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Physiography and Relief Features of Peninsular India

In this article we will discuss Physiography and Relief Features of Peninsular India

In this article, we will discuss Physiography and Relief Features of Peninsular India. So, let’s get started.

Physiography and Relief Features of Peninsular India

Covering an area of about 16 lakh sq km, the peninsular upland forms the largest physiographic division of India. With a general elevation between 600-900 m, the region constitutes an irregular triangle with its base lying between the Delhi Ridge and the Rajmahal Hills and the apex formed by Kanyakumari . It is bounded by the Aravallis in the north-west, Maikal Range in the north, Hazaribagh and Rajmahal Hills in the north-east, the Western Ghat (Sahayadri Mountains.) in the west and the Eastern Ghat in the east . The highest peak of Peninsular India-Anai-Mudi (Nilgiris), is 2695 metres above sea level. According to Prof. S. P. Chatterji (1964), the Peninsular Uplands can be divided into the following eight macro-physiographic units. Meso-region can be identified with a division of a state.

The North Central Highlands

The central highlands of peninsular India include the Aravallis, the Malwa Plateau, and theVindhyan Range.
(i) The Aravallis: It is a range that runs from north-east to south-west for about 800 km between Delhi to Palanpur (Gujarat). It is one of the oldest folded mountains of the world. Being highly denuded, its highest peak-Guru-Sikhar-is only 1722 m in height. The Aravillis are mainly composed of quartzites, gneisses and schists of the Precambrian period. North-West of Udaipur, the Aravallis are called Jarga Hills (1431 m). The Goranghat Pass separates Gurushikar from Mount Abu. The Great Boundary Fault (GBF) separates the Aravallis from the Vindhyan Mountains.
(ii) The Malwa Plateau: It is bordered by the Aravallis in the north, the Vindhyan Range in the south and the Bundelkhand Plateau in the east. The Malwa Plateau has two drainage systems, one towards the Arabian Sea (Narmada and Mahi), and another towards the Bay of Bengal (Chambal, Sind, Betwa, and Ken) joining the Yamuna river.

The South Central Highlands

The Vindhyan Range extends from Jobat (Gujarat) and Chittorgarh (Rajasthan) to Sasaram in Bihar. It extends for about 1050 km with general elevation between 450 to 600 m. Apart from the Kaimur Hills in the east, the Maikal Range forms a connecting link between the Vindhyans and the Satpura mountains.
(i) The Bundelkhand (Vindhyachal Plateau): It is bounded by the Yamuna river in the north, the Vindhyans in the south, the Chambal in the north-west, and Panna-Ajaigarh Range in the south-east. The Bundelkhand upland stretches over the districts of Banda, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Jhansi, and Lalitpur (UP), and Datia, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur and Panna (MP). The region is characterised by senile topography. The rivers like Betwa, Dhasan, and Ken have carved out steep gorges, rapids, cataracts, and waterfalls.
(ii) The Vindhyachal-Baghelkhand or Vindhyachal Plateau: It includes the plateaus of Satna, Rewa (MP) and Mirzapur (UP). Its elevation varies between 150 to 1200 m with uneven relief. To the south of this lies the Narmada-Son trough (rift valley) characterised by the Archaeans and Bijwar series. South of this trough is the eastward extension of the Satpura which is an area of radial drainage. Among the basins, Singrauli and Dudhi (150–300 m) are Upper Gondwana basins, which are rich in coal deposits. Besides the Narmada and Son, this region is drained by the Karmanasa, Tons, Ken, and Belandare rivers.
Parallel to the Vindhyas between the Narmada and the Tapi rivers is the Satpura Range. Satpura consists of Rajpipla Hills, Mahadev Hills and the Maikal Range. Dhupgarh (1350 m, near Pachmarhi) is the highest peak of Satpura. Amarkantak (1064 m) is another important peak of the Satpura mountains.

The Chotanagpur Plateau

The Chotanagpur Plateau sprawls over parts of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and north-eastern part of Andhra Pradesh. This plateau has a series of the meso and micro plateaus (Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Singhbhum, Dhanbad, Palamu, Santhal, Parganas, and Purulia districts of West Bengal). It is composed of Archaean granite and gneiss rocks with patches of Dharwar (mica-schists), the Damuda series of the Gondwana Period, and the lava flow of the Cretaceous Period.
Moreover, the Chhotanagpur Plateau consists of plateaux at different levels of elevation, the highest general elevation of about 1100 m in the mid-western part is known as pat lands. The rivers which drain the Chhotanagpur Plateau are Barakar, Damodar, Subarnarekha, and Koels. These rivers have carved out deep gorges, rapids, cataracts, and waterfalls in the plateau region.

The Meghalaya Plateau and Mikir Hills

Consisting of the Garo, Khasi, Jaintia hills and the outlying Mikir and Rengma hills, it is a plateau
which has been detached from the Indian Peninsula by the Malda Gap. The Meghalaya Plateau has a chequered evolutionary history of emergence, submergence, planation surface with several phsases of erosion, sedimentation, diastrophism and intrusions. The Shillong Peak is the highest elevation (1823 m) in the Meghalaya Plateau, while Norkek (1515 m) is the highest peak of the Garo Hills. Mawsynram (25°15’N, 9144’E) about 16 km west of Cherrapunji records the highest rainfall in the world.
The Mikir Hills are detached from the Meghalaya Plateau and are surrounded by plains from
three sides. The southern range of the Mikir Hills is known as the Rengma Hills (900 m). The Mikir Hills are characterised by radial drainage with Dhansiri and Jamuna being the main rivers.

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