NCERT / CBSE NOTES : Chapter Summary
Our Country - India
India and its Neighbours
India lies in the Northern Hemisphere, in the southern part of Asia. India extends from eight degree four minute North to thirty-seven degree six minute North latitudes and sixty-eight degree seven minute East to ninety-seven degree twenty-five minute East longitudes.
Because of its strategic location, India was an important part of the Silk Road, to trade silk from China to Rome. Due to its vast geographical expanse, India has diverse landforms - from islands to mountains, from deserts to sea-washed shores, and from high plains to uneven plateaus. Because of its diversity in ecological, social and cultural conditions, India is called a subcontinent.
The Indian subcontinent is also called a peninsula. A peninsula is a landmass surrounded by water on three sides. The Bay of Bengal lies on the eastern coast, while on the western side India is bounded by the Arabian Sea. On the south, India is surrounded by the Indian Ocean.
The fourth side, that is, Northern India is bound by the Great Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world.
- China including Tibet,
- Sri Lanka and
India and Sri Lanka are separated by a narrow channel of water, known as the Palk Strait. India, with some of its neighbours, has formed an economic and political organisation called the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Currently the members of SAARC are India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Political and Administrative Divisions
India has 28 states and 7 union territories. The division of these states and union territories is based mainly on the respective languages spoken in these areas.
States are further divided into districts. Each state and union territory has a separate government to take care of its administrative needs.
The northern states of India are:
- Jammu and Kashmir
- Himachal Pradesh
- Uttar Pradesh
Jammu and Kashmir is called the crown of India because the state is shaped like a crown and is located at the head of India. Haryana and Punjab share Chandigarh as a common state capital. This is because Haryana was a part of Punjab till 1966.
The western region of India comprises:
- Gujarat and
Central India comprises the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It was originally the largest state in India in terms of geographical area until in November 2000, Chhattisgarh was carved out of it.
The eastern region of India consists of:
- West Bengal
Orissa is where the historical Kalinga war was fought. This war led Emperor Ashoka to embrace non-violence and the teachings of Buddha?
The north-eastern region of India comprises:
- Arunachal Pradesh
- Mizoram and
The region is also known as the Land of the Seven Sisters.
Sikkim is the only state in the region that is not a part of the Seven Sisters.
South India is famous for its greenery and temples and consists of:
- Andhra Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
Karnataka is best known for its software industry and now biotechnology. Kerala, or God’s Own Country, as it is often called, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Kerala also boasts of a very high literacy rate - almost 100 per cent!
Rajasthan is the largest state in India. Goa is the smallest state in India.
India has 7 union territories:
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- Dadra and Nagar Haveli
- Daman and Diu
Delhi, the capital of India, is the largest metropolis in India. It has its own Legislative Assembly, Lieutenant Governor, Council of Ministers and Chief Minister.
Indira Point, the southernmost point of India, lies in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, it got submerged in water when the Tsunami hit India in December 2004.
Within the Andaman and Nicobar Islands also lies Ritchie’s archipelago, a prominent archipelago of India. An archipelago refers to a group or cluster of islands.
Like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep is also a famous archipelago. It is also called the Coral Paradise of India, because of the presence of some beautiful coral reefs.
Political divisions are man-made territorial boundaries, whereas physical divisions are marked by natural contours. A physical map shows the natural landscape of a country.
India is divided into six natural regions:
- The Great Himalayas
- The northern plains
- The desert region
- The southern plateau
- The coastal plains
- The island region
The great Himalayas owing to the location are said to be guarding our country. The Himalayas include three main parallel ranges: The northern-most range is the Himadri. This range forms the backbone of the Himalayas. It contains nine of the fourteen highest peaks in the world. The middle range is the Himachal, also called the Lower Himalayas. The southern-most is the narrowest range, the Shivalik range.
Plains are flatland areas and are only marginally above sea level. Plains are highly populated owing to the pleasant climate in these areas. The rivers Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra pass through this land and their alluvial deposits make the land fertile.
Towards the south of the northern plains lies the triangular peninsular plateau. The Aravali range stretches across the state of Rajasthan and ends in Delhi and is one of the oldest ranges of the world.
The Deccan plateau is the biggest plateau in India covering most of central and southern India. Most areas in the plateau region are rich in minerals. The Vindhya and the Satpura ranges of mountains lie at the centre of our country, dividing it into Northern and Southern India.
The rivers Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra make alluvial deposits on the northern plains, making them fertile. The Narmada and the Tapi flow westward between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges and drain into the Arabian Sea.
There are two groups of islands that are also a part of India:
- The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and
- The Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.
Lakshadweep Islands are also known as coral islands as they are made of corals, which are skeletons of marine organisms known as polyps. The Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri drain into the Bay of Bengal in the east.
The world’s largest delta is the Sunderban Delta. This delta is formed at the mouth of the rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra when they drain in the Bay of Bengal.