From the sands of the Thar Desert, where temperatures regularly soar to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, to the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas, India's geography is marked by intense contrast. While best known for the record-breaking peaks of its mountain range and its celebrated river, the Ganges, India is also home to a historically active volcano, just off its shores. Read below to explore some of the most beautiful landforms in Asia and on Earth.
The Himalaya Mountains serve as the northern boundary of India and is a major landform that influences the climate of the region; some of the mountains and many of the surrounding foothills are within the country. This Himalayan landform is so tall it prevents cold winds from Siberia to reach the other side. In this mountain range lies Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth’s surface.
You can divide the Indian Himalayas into five different regions. The region of Jammu and Kashmir has foothill plains and lakes, as well as some higher peaks. The Himachal Pradesh region is generally snow-capped and forested with conifers; Dharamshala, home to the Dalai Lama, is within this region. The Uttaranchal region attracts many adventure sports enthusiasts. Sikkim is home to some of the tallest peaks; once an independent kingdom, it is now an Indian state, bounded by Nepal on the west and Bhutan to the east. The North Eastern states comprise a fifth region, which includes the "seven sisters" of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
The Northern Plains
The Northern Plains lay between the Himalaya Mountains and Pensinsular Plateau, featuring 10 rivers that run through its land area. These rivers include the Ganga, Yamuna, Chambal, Betwa, Son, Ken, Ghahghra, Gandak, Kosi and Hoogley. The Ganges River runs 1,560 miles, beginning in the Himalayas and flowing into the Bay of Bengal. The river flows through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Upon merging with the Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers, it forms a river delta that is 200 miles across. Hindus attribute holy significance to the river's water, going to designated bathing places along the river's course, known as tirthas. It is also a common tradition to cast the ashes of the deceased into the river.
The Northern Plains are divided into three areas which include The Punjab Plains, The Ganga Plain and The Bahmaputra Plain.
In western India, the Thar Desert is the seventh-largest desert in the world, covering about 92,200 square miles. This desert is also widely known as The Indian Desert. With extremely severe temperatures, the Thar is one of the most inhospitable parts of the country. Winter temperatures are regularly around freezing, and summer temperatures can surge to more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Annual rainfall is condensed into a few months of monsoons in late summer. The Thar Desert spans the Indian states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab and extends into Pakistan to the west. Given the extreme climate, the Thar has plentiful fauna and flora, with around 141 known species of native birds.
This particular landform came to be when Gwondanaland experienced a large tectonic shift. The Peninsular Plateau is surrounded by three different mountain ranges including the Aravallis, the Vidhyas, and the Satpuras. Tthe Pensinsular Plateau overall features mountains, rift valleys, rocky areas and rolling hills. It is also separated into two different areas, the Central Highlands and the Deccan Plateau.
The Andaman Islands form an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, just south of Burma. Altogether, the archipelago numbers about 300 islands, most of which comprise a territory of India. The islands are mountainous with dense rain forests. The islands also feature two volcanoes, the Narcondam and the Barren Island volcano. The Barren Island is the only historically active volcano in India. This is one of the many physical features that makes the landforms of India so well known and highly regarded. Other than this set of islands, there are also other great Indian islands like the Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands.