Coastal Plains and Islands of India

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Prominent coastal plains and islands encompass the Peninsular Plateau from both sides. And this enclosure furnishes India with incredible geography and physiography.

To comprehend the relevance of coastal plains and islands, this article describes their general and specific features in profound detail. The article incorporates significant knowledge on the coastal plains and islands of India which is must for competitive exams like UPSC, IAS, RRB etc.

Coastal Plains and Islands of India

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Coastal Plains and Islands of India

India is surrounded by two coastal plains. In fact, the coastlines were a result of the faulting in Gondwanaland some million years ago. Today, the total coastline of India runs around 75616.6 km. This coastline engenders diverse services for its  people and others: In other words, the coastline is a famous fortrade, agriculture, tourism, industrial manufacturing, fishing, salt-making, etc.

An in-depth elucidation of their various attributes is as follows:

Eastern Coastal Plains of India

  • The eastern coastal plains feature a wide territorial expansion between the eastern ghats and the aquatic boundaries of India.
  • Next, these plains are around 100-130 km wide.
  • These plains experience drainage water through rivers like Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri.
  • The mainland of the plains stretches along with the states of West Bengal in the east and Tamil Nadu in the south.
  • In addition to mainland and drainage systems, the eastern coastal plains comprise lakes, lagoons, sand dunes, beaches, and significant deltas (such as the Sunderbans Delta).
  • Some of the key lagoons surfacing these plains are Chilika, Koleru, and Pulikat.
  • Further to the above, the plains can be classified into six major regions namely:

a. The Mahanadi Delta
b. The Southern Andhra Pradesh Plain
c. The Godavari-Krishna Deltas
d. The Kanyakumari Coast
e. The Coromandel Coast between Krishna and Kavery rivers

  • The plains feature fertile lands suitable for the cultivation of rice crops.
  • However, the plains do not have good natural harbour ports due to the extension of the continent shelf.
  • In fact, the continental shelf has extended around 500 km below the sea level, thus making the plains unsuitable for natural harbour ports.
  • Nonetheless, these plains areas have an artificial harbour port namely, the Chennai port.

The Western Coastal Plain of India

  • The Western coastal plains stretch across the Run of Kachchh in the west to Kanyakumari in the south.
  • These plains were formed as a result of faulting on the west coastline.
  • In fact, this faulting led to the submergence of some coasts within this region.
  • Karnataka coast and Konkan ports are the two primary ports that got submerged.
  • The city of Dwarka, which was once located on these coastal plains got submerged thousands of years ago.
  • Next, because of submergence, the western coastal plains constitute popular ports and harbour such as:

a. Kandla
b. Cochin
c. Mangalore
d. JLN port Nhava Sheva
e. Marmagao
f. Mazagaon

  • These plains are much narrower and shallower as compared to the Eastern coastal plains.
  • Furthermore, these plains comprise some small coasts such as:

a. Karnataka coast (running from Goa to Mangalore)
b. Kahatiwar coast (in the parts of Gujarat)
c. Malabar coast (running from Mangalore to Kanyakumari)
d. Konkan coast (running from Daman to Goa)

  • Besides the above, Narmada, Tapi, Zuari and Mandovi are the rivers which cross the western coastal plains and blend with the Arabian sea.
  • Overall, these plains feature as a remarkable hotspot and a tourist destination.
  • It’s fresh backwaters attract visitors from different parts of the globe.
  • For example, the annual boat race in Punnamada Kayal’s backwaters, Kerala is a fine source of entertainment for all.

Islands of India

India is an abundant home for islands. In fact, there are nearly 1200 islands in India. Most of these islands are composed of tertiary sandstones and granite rocks.

However, this article elucidates the two prominent groups of islands. It also outlines the other minor islands of India. The depiction of these islands is mentioned below:

1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India

  • Roughly situated about 6 degrees N- 14 degrees N and 92 degrees E- 94 degrees E.
  • Constituting around 572 small islands, the Andaman and Nicobar islands is a major island group in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Labyrinth island and Ritchie’s Archipelago are the two key groups of islets.
  • The islands consist of hard rocks and volcanic rocks and feature as an extension of the Arkan Yoma mountains in Myanmar.
  • Port Blair is the official capital of these islands, located in the south Andaman islands
  • Additionally, this entire group is categorized into Andaman in the north and Nicobar in the south.
  • A barren island, India’s only volcano island is situated in these islands.
  • A water-body named ten-degree channel separates these two islands.
  • As per belief, these islands feature as an elevated portion of mountains that got submerged millions of years ago.
  • More to this, the Andaman islands can be further divided into four island collections namely:

a. North Andaman
b. Middle Andaman
c. South Andaman
d. Little Andaman

  • Indira Point is the southernmost point of these islands and is located in the south Nicobar.
  • In fact, Indira Point also features as the endpoint of Indian territory.
  • Saddle Peak in the north Andaman is the highest peak (737 m) of these islands.
  • Altogether, a wonderful tourist spot, the island contains beautiful beaches and rich biodiversity.
  • The islands constitute an equatorial type of vegetation.

2. Lakshadweep Islands of India

  • Located in the Arabian sea (8 degrees- 12 degrees N and 71 degrees- 74 degrees E) Lakshadweep in a group of 35 islands and islets.
  • Scattered around the land of 32 square km, these islands lie 200-300 km off the coast of Kerala.
  • Composed of coral origin, these islands comprise:

a. 3 reefs
b. 5 submerged banks

  • Minicoy features as the largest island in the Lakshadweep group, with a mainland area of 4.5 km.
  • The eleventh-degree channel divides the Lakshadweep islands.
  • Amini Island and Cannanore island surround this eleventh-degree channel from the north and south directions respectively.
  • Comprises unconsolidated pebbles, cobbles, shingles, and bounders on its eastern shores.
  • Riverine is located both of the eastern and western coasts of the islands.
  • Contain tropical rain forests and granite rocks.
  • Low surfaced islands with an elevation of 5 m above sea level.
  • Kavaratti is the official capital of the islands.

Other Minor Islands of India

Apart from Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands, India also constitutes other minor islands within its seascape. Some of these islands are:

  • Diu Daman(Located in the Arabian Sea and featured as a famous Portuguese enclave)
  • Sagar Island (Located in the bay of Bengal and near Sundarbans Delta)
  • Srirangam Island (Located in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, near Kaveri river)
  • Elephanta (Located in Mumbai)
  • Salsette Island (located in Mumbai and is the most populous island)
  • Marine National Park (home of 52 small islands in the Arabian Sea)


Altogether, the coastal plains and Islands of India are the essentially predominant bodies in the Indian geography. These coastal bodies are multi-purpose terrestrial and aquatic lands that habit people, diverse vegetation, and a marvelous flora and fauna.

Indeed, the coastal plains and islands of India add to the rich and enlightening cultural heritage of India. In short, their unique presence impacts the country’s physiographic position in the world. This subsequently turns India into an active tourist hotspot for people spending their lovely and memorable moments in these islands.

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