The Northern Plain of Indian Physiography

the northern plain of indian physiography

The Northern Plain is another important physiographic division of India. This plain lies between the Himalayan Mountains in the north & the Peninsular Plateau in the south. This plain was formed by the sediments carried by the Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra rivers and their tributaries. So this plain is popularly known as the Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra plain. This plain is very fertile and agriculture is the main occupation of the people.


The Northern Plain is an important physiographic division of India
The Northern Plain of Indian Physiography

Three sections of Northern Plain:

The Northern Plain is classified into three divisions:

  • (a) The Punjab Plain
  • (b) The Ganga plain
  • (c) The Brahmaputra valley


(a) The Punjab Plain

The Western part of the Northern plain is called the Punjab plain. This plain is drained by the Indus and its tributaries, such as the Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi. A very little part of this plain lies in India. The plain is made of silts (fine sand, clay, or other material carried by running water and deposited as a sediment) and the soil is absorbent.

Bet – The plain which is formed by the deposition of new alluvium near the river bank.

Bhabar plain – The foothills region of the Punjab plain is covered by large boulder, gravel, sand, and clay. This plain is called ‘bhabar plain’ or ‘bhabar soil’.


(b) The Gangetic Plain

The Ganga is the major river of the Indian subcontinent. The Ganga plain is the major portion of the Northern Plain. It extends from the eastern margin of Punjab from the west to Bangladesh border in the east covering the states of Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, a part of Jharkhand, and West Bengal.

This plain is drained by the Ganga, Yamuna, Ghagra, Gandak, Kosi, and Tista from the Himalayas in the north and Chambal, Betwa, Son, Damodar from the Southern Plateau.

The Gangetic plain is situated at a high level. The upper part is almost 200 meters high from sea-level. It is the most populous physiographic division of India. Many people depend on agriculture as this plain is very fertile and also very prosperous in trade, industry, and commerce.

The Ganga forms a great ‘Delta’ on its mouth.

The Ganga is classified into three divisions.

  1. Upper Ganga Plain: From Yamuna river in the west to Allahabad city in the east.
  2. Middle Ganga Plain: From Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) in the west to Rajmahal Hill in the east.
  3. Lower Ganga Plain: From Rajmahal hill to the Bay of Bengal


(c) The Brahmaputra Valley

The Brahmaputra Valley is situated in the north-eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. It lies between the Arunachal Himalayas on the north and the Meghalaya Plateau on the south.

This plain is flat and formed by the debris brought down from the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries. (The Brahmaputra river flows from Assam to Bengal where it meets the Ganges River and forms the world’s largest delta. Then it finally flows into the Bay of Bengal in the south.)

This Valley is not very high above sea level, seldom some places are above 100 meters. There are many sandbanks and river islands. Majuli islands are the largest sandbar ever formed on any other river bank in the world.

The Brahmaputra Valley is famous for tea plantation.

The significance of the Northern Plain:

The Northern plain is also known as the Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra plain. This physiographic division is very significant in many ways.

  • This plain is brought down by the rivers. As the soil is alluvial, it is very fertile and soft.
  • Due to sufficient rainfall, there is a rich and more than enough vegetation.
  • The major crops of Indian subcontinent like wheat, rice, sugarcane, oilseeds, and jute is grown here.
  • As the plain is soft and flat, it can enhance more utilization of tube wells and canals for irrigation.
  • The Northern Plain is one of the most populated plains in the world.


So, the Northern Plain, which is also known as Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra plain,  covers 30% of the geographical area of India and 40% of the total population of India lives here. It is called “The heart of India”.

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