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The Peninsular Plateau

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The Peninsular Plateau - Lesson Summary

Plateaus are also called tablelands like the Peninsular Plateau which is a tableland. This tableland was formed when Gondwanaland broke and the pieces drifted apart. It is composed of old crystalline, igneous and metamorphic rocks. The Peninsular Plateau consists of both broad and shallow valleys, and rounded hills.

The Peninsular Plateau has two broad divisions:
  • The Central Highlands and
  • The Deccan Plateau

The Central Highlands refer to the portion of the Peninsular Plateau that lies to the north of the Narmada river and covers a majority of the Malwa Plateau.

The Vindhya Range forms the boundary of the Central Highlands on the south while the Aravalis form the north-western boundary of these highlands. The Peninsular Plateau gradually merges into the sandy and rocky desert of Rajasthan and the rivers are the Chambal, the Sind, the Betwa and the Ken.

Bundelkhand is the local name for the eastward extensions of the Peninsular Plateau. The other eastward extension is Baghelkhand. The Chhota Nagpur Plateau is the eastern extension of the Central Highlands. The Damodar is an important river that drains this region.

The Deccan Plateau is a triangular landmass lying to the south of the Narmada. It has the Mahadev hills, the Kaimur hills and the Maikal range on the eastern side. In the north-east is an extension of the Plateau, called the Meghalaya and Karbi-Anglong Plateau.

A fault demarcates the Meghalaya and Karbi-Anglong Plateau from the Chhota Nagpur Plateau.
There are three prominent hill ranges on the north-eastern side of the plateau i.e. the Garo range, the Khasi ranges, and the Jaintia hills.

The Deccan Plateau in the south is bordered by Western Ghats on the west, and the Eastern Ghats on the east. The Western Ghats are tall, lie parallel to the western coast, are continuous and can be crossed through passes only.

The Eastern Ghats stretch from the Mahanadi Valley to the Nilgiris in the south. The Eastern Ghats are discontinuous and irregular. They are interspersed with several rivers that drain into the Bay of Bengal which are the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Krishna, and the Kaveri.

Orographic rainfall in the Western Ghats is caused when a range of mountains intercepts rain-bearing monsoon winds. The Western Ghats intercept the westerly monsoon winds, forcing these winds to deposit most of their rain in the windward side, which is the western side. Therefore, the area of the Deccan Plateau to the east of the Ghats receives very little rainfall.

The Western Ghats are known in different regions by different names like the Konkan coast in Maharashtra while as the Malabar Coast in Kerela. One of the distinct features of the Peninsular Plateau is the black soil area, known as the Deccan Trap. The Deccan Trap is of volcanic origin. 

On the western and north-western margins of the plateau are the Aravali hills, one of the oldest ranges in the world. The Aravali hills extend from Gujarat to Delhi in a south-west to north-east direction.

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