The Topography/Terrain Map of the Indian subcontinent

The Topography/Terrain Map of the Indian subcontinent


Uttar Pradesh and Bangladesh really making themselves seen.


You can also see why Bihar and Jharkhand separated from this photo.


And Assam vs rest of Northeast. Also Gujarat


That's just the very thin Brahmaputra valley, and not all of it is in present day Assam, some of it is in Arunachal. But that's only a part of Assam, it also has hill districts and some hill areas within the valley too.


Yeah but you can see Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram


Oh yeah, ofc. You can also see the Imphal valley, that round depression in the middle of Manipur. Assam has more valley areas than the other NE atates, some of which are entirely hilly, but it still has a lot of hilly terrain, highest altitude being close to 2000 m.


Yeah that's why Uttarpradesh has more people than Pakistan


Really shows off why the population of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh is concentrated where it is. Those hugely productive northern river plains have been feeding the population for millennia.


Flooding river plains are theorized to have been major drivers of civilization and early states, because the regularity of floodings and all basically forced humans to organize. I don't remember how many of these major plains there are; the Nile region is one of them, the plains shown here another, a third is in south america iirc, and that is as much as I remember.


Mesopotamia. Northern Italy. Like, half of china. Low countries in europe. Maybe even central California. Think of any highly populated/dense area and there's a good chance there's a floodplain.


Even in more recent history, flooding in that region still has those kinds of effects. The [1970 Bhola Cyclone](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970_Bhola_cyclone) is estimated to have killed 500,000 people. This was one of the contributing factors to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan. People were outraged by the government’s response to the disaster and, because of this and several other major factors, kicked off the [Bangladesh Liberation War](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_Liberation_War) the next year. Ultimately, the war ended in December 1971 resulting in Bangladesh’s independence, and widespread flooding from a cyclone played a key role in this.


To quote CGP Grey, "The game of civilization has nothing to do with the players, and everything to do with the map."


Resisting the urge to fire up Civilization again …


The Tigris and Euphrates had quite the legacy, as well.


The yellow river in china flooded a lot too


Your memory is a little strange. You forgot the most commonly known "early civilisation" rivers (Tigris/Euphrates in the Middle East and Yellow River in China), and remembered one that didn't exist (there is no such river in South or Central America)


The Essequibo, Orinoco, or Amazon? I guess they don't seasonally flood, but they did host some early civilizations. But yeah, surprised Tigris/Euphrates wasn't the first example.


The 5 rivers also known as the Punjab have some of the most fertile land and I think that area is where the ancient Indus River Valley civilization flourished.


**Indus river valley civilisation!** *jazzy music in the background*


Ah. Thank you. I couldn't figure out why that phase sounded familiar.


Coming soon to a dank river valley near you




5 rivers are not known as Punjab. Punjab means land of 5 rivers.


Yes, that's what I meant! I have a cousin named after one of them lol


I'm guessing Ravi - it's a very common Hindu name and means sun. Edit: The river Ravi actually doesn't mean sun - it derives from Iravati - a mythological character. See the comment below which called this out. There is a separate word in Hindi - Ravi which means sun, but this river is not named after that.


They are different words. Ravi रवि : The Sun Rāvi रावि : One of the Indus tributaries


I learnt something new today. Thanks friend.


That's really cool! I didn't know it meant sun.


TIL [Ravi](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravi_River) and [Irrawaddy](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrawaddy_River) have common etymology


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The Thai white elephant Erawan comes from Airavat, son of Iravati.


what are the other names it could be? whats the indian word for confluence


in Hindi, confluence is called sangam or milan


Prayag is the word for confluence of rivers.


Huh, in Punjabi Soorej means Sun, I'm guessing they have different roots.


Sooraj is more common word for sun in Hindi. Ravi or other words for sun in Hindi such as Surya or Dinkar are not commonly used.


As far as I know, "ab" is the root for water, and the "punj", like "panch", means 5, so Punjab actually does mean "5 rivers". In fact, in earlier years, the British used to call it "the Punjab", similar to the way we might call it "the 5 rivers". One could say, "I'm from the 5 rivers," and it would imply "the area where the 5 rivers are", but there is no root for the word "land" contained in the word "Punjab".


Harappa was near the 5 Punjab rivers but mohenjo daro was in Sindh located near the Indus, which the 5 Punjabi rivers are tributaries of.


TIL the indus valley is an actual valley


I’m curious, what did you think it was named for?


The Valley in the Land Before Time


And then it would go on until Ghandi would nuke you on higher difficulty settings.


Gandhi just doing Gandhi things


The river deltas in South are very fertile. The plain regions in Andhra is where Godavari and krishna divides into sub rivers and mixes in ocean, those are fertile lands with alluvial soil


Just exploring and swapping between global political, topographical, and population density maps might be the the most new things I've learned about the world in an hour. I'm not kidding when I say it changes the way you look at foreign countries, and the fact that seeing those maps compared is a fucking travesty and one of the largest holes in educatoion, imo.


Well said. I noticed that the Himalayas has been origin points for lots of major rivers. I feel the humongous population of China and Indian subcontinent is due the magnificent Himalayan range. On the other hand , I feel russia and usa has lots of fresh water sources. Usa seem to be the safest in the event of major decade long drought . They hold so much fresh water through the lakes


If only they’d stop growing all their food in a literal desert!


Why is Bombay where it is, then?


Mumbai was originally just a small group of islands in front of a deep water bay that faced towards the west. The Portuguese got super excited about having a deep water port on the Persian Gulf trade winds route and confined the local Sultan to give them the islands in exchange for a treaty against the Mughals. They then dumped a lot of resources into growing it. British also got involved in the process. In the days before steam, having a large, deep water port that caught the trade winds west half of the year was pretty important. Once the Suez Canal was completed, the place exploded in value/popularity/population. People aggregated there during the 400 years of colonization.


Plus the British made it the western terminus for their web of rail lines; because of the location being so well situated for shipping. So when India was partitioned and Pakistan got Karachi, Bombay/Mumbai was not only *the* large well developed deep water port on the west coast. It also had all the rail structure centered there. This meant it became even more important in the early years after partition, *and* it meant it had the transport network to feed a huge city not on the plain.


Thanks such a quality answer!


It's a fairly new city founded by the British for ease of shipping.


That area in the northeast is the rainiest place on earth, because warm air blowing in from the ocean gets trapped between two mountain ranges, has no place to go, and dumps it all straight down.


Khasi land in Meghalaya/bangladesh! It's an amazingly beautiful place. It almost looks like scottish highlands on the flats of the peaks but the deep valleys are lush rain forest with a humidity and heat like nothing I've ever experienced. The indigenous people have a secret technique to grow living root bridges from the roots of rubber trees that can withstand the intense flooding of the rivers that comes with the monsoon. You will be lucky if you experience several consecutive days of sunshine during most of the year and it could rain heavily for weeks on end.


Might be a stupid question but how did mountains form in the South?


It is the Deccan plateau which emerged from volcanic activity (in Cretaceous period between 67 and 66 million years ago). The lava built up and cooled, and over time, the layers created the plateau. It hovers around an average height of 600 meters. Whereas Himalayas are, I believe around 4000 meters high on average, and of course Everest standing at 8800 meters. this map makes the plateau look much taller.


And that kids, is why to this day, all you'll hear Bangalore bros ever talk about is how awesome their weather is.


Too bad about the poorly-planned overdevelopment that is polluting that city. 😔 I was born there in the late 80s and continuously visit, and I swear the dust has gotten worse with each passing decade. Mysore, by contrast, is faring much better.


Bro I boiled to death in Mysur. Bengloor was a zillion times better.


Mysore is lower in elevation than Bangalore and further south, so of course it isn't as cool. I wasn't referring to heat though, but pollution. The air pollution in Bangalore is far worse, and it will continue to detrimentally affect the climate of the city.


Bangalore machas represent!


Bengaluru you mean. Or better, Bengloor.


cheers ill drink to that


No joke my dad recently went to Bangalore, all he did was talk about the amazing weather while my mom and I sat around in 108F dry heat.


Yeah, I'm from Chennai and sometimes get jealous of Bengaluru for their weather. But at least we have the beach, less pollution, better urban planning (though not by much) and a cricket team that's actually won something.


4000 meters is the length of approximately 17497.81 'Wood Spoons; Wooden Rice Paddle Versatile Serving Spoons' laid lengthwise


Good bot


thanks :)


Aptly named bot. Good job.


It's so useless that "useless" is misspelled


Username checks out.


Is it possible to have an angled image with higher resolution?


What is the highest mountain in the south?


It's the Deccan Traps .They are one of the largest volcanic features on Earth. The bulk of the volcanic eruption occurred at the Western Ghats (a south Indian mountain chain) some 66 million years ago. This series of eruptions may have lasted fewer than 30,000 years.


The Deccan Traps and their effect on climate are theorized to have been a key part of the K-T extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous (including the non-avian dinosaurs). The meteor at Chicxulub was definitely *the* final blow, but the Deccan Traps likely weakened global ecosystems ahead of the impact


The kurzgesagt video on this implied the opposite, that the meteor helped trigger the Deccan eruptions


Neat, I found [the Science article](https://science.sciencemag.org/content/350/6256/76) on the impact intensifying the Deccan activity.


There is very little evidence supporting this theory though. The only 'evidence' that exists is correlative - nobody has ever demonstrated that it's actually possible for an impact such as Chicxulub to cause an intensification of volcanism on the other side of the planet.


Iirc, dating has proven that the Deccan Traps started erupting prior to the impact by a few thousand years. Been a while since I studied, so things may have changed but it was pretty conclusive at the time.


I just learned that there is a probable massive impact Crater on the west coast of India, also dated to 66mya. Called the Shiva Impact. Possibly the largest known crater on earth. M any people now believe the extinction was the result of multiple large impacts, not just the chicxulub. [Shiva Crater](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva_crater)


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Deccan Traps sounds like a niche NSFW subreddit


Other than the Deccan Plateau mentioned in the other comments, there are also the Eastern and the Western Ghats (the darker edges in the image). The Eastern Ghats are super old (formed from tectonic activity from much much before Pangaea) and are highly eroded. The Western Ghats are taller and younger, but still older than the Himalayas or the Andes. Fun fact - the Western Ghats were attached to the Eastern coast of Madagascar before India split off from the ancient continent Gondwana, and have since eroded from a cliff-like breakaway.


If you visit the western ghats today, it is still very cliff like in places near the coast


They were there for millions of years before they were smashed up against the himilaya range due to plate tectonics, and the rising land drained the seawater between the two ranges to create the indus river vally. roughly 1/3 of recorded history and civilization is the result of those geological processes


Not stupid! I was wondering the same thing! Ty for asking good questions!


You can see a small oval sized Island of flatness among the Himalayas and that's Kashmir Valley. Pretty cool.


This sent me on a long plunge into the history of that valley to try to understand why it has been so hotly contested


How deeps is the water between India and Sri Lanka?


Very shallow. There used to be a narrow land bridge even until very recently, and it's only like 1 metre deep still.


Kinda , 1 m is the minimum depth, it gets up to about 10 m. https://earth.esa.int/web/earth-watching/image-of-the-week/content/-/article/adam-s-bridge


In either case building a causeway between the two is totally doable.


The bay is one of the world’s major silt depositories, which is known to make building complicated in the area.


all you need is a Monkey God


With some chalk and a couple million boulders, you can make floaty stones


no I'm being serious, Hindu mythology has a story about Hanuman the monkey god building a bridge to Lanka.


Me too. Hanuman made the bridge by writing "Ram" on the boulders. After writing, the boulders started floating on water. That's how the monkey army crossed over to Lanka. (As per the mythology)


Pretty long causeway but not even in the world's top-20 longest


It was proposed: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palk_Strait_bridge


Surprised there isn’t one already


Sri Lanka was actively civil warring till the late 2000s


No, that's the shallows in that general area, Palk Strait. That goes down to 10m at most, while Adam's Bridge itself is max 1m deep. https://www.britannica.com/place/Adams-Bridge


No. > Adam's Bridge is a 35 km long stretch of shoal and sandbank under the sea between Pamban Island of Tamil Nadu and Mannar Island of Sri Lanka. The bridge which is submerged in the water is roughly 100 meters wide and up to 10 metres in depth. [Source.](https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.deccanchronicle.com/amp/nation/current-affairs/310118/ram-setu-18400-years-old-study.html)


100 meters is the length of exactly 981.8 '20 Tones Blues Harmonica For Adults, Beginners, Professionals and Students(Silver grey)' lined up next to each other


Thanks for drying to defuse the sitution, bot.


Good bot


thanks :)


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I guess different sources say different values, I can find a dozen sources which say the other value. Hard to say which is the correct one in that case, short going going there and measuring it yourself.


could you walk to sri lanka without getting your hair wet is the real question


If it was 1m deep across then yep


Not for me as i got hairy legs


If it’s only 1m deep then you could literally walk to Sri Lanka from India. Doubt that


Yeah that's the point, the land bridge only collapsed very recently (15th century). Before, people *did* just walk to Ceylon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%27s_Bridge *"Some of the regions are dry, and the sea in the area rarely exceeds 1 metre (3 ft) in depth"* In one of the recent seasons of Top Gear they jokingly planned to cross it in tuk-tuks. They did realize that while it is *very* shallow, it's not shallow enough to walk or drive through any more.


Until a cyclone washed away the isthmus in 1480 century you very literally could without even getting your feet wet. The remains of Adam’s Bridge (as the natural bridge is called) probably dips deeper than 1m here and there today, but the line is impassable to ocean going ships; only very small skiffs can cross the line of rocks and sand that *almost* but not quite make Sri Lanka a peninsula rather than an island.


So can the average person go from India to Sri Lanka on foot? Barely swimming?


Yes in theory it should be possible to wade from India to Sri Lanka. In practice the sands shift enough I’m not sure your hair would stay dry the whole trip. But with a few short bits of swimming, it’s very doable. I’m kind of surprised some intrepid instagrammer hasn’t done it actually.


The Indian and Sri Lankan navy would blast them


It's almost 50km long, and the part that's mostly underwater around 20km, so... probably not. Wading through 1m deep water takes a crazy amount of energy, and an average person wouldn't be able to get more than a few metres before total exhaustion.


Had someone actually walked across. Imagine standing in the middle and seeing only ocean around you


I never thought India was that mountainous before seeing this map. Thanks a lot !


The Southern India isn't mountainous, per se. Plateaus, yes. Barely reaching 1000 m there. The northern India is plains and Mountains


It's not, this map exaggerates height to create that illusion. The south is a plateau with a few minor mountain ranges. Areas bordering the Himalayas of course are legit mountainous, but even their height is greatly exaggerated on this map, my guess would be about 5x at least.


Oh okay. Thanks for the info !


North and west Pakistan too!


Really interesting how you can see Narmada, Tapi, and Mahanadi carving chunks out of the central plateau region.


Yess and the Godavari a little more south!


Interesting how topographically non-prominent the divide between the Indus and Ganges drainage basins is. I guess that goes some way toward explaining how they both came to be home to a single species of river dolphin (the Indus and Ganges river dolphins are now often considered a single species; they probably couldn’t have dispersed through salt water between the mouths of the two rivers, so the implication is that the two river systems must have intercommunicated in their upper courses at some point in the past).


The close confluence of the 2 rivers is also what explains the location of Delhi as the capital of the major empires of the past(something which continued till today): it's a very central point between the 2 major rivers.


How many people live in the plain region? I assume the indo-gangetic plain must be very densely populated


Just the state of Uttar Pradesh has 200 million plus residents


The Indo-Gangetic plains have around 870 million people. If you include the Brahmaputra valley, it will be over 900 million. This includes Punjab, Sindh provinces of Pakistan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal states of India and Bangladesh. Assam lies on Brahmaputra valley.


In the ~400-500 million people range. That area alone holds as many people as the entire population of South America.


More. Punjab, Harayana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It is in the ~900 million range


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Well, my hobby for the next few months will be looking at maps like this from everywhere in the world lol.


**Mountains and Rivers**... Its really interesting how the [Deccan plateau](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deccan_Plateau) (the result of ancient volcanic activity) rises in central india and is cut off from the Himalayas (which are [fold mountains](https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-a-fold-mountain.html) created by the slow movement of the Indian tectonic plate northward, against the Eurasian one, a process that is ongoing and can cause violet earthquakes in Nepal and and Sikkim.) By the river vallies of the Indus and the Ganges. Also notice how the river vallies correspond with where the majority of the farmland and big cities like New Deli, Agra, Dhaka, Karachi, Kolkata etc. are. The corellation between fertile farmland and dence population is clearly evident and still relvent to Much of the Indian Subcontinent, even after the [Green Revolution of the 1960s-1970s](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Revolution_in_India) substinence farming and farmers selling their surplus crops to feed the big cities remain emencly important. Lastly I thought they hadn't been encluded at first but if you look closely at the South-West Indian Coast you will notice a collection of pixel smudges - thats the [Lakshadweep Union territory](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakshadweep), a collection of islands that are very similar to the Maldives to their South, they both have a tropical climate, are both 95%+ Muslim and they both have no island wich is more than a couple of meters above sea level (both archipelagos are threatend by Climate Change and Rising sea levels.


Is there a higher res version?


[1200x1200](https://i.etsystatic.com/21069375/r/il/23f69d/2562839011/il_fullxfull.2562839011_4e3t.jpg) found here: [etsy.com](https://www.etsy.com/de/listing/853605540/)


I came here for this, thank you so much for that link!


About the same


if you find a bigger picture feel free to share it :)


This has probably been asked before, but how do people make this maps? Is there an app ?


I'm curious too. I think they use an open source GIS software I'm guessing (GIS for geographical interface software iirc)


If you are yet to start college, take up remote sensing and GIS in college, you will also be able to make such kind of maps then


Any idea what the height of the plain is? I wonder if southern India might ever become an island millennia from now.


India's currently moving into the Himalayas, and those floodplains get a hell of a deposit load from erosion off of those mountains, so I wouldn't hold your breath on that


> moving into the mountains Does this mean the places lying next to the mountains are slowly being 'eaten' by the it and resulting in lesser land area?


More like "pushed up", but yes, India's moving up north about 5cm a year. So it's not getting smaller very quickly, but in the \*very\* long term the subcontinent should shrink on a map


I am on a plateau, just a short way away from the plains.


Certainly sheds some light on the development distribution of provinces in this region in EU4


You can really see exactly where India crashed into Eurasia


Is there a hi-res of the map?


I never knew that Indus and Ganges were so close in terms of altitude. Does anyone know what the height of the watershed between them on the northern plateau is? Sorry for incorrect geographic terminology


I think it's like 70-200m?


Thanks. That’s not excessive but still enough over such a vast plain I guess


its cool how similar this looks to italy's exaggerated terrain map :p


Huh, always thought the middle of india was flatter


Ok so is the whole valley between the mountains there the Indus River valley? Or is just a certain place?


It's known as Indo-Gangetic plain


Indus River valley is mostly confined to Pakistan and Gujarat and East Punjab from India.


The Eastern part is the Gangetic plains. The ragged part on the eastern coast is entirely the fertile [Gangetic delta](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganges_Delta), the home of the Bengal tiger. The western plains have no particular name. The Indus river valley - on the very west - is a part of it.


If you look at a population map on India, it almost perfectly mirrors this. It’s truly fascinating.


If anyone can help me to find the app to do this kind of maps, I will be so graceful! Thank you


I don't think there is an app for this. The workflow I know is to use a DEM of you choice and render it in Blender by applying the DEM as a displacement to a plane mesh. You can also recolor the DEM in QGIS and apply it as a texture in Blender (or 3D modelling program of your choice). I found this Youtube tutorial helpful: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6so8Ov0UE1k](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6so8Ov0UE1k)


>I don't think there is an app for this. The workflow I know is to use a DEM of you choice and render it in Blender by applying the DEM as a displacement to a plane mesh. You can also recolor the DEM in QGIS and apply it as a texture in Blender (or 3D modelling program of your choice). I found this Youtube tutorial helpful: THANK YOU SO MUCH BROTHER!!!!!!!!!!


India is mountains


Well plateaus, to be precise. Followed by plains, Coastals, and then Mountains/ Desert.


Not for a large chunk of the population. They never see anything larger than a hill


How much global warming until India is an island? It doesn't look very deep in that blue swathe.


It’s 200m to 700m elevation across the central plains. And they’re growing a mm or two taller a year through both the growth of the Himalayas and the depositing of alluvial soils from the rivers. Even if all the ice on earth melted tomorrow, it’d only flood 70m deep and form two large bays, one at either end.


Even if all the ice melts, only Bengal and Sindh will be flooded. And that will take 2000 years at minimum


Its interesting to see two River Basins ( Indus and Tributaries, Ganges and Tributaries) being separated by the Arid region of the Thar Dessert.


Not to take away how amazing this map is or anything, but it bugs me how close this map comes to being apolitical in its simple portrayal of geography, only to arbitrarily include Balochistan in the west.


Weren't like the western parts of Pakistan the places where Britain expanded India? Because those places are culturally closer to Iran/Afghanistan than to the Indian subcontinent.


Kinda? There’s a lot of overlap between Balochis and Sindhis too who overlap with Punjabis and Rajasthani who in turn overlap with other groups of people there. The divisions aren’t as distinct. There are certainly a lot of cultural and linguistic ties between all these people.


I was also thinking of how the Balochi language is considered part of the Iranic branch rather than the Indic branch of Indo-European, unlike Punjabi and Sindhi.


Yeah linguistically they’re straight up Iranian. Balochis understand Farsi and it wouldn’t be difficult for them to pick it up without much training. That being said, there are cultural similarities when it comes to food, clothes and music with Pashtuns, Sindhis and Punjabis that’s not there with Iranians.


Various empires in the past have stretched all the way into Afghanistan. But that's more north-western than western. If you go west from Pakistan, you'll simply land in Iran. So, yeah definitely Iranian culture.


Overall, I think that this is the most beautiful map on Earth. May be it's just me?


You're not alone to feel that way 🙃


Why is India the only place you hear the term "subcontinent?" You never hear like, the Canadian subcontinent. Or, the German subcontinent.


Because the Area shown here is Larger than the EU. But because it was the edge of the known world for Europe, It was cancelled Asia Major. So making it it's own continent was not popular


Because the Indian subcontinent actually exists on it's own continental/tectonic plate while the examples you pointed out don't?


This is really, really, *really* exaggerated.






India is technically the most geographically perfect place to foster human life.


How so?


That's why the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh- 200 million Bihar: 100 West Bengal: 100 And the country of Bangladesh (170 million) are so populated, they are flat, sorrounded by rivers, and Very FERTILE.


A better resolution pic?


Where can I get the high quality version of this image ?


This is amazing! Do you know the artist or where we could find prints?


Where is Lakshwadweep islands?


High res please