- 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 Konkanregion; 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 Nilgirimountains, an inward (easterly) extension of the Western Ghats. The Nilgiris run in a crescent approximately along the borders of Tamil Naduwith northern Keralaand Karnataka, encompassing the Palakkad and Wayanadhills, and the Satyamangalamranges, and extending on to the relatively low-lying hills of the Eastern Ghats, on the western portion of the Tamil Nadu- Andhra Pradeshborder. The Tirupatiand Annamalaihills form part of this range.
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 Krishnarivers. The other major rivers of the Deccan plateau are the Pennarand the Tungabhadra, a major tributary of the Krishna.
Kaveririses in the Western Ghats, in the Kodagudistrict 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, Mandoviand Tapti River(or Tapi) rivers, and the Narmada at the northern edge of the region.
The region has a very
tropical climatewith the monsoons playing a major part. The South - West Monsoonaccounts for most of the rainfall in the region and much of it falls from about June to October. Tamil Naduand South-East Andhra Pradeshreceive rains from the North - East Monsoonfrom about November to February. Much of Andhra Pradeshand Karnatakahas 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 plateauin Karnatakastate.
* Carnatic - etymologically related to the
Deccan, refers to all of South India
* Canara or Karaavali - the
* Chera Nadu or "Vanchi Nadu" - most of modern
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 Naduand the Pondicherry Union Territory
Deccan- plateau region covering interior Maharashtra, interior Andhra Pradesh and interior Karnataka. Includes the Marathwada, Vidarbha, Telangana, Rayalaseema, North Karnatakaand Mysore regions.
Kammanadu- Region south of Krishna riverup to Nelloredistrict (A.P.,) where Buddhismflourished.
Kongu Nadu- districts around Coimbatore, Erode.
Konkan- coastal region comprising coastal Maharashtra, Goaand part of coastal Karnataka
* Kosta or Coastal Andhra - The coastal districts of
Malabar region- northern Kerala; the Malabar Coastis 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 " Dharawadregion"
Northern Circars- Muslim administrative units in Madras state in British India, namely Chicacole, Rajahmundry, Ellore, Kondapalliand Guntur.
Palnadu- or Pallavanadu ( Gunturand Prakasamdistricts of Andhra Pradesh), the original seat of Pallavas.
Pandya Nadu- area around Tirunelveli, Madurai, Virthunagar& TuticorinTamil Nadu
Raichur Doab- mostly northern Karnataka, between the Krishna and Tungabhadrarivers
Rayalaseema- southern interior Andhra Pradesh consisting of Kurnoo, Chittor, Cuddapah and Anantapuram districts.
Tondai Nadu- area around Pudukkotai, Tamil Nadu
Thiruvithaamkooror Travancore - southern Kerala
Tulu Nadu- certain areas in the coastal districts of Udipiand South Canarain Karnataka
Telangana- northern interior Andhra Pradesh
Velanadu- Places on the banks of Krishna River, from Gunturto Srisailam. A subkingdom during Cholasand Chalukyasperiods
coralislands of Lakshadweepare off the south-western coast of India. Sri Lankalies off the south-eastern coast, separated from India by the Palk Straitand the chain of low sandbars and islands known as Rama's Bridge. The Andaman and Nicobarislands lie far off the eastern coast of India, near the Tenasserimcoast 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 forestsare found along the Western Ghats. Tropical Dry Forests, the South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forestsand scrub lands Deccan thorn scrub forestsare 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 forestsare found on the coastal plains.cite web| url=http://www.nationalgeographic.com/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial_im.html| title = Indo-Malayan Terrestrial Ecoregions| accessmonthday = April 15 | accessyear=2006] The Western Ghats itself is a biodiversity hotspot.cite web| url=http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/xp/Hotspots/ghats/| 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 Tigerreserves 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 Sanctuaryand Nugu Wildlife Sanctuaryand the Anamalai Hillsincluding the Eravikulam National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuaryand 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 Sanctuaryare home to numerous migratory and local birds. Other protected ecological sites include the backwaterslike the Pulicut Lakein Andhra Pradesh, Pitchavarumin Tamil Nadu and the famed backwaters of Kerala formed by the Vembanad Lake, the Ashtamudi Lakeand the Kayamkulam Lake.
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