India Geographical Map
The Peninsular region of India is characterized by its hills. The Western Ghats, which run along the coastline of the Arabian Sea, are a series of mountains that rise up to 2,695 meters and form a natural boundary between the coastal plain and the Deccan Plateau. To the east, the Eastern Ghats run parallel to the Bay of Bengal; they are low lying (150-300m), discontinuous range of mountains extending between the Mahanadi (Odisha) to the Vagai (Tamil Nadu).
This article will discuss the hills of peninsular India. We will have a look at the following ranges Cardamom Hills, Agasthyamala Hills, Anaimalai Hills, Anamudi Shola National Park, Nilgiri Hills, Bababudan hill, Palni Hills, Harischandra Range, Balaghat Range, Pachamalai hills, Shervaroy hill, Javadi Hills, Nallamala Hills, Palkonda Hills, Velikonda Range.
The Western and Eastern Ghats of India are two mountain ranges that constitute the eastern and western boundaries of peninsular India’s Deccan plateau. The two ranges run nearly parallel to the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea shores, respectively, and are separated by relatively flat coastal ground.
The Western Ghats are a range of mountains with steep sides and flat tops that run along the western coast of the Indian peninsula. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s eight hotspots of biological diversity.
The range begins near the town of Songadh in Gujarat, south of the Tapti river, and runs for about 1,600 km through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, and Kerala, and ends at Marunthuvazh Malai, Swamithope, close to the southern tip of India in Tamil Nadu. The south part of the Western Ghats is where they are the tallest.
Western Ghat Mountains
|Northern Western Ghat Hills|
|Kalsubai Peak||Maharashtra||1,646 m|
|Satmala Range||Maharashtra||1,472 m|
|Balaghat Range||Maharashtra||550-825 m|
|Middle Western Ghat Hills|
|Doddabetta Peak (Nilgiri)||Tamil Nadu||2,637 m|
|Mukurthi (Nilgiri)||Tamil Nadu||2,544 m|
|Vavul Mala||Kerala||2,339 m|
|Mullayyana Giri(Baba Budan Giri Range)||Karnataka||1,930 m|
|Southern Western Ghat Hills|
|Anamudi – Annamalai Hills||Kerala||2,695 m|
|Palani Hills||Tamil Nadu||2,533 m|
- Nilgiri Hills are in Tamil Nadu South India.
- The peaks of the Nilgiri Hills rise abruptly from the surrounding plains to an elevation of about 6,000 to 8,000 feet (1,800 to 2,400 metres);
- Doda Betta -2,637 metres found here, is the highest point in Tamil Nadu.
- Nilgiri Hills are integral part of the Western Ghats, these Hills are separated from the Karnataka Plateau by the Noyar River and from the Anaimalai and Palni hills by the Palghat Gap.
- Nilgiri Hills are considerably cooler and wetter than the surrounding plains, the upper hills forming undulating grassy downs.
- Tea, cinchona (whose bark yields quinine), coffee, and vegetables are grown extensively.
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
- Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves in the year 2000.
- The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve have the distinction of being the first biosphere reserve in India.
- It is located in the Western Ghats
- The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve lies in the biogeographic region of the Malabar rain forest.
Geography of Nigiri Reserve
- Total area of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve – 5,520 sq. km.
- Core area(s): 1240 Sq. Km.
- Buffer zone(s): 3574 Sq. Km.
- Transition zone(s): 706 Sq. Km.
- The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve situated in parts of Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
|State||Area (sq. km)|
- Nilgiri Biosphere reserve core areas major parts spread over Kerala and Tamil Nadu States, and this include evergreen, semi evergreen, moist deciduous montane sholas and grassland types of vegetation.
- Nilgiri Biosphere reserve core area spread over the State of Karnataka and consists mostly of dry deciduous forests and a few patches of moist deciduous, semi evergreen and scrub jungles.
- Protected areas present within this reserve.
- Cardamom Hills are in the Idukki District of Kerala, India
- Cardamom Hills are located at 76°58’E to 77°16’E and 9°37’N to 10°2’N in the high ranges of Southern Western Ghats at an elevation between 600 to 1400 m MSL.
- The boundary of Cardamom Hills extends up to
- Periyar Tiger Reserve towards the south,
- Munnar high ranges in the north,
- Idukki Reserve forest to west
- Mathikettan Shola National Park to its northeast.
- This region is known for evergreen forests with natural undergrowth of wild cardamom.
- As cardamom is spice merchandise of high demand and revenue, cardamom is cultivated in Cardamom Hills since the 19th century.
- Cardamom is not a sun-loving crop, So in the cardamom cultivations, the forest canopy is maintained for providing shade while all other undergrowth is removed and replaced by cardamom giving the estates an appearance of evergreen forest.
- The new variety of cardamom, that does not require any shade are becoming popular here, So the tree cover in the Cardamom Hills is fast diminishing too.
- The intensive cultivation of cardamom affects the biodiversity of the Cardamom Hills landscape.
- The Changing agricultural practices here for intensive cardamom production have deliberately altered the ecosystems into a less complex, and disturbing state in terms of its composition and nutrient status.
- In 2016, the Agasthyamalai Biosphere reserve was included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves making it the 10th Biosphere Reserve on the list.
- It falls within the Indo-Malayan Realm and the Western Ghats biogeographic zone.
- This region is the traditional stronghold of ‘Kanis’, one of the oldest tribal groups living in the southern Western Ghats.
- This mountain peak is also of paramount spiritual and cultural significance for people in the states of both Tamil Nadu and Kerala and is an important pilgrim centre.
- The area has an elevation range between 100-1,866 m above mean sea level.
- Agasthya koodam peak is the highest peak – 1869 mt.
- Other important peaks of Agasthyamala Hills are
- Chenmunjimottai -1717m
- Athirumala -1594m
- Varayattumottai -1081m
- Alwarkurichi -1550m
- The southernmost reaches of the Western Ghats is the Agasthyamala Hills that extends from Mahendrgiri near Kanyakumari in the extreme south to the Ariyankavu (shenkottai) pass, near shenkottai.
- This is a compact range of hills with the main range, descending equally steeply to both the western and eastern sides.
- The forest types of this region include southern hilltop evergreen forest, west coast tropical evergreen forest, west coast semi-evergreen forest, southern secondary moist mixed deciduous forest and reed brakes.
- The lower elevations (<600m) are dominated by mixed deciduous and semi-evergreen forests, and the zone 600-1,200 m is characterized by tropical evergreen forest.
- Southern hilltop evergreen forests and reed brakes occur near and above 1,200m.
- Higher elevations are marked by steep undulating terrains and the area receives 2,000-5,000 mm annual rainfall with only two to three dry months in a year.
- Besides the natural vegetation, these hill ranges also have vast stretches of tea, cardamom and rubber plantations.
- The best tropical moist forests in the Western Ghats are in this stretch.
- This contiguous stretch is unique in biodiversity, the important regions of the Agasthyamala Hills are
- Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary,
- Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary,
- Ponmudi-Kallar Reserve Forests,
- Shankill Reserve Forests,
- Arippa Reserve Forests,
- Kulathupuzha Reserve Forests
- Shendumey Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Anaimalai Hills, also known as Elephant Mountains, is in the Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu.
- The Anaimalai Hills are placed at a junction of the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats
- Anaimalai Hills have a general northwest-southeast trend.
- Anai Peak-2,695 mt. lies at the extreme southwestern edge of the Anaimalai Hills range and is the highest peak in southern India.
Anamudi Shola National Park
- It was declared as a National Park in December 2003.
- Anamudi Shola National Park is situated on the north-eastern side of the High parts of southern Western Ghats.
- The ASNP consists of three Reserve Forests namely
- Mannavan Shola Reserve
- Pullaradi Shola Reserve
- Idivara Shola Reserve
- Together they occupy an area of 33.45 sq. km whereas the notified extent is only 7.50 km2.
- The Anamudi Shola National Park is located in the Kanthallur and Vattavada Panchayats of Devikulam Taluk of Idukki District.
- The Park includes three distinct Sholas of which Mannavan shola is the largest one in South India.
- The Anamudi Shola National Park represents a large number of plants and animals unique to the high altitude shola-grassland vegetation.
- The Mannavan Shola is the largest shola forest of South India.
- The giant fern, Cyathia crinita with a height up to 6m is a unique feature of Mannavan Shola.
- Out of 543 species of pteridophytes and angiosperms recorded in Mannavan shola, nearly 20% are ‘endemic’ and 25% classified as ‘rare’ and another 26 species are considered to be in a ‘threatened state’.
- The endemic and elusive Nigiri Marten is found in the Anamudi Shola National Park. Among the sixteen endemic birds of Western Ghats, Nine are reported from the Anamudi Shola National Park.
- The Anamudi Shola National Park is the only source of water not only for the tribal hamlets here but also for the population of Kanthallur, Puthur, Perumala, Pazhathottam and Silandiyar.
- The Anamudi Shola National Park also has unique features and provides opportunities for studying the biodiversity of montane vegetation.
- Bababudan hill range begins at the end of the Eastern part of the Western Ghats in Chikkamagaluru of Karnataka state.
- The same range consists of Bababudangiri and Mullayyanagiri, Kemmangundi chain of hills is one of the most important physiographic features of Karnataka state and also it is said to be the most sensitive hotspot region.
- Bababudan hill ranges are isolated complex chains that have an iron-rich plateau that consists of rich biodiversity and harbours endemic floristic plant species.
- Bababudan hills naturally form the shape of a crescent moon; they are named ‘Chandradronaparvatha’ where shola forests are distributed.
- They have an average elevation of 1400m high also contains Karnataka’s highest peak Mullayanagiri which is 1895 meters in height.
- The montane forests of higher altitudes of the Western Ghats are called sholas as they are closely juxtaposed with grasslands.
- The tropical montane forests are characterized by the presence of persistent cloud cover.
- The mosaic of shola -grassland with shola fragments are limited to folds and valleys.
- The montane forest harbours many endemic and rare plant species.
- Current threats to these grasslands are from
- livestock grazing,
- fuel-wood harvest frequent fires
- agricultural expansion.
- The rapid growth of tourism has created pollution and put unsustainable impacts on the diversity of species found in grassland ecosystems.
- Palni Hills is in the south-eastern part of the Western Ghats Hotspot in Tamil Nadu.
- It lies between 10.1°-10.26°N and 77.14°-77.52°E covering an area of 2400 sq. km.
- Perennial rivers such as Mulayar and Arunganal and semi perennial rivers like Thalaiyar and Iruttar are important water sources for the Manjalaar reservoir (situated at the foothills of 300m elevation) and it is used for irrigation purposes in the lower Palnis.
- The annual average precipitation ranges from 800-1900 mm in the Palnis.
- The climate of Palni Hills is sub-tropical with major vegetation types:
- scrub forest.
- moist and dry deciduous forest at low and mid-elevations
- montane evergreen forest at high elevations.
- Harischandra Range, eastward-extending hills range of the Western Ghats, in west-central India.
- The Harischandra Range lies between the Godavari and the Bhima rivers in the northwestern Deccan plateau.
- With an average elevation of about 2,000 feet (600 metres), Harischandra Range peaks decrease in elevation gradually to the southeast and comprise parts of Maharashtra state.
- The range is flat-topped, consisting of basaltic lava, and the slopes of the hills have weathered to form terraces corresponding to the direction of the lava flow.
- The Harischandra Range attains higher elevations in the west until it merges into the Western Ghats.
- It is named after the Harischandra garh, its highest peak.
- Forests of hardwood including teak (covered with climbing vines) are found on the mountains’ slopes.
- The undergrowth consists of tangled masses of cane, bamboo, climbing vines, and ferns. Ahmadnagar is the chief city in the area.
- Balaghat Ranges are located from 18°47’40.26″ to 18°32’29.28″ N and from 75°20’26.90″ to 76°48’56.18″ E latitude,
- Balaghat Ranges is located in the basins of river Manjra and its tributaries Terna, Bori, Tiru and Manyad.
- These Ranges spread over Ahmednagar, Beed, Latur, Osmanabad and Solapur districts of the Maharashtra.
- Balaghat occupies an area of about 18111 sq.km.
- The terrain of Balaghat shows hills and hillocks of varying heights (463-822 m).
- It supports different types of vegetation such as tropical dry deciduous forests, open scrub jungles and vast grasslands.
- The weather in general is dry and moderately extreme.
- The average rainfall is about 729 mm mainly from June to October.
- Originating in the Western Ghats at the Harishchandra Range, the Balaghat range extend south-east for about 320 km to the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
- The width of Balaghat ranges varies from 5 to 9 km. It is higher in the west.
- Balaghat hills have elevations of -550 to 825 metres, gradually diminishing eastward until they end at the Bhima River.
- The flat-topped hills are separated by saddles, which become progressively wider toward the east.
- The Balaghat Range forms the watershed between the Godavari River to the north and the Bhima to the south.
- In the rainier west, the hills bear vegetation, but they are barren and stony in the east.
- Shepherds occupy the entire range, and sheep trails connect the small villages and occasional hilltop temples.
- Traversing the Balaghat is a highway from Pune to Nashik and a railway from Dhond to Manmad.
The Eastern Ghats are a low-lying (150-300m) and discontinuous series of mountains that run along India’s eastern coast from Mahanadi (Odisha) to Vagai (Tamil Nadu). In between the Godavari and the Krishna, they nearly disappear.
The Eastern Ghats go across the states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and portions of Karnataka and Telangana. The four great rivers of peninsular India erode and cut through them: the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri.
Eastern Ghat Hills
|Eastern Ghat Hills|
|Sinkram Gutta||Odisha||1,620 m|
|Garhjat Hills||Odisha||1,187 m|
|Nallamala Hills||Andhra Pradesh||1,100 m|
|Jindhagada Peak , Araku Valley (Highest Peak of Eastern Ghats)||Andhra Pradesh||1,690 m|
|Arma Konda||Andhra Pradesh||1,680 m|
|Galikonda||Andhra Pradesh||1,643 m|
|Javadi Hills||Tamil Nadu||1,400 m|
|Shevroy-Kalrayan Hills||Tamil Nadu||1,620 m|
|Pachaimalai Hills||Tamil Nadu||540 to 1,400 m|
|Sirumalai Hills||Tamil Nadu||1,600 m|
- Pachamalai hills are in the Eastern Ghats and spread across the Salem and Tiruchirappalli districts of Tamil Nadu.
- The height of the Pachamalai hills ranges from 900 MSL to 1200 MSL.
- Pachamalai hills are full of dense scrub forests.
- The forests here is evergreen and mixed deciduous type.
- The Pachamalai hills are located between latitude 11°09’00” and 11°27’00” North, longitude 78°28’00” and 78°49’00” East.
- The total geographical area of Pachamalai hills is ~ 13,500 sq km.
- A subtropical climate prevails in Pachamalai hills with a maximum temperature ranging between 23°C to 31 °C and a minimum temperature ranging 12°C to 18°C.
- Pachamalai receive maximum rainfall during September, October and November by the Northeast monsoon.
- The hills receive rainfall in June and August through the Southwest monsoon.
- The shevaroy hill range is situated to the northeast of Salem at a distance of 26 km and from a major point of the eastern ghats.
- The hill range here covers an area of about 8640 sq km of which shevaroy hills occupy an area of 40 sq km.
- Yercaud is a popular hill station here.
- The shevaroys are rich in archean charnockites with a few feet of granite gneiss.
- The laterite of this region is rich in hydrated alumina and the estimated bauxite reserves of this region are over 15 million tones, the bauxite deposits vary in thickness from 5 to 20 m all the rocks of the region have a general n 30o E strike and dip deeply towards south-east along the slopes of shevaroys the soil is red sandy loam.
- The valleys and shoals, although extremely few and not well-formed are, however, rich in humus.
- The river vaniyar with its tributaries and branches traverse almost the entire plateau of the hill range.
- Javadi Hills are located in the extension of Eastern Ghats spread across Vellore and Tiruvannamalai districts.
- Javadi Hills lies at about 1100-1159 m above mean sea level.
- The total area of Javadi Hills is 2400 square kilometres and they are bisected into eastern and western sections by the Cheyyar and Agaram rivers, which are the tributaries of River Palar.
- The hills are thinly populated and the majority of the inhabitants are Malayali tribes’ people.
- On the north-western side of the Javadi Hills, the towns of Tirupathur, Vaniyampadi and Ambur are located and the towns of Polur and Chengam are located on the southeastern side of the hills.
- The climate of this hill is like other hills in Tamil Nadu, subtropical with high temperatures.
- Due to dense forest, this Javadi Hills receives rainfall between 1300 mm to 1900 mm.
- Being a dense forest, this hill is inhabited by Malayali tribal people and their main occupation is agriculture.
- More than 200 villages available in the forest and each village have huts not more than ten numbers. They used to cultivate crops like paddy, cereals etc. and plant trees like Mango, Guava, Jack, Lemon, Paddy, Castor, Coconut etc. Animals like Spotted Deer’s, Pythons, Monkeys, Mongoose, hedgehogs, foxes, wild cats, tortoises are also living in this forest. The birds like peacocks, Eagles, Ducks, Pigeons, wild parrots are living in this dense forest.
- Nallamala Hills runs parallel to the Eastern coast in Andhra Pradesh.
- Nallamala Hills is situated between the Palnad basin in the north to Seshachalam in the south.
- Nallamalais run a distance of about 430 km, with an average width of 30 km and occupy about 6740 sq. km.
- The Nallamala Hills stretch across portions of the Kurnool, Prakasham, Nalgonda, Guntur and Cuddapah districts.
- The altitude of these hills ranges from 200 to 950 m.
- Forest fires and other anthropogenic pressures have affected the vegetation here considerably.
- There are two major tribal groups present in this region ‘Chenchu’ and ‘Lambada’.
- The semi-nomadic tribes Chenchus living in small groups called Gudems have slightly affected the vegetation here.
- Chenchus are dependent on forests for their food, medicine and other needs.
- Lambada, the versatile tribal group mainly depends on the forest for rearing cattle resulting in loss of valuable biodiversity.
- Palkonda Hills are in Andhra Pradesh.
- The Palkonda Hills extend northwest to southeast and constitutes the central part of the Eastern Ghats.
- Geologically speaking, Palkonda Hills are relics of ancient mountains formed during the Cambrian Period that were eroded by the Penneru River and its tributaries.
- The Punchu and Cheyyeru rivers joins and forms a gorge in the here between the Velikonda Range and the Palkonda Hills.
- Palkonda Hills are formed of quartzites, slates, and lavas, and reach to an elevation of about 900 metres.
- The valleys between the mountains are drained by streams, many of which, having been dammed for water storage tanks, provide irrigation for cultivation.
- The main crops grown here are jowar and peanuts.
- Velikonda Range is in Andhra Pradesh.
- They extend in north-south direction and forms the eastern flank of the Eastern Ghats.
- These range are considered to have been elevated during the Cambrian Period -about 540 to 490 million years ago.
- They are relics of ancient mountains that were eroded and dissected by numerous streams.
- Rivers navigate through the hills by narrow gaps, usually marked by rapids.
- The main railway from Chennai to Mumbai runs along the corridor which is formed by the Penneru River between the Velikondas and the Palkonda Hills.
- The Velikondas range reaches a height of 750 to 900 metres, and are sparsely wooded and almost devoid of the human population except for a few scattered groups of Chenchu peoples. But the valleys, however, are moderately populated.
- The narrowness of the corridors through the hills allowed for creation of dams over the streams for the pupose of water-storage tanks, making a certain amount of cultivation and irrigation possible.
- Peanuts and jowar are the main crops here.
Download India Geographical Map
This was all about the India Geographical Map and Cardamom Hills, Agasthyamala Hills, Anaimalai Hills, Anamudi Shola National Park, Nilgiri Hills, Bababudan hill, Palni Hills, Harischandra Range, Balaghat Range, Pachamalai hills, Shervaroy hill, Javadi Hills, Nallamala Hills, Palkonda Hills, Velikonda Range.