Geographical Features Of India: A Journey Through Time

Geographical Features Of India

Written By Avinash Sharan

1st June 2023

Where Do Geographical Features Of India Come From?

India’s geographical features have been shaped by a complex interplay of geological forces over millions of years. The collision of the Indian subcontinent with the Eurasian plate led to the formation of the majestic Himalayas, which dominate the northern boundary. In the North west of India, the Thar Desert  was created by the arid climate and the shifting patterns of winds. The Western Ghats in the west owe their existence to volcanic activity and tectonic movements. Due to the sediment deposition by the major rivers, the Sundarbans in the east emerged. Lastly, the backwaters of Kerala are a result of coastal erosion and the formation of lagoons. The diverse geological history of India has given rise to its unique and captivating geographical features. India is a land of diverse geographical features, encompassing a wide range of landscapes and natural wonders.

Lets see which Geographical features of India make it unique in the world. Five unique geographical features of India that make India truly remarkable are as follows:

1. The Himalayas:

The Himalayas, one of the world’s most majestic mountain ranges, form India’s northern boundary. These towering peaks are home to several of the highest mountains on the planet, including Mount Everest. The Himalayas not only provide breathtaking scenery but also act as a barrier, influencing the region’s climate and creating a distinct ecosystem. They are also a significant source of rivers, with the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra originating from these mighty mountains.

Following are the ten points that highlight the significance of the Himalayas. 

Not only in terms of their natural beauty and environmental importance but also their role in shaping India’s culture, climate, and security.


The Himalayas, meaning “abode of snow” in Sanskrit, were formed around 50 million years ago as a result of the collision between the Indian and

Eurasian tectonic plates. Do you know that the Himalayas हिमालय-भारत का सबसे कमज़ोर पर्वत are the weakest of all the Geographical features of India.

Geography Source-Based Questions from Physical Features Of India – Class IX

Range and Length:

The Himalayas stretch across several countries,

It mainly pass through India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Pakistan and cover a distance of approximately 2,400 kilometers from east to west.

Do you know that apart from the three ranges of Himalayas namely Himadri, Himachal and the Shivaliks, there is a fourth range also.

Can you name it?

Highest Peaks:

Himalayas have many high peaks. Mountains that are young have peaks. That is the reason why Himalayas are called the “Young fold mountains.”

The Himalayas are home to some of the highest peaks in the world.

For example, Mount Everest (8,848 meters), Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters), and Makalu (8,485 meters).

Can you name the highest peak of Himalayas in India?

Important Passes:

The Himalayas feature numerous high mountain passes that have played crucial roles in trade, cultural exchange, and military history.

Examples include the Nathu La Pass, Rohtang Pass, and the famous Khardung La, known as the world’s highest motorable pass.

Find out what is the new world record this Khardung La pass holds?

Rainfall Contribution:

The Himalayas play a vital role in India’s rainfall patterns.

The mountains act as a barrier to the monsoon winds.

Coming from the Indian Ocean, causing the moist air to rise and condense, resulting in heavy rainfall on the southern slopes.

Would India have been a cold desert if there was no Himalayas?

Biodiversity and Vegetation:

The Himalayas are renowned for their exceptional biodiversity.

They are home to numerous plant and animal species, including rare and endangered ones like the snow leopard, red panda, and Himalayan blue poppy.

The vegetation varies from subtropical forests in the lower regions to alpine meadows and snow-covered peaks in the higher elevations.

Do you know which plant is responsible for the purification of Ganga river water.

Read about Water Hyacinth

Water Resources:

The Himalayas are known as the “water tower of Asia” as they are the source of several major rivers in the Indian subcontinent, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus.

Do you know that Brahmaputra is a male river. Can you name any other male river of India?

These rivers are lifelines for millions of people, providing water for irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and supporting various ecosystems.

Spiritual Significance:

The Himalayas hold great spiritual and religious significance for various cultures

They are considered sacred by Hindus, Buddhists, and other communities, with many pilgrimage sites and monasteries nestled amidst the mountains.

वैष्णो देवी

Geological Activity:

The Himalayas are geologically active, with ongoing tectonic movements leading to earthquakes and the creation of new mountain ranges.

The region has experienced several significant earthquakes throughout history, shaping the landscape further.

Safeguarding India:

The Himalayas serve as a natural barrier. It protects the Indian subcontinent from harsh cold winds from Central Asia.

Also prevents from rapid weather changes. It also act as a shield against potential invasions, offering strategic advantages for the defense of India.

2. Thar Desert:

Located in the northwestern part of India, the Thar Desert is one of the world’s largest arid regions.

Covering an area of approximately 200,000 square kilometers, it stretches across the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, and Punjab.

The Thar Desert is characterized by vast stretches of sand dunes, sparse vegetation, and extreme temperatures.

Despite the harsh conditions, the desert is home to unique wildlife, such as the Indian gazelle, desert fox, and several species of reptiles and birds.

Following are the five points that provide a glimpse into the unique characteristics of the Thar Desert.

From its formation and geographical features to its historical significance, climate, and architectural treasures.


The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, was formed over millions of years due to the arid climate and the shifting patterns of winds.

It covers an area of approximately 200,000 square kilometers, spanning parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, and Punjab in northwestern India.

Aravalli Range:

The Thar Desert is bordered by the Aravalli Range, one of the oldest mountain ranges in India.

The Aravallis provide a natural barrier to the desert, influencing the local climate and acting as a source of groundwater for the region.


The Thar Desert is known for its extremely low annual rainfall, with an average of less than 250 millimeters.

This scarcity of precipitation contributes to the desert’s arid and barren landscape, characterized by vast stretches of sand dunes and sparse vegetation.


Throughout history, the Thar Desert has witnessed numerous invasions and migrations due to its location on the western frontier of India.

It served as a passage for several armies, including those of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, the Aryans, and the Mughals.

These invasions have left a profound impact on the culture and heritage of the region.

Beautiful Palaces:

Despite its harsh conditions, the Thar Desert is home to several magnificent palaces and fortresses.

The cities of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, and Bikaner, located within the desert, boast stunning architectural marvels, such as Jaisalmer Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, and Junagarh Fort.

These palaces and forts showcase the rich history and artistic splendor of the desert region, attracting tourists from around the world

3. The Western Ghats:

The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Mountains, are a mountain range that runs parallel to India’s western coast.

Spanning a length of approximately 1,600 kilometers, they are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their rich biodiversity.

The Western Ghats are home to numerous endemic species of plants and animals, including the famous Nilgiri, tahr and lion-tailed macaque.

Dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and hill stations make it a popular tourist destination.

These three features underscore the significance of the Western Ghats as a biodiversity hotspot, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a vital source of

water for the surrounding regions.

The range’s ecological importance and cultural significance make it an area of great interest for conservationists, researchers, and nature enthusiasts


Biodiversity Hotspot:

Firstly, the Western Ghats are recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

They are home to an incredible array of flora and fauna, including numerous endemic species found nowhere else on the planet.

The region’s diverse ecosystems range from tropical rainforests and evergreen forests to grasslands and montane forests.

The Western Ghats boast a rich variety of wildlife, including the endangered lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri tahr, and Malabar giant squirrel.

UNESCO World Heritage Site:

Secondly, the Western Ghats have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of their exceptional natural value.

The site covers a vast area, spanning several states in India, and comprises a network of protected areas, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries.

This status highlights the importance of conserving the unique ecology and cultural heritage of the Western Ghats.

Water Catchment Area:

Finally, the Western Ghats play a crucial role in India’s water resources.

They act as a major water catchment area, receiving heavy rainfall during the monsoon season.

Numerous rivers originate from the Western Ghats, including the Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, and Tungabhadra, which are lifelines for millions of people in

the surrounding regions.

Moreover, the mountains act as natural sponges, storing water and ensuring a steady flow in the rivers even during dry seasons

The Making of Deccan Plateau: “A Geological Saga of Volcanoes and Tectonic Forces”

4. The Sundarbans:

The Sundarbans, located in the eastern part of India, is the world’s largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stretching across India and Bangladesh, this unique ecosystem is formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers.

The Sundarbans are famous for the Royal Bengal tiger, which is an endangered species found here.

It is also home to numerous other wildlife species, including crocodiles, snakes, and various bird species.

These three features highlight the Sundarbans’ status as the largest mangrove forest, its significance as a habitat for the Royal Bengal tigers, and the

fascinating interplay between land and water in the region.

It is not only a place of exceptional beauty but also an important ecological treasure that requires conservation efforts to protect its unique biodiversity.

Here are three distinctive features of the Sundarbans:

Largest Mangrove Forest:

Firstly, the Sundarbans is the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world, covering an area of approximately 10,000 square kilometers.

It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional ecological significance.

The mangrove ecosystem of the Sundarbans is incredibly diverse and serves as a critical habitat for numerous plant and animal species.

Royal Bengal Tigers:

Secondly, the Sundarbans is renowned for being home to the majestic Royal Bengal tigers.

It is estimated that the Sundarbans have the largest population of this endangered species in the world.

The unique adaptation of these tigers to the mangrove environment, including their ability to swim and thrive in brackish water, makes them a distinctive

feature of the Sundarbans.

Intertwined Land and Water:

Finally, one of the most remarkable aspects of the Sundarbans is the complex intertwining of land and water.

The region is crisscrossed by a network of rivers, creeks, and tidal channels, creating a unique habitat known as the “tidal mangrove forest.”

The constant ebb and flow of tides shape the landscape and influence the ecosystem, resulting in a dynamic environment where land and water are

inextricably linked.

5. The Backwaters of Kerala:

The Backwaters of Kerala are a network of lagoons, lakes, and canals that run parallel to the Arabian Sea coast in the southern state of Kerala.

This intricate system of waterways spans over 900 kilometers and is a vital part of the region’s culture and economy.

The backwaters are known for their serene beauty, with picturesque landscapes, lush greenery, and traditional houseboats called “kettuvallams” gliding

along the calm waters.

It offers a unique experience for tourists, allowing them to immerse themselves in the tranquility of the region.

The backwaters of Kerala, located in the southern part of India, are a distinctive and enchanting natural feature.

Here are three unique features of the backwaters:

Intricate Waterway Network:

The backwaters of Kerala consist of an extensive network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes, and lagoons that stretch over 900 kilometers.

This intricate system forms a complex maze of waterways, providing a unique mode of transportation and creating a serene and picturesque landscape.

Therefore, the backwaters are often navigated using traditional houseboats called “kettuvallams,” which add to the charm and allure of the region.

Lush Vegetation and Ecosystem:

The backwaters are lined with lush greenery, including swaying coconut palms, mangrove forests, and verdant paddy fields.

The rich vegetation along the banks of the waterways supports a diverse ecosystem.

Moreover, it provides habitats for a wide variety of bird species, fish, and other aquatic life.

It is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, offering opportunities to spot migratory birds and endemic species.

Unique Cultural Experience:

The backwaters of Kerala offer a glimpse into the traditional way of life and rich cultural heritage of the region.

The local communities that inhabit the backwater areas rely on fishing, agriculture, and coir-making for their livelihoods.

Therefore, traveling through the backwaters provides a chance to interact with the local people, experience their warm hospitality, and witness their age-old customs

and traditions.

Moreover, it is an immersive cultural experience that allows visitors to connect with the authentic essence of Kerala.


In conclusion, India possesses a myriad of unique geographical features that contribute to its remarkable character. From the towering peaks of the Himalayas in the north to the expansive coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, India’s diverse topography offers a wealth of natural wonders. The unique geographical features of India not only offer breathtaking landscapes but also provide a foundation for its rich cultural tapestry. They have shaped the lives and livelihoods of its people, influencing traditions, beliefs, and ways of life.

In summary, India’s remarkable geography is a testament to its natural beauty, ecological significance, and cultural diversity. Exploring and appreciating these distinctive geographical features is an invitation to delve into the essence of India’s vibrant tapestry and witness the harmony between nature, culture, and human existence.

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