Indo-Gangetic Plain

The Indo-Gangetic Plain, also known as the Indus-Ganga Plain and the North Indian River Plain, is a 630-million-acre (2.5-million km2) fertile plain encompassing Northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, including most of northern and eastern India, the eastern parts of Pakistan, virtually all of Bangladesh and southern plains of Nepal.[1] The region is named after the Indus and the Ganges rivers and encompasses a number of large urban areas. The plain is bound on the north by the Himalayas, which feed its numerous rivers and are the source of the fertile alluvium deposited across the region by the two river systems. The southern edge of the plain is marked by the Chota Nagpur Plateau. On the west rises the Iranian Plateau.

Indo-Gangetic Plain
Indo-Gangetic Plain
India-Pakistan Borderlands at Night
Clusters of yellow lights on the Indo-Gangetic Plain reveal numerous cities large and small in this astronaut photograph of northern India and northern Pakistan, seen from the northwest. The orange line is the India–Pakistan border.


The region is known for the Indus Valley Civilization, which was responsible for the birth of ancient culture of the Indian subcontinent. The flat and fertile terrain has facilitated the repeated rise and expansion of various empires, including the Magadha dynasties, Imperial Kannauj, the Mughal Empire and Maratha Empire – all of which had their demographic and political centers in the Indo-Gangetic plain. During the Vedic and Epic eras of Indian history, this region was referred to as "Aryavarta" (Land of the Aryans). According to Manusmṛti (2.22), 'Aryavarta' is "the tract between the Himalaya and the Vindhya ranges, from the Eastern Sea (Bay of Bengal) to the Western Sea (Arabian Sea)".[2][3] The region is referred to as "Hindustan" (Land of the Indus), deriving from the Persian term for the Indus River. This term was later used to refer to the whole of the Indian subcontinent. The language spoken in this area is called Hindustani, Urdu and Hindi being the two standardized registers. The term "Hindustani" is also used to refer to the people, music, and culture of the region.[4][5]


Indo-Gangetic Plain
A part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain over Northern, Central and Eastern India as well as Bangladesh

Some geographers subdivide the Indo-Gangetic Plain into several parts: the Gujarat, Sindh, Punjab, Doab, Rohilkhand, Awadh, Bihar, Bengal and Assam regions. In India, the plains extend from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab on the west to West Bengal on the east. Parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan lie on the Indus plains whereas the rest of the area falls within the plains of Ganges and Brahmaputra.[6]

By another definition, the Indus-Ganga Plain is divided into two drainage basins by the Delhi Ridge; the western part consists of the Punjab Plain, and the eastern part consists of the Ganga–Brahmaputra drainage systems. This divide is only 350 metres above sea level, causing the perception that the Indus-Ganga Plain appears to be continuous from the Yamuna River in the west to the state of West Bengal and Assam in the east. The Lower Ganges Plains and the Assam Valley are more verdant than the middle Ganga plain. The lower Ganga is centered in West Bengal, from which it flows into Bangladesh. After joining the Jamuna, a distributary of Brahmaputra, both rivers form the Ganges Delta. The Brahmaputra rises in Tibet as the Yarlung Zangbo River and flows through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, before crossing into Bangladesh.

Roughly, the Indo-Gangetic Plain stretches across:

the Jammu Plains in the North;
the Punjab Plains in Eastern Pakistan and Northwestern India;
the Sindh Plains in Southern Pakistan;
the Indus Delta in Southern Pakistan and Western India;
the Ganga-Yamuna Doab;
the Rohilkhand (Katehr) Plains;
the Awadh Plains;
the Purvanchal Plains;
the Bihar Plains;
the North Bengal plains;
the Ganges Delta in India and Bangladesh;
and the Brahmaputra Valley in the East.

The fertile Terai region is spread across Southern Nepal and Northern India along the foothills of the Himalayas. The rivers encompassed are the Beas, the Chambal, the Chenab, the Ganga, the Gomti, the Indus, the Ravi, the Sutlej and the Yamuna. The soil is rich in silt, making the plain one of the most intensely farmed areas of the world. Even rural areas here are densely populated.

The Indus–Ganga plains, also known as the "Great Plains", are large floodplains of the Indus, Ganga and the Brahmaputra river systems. They run parallel to the Himalaya mountains, from Jammu and Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the west to Assam in the east and draining most of Northern and Eastern India. The plains encompass an area of 700,000 km2 (270,000 sq mi) and vary in width through their length by several hundred kilometres. The major rivers of this system are the Ganga and the Indus along with their tributaries; Beas, Yamuna, Gomti, Ravi, Chambal, Sutlej and Chenab.

Extent of the Indo-Gangetic plain across the Indian subcontinent. The great plains are sometimes classified into four divisions:

The Bhabar belt is adjacent to the foothills of the Himalayas and consists of boulders and pebbles which have been carried down by the river streams. As the porosity of this belt is very high, the streams flow underground. The bhabar is generally narrow about 7–15 km wide.
The Terai belt lies next to the Bhabar region and is composed of newer alluvium. The underground streams reappear in this region. The region is excessively moist and thickly forested. It also receives heavy rainfall throughout the year and is populated with a variety of wildlife.
The Bangar belt consists of older alluvium and forms the alluvial terrace of the floodplains. In the Gangetic plains, it has a low upland covered by laterite deposits.
The Khadar belt lies in lowland areas after the Bangar belt. It is made up of fresh newer alluvium which is deposited by the rivers flowing down the plain.

The Indus-Ganga belt is the world's most extensive expanse of uninterrupted alluvium formed by the deposition of silt by the numerous rivers. The plains are flat and mostly treeless, making it conducive for irrigation through canals. The area is also rich in ground water sources.The plains are the world's most intensely farmed areas. The main crops grown are rice and wheat that are grown in rotation. Others include maize, sugarcane and cotton. The Indo-Gangetic plains rank among the world's most densely populated areas with a total population exceeding 400 million.


Until recent history, the open grasslands of the Indus-Ganga Plain were inhabited by several large species of animal. The open plains were home to large numbers of herbivores which included all three of the Asian rhinoceros (Indian rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros, Sumatran rhinoceros). The open grasslands were in many ways similar to the landscape of modern Africa. Gazelle, buffalo, rhinos, elephants, lions, and hippo roamed the grasslands as they do in Africa today. Large herds of Indian elephants, gazelles, antelopes and horses lived alongside several species of wild cattle including the now-extinct aurochs. In the forested areas there were several species of wild pig, deer and muntjac. In the wetter regions close to the Ganga, there would have been large herds of water buffalo grazing on the riverbanks along with extinct species of hippopotamus.

So many large animals would have supported a large population of predators as well. Indian wolves, dholes, striped hyenas, Asiatic cheetahs and Asiatic lions would have hunted large game on the open plains, while Bengal tigers and leopards would stalk prey in the surrounding woods and sloth bears hunt for termites in both of these areas. In the Ganges there were large concentrations of gharial, mugger crocodile and river dolphin controlling fish stocks and the occasional migrating herd crossing the river.


Farming on the Indus-Ganga Plain primarily consists of rice and wheat grown in rotation. Other crops include maize, sugarcane, and cotton.

The main source of rainfall is the southwest monsoon which is normally sufficient for general agriculture. The many rivers flowing out of the Himalayas provide water for major irrigation works.

Due to a rapidly growing population (as well as other factors), this area is considered at high risk for water shortages in the future.

The area constitutes the land between the Brahmaputra River and the Aravalli Range. The Ganga and other rivers such as the Yamuna, the Ghaghara and the Chambal flow through the area.

Administrative divisions

Because it is not fully possible to define the boundaries of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, it is also difficult to give an exact list of which administrative areas are part of the plain.

The areas that are completely or more than half in the plain are:

See also


  1. ^ Taneja, Garima; Pal, Barun Deb; Joshi, Pramod Kumar; Aggarwal, Pramod K.; Tyagi, N. K. (2014). Farmers preferences for climate-smart agriculture: An assessment in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Intl Food Policy Res Inst. p. 2.
  2. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 70.
  3. ^ Michael Cook (2014), Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective, Princeton University Press, p. 68: "Aryavarta ... is defined by Manu as extending from the Himalayas in the north to the Vindhyas of Central India in the south and from the sea in the west to the sea in the east."
  4. ^ "India". CIA – The World Factbook. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  5. ^ "Hindustani Classical Music". Indian Melody. Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  6. ^ Ramaswamy R Iyer, ed. (11 April 2009). Water and the Laws in India. SAGE Publications. pp. 542–. ISBN 978-81-321-0424-7.

Coordinates: 27°15′N 80°30′E / 27.25°N 80.5°E

Babai River

The Babai River (Nepali: बबई नदी) originates in and completely drains Inner Terai Dang Valley of Mid-Western Nepal. Dang is an oval valley between the Mahabharat Range and Siwalik Hills in its eponymous district. Dang was anciently home to indigenous Tharu people and came to be ruled from India by the House of Tulsipur who also counted as one of the Baise Rajya (Nepali: बाइसे राज्य)—a confederation of 22 petty kingdoms in the Karnali (Ghagra) region. About 1760 AD all these kingdoms were annexed by the Shah Dynasty during the unification of Nepal, except Tulsipur lands south of the Siwalik Hills were not taken. Since Dang Valley was somewhat higher, cooler, better-drained and therefore less malarial than most of the country's Inner Terai, it was settled to some extent by Shah and Rana courtiers and other Paharis long before DDT was introduced to control the disease-bearing Anopheles mosquito.

Exiting Dang Valley and its district, the Babai enters Salyan District and flows between sub-ranges of the Siwalik Hills along their west-northwest axis. Sharada Khola drains about half of Salyan's larger Middle Hills region before cutting through the Mahabharat Range and joining the Babai from the right. Salyan was another Baise principality before unification. About 20 kilometres (12 mi) beyond this confluence, the Babai crosses into Bardiya District and enters Bardiya National Park. The river continues another 30 kilometres (19 mi) west-northwest until the enclosing Siwalik hills fall away and the Outer Terai begins. At this point the river crosses Nepal's main east–west Mahendra Highway and exits the national park.

On the Outer Terai the Babai is finally free to gradually bend left toward the main inclination of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The river flows south some 40 kilometres (25 mi) and enters India's Uttar Pradesh state. The Babai continues about 50 kilometres (31 mi) (straight line) south from the border before joining the much larger Ghaghara from the left at about 35 kilometres (22 mi) west-northwest of Bahraich. This confluence is about 10 kilometres (6 mi) upstream of the Sharda (Mahakali) confluence from the right.

In Nepal the catchment of the Babai is bordered by that of the Rapti on the north, east and south; and by the main Ghaghra catchment on the west until their confluence. In India the Rapti takes a more easterly course, joining the Ghagra some 285 kilometres (177 mi) southeast of the Babai's confluence.

In Season 9, Episode 55 of the television series River Monsters, Jeremy Wade visits Bardia National Park to fish the Babai. He hoped to catch a large Goonch catfish but was unsuccessful.


Bhabar (Hindi and Nepali: भाबर, Bhābar) is a region south of the Lower Himalayas and the Shiwalik Hills. It is the alluvial apron of sediments washed down from the Siwaliks along the northern edge of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

Chota Nagpur Plateau

The Chhota Nagpur Plateau is a plateau in eastern India, which covers much of Jharkhand state as well as adjacent parts of Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. The Indo-Gangetic plain lies to the north and east of the plateau, and the basin of the Mahanadi River lies to the south. The total area of the Chota Nagpur Plateau is approximately 65,000 square kilometres (25,000 sq mi).

Climate of Uttar Pradesh

The climate of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) is primarily defined as humid subtropical with dry winter (CWa) type with parts of Western U.P. as semi-arid (BS) type. Alternatively, some authors refer to it as tropical monsoon. Variations do exist in different parts of the large state, however the uniformity of the vast Indo-Gangetic Plain forming bulk of the state gives a predominantly single climatic pattern to the state with minor regional variations.

U.P. has a climate of extremes. With temperatures fluctuating anywhere from 0 °C to 50 °C in several parts of the state and cyclical droughts and floods due to unpredictable rains, the summers are extremely hot, winters cold and

rainy season can be either very wet or very dry.

Geography of Bihar

Bihar is located in the eastern region of India between latitude 24°-20'-10" N ~ 27°-31'-15" N and longitude 83°-19'-50" E ~ 88°-17'-40" E. It is an entirely land–locked state, in a subtropical region of the temperate zone. Bihar lies between the humid West Bengal in the east and the sub humid Uttar Pradesh in the west, which provides it with a transitional position in respect of climate, economy and culture. It is bounded by Nepal in the north and by Jharkhand in the south. Bihar plain is divided into two unequal halves (North Bihar and South Bihar) by the river Ganges which flows through the middle from west to east. Bihar's land has average elevation above sea level of 173 feet.

Geography of India

India lies on the Indian Plate, the northern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, whose continental crust forms the Indian subcontinent. The country is situated north of the equator between 8°04' to 37°06' north latitude and 68°07' to 97°25' east longitude. It is the seventh-largest country in the world, with a total area of 3,287,263 square kilometres (1,269,219 sq mi). India measures 3,214 km (1,997 mi) from north to south and 2,933 km (1,822 mi) from east to west. It has a land frontier of 15,200 km (9,445 mi) and a coastline of 7,516.6 km (4,671 mi).On the south, India projects into and is bounded by the Indian Ocean—in particular, by the Arabian Sea on the west, the Lakshadweep Sea to the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the east, and the Indian Ocean proper to the South . The Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar separate India from Sri Lanka to its immediate southeast, and the Maldives are some 125 kilometres (78 mi) to the south of India's Lakshadweep Islands across the Eight Degree Channel. India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, some 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) southeast of the mainland, share maritime borders with Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia. Kanyakumari at 8°4′41″N and 77°55′230″E is the southernmost tip of the Indian mainland, while the southernmost point in India is Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island. The northernmost point which is under Indian administration is Indira Col, Siachen Glacier. India's territorial waters extend into the sea to a distance of 12 nautical miles (13.8 mi; 22.2 km) from the coast baseline.The northern frontiers of India are defined largely by the Himalayan mountain range, where the country borders China, Bhutan, and Nepal. Its western border with Pakistan lies in the Karakoram range, Punjab Plains, the Thar Desert and the Rann of Kutch salt marshes. In the far northeast, the Chin Hills and Kachin Hills, deeply forested mountainous regions, separate India from Burma. On the east, its border with Bangladesh is largely defined by the Khasi Hills and Mizo Hills, and the watershed region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.The Ganga is the longest river originating in India. The Ganga–Brahmaputra system occupies most of northern, central, and eastern India, while the Deccan Plateau occupies most of southern India. K2, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, is the highest point in India at 8,611 m (28,251 ft) and the world's 2nd highest peak. Climate across India ranges from equatorial in the far south, to alpine and tundra in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. the geographic view of India is pretty expository and vivid in the terms of area, mountains and relief.


Hindustan (pronunciation ) is the Persian name for India, broadly the Indian subcontinent, which later became an endonym.

After the Partition of India, it continues to be used as a historic name for the Republic of India.A secondary meaning of Hindustan is as a geographic term for the Indo-Gangetic Plain in northern India.

Hindustani people

Hindustani people or Hindavi people are an Indo-Aryan panethnicity living in the Hindi belt region of India, which is located in the Indo-Gangetic plain of North India, between the Himalayas and the Vindhyas mountains. The word Hindustani was historically used for such inhabitants on genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds. In modern India, the Persianized Mughal era term Hindustani has slowly fallen out of use, as many North Indian ethnic groups moved closer to regional identities.

Traditionally, the Hindustani identity is primarily linguistic, with Hindustanis being those who have the historical Hindustani language (Hindi/Urdu) or, in a broader sense, a variety of Hindi as their primary language, mainly residing in the present-day Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar. The original Urdu speaking Muhajir people (immigrants) of Pakistan are from the same Hindustani roots.

The Hindustani or Hindavi people seem to be of multiple ethnolinguistic origin rather than a single ethnic group.

Howrah–Gaya–Delhi line

The Howrah–Gaya–Delhi is a railway line connecting Howrah and Delhi cutting across Indo-Gangetic Plain and a comparatively small stretch of the line crossing over the Chota Nagpur Plateau. It covers a distance of 1,449 kilometres (900 mi) across, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. The Grand Chord is a part of this line and as such is referred to by many as Howrah-Delhi line (via Grand Chord).

India-Nepal border

The India–Nepal Border, is an open international border running between India and Nepal. The 1,758 km long border includes the Himalayan territories as well as Indo-Gangetic Plain. The current shape was established after the Sugauly treaty of 1816 between Nepal and British Raj. After the independence of India from British Raj, the current border recognized as the border between Nepal and Republic of India.


Indocentrism is any ethnocentric perspective that regards India to be central or unique relative to other countries and holds that the "host" culture i.e. of India, is superior to others.

Kali Andhi

Kali Andhi (Hindi: काली आँधी, Urdu: کالی آندھی‬‎, literal meaning: Black Storm) are violent dust squalls that occur in the late-spring in the northwestern parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain region of the Indian Subcontinent. They are usually brief, but can block out the sun, drastically reduce visibility and cause property damage and injuries. They are a common precursor to the arrival of the monsoon in the northern plains. It is quite common in southern Punjab, in the Cholistan and Thar deserts in Pakistan and Rajastan in India.

List of rivers of India by discharge

There are 7 major river systems in India, with more than 400 rivers in total. Rivers play an important role in the lives of the Indian people due to their crucial importance in sustenance and their place in Indian religions. The table below lists the rivers of India with their average annual discharge into either the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. Only rivers with discharging into the sea are listed, so no tributaries are listed, some of which can have flow rates much higher than some of the rivers listed in the table.

List of states and union territories of India by population

India is a union of 29 states and 7 union territories. As of 2011, with an estimated population of 1.2 billion, India is the world's second most populous country after the People's Republic of China. India occupies 2.4% of the world's land surface area and is home to 17.5% of the world's population. After the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the eastern and western coastal regions of the Deccan Plateau are the most densely populated regions of India. The Thar Desert in western Rajasthan is one of the most densely populated deserts in the world. The northern and north-eastern states along the Himalayas contain cold arid deserts with fertile valleys.

Loo (wind)

The Loo (Hindi: लू ) is a strong, dusty,gusty, hot and dry summer wind from the west which blows over the western Indo-Gangetic Plain region of North India and Pakistan. It is especially strong in the months of May and June. Due to its very high temperatures (45 °C–50 °C or 115 °F–120 °F), exposure to it often leads to fatal heatstrokes.Since it causes extremely low humidity and high temperatures, the Loo also has a severe drying effect on vegetation leading to widespread browning in the areas affected by it during the months of May and June.

Muslim Dhagi

The Muslim Dhagi are a Muslim community found in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. They were also known as the Julahas.

Ochre Coloured Pottery culture

The Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (OCP) is a 2nd millennium BC Bronze Age culture of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, extending from eastern Punjab to northeastern Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh. It is considered a candidate for association with the early Indo-Aryan or Vedic culture.

The pottery had a red slip but gave off an ochre color on the fingers of archaeologists who excavated it, hence the name. It was sometimes decorated with black painted bands and incised patterns. It is often found in association with copper hoards, which are assemblages of copper weapons and other artifacts such as anthropomorphic figures. OCP culture was rural and agricultural, characterized by cultivation of rice, barley, and legumes, and domestication of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, and dogs. Most sites were small villages in size, but densely distributed. Houses were typically made of wattle-and-daub. Other artifacts include animal and human figurines, and ornaments made of copper and terracotta.At some archaeological sites in the western part of its distribution, the OCP occurs alongside the Late Harappan phase of the Indus Valley Civilization, but in OCP sites farther east, there is no such direct link with the Harappan culture. The OCP marked the last stage of the North Indian Bronze Age and was succeeded by the Iron Age black and red ware culture and the Painted Grey Ware culture.

Parvata Kingdom

Parvatas Kingdom refers to the territory of a tribe known as Parvatas (Mountaineers), mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. Most of the descriptions of Parvata kingdom in the epic refer to a mountainous country in the Himalayas in present-day Nepal. There used to be a nation named Parvata in Nepal until it was unified with Nepal. Tribes belonging to other mountainous regions in the north west, west and the east of the Indo-Gangetic Plain were also known as Parvatas, when used as a collective name. Parvatas took part in the Kurukshetra War. The epic also mentions a sage named Parvata who was a companion of sage Narada.

South Asian ethnic groups

The ethno-linguistic composition of the population of South Asia, that is the nations of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka is highly diverse. The majority of the population fall within two large linguistic groups, Indo-Aryan and Dravidian. Indian society is traditionally divided into castes or clans, not ethnicities, and these categories have had no official status since independence in 1947, except for the scheduled castes and tribes which remain registered for the purpose of affirmative action. In today's India, the population is categorized in terms of the 1,652 mother tongues spoken.

These groups are further subdivided into numerous sub-groups, castes, and tribes. Indo-Aryans form the predominant ethno-linguistic group in Indo-Gangetic Plain (North India, East India, West India, Central India), Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Dravidians form the predominant ethno-linguistic group in southern India and the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka, and a small pocket in Pakistan. Certain Iranian speaking peoples also have a significant presence in South Asia, the large majority of whom are located in Pakistan, with heavy concentrations in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Dardic peoples form a minority among the Indo-Aryans. They are classified as belonging to the Indo-Aryan language group, though sometimes they are also classified as external to the Indo-Aryan branch. They are found in northern Pakistan (Northern Areas and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) and in Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Minority groups not falling within either large group mostly speak languages belonging to the Austroasiatic and Tibeto-Burman language families, and mostly live around Ladakh and Northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. The Andamanese (Sentinel, Onge, Jarawa, Great Andamanese) live on some of the Andaman Islands and speak a language isolate, as do the Kusunda in central Nepal, the Vedda in Sri Lanka, and the Nihali of central India, who number about 5000 people. The people of the Hunza valley in Pakistan are another distinct population. They speak Burushaski, a language isolate.

The traditions of different ethnic groups in South Asia have diverged, influenced by external cultures, especially in the northwestern parts of South Asia and in the border regions and busy ports, where there are greater levels of contact with external cultures. This is particularly true for many ethnic groups in the northeastern parts of South Asia who are ethnically related to peoples of the Far East. The largest ethno-linguistic group in South Asia are the Indo-Aryans, numbering around 1 billion, and the largest sub-group are the native speakers of Hindi languages, numbering more than 470 million.

These groups are based solely on a linguistic basis and not on a genetic basis.

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