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Indian Geography / Physiography

Northern Plains of India

    The Northern plains of India are one of the youngest geological unit in India. They are located towards the south of the foothills of the Himalayas and towards the north of the Peninsular India. They have Purvanchal hills as their eastern boundary. Northern plains were formed due to deposition of sediments that were brought down by the three major river systems namely, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and their tributaries. They are either flat or gently sloping in nature.

    Features of Northern Plains of India

    • When the Eurasian Plate and the Indian Plate collided, Himalayas were formed in the Tethys Sea. Because of the uplift of the mountains, the northern part of the Indian Plate was subsided and formed a large geosynclinal trough, which was filled by the sediments over a period.

    • Sometimes, the northern plains of India are called "Foredeep". Depth of alluvial lands of the Northern Plains is around 400-1400 m. These are the largest depth plains in the world.

    • These plains are continuously drained by the large river systems of Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra. The states of northern plains of India stretch from Rajasthan to Assam.

      River Indus and its tributaries cover Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Western Rajasthan. River Ganges and its tributaries cover Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. River Brahmaputra covers Assam.

    • Doab in India is a very important feature of the Northern Plains. Doab is a small upland area separating adjacent river valleys or streams and acts as a barrier. Doabs are very fertile lands.

      Ganga-Yamuna Doab lies in Western UP. Bari Doab lies between Ravi and Beas rivers. Bist Doab lies between Sutlej and Beas rivers.

    • Floodplains are one more feature of these Plains. Sediments are brought in by the flood water and are deposited on the banks of the river valley. Low-lying parts of the floodplains located near the river valley are called Khadar plains. They are regularly flooded and are called new alluvial lands.

    • Upland parts of the floodplains located away from the river valley are called Bhangar plains. They are occasionally flooded and are called old alluvial lands. Khadar and Bhangar plains are the "Granaries of India".

    • Bhabar Region - Bhabar region lies at the foothills of the mountains. This region is made up of pebbles, stones, gravels and coarse sand. It is a highly porous region. When rivers flow through this area, they almost disappear because of percolation.

    • Terai Region - The disappeared rivers emerge from the Terai region. It is very much swampy or marshy. Because of marshy nature, we can see dense forests here. These are located between Bihar and Nepal and Uttar Pradesh and Nepal.

    Rajasthan Plains

    • Thar Desert is also a part of the Northern Plains of India and it comes under Indus plains from the topographic point of view.

    • Rajasthan Plains of the can be divided into two regions, namely Bagar region and Marusthali desert region.

    • Bagar region is a semi-arid region. Here, we can find big and small river streams, e.g. Luni river. Salt lakes can also be found here, e.g. Sambhar lake.

    • Marusthali region is a proper Desert region. It is an arid region covered with sand dunes. We can come across small river channels here, e.g. River Ghaggar. River Ghaggar is the sucessor of ancient river Saraswati.