The Peninsular Plateau of Indian Physiography

featured image of the peninsular plateau of India

The largest part of India’s physiography is consists of a triangular shaped Peninsular Plateau, which lies from the south of the Northern Plain to the Kanyakumari (India’s southernmost point). The Peninsular plateau of India covers an area of nearly 15 lakh sq km. It is composed of the old crystalline igneous and metamorphic rocks. It is bounded by Aravalli Hills in the North-Wast, Hazaribagh & Rajmahal Hills in the  North-East, the Western Ghats in the West and the Eastern Ghats in the East.

The Peninsular plateau of India is the largest part of the physiographic division
The Peninsular plateau is the largest part of the physiographic division of India

The Peninsular Plateau of India – Classification:

There are two parts of the Peninsular plateau;

  1. The Central Highlands
  2. The Deccan Plateau

1. The Central Highland

The northern part of the Peninsular Plateau of India is called the central highland. This part includes Aravalli range, Malwa Plateau, Chhotanagpur plateau and some parts of Vindhya range.

Aravalli range:

It is a range of mountains running approximately 692 km, located in the northwestern part of Indian Peninsula. It is the oldest range of fold mountains in India. The highest peak is Mt. Guru Shikhar.

Malwa Plateau:

The Malwa plateau is in the western part of Madhya Pradesh, southeastern part of Rajasthan and Gujarat in the west. The Malwa plateau slopes towards the Gangetic plain. This plateau is surrounded by Hadoti region in the north-east, Mewar region in the north-west, Gujarat and Vagad region in the west, Vindhya range to the south and east, and Bundelkhand upland to the north.

Mehi, Chambal, Betwa, Dhasan, and Ken are some important rivers of this region.

Chhotanagpur Plateau:

Chhotanagpur plateau is in eastern India covering a large area of Jharkhand state and the adjacent parts of Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh. The Indo-Gangetic plain lies to the north and east of the Plateau, and the basin of the Mahanadi river lies to the south. This is a continental plateau.

This plateau is a storehouse of minerals like mica, bauxite, copper, limestone, iron ore, and coal. The Damodar valley is very rich in coal and it is considered as the prime centre of coking coal in the country.

Vindhya Range:

The Vindhya range is surrounded by the Central Highlands on the south and the Aravallis on the north-west. This range consists of the broken range of hills. Vindhya range extends from Gujarat on the west across Madhya Pradesh to adjoin the Ganga river valley near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

The southern tributaries of the Ganga-Yamuna river system came from this range including the Chambal, Betwa, Ken, and Tons rivers.

2. The Deccan Plateau:

The Deccan Plateau is another important part of the Peninsular plateau of India. It is a large plateau in southern India. This plateau extends over eight Indian States covering most of the central and southern India. 43% of India’s landmass falls on this plateau. So it is the largest part of the physiographic division of India.

  • Deccan Plateau is located between two mountain ranges, Western Ghats & Eastern Ghats.
  • It is separated from the Gangetic Plain to the north by the Satpura and Vindhya ranges, which forms its northern boundaries.
  • This plateau was formed due to volcanic eruptions.
  • In the south, the plateau is mostly over 1000 meters above sea level and in the north, it is almost 500 meters above sea level.
  • Deccan Plateau is higher in the west and slopes gently eastwards. So, the most Peninsula rivers flow from west to east.
  • The Western Ghat mountain ranges are very tall and block the moisture from the south-west monsoon from reaching the Deccan Plateau. So this region receives very low rainfall.

Western Ghats:

Western Ghat is a mountain range runs parallel to the Western coast of the Indian Peninsula. It is also known as ‘Sahyadri‘, means The Benevolent Mountains. It covers an area of 180,000km2 or just under 6 percent of the land area of India.

  • This mountain range lies from the North to South along the Western edge of the Deccan Plateau. It starts near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, runs approximately 1600 km through Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamilnadu and ends at Swamithoppe, near Kanyakumari.

Important Peaks:

  1. Anamudi (2,695 m)
  2. Mannamala (2,659 m)
  3. Doddabeta (2,637 m)
  4. Mukurthi (2,554 m)
  5. Perumal peak (2,440 m)

Highest point:

  • Anamudi (2,695 m) in the Annamalai range, it is also the highest peak in South India.

The Western Ghats is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Total 39 properties including National parks, wildlife sanctuaries, reserve forests) and one of the eight “Hottest hot-spots” of biological diversity in the World.

Eastern Ghats:

The Eastern Ghats are a discontinuous range of mountains along the Eastern coast of Indian Peninsula. It runs from Westbengal through Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka.  The mountain ranges are eroded and cut by the four major rivers (Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri) of peninsular India.

  • The Eastern Ghats run parallel to the Bay of Bengal.
  • The Eastern Ghats are older than the Western Ghats but not as high as the Western Ghats.
  • The Eastern Ghats are called Northern Hills in the northern sector, Cudappah ranges in the middle sector, and Tamil Nadu hills in the southern sector.

Important Peaks:

  1. Jindhagada Peak (1,690 m)
  2. Arma Konda (1,680 m)
  3. Gali Konda (1,643 m)

Highest Peak:

  • Jindhagada Peak (1,690 m)


  • The Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats meet in the Nilgiri hills.

Peninsular Plateau of India is one of the oldest surfaces of the world formed of hard rocks.  It is the largest of India’s Physical divisions.

Q: What is Deccan Trap Region?

The North-Western part of the Deccan Plateau is covered by horizontal sheets of Lava. This region is called the Deccan trap region. This is one of the largest volcanic regions in the world.

This region is famous for the fossils, found in the middle of the lava layers including frog Oxyglossus pusillus and the toothed frog Indobatrachus, an early lineage of modern frogs.

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