The Peninsular Plateau – Hill Ranges & Significance

Hill Ranges of Peninsular Plateau

  • Most of the Hill Ranges in Peninsular Plateau region are of relict type i.e. Residual Hills.
  • They are the remnant of The Hills formed many million years ago.
  • The plateau of Peninsular region are separated by these hill ranges and various rivers of the valley.

Hill Ranges of Peninsular Plateau, significance of Peninsular plateau

Hill Ranges of Peninsular Plateau in India

1. Aravalli Ranges

    • Aligned North East to south west direction.
    • Runs about 800 km between Delhi and Palampur in Gujarat.
    • One of the oldest old mountain of the world and oldest in India.
    • After its formation in Archean Era, its summits were nourishing glaciers and several summits were probably higher than present day Himalayas.
    • Now they are relict (remnant of hills left after sever weathering and erosional activities since millions of years) of the world oldest mountain formed as a result of folding.
    • They continue upto Haridwar buried under the Alluvium of Ganga plains.
    • The range is conspicuous in Rajasthan (Continuous range south of Ajmer where it rises to 900m) but become less distinct in Haryana and Delhi.
    • According to some geographers, one branch of Aravalli extends to Lakshadweep archipelago through the gulf of Khambhat and other into Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
    • General elevation – 400-600 m with few Hills well above 1000 m.
    • At the Southwest extremities the range rises to over 1000 m. Here Mount Abu (1158 m) a small hilly block is separated from the main range of Hills by valley of the Banas and Gurushikhar (1722 m) the highest peak is situated at Mount Abu.
    • Pipli Ghat, Dewair and Desuri passes allow movement by road and rail.
    • It is known as ‘Jarga’ near Udaipur and Delhi Ridge in Delhi
    • Dilwara Temple, the famous Jain temple is situated at Mt. Abu.

2. Vindhya Range

    • The vindhya range overlooking Narmada valley rise as an escarpment ( a long steep slope at the edge of a plateau or separating areas of land by different heights) flanking the northern edge of the Narmada son trough.
    • It runs more or less parallel to the Narmada valley in the east west direction from Jobat in Gujarat to Sasaram in Bihar for a distance of over 1200 km.
    • General elevation 300 to 650 m.
    • Most of the part of Vindhya Range are composed of horizontally bedded sedimentary rocks of ancient age.
    • The windows are continued eastward as the Barner and Kaimur Hills.
    • The range act as a watershed between the Ganga system and river system of South India.
    • The Chambal, Betwa and Ken rises within 30 km of the Narmada.

3. Satpura Range

    • Satpura range is a series of seven mountain ranges.
    • It runs in east west direction south of vindhyan and in between the Narmada and the Tapi roughly parallel to these rivers.
    • Stretches from a distance of about 900 km.
    • Parts of the Satpura have been folded and upheaved. They are regarded as structural uplift or ‘horst’.
    • The seven mountain ranges of Satpura range are-
        • Maikal Hills
        • Mahadeo Hills or panchmani
        • Kalibhit
        • Asirgah
        • Bija garh
        • Barwani
        • Arwain which extends to Rajpipla hills in eastern Gujarat.
    • Dhupgarh (1350 m) near panchmani or Mahadeo hills is highest peak.
    • Amarkantak is another important river.

Hill Ranges of Peninsular Plateau, Hill ranges found in peninsular plateauHill Ranges of Peninsular Plateau, Hill ranges found in peninsular plateau

4. Western Ghats or the Sahyadris

    • They form the Western edge of Deccan tableland.
    • Run from the Tapi valley (21°N latitude) to a little north of Kanyakumari (11° N latitude) for a distance of 1600 km.
    • They are steep sided, terraced, flat topped Hills presenting stepped topography facing the Arabian Sea coast.
    • This is due to the horizontally bedded Lava, which on weathering have given a characteristic landing stair aspect to the relief of this mountain chain.
    • The Western Ghats abruptly rises as a sheer wall to an average elevation of 1000 m from the Western coastal Plains.
    • But they slope gently on their Eastern flank and hardly appear to be a mountain when viewed from the Deccan tableland.
    • South of the Malabar, the Nilgiri, Annamalai etc. present quite different landscape due to the difference in geological structure.

a. The northern section

        • The northern section of the Ghats from Tapi valley to a little north of Goa, is made up of horizontal sheets of Deccan trap.
        • Average height 1200 m but some peaks are higher.
        • Kalasubhai (1646 m) near Igatpuri, Salher (1567 m) about 90 km north of Nashik, Mahabaleshwar (1438 m) and Harishchandragarh (1424 m) are important peaks.
        • Thal Ghat and Bhor Ghat are important passes which provides passage of road and rail between the Konkan plains in the west and Deccan Plateau in the East.

b. Middle section

        • Runs from 16° N latitude to Nilgiri hills.
        • Made up of granite and genesis.
        • Area covered with dense forest.
        • Western scrap is considerably dissected by headward erosion of West flowing stream.
        • Average height 1200 m but many peaks exceeds 1500 m.
        • Vavul Mala (2339 m), the Kudremukh (1892 m) and Pashpagiri (1714 m) are important peaks.
        • Nilgiri Hills which join Sahyadris near the trijunction of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu rises abruptly over 2000 m.
        • They mark the junction of Western Ghat with Eastern Ghat.
        • Doda beta (2637 m) and Makurti (2554 m) are important peaks of this area.

c. Southern section

        • It is separated from main range by Pal Ghat gap.
        • The high range terminates abruptly on either side of this gap.
        • Palghat gap – it is a rift valley. This gap is used by number of roads and railways lines to connect the plains of Tamilnadu with the coastal plains of Kerala.
        • It is true this gap for that moisture bearing clouds of the Southwest monsoon can penetrate some distance inland bringing rain to Mysore region.
        • South of Palghat gap, there is an intricate system of steep and rugged slopes on both side i.e. Eastern and western side of Ghats.
        • Anai Mudi (2695 m) is the highest peak in the whole of southern India.
        • Three range radiates in different direction from Anai Mudi. These ranges are Annamalai (1800-2000 m) to the north, the Palani (900-1200 m) in the north east and cardamom Hills all the Ealaimalai to the south.

5. Eastern Ghats

    • Eastern Ghats run almost parallel to the east coast of India leading broad plains between their base and coast.
    • It is a chain of highly broken and detached hills starting from Mahanadi in Odisha and to Vaigai in Tamilnadu. They almost disappear between Godavari and Krishna.
    • They neither have structural unity nor physiographical continuity. Therefore, these hill groups are generally treated as independent units.
    • It is only in Northern part between the Mahanadi and Godavari that Eastern Ghats exhibit true mountain character. This part comprises the maliya and the Madugula konda range.
    • Peaks and ridges of Maliya range have general elevation of 900 to 1200 m and Mahendra Giri (1501 m) is tallest of all peaks here.
    • The Madugula Konda range has higher elevation ranging from 1100 m to 1400 m with the some peaks exceeding 1600 m. Jindhagada peak (1600 m) in Araku valley, Arma konda (1680 m), Gali konda (1643 m) and Sinkram Gutta (1620 m) are important peaks.
    • Between Godavari and Krishna River, Eastern Ghat loses their hilly character and are occupied by Gondwana formation.
    • The Eastern Ghat re appears as more or less continuous hill range in Cuddapah and Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh where they are called nallamalai range good general elevation of 600 to 850 m.
    • Southern part of this range is called palkodra range.
    • To the south, The Hills and the plateau attains very low altitude, only Javadi hills and Shevoy Kalrayan hills form two distinct feature of 1000 m elevation.
    • The Biligiri hills attains a height of 1279 m on the border of Karnataka and Tamilnadu.
    • Further south Eastern Ghats merges with Western Ghats.

Difference between Western Ghat and Eastern Ghat



Western Ghats

Eastern Ghats


Stretches from Tapi river to Kanyakumari.

Stretches from Mahanadi valley to Nilgiri Hills in south.


Average width 50 to 80 km

Average width 100 to 200 km


Most of the peninsular rivers have origin in Western Ghat.

No major river originates in Eastern Ghat.


Western Ghats are continuous and can be crossed through passes only.

Eastern Ghats comprise of discontinuity and low Hills.


Average elevation 900 to 1600 m.

Average elevation about 600 m


Highest peak Anna Mudi (2695 m)

Highest peak Jindhagada (1690 m)


Western Ghat receives orographic type of rainfall. Southwest monsoon comes from Arabian sea and causes heavy rainfall.

Eastern Ghat lies almost parallel to the monsoon coming from bay of Bengal and does not cause much rainfall.



Western Ghats are locally named differently such as

o           Sahyadri in Maharashtra

o Nilgiri in Tamilnadu and Karnataka

o    Annamalai Hills and cardamom Hills in Kerala

They are also known as

o       Maliya and Madugula Konda range in Orissa

o  Nallamalai and palkodra range in Andhra Pradesh

o Southward presents as detached hills namely Javadi, Shevoy, Panchaimalai, Sirumalai, Varshunad hills.


Significance of Peninsular Plateau Of India

Rich in mineral resources

      • Peninsular region of India is rich in both metallic and non-metallic minerals.
      • About 98% of Gondwana coal deposits of India are found in peninsular region.
      • Besides, there are large reserves of slate, shale, sandstone, marbles etc. also.
      • Huge deposits of iron, magnesium, copper, bauxite, mica, gold etc.


      • Black soil found in the substantial part of the Peninsula is conducive for the cultivation of cotton, maize, citrus fruits etc.
      • Some Areas are also suitable for cultivation of tea, coffee, ground nuts etc.
      • Some low lying areas are suitable for growing rice.

Forest products

      • The highland of Plateau are covered with different types of forest which provides large variety of forest products.
      • Apart from Teal, Salwood and other forest products, the forest of Western and Eastern Ghats are rich in medicinal plants and our home to many wildlife.


      • Rivers originating in Western Ghats provides opportunity for developing hydroelectricity and providing irrigation facilities for agricultural crops.


      • Hill Ranges of Peninsular Plateau are the major tourist attraction.
      • There are numerous hill station and hill resorts like Ooty, Mahabaleshwar, Khandala, Mount Abu, panchmani, Kodaikanal etc.

That’s it for this post on The Peninsular Plateau – Hill Ranges & Significance.

In the next post (Click here), we would study in detail The Coastal Plains of India.

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