Indian Geography Notes
The UPSC Syllabus covers Geography in prelims as one of the subjects in General Awareness, while the IAS mains syllabus for Geography is covered both in the General Studies and Geography Optional papers. Indian Geography is a very important subject in the UPSC exam, covered by both IAS Prelims and Mains papers. Geography for UPSC covers Indian Geography as well as World geography.
Geography can be broadly divided into Physical Geography and Human Geography. Both these streams can be studied under the verticals – Indian Geography and World Geography.
Indian Geography Notes
Physical Features of India
- Physiography of an area is the outcome of structure, process and stage of development. The land of India exhibits great physical variations. Geologically, the Peninsular Plateau constitutes one of the ancient landmasses and most stable land blocks on the earth’s surface. The Himalayas and the Northern Plains are the most recent landforms. The Himalayan mountains represent a very youthful topography with high peaks, deep valleys and fast-moving rivers. The Northern Plains are formed of alluvial deposits and the Peninsular Plateau is composed of igneous and metamorphic rocks with gently rising hills and wide valleys.
- India is located in the south-central part of the continent of Asia.
- India shares its land boundaries with seven countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan in the north-west, China, Nepal and Bhutan in the north and Myanmar and Bangladesh in the east. Among these, the longest border is shared by Bangladesh (4096.7 km) and the shortest by Afghanistan (106 km). Across the sea, the southern neighbours are Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Sri Lanka is separated from India by a narrow channel of sea formed by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar, and Maldives islands are situated to the south of the Lakshadweep islands.
- Area – 3.28 million square km.
- Its area is about 2.4 % of the total geographical area of the world.
- It is the 7th largest country in the world. (7 countries in the decreasing order of their size – Russia, Canada, USA, China, Brazil, Australia, India).
- Land boundary – approx. 15,200 km.
- Total length of the coastal line, including Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar islands – 7517 km.
- Both the longitudinal and latitudinal extent of the mainland is approx. 30°, despite the fact that the north-south extent seems to be larger than the east-west.
- The mainland of India extends from Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south (3214 km) and Arunachal Pradesh in the east to Gujarat in the west (2933 km). The territorial limit of India extends towards the sea up to 12 nautical miles (~ 21.9 km) from the coast. (1 Nautical mile ~ 1.852 km).
- The southern part of the country lies within the Tropics and the northern part lies in the sub-tropical zone or the warm temperate zone. This location is responsible for large variations in landforms, climate, soil types and natural vegetation in the country.
- The Standard Meridian of India (82°30′ E) passes through Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh and is taken as the standard time for the whole country (there is a time lag of 2 hrs from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh). Indian Standard Time is ahead of Greenwich Mean Time by 5 hours and 30 minutes. The Standard Meridian of India passes through Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
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