The Great Indian Plateau – Deccan Plateau

The Great Indian Plateau lies to the South of the Great Northern Plains.

This is the largest physiographic division of our country.

It covers an area of about 16 lakh square km, i.e., about half of the total area of the country.

The Great Indian Plateau is an old rocky plateau region.

The topography consists of a series of plateaus and hill ranges interspersed with river valleys.

Aravalli hills mark the north-western boundary of the plateau region.

Its northern and north-eastern boundary is marked by the northern edge of the Bundelkhand Plateau, Kaimur and Rajmahal Hills.

The Western Ghats (Sahyadri) and the Eastern Ghats mark the western and eastern boundaries respectively of this Great Plateau.

Most of the area of the plateau has a height of more than 400 meters above sea level.

The highest point of the plateau region is the Anaimudi peak (2965 m).

The general slope of this plateau is towards the east.

The Great Indian Plateau is the part of very ancient landmass, called Gondwana land.

From the earliest time, it has been above the level of the sea. Therefore, it has been subjected to large scale denudation.

Its mountains are generally of relic type. They are composed of very hard rocks, which have withstood the ravages of denudation more effectively than the surrounding regions.

Because of their old age, all the rivers have almost attained their base level and have built up broad and shallow valleys.

The dominant rock formations, especially those in the southern parts, are of metamorphic origin with frequent occurrences of granite.

River Narmada divides the peninsular block of India into two parts.

The region lying to the north of the Narmada is called the Central Highlands and the region lying to the south of Narmada is called the Peninsular plateau, more commonly referred to as the Deccan Plateau.

All the major rivers lying to the south of the Vindhyas flow eastwards to fall into the Bay of Bengal. (Narmada and Tapti flow westward)

The westward flow of Narmada and Tapi is assigned to the fact that they have been flowing through faults or rifts.


[1] The Central Highlands

It extends between river Narmada and Great Northern Plains.

The Aravallis form the west-northwestern edge of the Central Highlands.

These hills extend from Gujarat, through Rajasthan to Delhi in the northeasterly direction for a distance of about 700 km.

The height of these hills is about 1500 meters in the southwest while near Delhi they are hardly 400 meters high.

The highest peak of the Aravalli hills is Gurushikhar (1722 m) near Mt. Abu, on the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan is a beautiful hill station.

The region to the east of Aravallis is the highly dissected and uneven.


Malwa plateau forms the dominant part of the Central Highlands.

It lies to the southeast of Aravallis and to the north of Vindhyachal Range.

River Chambal, Betwa and Ken drain the Malwa Plateau before they join the Yamuna.


The part of the Central Highlands which extends to the east of Malwa Plateau is known as Bundelkhand and is further followed by Baghelkhand and the well known Chhotanagpur Plateau.

Vindhyachal Range forms the southern edge of Malwa Plateau.

The Mahadeo Hills, Kaimur Hills and Maikal Range lie towards further east.


The slope of Vindhayachal Range towards Narmada valley is absolutely steep and forms escarpments.

This range has very few passes.

Due to this fact, the Vindhayachal Range acts as a barrier between the northern and southern parts of India.

The valley of Narmada is situated between the Satpuras and the Vindhyas.

River Narmada flows from east to west in this valley and falls into the Arabian Sea.

The valley of Narmada has been formed due to the subsidence of the land mass between the Vindhyas and the Satpuras.


[2] The Peninsular Plateau (Deccan Plateau)

This physiographic division is the largest region of the Great Indian Plateau.

The shape of this plateau is triangular.

One of the sides of this triangle is marked by the line joining Kanyakumari with Rajmahal Hills and this line passes through the Eastern Ghats.

The second arm is marked by the Satpura Range, Mahadeo Hills, Maikal Range, and the Rajmahal Hills.

The third arm is marked by the Sahyadris (Western Ghats).

The area of this Peninsular Plateau is about 7 lakh square km and the height ranges from 500 to 1000 meters above sea level.

The Sahyadri Range forms the sharp edge of the Peninsular Plateau.

The Sahyadri Range runs parallel to the Arabian Sea coast.

The Sahyadri Range is also called the Western Ghats.

The height of the Sahyadris increases from north to south.

Anaimudi peak (2695 m) situated in Kerala is the highest peak of southern India.

Anaimudi is a sort of tri-junction of the Annamalai Range, the Cardamom Hills, and the Palani Hills.

Kodai Kanal is a beautiful hill resort situated on the Palani Hills.

The Eastern Ghats running from southwest to northeast forms the eastern edge of the Peninsular Plateau. This range is known as Poorvadri also.

The Eastern Ghats joins the Sahyadris at the Nilgiri Hills bordering Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Udagamandalam (Ooty) situated on the Nilgiris is the famous hill station of South India and lies in Tamil Nadu.

The Eastern Ghats are not continuous like the Sahyadris.

Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, and Kaveri rivers have dissected this range at many places.

The plateau region between the Sahyadris and the Eastern Ghats is known by numerous local names in different regions.

Telangana which extends in Andhra Pradesh is the name of such a plateau.


River Damodar flows through the Chhotanagpur Plateau.

The Damodar valley is famous for its huge coal deposits.


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