India Physical Features
The Arabian Sea lies to its southwest, the Bay of Bengal to its southeast and the Indian Ocean to its south. This well defined South Asian landmass is called the Indian sub-continent.
This sub-continent consists of the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan including Sri Lanka, an island narrowly separated by the Palk Strait.
India alone covers about three-fourths of the area of this sub-continent and has a common frontier with each one of them.
The Indian Ocean or Hind Mahasagar has also been named after India – the only country to be so.
India lies wholly in the Northern Hemisphere.
Extent of India
The Indian mainland extends between 8°4’N to 37°6′ N latitudes and from 68°7′ E to 97°25′ E longitudes.
Thus the latitudinal and longitudinal extent of India is of about 29 degrees.
It measures about 3,214 km from north to south and 2,933 km from east to west.
Though the latitudinal and longitudinal extent is almost the same, the actual distances do differ considerably.
This is because the east-west distance between two successive meridians of longitude along the equator is at its maximum – 111 km.
This, however, goes on decreasing as one moves from the equator to the poles, where it is zero.
This is because all the meridians of longitude merge in a single point at the poles – both North and South.
On the other hand, the north-south distance between any two successive parallels of latitude along any meridian of longitude remains almost uniform, i.e., 111 km.
Boundaries of India
The northernmost point of the Indian mainland lies in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the southernmost point is Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
However, the southernmost point of the country as a whole lies further south in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is now called Indira Point. It is situated at 6°30’N latitude.
The westernmost point of India lies in Gujarat and the easternmost in Arunachal Pradesh.
The northern parts of the country are quite far off from the equator.
Therefore, the rays of the sun strike those parts more obliquely.
Consequently, this part of the country receives a lesser amount of insolation and has a cold climate, unlike the southern parts.
Secondly, the difference between the lengths of day and night in the southernmost part of India is much less only about 45 minutes as they are situated near the equator.
This difference between day and night in the northern parts of India steadily goes on increasing till it becomes as much as 5 hours.
The Tropic of Cancer passes almost halfway through the country.
Thus half of the country to the south of the Tropic of Cancer is situated in the Tropical or Torrid- zone and the other half lying north of the Tropic of Cancer falls in the Sub-tropical zone.
The earth takes 24 hours to complete one rotation on its axis.
The Sun rises first in the east and then in the west because the earth rotates from west to east.
The earth’s longitudinal expanse of 360° is thus covered in 24 hours, at the pace of 15° per hour.
As the longitudinal extent of India is nearly 29°, the real-time difference in India between its eastern and western extremities is roughly of two hours.
India, like all other countries of the world, follows the local time of its relatively central meridian as the standard time for the whole country.
For the convenience of all, each country chooses its standard meridian in a multiple of 7°30′.
Accordingly, the standard meridian of India has been chosen to be 82°30′ E.
The total length of the coastline of India including the island groups is about 7,516.6 km.
The Palk Strait separates the Indian mainland from Sri Lanka. Structurally, Sri Lanka is an extension of the peninsular block of India.
India accounts for 2.42 percent of the world’s total land area; whereas it sustains 17 percent of the world population.
The land frontiers of India measure 15,200 km.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bangladesh share common boundaries with India.
The kingdom of Bhutan is situated in the Eastern Himalaya. It is a small country and the responsibility of its defense rests with India.
Most of our boundary with Pakistan and Bangladesh is almost man-made. There is no mountain range or river to form a natural boundary.
The international boundary of India passes through a variety of landforms – barren desert lands, lush green agricultural fields, gushing rivers, snow-clad mountains as well as densely forested mountain ranges.