The Great Plains of India (also known as the Indo-Gangetic plains) is a large geographical area encompassing the fertile plains that lie between the Indus river and the Ganga river.
Featuring one of the most fertile landmasses on the Indian territory, these plains are suitable for farming, cultivation, crop production, and other agricultural activities.
This article in particular will speak about the Physiographic Divisions of the Great Plains of India which will be useful in the Geography segment of the IAS Exam.
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Overview of the Great North Indian Plains
The Great North Indian plains are a 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 number of sediments along the foothills. The sedimentary deposition makes this area fertile and the breadbasket of the country and it plays a crucial role in socio-economic-cultural spheres. The Great North Indian plain is divided into following subdivisions based on relief features:
- The Bhabar Plains
- The Tarai Tract
- The Bhangar
- The Khadar
- Delta Plains
What does the Physiographic Division of Great Plains of India consist of?
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 of the Bhabar tract. It is a marshy tract with a malarial climate. The width of the 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.
The Bhangar Plains
These are older alluvial plains which represent upland alluvial tracts. 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 deposits 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 depositional in the lower reaches of Ganga River. It comprises old mud, new mud, and marsh. The uplands of the delta region are ‘Chars’ and the marshy areas are ‘Bills’. This area is good for the cultivation of paddy, tea and jute.
Physiographic Division of Great Plains- Download PDF Here
Fauna of the Great Plains of India
Until the beginning of the 20th century, the Great Plains of India were home to several large species of animals, including all three of the Asian Rhinoceros: The Indian Rhinoceros Javan rhinoceros and Sumatran rhinoceros. Today only the Indian ariant exists while the Javan variant has gone completely extinct and the Sumatran variety is only found in Indonesia in limited numbers.
Regardless it is still home to a large selection of animals such as:
- Indian Elephants
- Nilgai (Asian Antelope)
- Wild pg
- Indian Water Buffalo
- The Gaur
- Bengal Tiger
- Asiatic Lion
- River dolphins
- Indian Wolves
- Striped hyenas
- Indian Leopard
PREVIOUS YEAR UPSC QUESTION
1. The lower Gangetic plain is characterized by a 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)
- Paddy and cotton
- Wheat and Jute
- Paddy and Jute
- Wheat and cotton