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India Main Page

 

India's Geography

 

Location:
Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan
Geographic coordinates:
20 00 N, 77 00 E
Map references:
Asia
Area:
total: 3,287,263 sq km
country comparison to the world: 7
land: 2,973,193 sq km
water: 314,070 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than one-third the size of the US
Land boundaries:
total: 14,103 km
border countries: Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380 km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km
Coastline:
7,000 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate:
Current Weather
varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north
Terrain:
upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Kanchenjunga 8,598 m
Natural resources:
coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, rare earth elements, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 48.83%
permanent crops: 2.8%
other: 48.37% (2005)
Irrigated land:
558,080 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
1,907.8 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 645.84 cu km/yr (8%/5%/86%)
per capita: 585 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
droughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes
volcanism: Barren Island (elev. 354 m, 1,161 ft) in the Andaman Sea has been active in recent years
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes; Kanchenjunga, third tallest mountain in the world, lies on the border with Nepal

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India covers 3,287,263 sq km, which extends from the Himalayas, the world's highest mountains, to the southern tropical rain forests.  It is the seventh largest country in the world and the mountains and sea that surround India separate it from other parts of Asia.   In the shape of a triangle, India's topography is greatly varied in that there although there are deserts and rain forests, much of it's land is comprised of fertile river plains and high plateaus.  Some of the main rivers that flow through India are the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Indus.  These rivers start in the high mountains and carry down rich alluvial soil to the plains below, thus creating the fertile river plains.

Four distinct regions can be found in India - mountains, plains, the desert and the southern peninsula.  The mountainous region is comprised of the Himalayas, a mountain range that has some of the highest peaks in the world.  They have rivers that increase and decrease in amount  with the snowfall. During the monsoon season, the heavy water coming out of them causes frequent flooding.  On one side of India, the heights make them impassable, whereas in the east the ranges are considerably lower.  The plains are made up of basins by three main rivers in India - the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.  Flat alluvium (rich soil deposited by rivers) is abundant and this area is considered to be one of the largest areas of it in the world.  In addition to that international distinction, this area is also considered to be one of the most heavily populated areas in the world.  The desert areas in India are split by land that is rocky and comprised of limestone ridges.  The last region, the peninsula, has mountains surrounding it, with coastal areas on the other side of the mountains.

The climate in India is characterized as tropical-monsoon.  Seasonal winds determine the climate. There is a north-east monsoon that is known as the winter monsoon and it goes across the land to the sea.  The south-west monsoon is called the summer monsoon as it comes from the sea and blows across the land.  This monsoon brings the highest amount of rainfall to the country.

India is the seventh largest country in the world. It has the world's second largest population. Located entirely in the northern hemisphere it is bound by Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The Arabian sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal border it's coastline.

The mainland has three well-defined geographical regions, the mountain zone of the Himalayas, the Indo-gangetic plain, ( formed by the basins of three great rivers Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra) and the southern peninsula of the Deccan Plateau.

The main river systems are the Himalayan rivers like Ganga and Brahmaputra which are snow-fed; the peninsular rivers like Godavari, Krishna and Mahanadi; and the coastal rivers.

India has a rich variety of vegetation and animal life, with special types of flora and fauna.

The climate of the country varies from region to region. In some places, including the coastal areas, the climate is almost uniform throughout the year. There are quite a few places in the country which have a moderate climate, such as towns in the North of the country or Bangalore in the South. On the other hand most areas are very hot in summer.

The Indian seasons can be divided as follows:

  • March to June: Summer

  • July to October: Monsoon

  • November to February: Winter

 


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