India is a country with great extent. Its latitudinal extent is from 8°N to 37°N and longitudinal extent is from 68°E to 97°E. The country consists of a huge variety of physical features; ranging from deep valleys to lofty mountains and dry deserts to moist coastal plains.
The physical features of India can be grouped under the following physiographic divisions:
Northern mountain ranges are the continuous stretch of mountains from Kashmir in the west to Assam in the east. The length of these ranges is 2500 km and width varies from 160 to 450 km. There are two mountain ranges here, which are the Karakoram, and the Himalayas.The Karakoram mountain ranges rise from the Pamir Knot in the north-west and stretch towards southeast up to the Indus gorge in Jammu and Kashmir. These ranges are 600 km long with the average width of 120 to 140 km. To the south of the Karakoram Mountains are the Ladakh range and the Zaskar range. The Himalayas broadly consist of three parallel ranges of mountains - the Himadri, the Himachal and the Shivaliks.
The great northern plain is formed by the deposition of soil by three major rivers, i.e., Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra. This plain is one of the largest depositional plain in the world and most suited to agriculture, makes them the granary of India.
To the south of the Great Plains of northern India lies the old landmass of the Peninsular India. This Great Plateau has two distinct parts, the Malwa Plateau and the Deccan Plateau. It is made up of hard, crystalline, igneous and metamorphic rocks. The plateau has great economic importance because of its rich mineral resources. The northeastern part called of the Malwa Plateau is called Chotanagpur plateau and is the richest mineral producing region of India.
The Great Indian Desert lies to the west of the Aravali Hills and is known as the Thar Desert. The desert is interspersed with hillocks, gravel, salt marshes and some lakes.
The coastal plains of India are divided into the Western Coastal Plains, and the Eastern Coastal Plains. The western Coastal Plain lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. The northern part of the Western Coastal Plains, called the Konkan Coast, gets wider as it movers further northwards and encompasses plains of Gujarat. The eastern coastal plain, lying between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal, is wider and more leveled. The southern part of the eastern Coastal Plains is known as Coromandel Coast and its northern part as the Northern Sircars. Coastal plains are good for agriculture, trade, industrial centres, fishing and salt making. They provide important hinterlands for the ports.
There are two island groups of India. These are Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands. There is a great diversity of flora and fauna in these groups of islands.
These physical variations affects climate, vegetation, wild life, resources, food, culture and life style of the people of India.