India has a very long coastline, and it measures about 7,516.6 km bordering the mainland and the islands with the Bay of Bengal in the East, the Indian Ocean on the South and the Arabian Sea on the West.
The coastline is distributed among nine states and four union territories (UTs). Among the states, Gujarat has the longest coastline and among the UTs, Andaman and Nicobar Islands has the longest coastline.
This article will provide information about the coastal states of India in the context of the IAS Exam.
This article is important for the Geography part of the UPSC Syllabus.
The candidates can read more related information for their upcoming exams from the links provided below:
|Coastal Plains in India||Special Economic Zones (SEZs)|
|Sagarmala Project||Major River Systems in India|
|Mangroves||Western Ghats & Eastern Ghats|
- The coastal environment plays a vital role in a nation’s economy by virtue of the resources, productive habitats and rich biodiversity.
- The coastal zone is also endowed with a wide range of coastal ecosystems like mangroves, coral reefs, seagrasses, salt marshes, dunes, estuaries, lagoons, etc.
- The coastal areas are assuming greater importance in recent years, owing to the increasing human population, urbanization and accelerated developmental activities.
- As per Census 2011, the coastal districts have a share of about 15.5% (nearly 18.8 crores) of the national population and about 4.4 lakh people reside in the Island territories.
- There are 13 major ports in India.
Number of Indian Coastal States and Union Territories
There are nine states and four Union Territories of India situated on the coast.
Nine Coastal States of India:
- Tamil Nadu
- Andhra Pradesh
- West Bengal
Four Union Territories
- Daman & Diu
- Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Bay of Bengal)
- Lakshadweep Islands (Arabian Sea)
Source – Centre for Coastal Zone Management and Coastal Shelter Belt Website
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Length of the Coastline of India – State-wise/UT-wise
The length of Indian coastline, including islands, in States and UTs are given in the following table:
|Length of the Coastline of India|
|State/UT||Length (in Km)|
|Andaman & Nicobar Islands||1962|
|Daman & Diu||42.5|
Source – India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Annual Report, 2014-15.
Characteristics of Coastline of Indian States/UTs
|Characteristics of Coastline of Indian States/UTs|
|Indian States/UTs||Characteristics of coastline|
|Gujarat and Daman & Diu||Gulf of Kachchh (or Kutch) and Gulf of Khambat with extensive continental shelf area and shallow coast; sandy intertidal zone with vast stretches of muddy or sandstone areas.|
|Maharashtra||The rocky coastal belt is broken by small bays, creeks and fringed with islands; no major rivers.|
|Karnataka and Goa||Straight coastline broken at numerous places by rivers, rivulets, creeks and bays; the northern part is rocky coast.|
|Kerala||Chain of brackish water lagoons and backwaters parallel to the coast, beaches and estuaries.|
|Tamil Nadu and Puducherry||A narrow belt of sand dunes, low-lying beaches, plains mostly formed by rivers.|
|Andhra Pradesh||The coastline is smooth with inundations; the deltaic coast of Krishna and Godavari rivers, marshy muddy coasts.|
|Odisha||The coast is depositional, formed by Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baitarani delta.|
|West Bengal||Ganga and Brahmaputra river systems create large intertidal, deltaic masses. Hooghly’s mouth is unevenly formed by massive sedimentation, coast sand riffed with numerous tidal creeks & estuaries.|
Physiography of the Coastal Areas
- The Indian mainland coast consists of nearly 43% sandy beaches, 11% rocky coast with cliffs and 36% muddy flats and 10% marshy coast.
- The characteristics of the Indian eastern and western coastline are quite different.
- The West Coast stretches from Rann of Kutch to Kanyakumari as a narrow strip between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats.
- It is divided into coastal plains of Gujarat, Konkan Coast and Malabar Coast. The western coast is a submerging coast, and lagoons and estuaries are a common feature of the west coast.
- On the contrary, the East Coast stretches from Kanyakumari to Sunderbans as a relatively broader (than western coast) between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal.
- It is divided into Coromandel Coast and North Sircar coastal plains. It is an emergent coast, and deltas are a common feature of the East coast. The frequency of occurrence of cyclones is very high on the East coast.
- Large parts of the coastal plains of India are covered by fertile soils on which different crops are grown.
- Rice is the main crop of these areas. Coconut trees grow all along the coast.
- The entire length of the coast is dotted with big and small ports which help in carrying out trade.
- The sedimentary rocks of these plains are said to contain large deposits of mineral oil (KG Basin).
- The sands of the Kerala coast have a large quantity of Monazite, which is used for nuclear power.
- Fishing and salt production in low-lying areas are other prime activities of the coastal regions.
- Beaches and Backwaters are important tourist destinations.
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