India lies between 8 and 36 degrees north latitude and between 68 and 97 degrees east longitude. From the west, India is washed by the Arabian Sea, from the east – by the Bay of Bengal, and the southern tip with Cape Kumari – by the open Indian Ocean. India shares borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
According to Citypopulationreview.com, India is often divided into seven natural regions: the Himalayas, the Indo-Gangetic lowlands (plain), the Central Highlands, the Deccan Plateau, the Western Ghats, the Eastern Ghatras, the adjoining mozone, and the islands.
The Himalayas form the country’s natural border in the north. This is not a single range, but several parallel mountain ranges with deep valleys between them. The mountains form the drainage area of the three main rivers of the South Asian subcontinent: the Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra.
This lowland, consisting mainly of the valleys of the Indus and Ganges rivers, is located at the foot of the Himalayas. In the west, in Pakistan, it passes into the Indus lowland, and to the south, into the Thar Desert.
To the south of the Indo-Gangetic lowland, the terrain becomes mountainous and passes into the Central Highlands. Its “core” is the Malwa Plateau. The Aravali Range, which runs along the western edge of the highlands, is the remains of ancient and very high mountains. The ridge stretches in the northeast – southwest direction, reaching in its axial part – from Ahmedabad (Gujarat) to Jaipur (Rajasthan) – a height of 1200 – 1700 m above sea level. In the north, the highlands are cut by the basin of the Chambal River flowing to the north, which merges on the plains with the Gang Jamna water system, and then goes to the hills of the Bundelkhand plateau, whose height is about 500 m. Further, the highlands stretch to the east in the form of the Bagkhelkhand and Chotanagar plateaus. To the south, the Vindhya Mountains, whose average height is several hundred meters, cross almost the entire Hindustan peninsula from west to east.
The area south of the Vindhya Mountains includes the arid and barren Deccan Plateau and the Eastern and Western Ghats, whose ledge-like ridges stretch along the coasts. The Deccan Plateau itself consists of several interconnected plateaus, such as Telengana near Hyderabad and Karnataka, located to the southwest. On the Karnataka plateau there are many unusual hills strewn with boulders – the so-called granite island mountains.
A strip of these mountains constitutes the eastern border of the Deccan; it is interrupted only by large rivers such as Godavari and Krishna. In the south, the Ghats end with the picturesque Nilgiri Mountains, often referred to as the “blue mountains”. The Nilgiris are known for their resort of Ootacamund (Ooty). To the east and south are the Taminlad plateau and the basin of the large river Kaveri. The Southern Ghats, which are a continuation of the Western Ghats, stretch south as far as Cape Kumari.
SEAS AND ISLANDS.
The shores of India are washed by the waters of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the open Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, of which there are about 300, are formed by an underwater mountain range that separates the Bay of Bengal from the Andaman Sea. The Laccadive archipelago includes 2 coral islands and 6 “ordinary” islands off the coast of Kerala.
India occupies 3,287,590 sq. km.
VARIETY OF NATURAL CONDITIONS
The nature of India is extremely diverse: everything is represented here – from high, snow-covered mountains to tropical rainforests, from hot and cold deserts to flowering fertile plains and valleys with rich vegetation and wildlife.
In North India, forests grow from such trees as black alder, laurel, birch, maple, as well as coniferous trees, such as juniper. There are rhododendron, bamboo and grassy willow. Forests of birch, fir, white fir, spruce, and cedar cover the highlands, while forests of lard cover the lower mountains. Tall grasses and bamboo thickets can be found in Assam.
In South India, various types of palm trees grow on the Deccan plateau. Tropical plants are characteristic of Western India, in the local forests there are a lot of crops whose fruits are the object of commerce: bananas, betel nuts, cardamom, citrus fruits, coconuts, coffee, tea, ginger, pepper, rubber, “iron” and rosewood, teak.
Until recently, forests in India occupied a much larger area; these ranged from the dense rainforests seen on the western slopes of the Western Ghats to the deciduous forests in the drier areas. But now, in the place of many of them, agricultural land has appeared; the remaining forests were heavily cut down for various economic needs.
India has about 20 national parks and over 200 reserves, which are home to 500 species of mammals, hundreds of species of birds and reptiles. The Gir forest in Gujarat is famous for its Asian lions, Periyar (Kerala) – elephants, Manas and Kaziranga – rhinos, Keibul Lamjao Park (Manipur) – lira deer, Corbett and Khana – tigers.
When it comes to a country as vast in area and diverse in natural conditions as India, it is very difficult to characterize the climate as a whole. It varies in different areas. Here you will meet the cold of the high Himalayas, and the moderate temperatures of the coasts, and the continental climate of the hinterland. Regional and seasonal climatic differences are very large on the territory of the country. The best time to visit India is after the monsoon season.
The cool season lasts from October to March; this is the best time of the year in the Hindustan peninsula. In general, the weather in winter is quite predictable: at this time in most areas the sky is clear and the sun is shining. Some areas in the south and east experience short periods of rain brought by the northeast monsoons, while snow and ice crusts make the far north of the country very cold and often inaccessible areas.
Summer lasts from April to June; in most of the country it is hot and dry, but along the coasts it is humid. This time of year is especially good in Kashmir and in the mountain resorts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
The southwest monsoon season begins on the west coast in late May. It brings a pleasant respite from the heat. The movement of the monsoon over the rest of the country in June – September is accompanied by precipitation. Especially heavy rains occur in the north-east of India; here on Earth (about 12,000 mm of precipitation per year).