Geography of South India

Geography of South India

and southern India. Technically all Indian territories below the 20th Parallel.

The Narmada flows westwards in the depression between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges. The Satpura ranges define the northern spur of the Deccan plateau, one of the main geographic features of South India. The Western Ghats, along the western coast, mark another boundary of the plateau. The narrow strip of verdant land between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea is the Konkan region; the term encompasses the area south of the Narmada as far as Goa.

The Western Ghats continue south, forming the Malnad (Canara) region along the Karnataka coast, and terminate at the Nilgiri mountains, an inward (easterly) extension of the Western Ghats. The Nilgiris run in a crescent approximately along the borders of Tamil Nadu with northern Kerala and Karnataka, encompassing the Palakkad and Wayanad hills, and the Satyamangalam ranges, and extending on to the relatively low-lying hills of the Eastern Ghats, on the western portion of the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border. The Tirupati and Annamalai hills form part of this range.

The Deccan plateau, covering the major portion of the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, is the vast elevated region bound by the C-shape defined by all these mountain ranges. No major elevations border the plateau to the east, and it slopes gently from the Western Ghats to the eastern coast. The plateau is watered by the east flowing Godavari and Krishna rivers. The other major rivers of the Deccan plateau are the Pennar and the Tungabhadra, a major tributary of the Krishna.

The river Kaveri rises in the Western Ghats, in the Kodagu district of Karnataka and flows through the fertile Mandya, Mysore, Hassan regions before entering Tamil Nadu, where it forms an extensive and fertile delta on the east coast. The three major river deltas of South India, the Kaveri, the Godavari and the Krishna, are located along the Bay of Bengal. These areas constitute the "rice bowls" of South India. Rivers that flow westward, from the mountains to the Arabian Sea, include the Periyar, Netravati River, Mandovi and Tapti River (or Tapi) rivers, and the Narmada at the northern edge of the region.


The region has a very tropical climate with the monsoons playing a major part. The South - West Monsoon accounts for most of the rainfall in the region and much of it falls from about June to October. Tamil Nadu and South-East Andhra Pradesh receive rains from the North - East Monsoon from about November to February. Much of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has a distinct dry season from about October - May when there is not much rainfall. This region also experiences cooler nights from October to March while the days are pleasantly warm. In the northern parts of the region temperatures can fall below 10 degrees Celsius on occasions at night during this time. Days are very hot from March to June when temps can go over 40 degrees.


The four states of South India generally follow linguistic boundaries. In addition to these linguistic regions, South India has a number of overlapping traditional geographic regions. Some of these regions are:
* Bayaluseemae- The plain or maidan area of deccan plateau in Karnataka state.
* Carnatic - etymologically related to the Deccan, refers to all of South India
* Canara or Karaavali - the Karnataka coast
* Chera Nadu or "Vanchi Nadu" - most of modern Kerala
* Chettinadu - area around Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu
* Chola Nadu - most of Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh, including certain other "Nadus" mentioned here
* Coromandel Coast - south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and the Pondicherry Union Territory
* Deccan - plateau region covering interior Maharashtra, interior Andhra Pradesh and interior Karnataka. Includes the Marathwada, Vidarbha, Telangana, Rayalaseema, North Karnataka and Mysore regions.
* Kammanadu - Region south of Krishna river up to Nellore district (A.P.,) where Buddhism flourished.
* Kongu Nadu - districts around Coimbatore, Erode.
* Konkan - coastal region comprising coastal Maharashtra, Goa and part of coastal Karnataka
* Kosta or Coastal Andhra - The coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh
* Malabar region - northern Kerala; the Malabar Coast is often counted separately
* Malnad - the Sahyadri hills between the coast and the plateau in Karnataka
* Mulakanadu - the region to the north of the Godavari river, areas now called Khandesh and Aurangabad surrounding areas.
* Mysore - often called "south interior Karnataka"
* North Karnataka - often called "north interior Karnataka" or simply the "Dharawad region"
* Northern Circars - Muslim administrative units in Madras state in British India, namely Chicacole, Rajahmundry, Ellore, Kondapalli and Guntur.
* Palnadu - or Pallavanadu (Guntur and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh), the original seat of Pallavas.
* Pandya Nadu - area around Tirunelveli,Madurai,Virthunagar & Tuticorin Tamil Nadu
* Raichur Doab - mostly northern Karnataka, between the Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers
* Rayalaseema - southern interior Andhra Pradesh consisting of Kurnoo, Chittor, Cuddapah and Anantapuram districts.
* Tondai Nadu - area around Pudukkotai, Tamil Nadu
* Thiruvithaamkoor or Travancore - southern Kerala
* Tulu Nadu - certain areas in the coastal districts of Udipi and South Canara in Karnataka
* Telangana - northern interior Andhra Pradesh
* Velanadu - Places on the banks of Krishna River, from Guntur to Srisailam. A subkingdom during Cholas and Chalukyas periods

The low-lying coral islands of Lakshadweep are off the south-western coast of India. Sri Lanka lies off the south-eastern coast, separated from India by the Palk Strait and the chain of low sandbars and islands known as Rama's Bridge. The Andaman and Nicobar islands lie far off the eastern coast of India, near the Tenasserim coast of Burma. The southernmost tip of mainland India is at Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) on the Indian Ocean.

Flora and fauna

There is a large number and wide diversity of plants and animals in South India, resulting from its varied climates and geography. Lush evergreen vegetation, the South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests are found along the Western Ghats. Tropical Dry Forests, the South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests and scrub lands Deccan thorn scrub forests are common in the interior Deccan plateau. The southern Western Ghats have high altitude rain forests called the South Western Ghats montane rain forests. The Malabar Coast moist forests are found on the coastal plains.cite web| url=| title = Indo-Malayan Terrestrial Ecoregions| accessmonthday = April 15 | accessyear=2006] The Western Ghats itself is a biodiversity hotspot.cite web| url=| title= Biodiversity Hotspot - Western Ghats & Sri Lanka, Conservation International| accessmonthday = April 15 | accessyear=2006]

Some of India's famous protected areas are found in South India. These include Project Tiger reserves Periyar National Park, Kalakad - Mundanthurai and Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve. Important ecological regions of South India are the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, located at the conjunction of the borders of Karnataka, Kerela and Tamilnadu in the Nilgiri Hills including Mudumalai National Park, Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park Silent Valley National Park, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary and the Anamalai Hills including the Eravikulam National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary and the adjacent The Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park of the Western Ghats. Important bird sanctuaries including Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Neelapattu and Pulicat Sanctuary are home to numerous migratory and local birds. Other protected ecological sites include the backwaters like the Pulicut Lake in Andhra Pradesh, Pitchavarum in Tamil Nadu and the famed backwaters of Kerala formed by the Vembanad Lake, the Ashtamudi Lake and the Kayamkulam Lake.


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