In the northern hemisphere. The mainland is located between latitudes 804′ and 3706′
north, longitudes 6807′ and 97025′ east. and measures about 3,214 km from north to south
between the extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme
longitudes. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of the coastline of the
mainland, Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is 7,516.6 km.
India is the seventh largest country in the world with a total land area of 3.3 million square
kilometers. The Indian sub-continent is unique from the rest of Asia. In the North the
towering Himalayas which slope out into the great Indo-Gangetic plains. In Central India,
the Vindhya ranges separate the DeSccan Peninsula from the northern plains. On the east
coast of the country is the Bay of Bengal, while on the west coast is the Arabian Sea. The
southern-most tip of the country projects into the Indian Ocean.
It is the oldest portion of India and at one time was part of the single land mass comprising
South America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica. As the continents drifted apart, the moving
Deccan plate collided with the Tibetan block of South Asia about 50 million years ago. Over
the years, the persistent pressure of the Deccan drifting northwards created the Himalayan
mountains, a process that still contunues.
The Indo-Gangetic plain is formed by the basins of three great rivers, the Indus, the Ganges
and the Brahmaputra. The other major rivers in the country are the Mahanadi, Godavari,
Krishna, Narmada, Kaveri, Pennar, Tapti, and Periyar – all of which have created deltas and
flood-plains on India’s east and west coast.
Apart from the mountains, plains and the seas, India has just about every geographical
feature as well. In the West of the country lies the Thar desert in Rajasthan. A little south of
it are the unique marshlands of Kutch, while on the east where the Ganges drains out into
the sea is the world’ s largest delta and a unique mangrove forest. Indian islands include the
Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep Islands in the
Indian ocean. These unique features mean that the country has a wide variety of flora,
fauna and a climate that ranges from tropical to arctic.
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