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Our Country India - Geography NCERT Notes For UPSC

Jan 23, 2023

our country India geography NCERT notes for UPSC

India is a country of vast geographical expanse. In the North, it is bound by the lofty Himalayas. The Arabian Sea in the West, the Bay of Bengal in the East and the Indian Ocean in the South, wash the shores of the Indian peninsula. Understand India in depth and upgrade your UPSC CSE preparation with this article 'Our country India'. 

Key points related to India

  • India has an area of about 3.28 million sq. km. The north-south extent from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is about 3,200 km. And the east-west extent from Arunachal Pradesh to Kuchchh is about 2,900 km.
  • Southern part is called peninsular land mass which is surrounded by water from three sides.
  • The lofty mountains, the Great Indian Desert, the Northern Plains, the uneven plateau surface and the coasts and islands present a diversity of landforms.
  • There is a great variety in the climate, vegetation, wildlife as well as in the language and culture.
  • There are seven countries that share land boundaries with India that are China, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the North or north-west, and with Bangladesh and Myanmar in the East.


  • India located in the Northern hemisphere, the Tropic of Cancer divides India into 2 parts, the Southern and the Northern part. 
  • From South to North, the mainland of India extends between 8°4'N and 37°6'N latitudes. From West to East, India extends between 68°7'E and 97°25'E longitudes
  • There is a great longitudinal extent of about 29° which has an impact on local time differences. 
  • The local time changes by four minutes for every one degree of longitude. The local time of longitude of 82°30'E has been taken as the Indian Standard Time. 

Physical Division of India:

Physical division of India
  • India is marked by a diversity of physical features such as mountains, plateaus, plains, coasts and islands.
  • Himalayan Mountain is divided into 3 parallel mountain ranges such as the Northernmost is Himadri or greater Himalaya; world’s highest mountain peaks are located in this range. In the South of greater Himalaya, Middle or Himachal, Himalaya is situated. Many popular hill stations are situated here. Shiwalik is the southernmost range.
  • Northern Plains: These plains are South of the Himalayas and they are generally flat and level. These plains are formed by rivers like Ganga, Brahmaputra, Sindhu and their tributaries. These regions provide fertile soil for agriculture that's why these are one of the regions of highest population concentration.
  • The Great Indian Desert: It lies in the western part of the country. It is a dry, hot and sandy stretch of land. It has very little vegetation.
  •  Peninsular Plateau:
    • It is situated south of the northern plains, it is triangular in shape and its relief is highly irregular. This region has numerous hills such as Aravali, one of the oldest residual mountains in the world, situated in the north-west part.
    • The rivers Narmada and Tapi (West flowing rivers) flow through Vindhyas and Satpura ranges. 
    • The Western Ghats or Sahyadris border the plateau in the West and the Eastern Ghats provide the Eastern boundary. 
    • The Coastal plains lie to the West of the Western Ghats and the East of Eastern Ghats. Western coastal plains are very narrow and eastern coastal plains are much broader due to delta formed by various rivers such as Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna etc.
  • Island groups: Two groups of islands also form part of India. Lakshadweep Islands (Coral islands) are located in the Arabian Sea. The Andaman and the Nicobar Islands lie to the southeast of the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal.

Interesting Points

  • The peninsula is a piece of land that is surrounded by water on three sides.
  • Large countries which stretch extensively from east to west do not have a single Standard Time for the whole country. The USA and Canada have seven and six time zones respectively.
  • Alluvial deposits: These are very fine soils, brought by rivers and deposited in the river basins. 
  • Tributary: A river or stream which contributes its water to a main river by discharging it into Main River from either side.
  • World’s largest delta is the Sunderban delta which is triangular in shape.

Corals are skeletons of tiny marine animals called Polyps. When the living polyps die, their skeletons are left. Other polyps grow on top of the hard skeleton which grows higher and higher, thus forming the coral islands.

Frequently Asked Questions about Our Country India

How did India get its name?

The name "India" is derived from the River Indus, which is also the origin of the name "Hindustan." The ancient Persians, who invaded this region in the 6th century BCE, referred to this land as "Hindu" and the people as "Hindus," which is where the terms "Hindustan" and "Hindu" originate. The name "India" was later used by the British to refer to the entire subcontinent, including present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Name the major physical divisions of India.

The major physical divisions of India are:

  1. The Great Himalayas: located in the northern region of India, it is the highest mountain range in the world.
  2. The Northern Plains: a vast plain region that stretches from the foot of the Himalayas to the peninsular plateau.
  3. The Peninsular Plateau: a tableland composed of old crystalline, igneous and metamorphic rocks.
  4. The Indian Desert: a desert region located in the western part of India, also known as the Thar Desert.
  5. The Coastal Plains: a narrow strip of land along the eastern and western shores of India.
  6. The Islands: a group of islands located off the eastern and western coasts of India, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep Islands.

India shares its land boundaries with seven countries. Name them.

India shares its land boundaries with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.

Which two major rivers fall into the Arabian Sea?

The two major rivers that fall into the Arabian Sea are the Narmada and the Tapti.

Name the delta formed by the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.

The delta formed by the Ganga and the Brahmaputra is the Sundarbans Delta. It is located in the West Bengal state of India and Bangladesh and is one of the largest deltas in the world. It is known for its vast mangrove forests, rich biodiversity and diverse ecosystems, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How many States and Union Territories are there in India? Which states have a common capital?

As of 2021, there are 28 states and 9 union territories in India.
Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have a common capital of Chandigarh.

Why do a large number of people live in the Northern Plains?

The Northern Plains region of India, comprising the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal, is one of the most densely populated regions in the country due to several factors.
Firstly, the region has a fertile soil and favorable climate for agriculture, making it an ideal location for farming and cultivation. The fertile soil is a result of the alluvial deposit brought by the rivers flowing through the region. The monsoon rains also provide adequate water for irrigation. This has led to the development of extensive agricultural practices and the cultivation of a variety of crops, making it an attractive location for farmers to settle and make a living.
Secondly, the Northern Plains also have a rich history of trade and commerce, with several major cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, and Patna, which have been important centers of trade and commerce for centuries. This has led to the development of various industries and job opportunities, attracting people to settle in these cities.
Lastly, the Northern Plains also have a good transportation infrastructure, with several major highways and rail networks connecting the region to other parts of the country. This has made it easier for people to move to the region for work and business opportunities, further increasing the population.
In summary, the Northern Plains' fertility of soil, favorable climate for agriculture, rich history of trade and commerce, and good transportation infrastructure, have made it an attractive location for people to settle and make a living.

Why is Lakshadweep known as a coral island?

Lakshadweep is a group of 36 islands located in the Arabian Sea, off the southwestern coast of India. These islands are known as coral islands because they are formed by coral reef growth.
Coral reefs are underwater structures composed of the skeletons of coral polyps, which are small, soft-bodied animals that secrete a hard, calcium carbonate exoskeleton. These exoskeletons accumulate over time, forming large structures known as coral reefs.
In the case of Lakshadweep, the coral reefs surrounding the islands have grown and accumulated over time to form the islands themselves. The coral reefs provide a solid foundation for the islands and also protect the islands from the erosive forces of waves and storms.
Additionally, Lakshadweep also boasts a rich marine biodiversity, with a wide variety of coral and fish species. Coral reefs are known to be one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth, and the coral reefs in Lakshadweep are no exception.
In summary, Lakshadweep is known as a coral island because the islands are formed by the growth of coral reefs, which provide a solid foundation and protects the island from the erosive forces of waves and storms, also it is home to a rich marine biodiversity, with a wide variety of coral and fish species.

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