is a land of physical diversities. 29.3 per cent of area of India is occupied
by mountains and hills, 27.7 per cent by plateaus and 43 per cent by plains. India
is divided into six physiographic divisions: 1. the Himalayan Mountains, 2. the
Northern Plain, 3. the Indian Desert, 4. the Peninsular Plateau, 5. the Islands,
and 6. the Coastal Plains.


The Himalayan Mountains

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• The Himalaya mountain range is the
highest on earth and is often referred to as the ‘roof of the world’. These
mountain ranges run in a west-east direction from the Indus to the Brahmaputra.

The Himalayas run along the northern border of India. This is the highest
mountain range of the world.

They include the mountains and plateaus of northern Kashmir, the Himalayas
proper and the hills of Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura
and Meghalaya.

They are divided into three groups: (i) The Himalayas, (ii) The Trans-Himalayas
and (iii) Purvanchal or the hills of the North-East.

• Himadri
(Greater Himalaya) is the northern most and the highest range of the

• The Trans-Himalayan ranges are some mountain ranges to
the north of the Himadri in Jammu and Kashmir. The range extending to the north
of the Himadri and running parallel to it is called the Zaskar range. North of
Zaskar range is the Ladakh range.

• Purvanchal comprises
all hills of north east India beyond Brahmaputra gorge. These hills are
located in Southern Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and

• The outermost range of the Himalayas is known as Shiwaliks,
also known as Manak Parbat in ancient times.


Northern Plain

• The northern plain of India is formed by three river systems,
i.e. the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra; along with their tributaries.

• This plain extends from west to east, between Himalayas in the
north and Great Indian Plateau in the south, from the arid and semi-arid areas
of Rajasthan in the west to Brahmaputra valley in the east.

• The northern plain is divided into three sections, i.e. the
Punjab Plain, the Ganga Plain and the Brahmaputra Plain.


Indian Desert

• The Indian desert is also known as the Thar Desert. It lies
towards the western margins of the Aravalli Hills.

• Luni is the only large river of this region.


Peninsular Plateau

• The Peninsular Plateau lies to the south of the Great Northern
Plains. This is the largest physiographic division of our country. It is also
known as the Deccan Plateau.

• It is divided into two parts. The northern part is called Northern
Circar. The southern part is called the Coromandel Coast.



• Indiahas two group of islands: Lakshadweep (Arabian Sea) and
Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Bay of Bengal).

• These islands are located close to equator and thus, experience
equatorial type of climate and also have thick forest cover.


Coastal Plains

• The Great Plateau of India is surrounded by plains on all sides.
In the north lies the Great Northern Plain and in south, along the east and
west lie the Coastal Plains.



Soils in India

is the topmost layer of the earth’s crust and is a mixture of fine powdered
rocks, organic matter, liquids, myriad organisms and minerals.

are many different types of soils present in India. They are primarily
differentiated on the basis of composition and structure.

According to ICAR (Indian Council of
Agricultural Research), soils are divided into eight categories. They are,
alluvial soils, black soils, red and yellow soils, laterite soils, mountainous
or forest soils, arid or desert soils, saline and alkaline soils and peaty and
marshy soils.


1. Alluvial soils

• These are
formed by the deposition of sediments by rivers. It is the most available soil
in India (about 43%). It is rich in photas and is a good, productive type of

• It is suitable
for cultivation of crops like wheat, sugarcane, pulses, rice, maize, oilseed
etc.  It is found in areas of Haryana,
Assam, Punjab, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, delta regions of southern India,

•  Fertile ones are locally known as khaddar, whereas coarser ones are
known as bangar.


2. Black Soils
(Regur soils)

• These soils
are made up of volcanic rocks and lava-flow. It consists of lime, iron, magnesium
and also potash but lacks in phosphorus, nitrogen and organic matter.

• It is found in
areas of plateaus of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh (mainly Malwa),
Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.

• Its special
merit lies in its water holding capacity. These soils are very fertile and contain
a high percentage of lime and a moderate amount of potash.

• The type of
soil is especially suited to the cultivation of cotton, wheat and sugarcane.


3. Red and
Yellow Soil

• This type of
soil is formed as a result of weathering of metamorphic and igneous rocks. Its
red colour is due to presence of iron content and yellow colour is due to
presence of iron hydroxides.

• It is rich in
potash content but lacks phosphate, humus and nitrogen content.

• It is found
mainly in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, some parts of
Karnataka and south-east Maharashtra.

• Red and yellow
soils are used to grow rice, wheat, sugarcane, millet, groundnut, ragi and


4. Laterite

• Laterite is a
kind of clayey rock or soil formed under high temperature and high rainfall.

• It is mainly
found in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu,
and the hilly areas of Odisha and Assam.

• Laterite soils are
widely used in bricks and pottery making.

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