Physiographic Division of Great Plains of India

The Great North Indian plains are homogeneous surface with an invisible slope. These are alluvial fertile plains formed by the deposition process of the Himalayan Rivers. Along with the Himalayan Rivers, the Vindhyan Rivers are also having a prominent role in making the land fertile. It deposits a large amount of sediments along the foothills. The sedimentary deposition makes this area fertile and the bread basket of the country and it plays a crucial role in socio-economic-cultural spheres. The Great north Indian plain is divided into following subdivisions on the basis of relief features:

  1. The Bhabar Plains
  2. The Tarai Tract
  3. The Bhangar
  4. The Khadar
  5. Delta Plains

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The Bhabar Plains

The Bhabar plains lie to the south of Shiwalik from Jammu to Assam. The width of bhabar plains is more in the western region than in the eastern region. The bhabar tract consists of gravel and un-assorted sediment deposits. This sediment is deposited by rivers descending from the Himalayas. This region is not suitable for cultivation. The area is characterized by big trees with large roots.

The Tarai tract

The Tarai tract, lies south to the Bhabar tract. It is a marshy tract with malarial climate. The width of Tarai tract is more in the eastern region. This area receives high rainfall and has excessive humidity, thick forest and rich flora and fauna. Nowadays the Tarai tract in Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh has been cleared for cultivation because it is rich in humus and organic matter. It is good for the cultivation of Wheat, rice, maize, sugarcane etc.

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The Bhangar Plains

These are older alluvial plain which represents upland alluvial tract. These areas are well drained and suitable for cultivation. It is formed by the depositional activities in the middle Pleistocene period. This area lies above the flood limits of the rivers. The soil is rich in humus and it gives a high yield. It contains the calcium carbonate nodules called ‘Kankars’ which are impure in nature.

The Khadar Plains

These are new alluvial deposit along the course of the river. It is enriched by fresh deposits of silt every year. The Khadar land silt consists of silt, mud, clay, and sand. The Khadar lands are devoted to the cultivation of sugarcane, rice, wheat, maize and oilseeds.

The Delta plains

The delta plain is considered as the extension of Khadar land. This area is a depositional area in the lower reaches of Ganga River. It comprises of old mud, new mud, and marsh. The uplands of delta region are ‘Chars’ and the marshy areas are ‘Bils’. This area is good for the cultivation of paddy, tea and jute.


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1. The lower Gangetic plain is characterized by humid climate with high temperature throughout the year. Which one among the following pairs of crops is most suitable for this region? (UPSC Civil Service Preliminary Examination 2011)

  1. Paddy and cotton
  2. Wheat and Jute
  3. Paddy and Jute
  4. Wheat and cotton

Answer: C