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ABOUT INDIA - Geography
 
History | Geography | Culture | Map of India
 

Location
India is the seventh largest country in the world with a total land area of 3.3 million square kilometers. It is 2933 kms wide and the 3214 kms long. The Indian sub-continent is unique from the rest of Asia. In the North are the towering Himalayas which slope out into the great Indo-Gangetic plains.

 
Set apart from the rest of Asia by the supreme continental wall of the Himalayas, the Indian subcontinent touches three large bodies of water and is immediately recognizable on any world map. It is the huge, terrestrial beak between Africa and Indonesia.
 

This thick, roughly triangular peninsula defines the Bay of Bengal to the east, the Arabian sea to the west, and the India Ocean to the south.

 
 

Geography

In Central India, the Vindhya ranges separate the Deccan Peninsula from the northern plains. On the east coast of the country is the Bay of Bengal, while on the west coast is the Arabian Sea. The southern-most tip of the country projects into the Indian Ocean.

Apart from the mountains, plains and the seas, India has just about every geographical feature as well. In the West of the country lies the Thar desert in Rajasthan. A little south of it are the unique marshlands of Kutch, while on the east where the Ganges drains out into the sea is the world' s largest delta and a unique mangrove forest. Indian islands include the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep Islands in the Indian ocean. These unique features mean that the country has a wide variety of flora, fauna and a climate that ranges from tropical to arctic.

India's puzzleboard of 29 states holds virtually every kind of landscape imaginable. An abundance of mountain ranges and national parks provide ample opportunity for eco-tourism and trekking, and its sheer size promises something for everyone. From its northernmost point on the Chinese border, India extends a good 2000 miles (3200 km) to its southern tip, where the island nation of Sri Lanka seems to be squeezed out of India like a great tear, the synapse forming the Gulf of Mannar. India's northern border is dominated mostly by Nepal and the Himalayas, the world's highest mountain chain. Following the sweeping mountains to the northeast, its borders narrow to a small channel that passes between Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, then spreads out again to meet Burma in area called the "eastern triangle." Apart from the Arabian sea, its western border is defined exclusively by Pakistan.

India can be organized along the compass points. North India, shaped like a throat and two lungs, is the country's largest region. It begins with the panhandle of Jammu and Kashmir, a dynamic area with terrain varying from arid mountains in the far north to the lake country and forests near Sringar and Jammu. Falling south along the Indus river valley, the North becomes flatter and more hospitable, widening into the fertile plains of Punjab to the west and the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh and the Ganges river valley to the East. Cramped between these two states is the capital city, Delhi. The southwestern extremity of the North is the large state of Rajastan, whose principal features are the Thar Desert and the stunning "pink city" of Jaipur. To the southeast is southern Uttar Pradesh and Agra, home of the famous Taj Mahal.

West India contains the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, and part of the massive, central state of Madhya Pradesh. The west coast extends from the Gujarat peninsula down to Goa, and it is lined with some of India's best beaches. The land along the coast is typically lush, with rainforests reaching southward from Bombay all the way to into Goa. A long mountain chain, the Western Ghats, separates the verdant coast from the Vindya mountains and the dry Deccan plateau further inland.

Home of the sacred Ganges river and the majority of Himalayan foothills, East India begins with the states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, which comprise the westernmost part of the region. East India also contains an area known as the eastern triangle, which is entirely distinct. This is the last gulp of land that extends beyond Bangladesh, culminating in the Naga Hills along the Burmese border.

India reaches its peninsular tip with South India, which begins with the Deccan in the north and ends with Cape Comorin, where Hindus believe that bathing in the waters of the three oceans will wash away their sins. The states in South India are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, a favorite leisure destination. The southeast coast, mirroring the west, also rests snugly beneath a mountain range---the Eastern Ghats.

 
 
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