3. The Peninsular Plateau:
This is the oldest landmass in India. It forms an irregular triangle which is surrounded by hills on all sides. Its base lies between the Delhi ridge and the Rajmahal hills with its apex near Kanyakumari. To the north and north – west of this plateau lie the Aravali, the Satpura, the Vindhya ranges and the Rajmahal hills. It is flanked by the Eastern and Western Ghats. The trough formed by the Narmada and Tapi divides this plateau into two parts.
- The Malwa plateau:
The triangular portion or landmass lying to the north – west of the Narmada and Tapi rivers is known as the Malwa plateau. This area slopes towards the north – east due to which the Chambal and the Betwa rivers join the Yamuna.
- The Deccan plateau:
This is another triangular plateau lying to the south of the river Tapi. Its boundary is marked by the Aravali, the Satpura and the Vindhya ranges in the west and north – west. Its eastern and western border is marked by the Eastern and Western Ghats respectively. The plateau has an area of about 0.2 million sq.km (square kilometres). It slopes towards the east and north – east which is why most of the rivers which flow through this plateau flow towards the east with the exception of the Narmada and the Tapi which flow towards the west.
The Western Ghats:
This range extends from the river Tapi in the north to the Kanyakumari in the south and forms the western boundary of the plateau. Its length is about 1,600 kilometres and it has an average width varying from 50 kilometres in the north to 80 kilometres in the south. This range has an altitude of 1000 metres above sea – level. It forms a wall which can only be crossed through gaps.
The Eastern Ghats:
The Eastern Ghats run along the eastern edge of the plateau parallel to the eastern coast. It extends from Orissa in the north to the Nilgiri hills in the south. It has an average width of 200 kilometres in the north which comes down to about 100 kilometres in the south. It has an average elevation of 600 metres above sea – level.
Significance of the Peninsular Plateau:
The peninsular plateau is the oldest and most stable landmass in the Indian sub – continent. It has rich deposits of iron, manganese, copper, gold etc. 98% of the Gondwana coal deposits are found in the peninsular plateau. It is suitable for agriculture too. It is covered by fertile black soil in the north – west which is suitable for growing cotton. Tea, Coffee, rice, millets and spices are grown or cultivated in this region.