In this article, we will discuss Importance of the Great Plains of India. So, let’s get started.
Importance of the Great Plains of India
The Great Plains of India have been the repository of the Indian culture. This is covered with one of the most productive soils of the world. Its soils have the capacity to grow any crop of the tropical and temperate regions. The main points of significance of the Great Plains of India are as under:
(i) The soils of the plains are agriculturally most fertile. They are being devoted to the cereal and non-cereal crops. The plains are often termed as the “Granary of India”.
(ii) Most of the rivers traversing the Northern Plains of India are perennial in nature. A number
of canals have been carved out of these rivers which make agriculture more remunerative and sustainable
(iii) The northern plains have a rich underground water-table which is being utilised through
tube-wells and pumping sets for irrigation, domestic and industrial purposes.
(iv) The rivers of the plain have very gentle gradients which makes them navigable over long
(v) Development of infrastructure like roads and railways could become easy in the plains.
(vi) The sedimentary rocks of plains have petroleum and natural gas deposits.
(vii) The plains constitute less than one-third of the total area of the country, but support over
40% of the total population of the country.
(viii) The plains have witnessed several religious, political, culturaland social movements since the dawn of history. Some of the great religions of the world, like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism,
and Sikhism have their origin in the Great Plains of India. Several sacred places and centres of pilgrimage (Amritsar, Hardwar, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Bodh-Gaya, etc)
are situated in these plains.
The Indian Desert
A desert is an arid land where the water is lost through evaporation than is gained from precipitation. It is the region where the rate of evaporation is higher so that of the rate of precipitation.
The Thar Desert
It is a low latitude desert and is also known as tropical desert. The name Thar is derived from ‘thul’ a term used for the region’s sand ridges. The Thar Desert is a large arid region that covers an area of 200,000 sq km. It is the ninth largest subtropical desert in the world. It is bordered by plains of the Indus River to the west, Punjab plain to the north and north-east, Aravalli range to the south east and Rann of Kutch to the south. More than 60% of the desert lies in Rajasthan.
The land surface of the Thar Desert is wind deposited (Aeolian) accumlation of sand over the past 1.8 million years. Its surface has high and low sand dunes separated by sandy plains and low barren hills (bhakars). The dunes are in continual motion and keep varying in their shapes and size. Some of the older sand dunes are of 150 m height. The region has playas (saline lake beds), locally known as dhands, scattered throughout the region. Examples: The Sambhar, Kuchaman, Didwana, Pachpadra, Phalodi (Rajasthan), Kharagoda (Gujarat), Lunkaransar are major sources of the common salt.
The Thar Desert receives low annual rainfall of about 4 inches (in the west) to 20 inches (in the
east). The winds are dry north east monsoon and the deserts record temperatures up to 50°C in the months of May and June. The coldest month is January with the minimum temperature of 5-10° C. The winters are short for two months only in December and January, Dust storms blow with velocities of up to 150 km/h during the peak summer season.
The flora includes stunted scrub, drought resistant trees, gum Arabica, acacia, jojoba, Khejri
tree and Euphorbia. Kejri is an indigenous tree which plays a vital role in stabilizing the sand
dunes. It can also withstand periodic burial under the sand dunes. The fauna of the Thar Desert
are the falcon, kestrel, blackbucks, chinkara, Indian wild ass, foxes, partridges, quail, vultures and reptiles. Endangered species of bustard is found in the desert.
The river Luni, originating from the Pushkar valley of the Aravalli range is the only natural
water source that reaches the Arabian Sea through the Rann of Kutch. The major irrigation system in the region is the Rajasthan Canal System. The Indira Gandhi Canal is the source of fresh water and irrigates the vast expanse of Indian portion of the Thar Desert. The Desert National Park is an important ecosystem. The Tal Chhapar Sanctuary is an important bird reserve area located in Churu district and also an abode of large population of blackbuck, fox, caracal and sandgrouse. The Sundha Mata Conservation reserve is located in Jalore district. The Keoladeo Ghana National Park (Desert National Park in Jaisalmer) has fossils of tree trunks and sea shells.
The Thar Desert has a population density of 83 people per sq km and it is the most densely
populated desert in the world. It has become the largest wool producing area in India. Animal
husbandry has increased as the harsh climatic conditions and the land terrain not favouring
farming. However, Kharif crops are the main agricultural production. Bajra is the main crop. The
solar and wind energy of the region is being exploited to generate electricity.
The Cold Desert of India ( Ladakh)
Ladakh is the cold desert of India that lies in the Greater Himalaya, on the eastern side of Jammu and Kashmir. It is bounded by the Karakoram range in the North and by Zanskar mountains in the South. River Indus flows through Ladakh. The altitude varies from 3000 m in Kargil to more than 8000 m in Karakoram. Ladakh has very thin air and hence the sun’s heat intensity is strongly felt. During the summers the day temperature is just above 0°C and at night it is as low as -40°C. The region experiences low rainfall (10 cm) annually since it lies in the rain shadow area of the Himalaya mountains.
Teh region has sparse vegetation (scanty patches of shrubs and grasses). Walnuts, apples, apricots are the main fruits of the summer season. The fauna of the region includes Yak, Wild goat and sheep, special kinds of dogs.