is a Peninsula with water bodies on three sides. The interior of this Peninsula is occupied by a flat Plateau known as Deccan Plateau. Between the Coastal Plains and Deccan Plateau, there are mountain ranges on either side known as the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats. These hills are also thickly forested by Evergreen trees.

Of these, the Western Ghats is steeper and closer to the sea, on average, than the Eastern Ghats. The Western Ghats also receive much heavier rainfall than the Eastern Ghats. This is because the Monsoon winds move Eastwards. The Anamudi mountain in Kerala is the highest peak in the Western Ghats.


4. MOST OF THE PERENNIAL RIVERS IN INDIA ARE NORTH INDIAN RIVERS

The night photo of the banks of river ganga in Varanasi, India.
Varanasi is a holy city on the banks of the river Ganga, located in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Credits – ©Vyacheslav Argenberg/http://www.vascoplanet.com/. License – Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Perennial rivers are the rivers in which water flows throughout the year, irrespective of the season. Whereas, in Seasonal rivers, the rivers have their flow of water decreased in some seasons. The prominent Indian rivers which are Perennial are the Ganga, Indus, and Brahmaputra.

All these flow through North India. Whereas the prominent Seasonal rivers in India are Godavari, Krishna, Narmada, Kavery, and Mahanadi. These rivers are mainly located in South India. The reason for this difference is that while in the Monsoon season, most of the rivers are full in India; whereas, in the Summer season, North Indian rivers still get water due to ice melting in the Northern mountains, whereas this is not available for South Indian rivers which are wholly dependent on the Monsoons.


5. NORTH AND SOUTH INDIA ARE CHARACTERIZED BY TWO TYPES OF SOIL RESPECTIVELY; ALLUVIAL AND BLACK

Satellite map of South India.
A satellite image of the South Indian Peninsula, showing the Deccan Plateau, where Black soil is predominant.
Credits – NASA.

The Alluvial soil is the very fertile soil deposited by the rivers. This type of soil is predominant in the Northern Ganga Valley. This soil is rich in minerals and hence extremely suitable for agriculture. Hence the Northern Indian Plains produce a huge amount of agricultural produce for Indians and for export. This type of soil can also be found in some coastal areas also.

The South Indian Plateau is mainly characterized by the Balck soil which is formed as a result of the decomposition of rocks formed due to volcanic eruptions. This soil is extremely suitable for growing cotton and hence is also known as Black Cotton Soil. It is made up of very fine particles and hence it can form clays, due to the collection of water content. It is also suitable for growing oilseeds, millets, linseed, etc.


6. THE VINDHYA MOUNTAIN RANGES ACT AS A GEOGRAPHICAL BOUNDARY BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH INDIA

Mountains of the Vindhya range in Central India.
Vindhya Range in Central India divides North India from South India geographically.
Credits – Nataraja. License – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic

The Vindhyas is a mountain and hill range located in Central and Western India. However, they are a somewhat discontinuous mountain range. The point up to where the Vindhya mountain ranges are located is debatable. It is generally excepted that it is situated parallel to the Narmada river.

The highest point in the Vindhyas is the Sad-bhawna Shikhar peak which stands at 2,467 feet above sea level. The Vindhya range extends through the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and even Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. Vindhya mountain range, traditionally, historically, and culturally has been used as a boundary between North and South India. Vindhyas also appear frequently in Indian mythological texts and tales.


7. SUNDERBANS NATIONAL PARK IN WEST BENGAL IS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Boats moving in the Sunderbans Delta in Indian part.
Sunderbans Delta is a major Indian Waterway.
Credits – CHITEBUNIKRICHO, License – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Sunderbans is a delta region covered by Mangrove trees located in the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh. The Indian part of the Sunderbans comes under the Sunderbans National Park. It is the delta formed by the rivers Padma, Meghna, and the Brahmaputra.

It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Sunderbans has the largest reserves of tigers in the world and they are highly protected by Indian law. It has also been designated as a Ramsar site in 2019. Sunderbans also consists of about 54 large islands. It is also one of the major internal waterways of India. Sunderbans boasts a rich variety of flora and fauna, many of which are native to the region.


8. INDIRA POINT IS THE SOUTHERNMOST TIP OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY

Great Nicobar Island Map, showing the Southermost point of India.
Great Nicobar Island Map, showing the Southernmost point of India.

Indira Point is located in the Great Nicobar Island in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It lies in the 6.7806°N latitude, whereas the Southernmost tip of mainland India, Kanyakumari is located at a latitude of 8.084°N.

The northernmost tip of Indonesia is just 145 kilometers from Indira Point. It is named in the honor of former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. Mrs. Gandhi visited Indira Point in 1984. Indira Point was devastated by the 2004 Tsunami and Earthquake. Many of the inhabitants and visitors of the Island were dead or went missing due to the Tsunami. Indira Point has a lighthouse.


9. THE SIACHEN GLACIER IS THE SECOND LARGEST NON-POLAR GLACIER ON EARTH

Siachen glacier of India depicted in an Indian Postal Stamp.
Siachen glacier is depicted on an Indian Postal Stamp.
Credits – India Post. Source. License – Government Open Data License – India (GODL)

Siachen Glacier is located in the Indian Union Territory of Ladakh in the Eastern Karakoram mountain range. At its head, it is about 18,875 feet above sea level. Siachen is characterized by passes, which are located at high altitudes above sea level. The climate is extremely cold in this region. It can drop up to -50°C during winters.

The Siachen Glacier System, which includes its tributary glaciers span an area of about 700 square kilometers. Siachen Glacier doesn’t have any local population. However, there is an Indian military presence in the Glacier. Siachen is also the second-largest non-polar glacier in the World, slightly shorter than the Fedchenko glacier in Tajikistan.


10. THE ONLY ACTIVE VOLCANO IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT IS LOCATED IN BARREN ISLANDS IN ANDAMAN ISLANDS

Barren Island in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
Barren Island from a sketch made in 1789.
Source – Mallet, F.R. (1895). “Bibliography of Barren Island and Narcondam, from 1884 to 1894“. Records of the Geological Survey of India 28: 34-38.

Barren Island has the only confirmed active volcano in the Indian Subcontinent. The first recorded eruption of the volcano was in 1787. Its most recent eruption was in 2020. Eruptions were also recorded in 1789, 1795, 1803, and 1852. Another eruption occurred in 1991 which lasted for six months.

This eruption had caused massive damage to Island’s fauna. At its highest point, it is 1,158 feet above Sea level. However, the volcanic eruptions are of lower energy than that of other major active volcanoes on Earth. Barren Island is not inhabited, but teams of scientists visit the Island for their work.

What Geographical fact about India was the most surprising and new to you? Comment below.


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