Paragraph on Geography of India (1240 Words)

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India is a country of great geographical extent. It sprawls from the snowy ranges of the Himalayas in the north to the shores of the Indian Ocean in the south.


It belongs to Asia which is the largest continent of the world. It forms a part of south Asia and is separated by the Himalayas from the rest of the continent.

It encompasses vast areas of diverse landmasses. In the north are the lofty Himalayas, parts of which are permanently ice-covered. To the south of Himalayas is the Great Indo-Gangetic Plain which is well-known for its fertile soils. The western part of this vast plain is Thar Desert.

South of this plain is the Peninsular India comprising of the uneven plateau which is surrounded by Eastern Coastal Plain in the east and Western Coastal Plain in the west. Indian landmass gets an abundance of sunshine from the tropical sun and splashing rains from the monsoons.

These are two most important climatic factors for the Indian people. Due to its vastness and diversities, India is considered to be a subcontinent as it comprises all the characteristics of a continent.


India extends from 8° 4′ north to 37° 6′ north latitude and 68° 7′ east to 97° 25′ east longitude. Thus, its latitudinal and longitudinal extent is about thirty degrees. Away from the main land of India, the southernmost point of the country in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Pygmalion Point or Indira Point is located at 6° 45′ north latitude.

Its north-south extent from Indira Col in Kashmir to Kanniyakumari is 3,214 km while its east-west width from the Rann of Kachachh to Arunachal Pradesh is 2,933 km (Fig. 1.1). The latitudinal extent of India is about one-third the angular distance between the Equator and the North Pole and its longitudinal extent is about one-twelfth of circumference of the Equator.

The longitudinal difference between Saurashtra in the west and Arunachal Pradesh in the east is about 30°. The earth moves around its axis through 360° in 24 hours. Thus, a difference of 1° longitude will make a difference of 4 minutes in time. Therefore the difference of local time between Saurashtra and Arunachal Pradesh is 30 x 4 = 120 minutes or 2 hours.

Since Arunachal Pradesh is towards the east, it will have sunrise about two hours before the sunrise at Saurashtra. Thus, the sun is quite high in the sky at Arunachal Pradesh while Saurashtra still waits for the first ray of the sun. Latitudinal extent also has its own impact.

Rainfall, temperature and vegetation vary with latitude. The difference between the longest and the shortest day in Kerala is hardly 45 minutes whereas this difference may be as large as 4 hours in Leh and Ladakh. The difference between the longest and the shortest day increases with latitude.

With an area of 32,87,263 sq km India is the seventh largest country of the world after Russia (1,70,75,000 sq km), Canada (99,76,140 sq km), China (95,97,000 sq km), the U.S.A. (93,63,169 sq km), Brazil (85,11,965 sq km) and Australia (76,82,300 sq km).

India accounts for about 2.4 per cent of the total surface area of the world. India is nearly twenty times as large as Great Britain, the country which ruled us for about two centuries. Many of the Indian states are larger than several countries of the world.

India: Latitudinal and Longitudinal Extent

The peninsular tableland juts into the Indian Ocean for a distance of about 1,600 km.

The Tropic of Cancer passes through the middle of the country dividing it into two latitudinal halves being about 15° from either end. But the northern portion is very broad and the area to the north of Tropic of Cancer is nearly twice the area which lies south of it.

The enormous width of India is often forgotten, being overshadowed by the more popular statistics of its length. We are habitual of expressing the dimension of the country as ‘from Kashmir to Kanniyakumari’ and not from ‘Rann of Kachchh to Arunachal Pradesh’.

The east-west extent of India is almost equal to the combined longitudinal extent of Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland. South of 22° north latitude, the country tapers off over 800 km into the Indian Ocean as a peninsula and divides this ocean into two arms—the Arabian Sea in the west and the Bay of Bengal in the east.

It is natural to look upon India as being divided into northern temperate and southern tropical lands by the Tropic of Cancer. Thus the temperate part of the country should be twice as much as its tropical part. But India has always been treated as a tropical country for two widely different reasons.

The reasons are those of physical and cultural geography. The country is separated from the rest of Asia by a mountain wall forming an insulated compartment. Its climate is dominated by the tropical monsoons and the temperate air masses are restricted by the mountain chain.

Further, although the night temperatures in January at several places in Punjab may come down to the level of those prevailing in temperate lands, yet clear skies and intense insolation raise the day temperatures to a tropical level, so that the entire area south of the Himalayas is essentially tropical from climatic point of view.

Outside the Himalayas, almost everywhere agriculture is tropical in type. As per cultural geography, the culture of India is totally different from that of the temperate countries of the western civilisation.

Girdled by the rampart of the young folded mountains in north-west, north and north-east and washed by the Indian Ocean in the south, India along with its neighbouring countries, is a well defined geographical unit. South of the mountain chain, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan form a definite realm of South Asia which is often referred to as the Indian sub-continent.

India alone accounts for about three-fourths of the total area of the sub-continent. According to Prof. Chisholm, ‘there is no part of the world better demarcated by nature as a region by itself than the Indian sub­continent’. G.В. Cressey strongly advocated that India may be termed as sub-continent because it is a distinct geographical unit with many physical and cultural units.

But some Indian geographers are of the view that the use of the term sub-continent for India is a misnomer and is a legacy of the British rule which tended to divide the area on the basis of region and religion. These geographers contend that this expression has never been used for much faster and more diverse geographical units like China and Russia.

It is worth mentioning that the sub-continental theory of the Britishers worked very well in dividing the area into different nations giving credibility to their basic policy of ‘divide and rule’. Total area of the country before partition was 42, 27,378 sq km.

The partition of the country on 15th August, 1947 gave birth to a new country of Pakistan. This led to a loss of 7,96,095 sq km area of West Pakistan (now called Pakistan) and 1,44,020 sq km of East Pakistan (the present Bangladesh).

Thus the present extent of the country is reduced to about three-fourths of its original size. Consequently, some scholars tend to replace the term Indian sub-continent by South Asia which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and sometimes even Afghanistan.

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