Indian Geography

Dear Aspirants
You are welcome in Geography Section of Free Notes 4 IAS

Before moving ahead to study Geography. We would like to discuss with you some basic concepts of Geography for basic clarity. We are committed to concept of “Logical Studies” here as well
What do you mean by Logical Study-?
To understand the concept of logical study. Let me give you an example-
Suppose you are studying a topic on Inflation. Think logically as a layman, and then you should get the following sequence of questions-
  • What is inflation-?
  • Why there is inflation, i.e. causes of inflation-?
  • So what if  there is inflation, i.e. impact of inflation-?
  • If its impact is negative, then naturally we should find some solutions to reduce it
  • What can be those possible solutions-?
If the steps to reduce inflation as you think about has already taken by system to cater the problem but inflation is still there, then think what went wrong and what can be an alternate solution-?
  • Keep in mind the current status of inflation
This is called logical thinking which is an essential trait examiner is looking for in you
So lets move ahead with logical study of Geography, which is an important part of General Studies

What is Geography-?
Geography is a combination of two words i. e. Geo [which means Earth] and Graphy [which means mapping]. In simplest words we can say that Geography is a branch of science which deals with the study of the Earth and its lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena. Geography looks at the spatial connection between people, places, and the earth. Further Geography can be classified into various sub categories like Human Geography, Physical Geography, Cosmology, Earth Sciences, Social demography, Cultural Geography etc. A new branch of Geography is in vogue these days called GIS [Geo Informatics System]

Why Geography is Important-?
Being able to view the world geographically is a fundamental skill for everyone. Understanding the connection between the environment and people, geography ties together diverse sciences as geology, biology, and climatology with economics, history, and politics based on location. Geographers understand conflict around the world because so many factors are involved

Who is known as Father of Geography-?
The first person to use the word “geography” was Eratosthenes (276-194 B.C.) He measured the circumference of earth and generally known as Father of Geography. However Alexander von Humboldt is commonly called the “Father of modern geography” and William Morris Davis is commonly called the “Father of American geography.”

Our Solar System-
Nebular Hypothesis-
Nebular hypothesis is the most widely accepted model explaining the formation and evolution of the Solar System. It was first proposed in 1734 by Emanuel Swedenborg.
The Solar System consists of the Sun and those celestial objects bound to it by its gravity. It can be classified into following two categories-
  1. Inner Solar System-
Internal Solar system consists of Sun, Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and various other Planets
  1. Outer Solar System-
Outer solar system consists of Comets, Artificial Satellites, Kupier belt and Space junk
The four smaller inner planets; Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, also called the terrestrial planets/inferior planets are primarily composed of rock and metal. The four outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, also called the gas giants/superior planets are composed largely of hydrogen and helium and are far more massive than the terrestrials.
About Sun-
  • Compared      with the billions of other stars in the universe, the sun is unremarkable.      The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. The Earth and other matter (including other planets, asteroids, meteoroids, comets, and dust) orbit the Sun, which by itself accounts for about 99.86% of the Solar System’s mass. It holds the solar system together; pours life-giving light, heat, and energy on Earth; and generates space weather.
  • Sun is made up of two main gases hydrogen [73%] and helium [24%]. It is nuclear fusion reaction which converts hydrogen into helium and yield huge solar energy. The energy we get in from of sun light called photons. The energy stored in petroleum and other fossil fuels was originally converted from sunlight by photosynthesis in the distant past.
  • The sun’s surface, or atmosphere, is divided into three regions: the photosphere, the chromosphere, and the solar corona. The photosphere is the visible surface of the sun and the lowest layer of the atmosphere.      Just above the photosphere are the chromosphere and the corona, which also emit visible light but are only, seen during a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the Earth and sun.
  • The Sun is a magnetically active star. The Sun’s magnetic field gives rise to many effects that are collectively called solar activity, including sunspots on the surface of the Sun, solar flares, and variations in solar wind that carry material through the Solar System. Solar activity changes the structure of Earth’s outer atmosphere.
  • The Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) mission was launched in October 2006 as latest mission to explore more about Sun.
About Asteroid belt-
Asteroids are mostly small Solar System bodies composed mainly of refractory rocky and metallic minerals.
The main asteroid belt occupies the orbit between Mars and Jupiter
The asteroid belt contains tens of thousands, possibly millions, of Asteroids with different size
Some notable asteroids are Ceres [(2.77 AU) is the largest body in the asteroid belt and a mass large enough for its own gravity to pull it into a spherical shape. In 2006, Ceres was added in the list of Dwarf Planet along with Pluto], Gaspra, Vesta and Eros.
**Small size asteroids are known as “Meteoroids.”
About Comets-
Comets are made of rocky and dusty ice material and they are small Solar System bodies. Comets are usually found in Kupier belt but sometimes they came near to inner solar system. When a comet enters the inner Solar System, its proximity to the Sun causes its icy surface to sublimate and ionize, creating a coma i.e. a long tail of gas and dust often visible to the naked eye. The tail of a comet always points away from Sun.
Some notable comets are Halley’s Comet [discovered by English Astronomer Edmond Halley in 1705 so named after him], Hale-Boop Comet [1995] and Hayakutake [1996]
The Study of stars/universe is called Cosmology. There are so many stars into universe. A group of stars is known as Galaxy.
Big-Bang Theory-
This theory given by a Belgium Astronomer/Cosmologist George Lemaitre used to believe the possible reason for creation of Universe [Atmosphere + Space] 15 billion years ago
Our galaxy is Milky Way galaxy or called Akash Ganga.
Solar system consist a star called sun, 8 Planets, asteroids, meteors, comets and satellites of the planets.
Main source of energy is sun light which produced converting of hydrogen gas into helium by a chemical reaction called Fusion.
Sun is 109 times bigger than earth and sunlight takes 8 minutes 16 seconds to reach earth
Black Holes-
As we know that there are copious of stars in universe. While most stars end up as white dwarfs or neutron stars, black holes are the last evolutionary stage in the lifetimes of enormous stars that had been at least 10 or 15 times as massive as our own sun. When giant stars reach the final stages of their lives they often detonate in cataclysms known as supernovae. Such an explosion scatters most of a star into the void of space but leaves behind a large “cold” remnant on which fusion no longer takes place. The stars own light becomes trapped in orbit, and the dark star becomes known as a black hole. A black hole is often defined as an object whose escape velocity exceeds the speed of light. The escape velocity is the minimum speed at which an object needs to travel so as to escape a source of gravity without falling back into orbit before stopping. On the Earth, the escape velocity is equal to 11.2 km/s, so no matter what the object is, whether a bullet or a baseball, it must go at least 11.2 km/s to avoid falling back to the Earth’s surface.
Physicist John Wheeler is widely credited with coining the term black hole in his 1967 public lecture Our Universe: the Known and Unknown, as an alternative to the more cumbersome “gravitationally completely collapsed star.” In 1974, Stephen Hawking showed that black holes are not entirely black but emit small amounts of thermal radiation. He got this result by applying quantum field theory in a static black hole background. Large black holes, therefore, emit less radiation than small black holes. It is now widely accepted that the center of every galaxy contains a super massive black hole.
Stephen Hawking made a remarkable contribution in further exploration of Black Hole through his following publications-
  • Brief History of Time [1988]
  • The Nature of Space and Time [1996]
Black holes capture the public’s imagination and feature prominently in extremely theoretical concepts like wormholes [Concept used in Science Fiction]. These “tunnels” could allow rapid travel through space and time—but there is no evidence that they exist.

Few memorable points about our solar system-
Until 1977, it was believed that only Saturn had rings, but today it is very much proved that Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus also have ring system around them.
The meteoroids which fall on earth are called shooting stars.
It will take a spacecraft 12 years to reach the Kupier belt. NASA’s “New Horizon Mission” is planned to arrive at this point in 2015
Jupiter has sixty-three known satellites. Its Ganymede is the largest satellite in the Solar System, is larger than Mercury.
Saturn has sixty confirmed satellites; two of which, Titan and Enceladus, show signs of geological activity, though they are largely made of ice. Titan is larger than Mercury and the only satellite in the Solar System with a substantial atmosphere.
Norway is known as the place of Mid-Night Sun

Indian Geography-

Exploring India-
Quick Facts-
  • India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage
  • All the five major racial types – Australoid, Mongoloid, Europoid, Caucasian, and Negroid find representation among the people of India [Unity in diversity]
  • There are 22 National Languages have been recognized by the Constitution of India, of which Hindi is the Official Union Language. Besides these, there are 844 different dialects that are practiced in various parts of the Country
  • India is a developing country with a healthy growth rate of 9% since last 5 years [It was dropped to 6.7% in 2009 due to global economic recession]
Census 2001 [India]-
Census is a process to acquire information about demography of a particular region/territory. Census is conducted in India regularly at an interval of 10 years. 1st Census was conducted in 1860 but 1st modern census in India started from 1901. Latest census (14th) was conducted in February-2001 and next census is due in 2011. The census is carried out by the office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India, Delhi an office in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, under the 1948 Census of India Act. One of the most important provisions of law is the guarantee for the maintenance of secrecy of the information collected at the census of each individual. The census records are not open to inspection and also not admissible in evidence. In India census is carried out by the canvassing method
9th February 2001, the first day of the 2001 census was celebrated as the census day and DC acts as census officer in India
Census-2001 [Data at a Glance]-
Highest Population States
1. Uttar Pradesh (16.16% of India’s total population)
2. Maharashtra (9.42%)
3. Bihar (8.07%)
4. West Bengal (7.79%)
Lowest Population States
1. Sikkim ( 0.05%)
2. Mizoram (0.09%)
3. Arunachal Pradesh (0.11%)
4. Goa (0.13%)
Highest Density of Population States
1. West Bengal (903 persons per sq km)
2. Bihar (881)
3. Kerala (819)
4. Uttar Pradesh (690)
Lowest Density of Population States
1. Arunachal Pradesh (13 persons per sq km)
2. Mizoram (42)
3. Sikkim (76)
4. Manipur (97)
Highest Decadal Growth Rate of Population States
1. Nagaland (64.53%)
2. Sikkim (33.06%)
3. Meghalaya (30.65%)
4. Jammu and Kashmir (29.43%)
Lowest Decadal Growth Rate of Population States
1. Kerala (9.43%)
2. Tamil Nadu (11.72%)
3. Andhra Pradesh (14.59%)
4. Goa (15.21%)
Highest Literacy States
1. Kerala (90.9%)
2. Mizoram (88.8%)
3. Goa (82.0%)
4. Maharashtra (76.9%)
Lowest Literacy States
1. Bihar (47%)
2. Sikkim (50.6%)
3. Jharkhand (53.6%)
4. Arunachal Pradesh (54.3%)
  • Least populous district- Yanam
  • Most literate district- Aizawl
Indian Geography in detail-
The geography of India describes the physical features of India, a country in South Asia that lies entirely on the Indian Plate in the northern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate. The country lies to the north of the equator between 8°4′ and 37°6′ north latitude and 68°7′ and 97°25′ east longitude. It is the seventh-largest country in the world. India measures 3,214 km from north (J & K) to South (Kanya Kumari). It has a coastline of 7,517 Km. Gujarat is the state with longest coast line followed by Andhra Pradesh. India is bounded to the southwest by the Arabian Sea, to the southeast by the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean to the south. Cape Comorin constitutes the southern tip of the Indian peninsula, which narrows before ending in the Indian Ocean. The southernmost part of India is Indira Point in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The territorial waters of India extend into the sea to a distance of twelve nautical miles (22 km) measured from the appropriate baseline.
The Ganges is the longest river in India and forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The Ganges-Brahmaputra system occupies most of northern, central and eastern India, while the Deccan Plateau occupies most of southern India. Along its western frontier is the Thar Desert, which is the seventh-largest desert in the world.
India is divided into seven physiographic regions. They are-
  1. The northern mountains      including the Himalayas, which include the Kuen Lun and the Karakoram ranges and the northeast mountain ranges
  2. Indo-Gangetic plains
  3. Thar      Desert
  4. Central Highlands and Deccan      Plateau
  5. East Coast
  6. West Coast
  7. Bordering seas and islands
I will explain later under heading Mountain System of World
Indo-Gangetic plains-
The Indo-Gangetic plains, also known as the Great Plains are large floodplains of the Indus and the Ganga-Brahmaputra river systems. They run parallel to the Himalaya Mountains, from Jammu and Kashmir in the west to Assam in the east and draining most of northern and eastern India. The major rivers in this region are the Ganges and the Indus along with their tributaries–Beas, Yamuna, Gomti, Ravi, Chambal, Sutlej and Chenab. The great plains are sometimes classified into four divisions known as Bhabar Belt, Terai Belt, Bangar Belt and Khadar Belt
The Indo-Gangetic belt is the world’s most extensive expanse of uninterrupted alluvium formed by the deposition of silt by the numerous rivers. The plains are flat making it conducive for irrigation through canals. The area is also rich in ground water sources. The plains are one of the world’s most intensely farmed areas. The main crops grown are rice and wheat, which are grown in rotation. Other important crops grown in the region include maize, sugarcane and cotton. The Indo-Gangetic plains rank among the world’s most densely populated areas
Central Highlands-
The Central Highlands comprise of three main plateaus — the Malwa Plateau in the west, the Deccan Plateau in the south (covering most of the Indian peninsula) and the Chota Nagpur Plateau in the east. The Malwa Plateau is spread across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The average elevation of the Malwa plateau is 500 metres, and the landscape generally slopes towards the north. Most of the region is drained by the Chambal River and its tributaries; the western part is drained by the upper reaches of the Mahi River.
The Deccan Plateau is a large triangular plateau, bounded by the Vindhyas to the north and flanked by the Eastern and Western Ghats. Deccan Plateau is mostly flat, with elevations ranging from 300 to 600 m. It slopes gently from west to east and gives rise to several peninsular rivers such as the Godavari, the Krishna, the Kaveri and the Narmada, which drain into the Bay of Bengal. This region is mostly semi-arid as it lies on the leeward side of both Ghats. Much of the Deccan is covered by thorn scrub forest scattered with small regions of deciduous broadleaf forest. Climate in the Deccan ranges from hot summers to mild winters.
The Chota Nagpur Plateau is situated in eastern India, covering much of Jharkhand and adjacent parts of Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. It is made of 3 smaller plateaus — the Ranchi, Hazaribagh, and Kodarma plateaus. The Ranchi plateau is the largest, with an average elevation of 700 m. Much of the plateau is forested, covered by the Chota Nagpur dry deciduous forests. Vast reserves of metal ores and coal have been found in the Chota Nagpur plateau. The Kathiawar peninsula in western Gujarat is bounded by the Gulf of Kutch and the Gulf of Khambat. In western India, the Kutch region in Gujarat and Koyna in Maharashtra are classified as a Zone IV region (high risk) for earthquakes. The Kutch city of Bhuj was the epicenter of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, which claimed the lives of more than 20,000 people
The temperature in the coastal regions exceeds 30 °C (86 °F) coupled with high levels of humidity. The region receives both the northeast and southwest monsoon rains. The southwest monsoon splits into two branches, the Bay of Bengal branch and the Arabian Sea branch. The Bay of Bengal branch moves northwards crossing northeast India in early June and Arabian Sea branch moves northwards and discharges much of its rain on the windward side of Western Ghats. Annual rainfall in this region averages between 1,000 mm (40 in) and 3,000 mm (120 in)
Western Ghats-
The Western Ghats also known as the Sahyadri Mountains is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The range starts near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, south of the River Tapti, and runs approximately 1600 km through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala ending at Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India. The coast is divided into 3 parts namely, Konkan, which is situated in Maharashtra, Goa and northern parts of Karnataka; the Kanara in Karnataka and the Malabar Coast in Kerala. Vegetation is mostly deciduous, but the Malabar Coast moist forests constitute a unique ecoregion. About sixty percent of the Western Ghats are located in the state of Karnataka.
The average elevation is around 1,200 meters. The area is one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots” and has over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species. At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats
Eastern Ghats-
The Eastern Ghats are a discontinuous range of mountains along India’s eastern coast. The Eastern Ghats run from West Bengal state in the north, through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south. They are eroded and cut through by the four major rivers of southern India, the Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Kaveri. The plains are divided into six regions — the Mahanadi delta, the southern Andhra Pradesh plain, the Krishna-Godavari deltas, the Kanyakumari coast, the Coromandel Coast and sandy coastal.
The mountain ranges run parallel to the Bay of Bengal. The Eastern Ghats are not as high as the Western Ghats. The highest point in Eastern Ghats is Mahendra Giri (1501 m) but the average width of Eastern Ghats is more than Western Ghats. The region boasts of fertile soil but hydropower generation here is not as profitable as it is in the Western Ghats. The Eastern Ghats are older than the Western Ghats.
The Eastern and Western Ghats meet at the southern part of the Indian Peninsula which is formed by the Nilgiri Hills (Blue Mountains)
Ports in India-
India has a long coastline spanning 7600 kilometers forming one of the biggest peninsulas in the world. It is serviced by 12 major ports and 185 notified minor and intermediate ports. However the words “major”, “intermediate” and “minor” do not have a strict association with the traffic volumes served by these ports. As an example, Mundra Port, a newly developed minor port in the state of Gujarat registered a cargo traffic of around 28.8 million tons per annum during the financial year of 2008, which is higher than that of many major ports. Major ports handled over 80% cargo traffic of India. The classification of Indian ports into major, minor and intermediate has an administrative significance. Indian government has a federal structure, and according to its constitution, maritime transport falls under the “concurrent list”, to be administered by both the Central and the State governments. While the Central Shipping Ministry administer the major ports, the minor and intermediate ports are administered by the relevant departments or ministries in the nine coastal states of West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Several of these 185 minor and intermediate ports are merely “notified”, with little or no cargo handling actually taking place. These ports have been identified by the respective governments to be developed, in a phased manner, a good proportion of them involving Public-private partnership. Some 60% of India’s container traffic is handled by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai. It has just 9 berths compared to 40 in the main port of Singapore. It takes an average of 21 days to clear import cargo in India compared to just 3 in Singapore.
List of major ports in India-
Total coast line of India- 7517 K.M.
In India total 9 states shared coast line and longest is in Gujarat [1600 KM]. There are 12 major ports in India out of which 6 are situated at West Coast and 6 are at East Coast. All major ports, except one (Ennore Port), are government administered, but private-sector participation in ports has increased.
On   West coastOn   East Coast
Mumbai [Biggest and Busiest]
Haldia or Kolkata [In news due to   decrease in traffic]
Jawahar Lal Nehru at Nava Sheva   [Fastest growing]
Pradeep [Exports raw iron to Japan]
Kandla [The Child of partition]
Marmugao [There is Naval base also]
Chennai [Oldest Port]
New Mangalore [Exports Kudremukh   iron-Ore]
Ennore under Ennore Port Ltd Company   [Modern and only port in private hands]
Kochi or Cochin [Natural Harbour of   India]
Tuticorn [Southernmost]
Recent Developments-
The Gangavaram Port in Andhra Pradesh, inaugurated in July 2009, is India’s deepest port, with a depth of 21m

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