The geography of India is extremely diverse, with landscapes ranging from snow-capped mountain ranges to deserts, plains, hills and plateaus. In the southern part of Peninsular India, there is a diverse area named the Deccan Plateau. Read more about the Deccan Plateau here.
A plateau is a landform that is flat, tall, and significantly rises above its surroundings on at least one side.
Typically, plateaus are created when magma from a deep part of the earth rises up towards the surface but is unable to penetrate the crust.
Because of this, the magma ultimately lifts a huge, impermeable rock above it. The formation of these plateaus took millions of years.
What is Deccan Plateau?
The Deccan Plateau is a large plateau in western and southern India. It covers an area of 500,000 square kilometres and extends over eight Indian states.
The word “Deccan” comes from the Sanskrit word Dakshina, meaning “south”.
The Deccan Plateau lies between the Western and Eastern Ghats and is informally described as the peninsular territory south of the Narmada River between these mountains.
It is volcanic in origin, made up of horizontal layers of solidified lava forming a trap structure with a step-like appearance.
The sedimentary layers are also found in between the layers of solidified lava, making it inter–trapping in structure.
Features of the Deccan Plateau:
The Deccan Plateau: Geography
- The Deccan Plateau is a large, flat expanse of land. It covers an area of over 500,000 square kilometres (200,000 square miles). It rises to 1000 m in the south but dips to 500 m in the north.
- The Deccan Plateau is triangular in shape and is bounded by the Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges to the north, the Western Ghats to the west, and the Bay of Bengal to the east.
- The average elevation of the plateau is 600 metres above sea level. The highest point is Doddabetta Peak in Tamil Nadu, which rises to 2637 metres.
The Deccan Plateau: Rivers
- Its general slope is from west to east which is indicated by the flow of its major rivers. Rivers have further subdivided this plateau into a number of smaller plateaus. The majority of the rivers on the Deccan plateau flow south.
- The Godavari River, which flows southeast, the Krishna River, which splits the peninsula into two parts, and the Pennai Aaru River, which flows north, all drain the plateau.
- The Godavari River and its tributaries, notably the Indravati River, drain much of the northern half of the plateau, beginning in the Western Ghats and going east to the Bay of Bengal.
- The Tungabhadra River, Krishna River, and its tributaries, notably the Bhima River, drain the majority of the central plateau.
- The Kaveri River rises in Karnataka’s Western Ghats and bends south to break through the Nilgiri Hills at the island town of Shivanasamudra.
- Then flows into Tamil Nadu at Hogenakkal Falls before flowing into the Stanley Reservoir and the Mettur Dam that created the reservoir, and finally emptying into the Bay of Bengal, which drains the southernmost part of the plateau.
- Moist deciduous, dry deciduous, and tropical thorn woods cover the plateau.
The Deccan Plateau: Climate
- The Deccan Plateau has a tropical climate. The summers are hot and dry, while the winters are milder and drier. The plateau experiences very little rainfall, averaging only about 600 millimetres (24 inches) per year.
- The climate of the Deccan Plateau varies from tropical in the lower regions to temperate in the higher regions. The rainfall also varies from region to region, depending on the monsoon winds.
- The driest areas include Rayalaseema and Vidarbha. Rain falls from June through October during the monsoon season.
- The months of March through June may be extremely dry and hot, with temperatures often topping 35 degrees Celsius.
- The climate on the plateau is drier than on the beaches, and it can be dry in some areas.
- Although the term Deccan is frequently used to refer to all of India south of the Narmada River, it refers to a region in the northern half of the peninsula with rich volcanic soils and lava-covered plateaus between the Narmada and Krishna rivers.
The Deccan Plateau: Population
- The Deccan Plateau has a population of over 200 million people. The majority of the population is Hindu, with sizable minority populations of Muslims and Christians. Telugu is the most widely spoken language on the plateau, followed by Marathi and Kannada.
- The Deccan Plateau is home to a large number of Indian tribes and languages.
- The major tribes are the Gonds, Bhils, Kols, Santhals, and Munda.
- Bhil and Gond people reside in the hills of the plateau’s northern and northeastern boundaries, speaking languages from both the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian families.
- The plateau’s huge expanses of residual forest are still home to a variety of grazing species, including the four-horned antelope chinkara and blackbuck, as well as the gaur and wild water buffalo.
- The plateau is home to a variety of animal species, including the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Asiatic elephant, and sloth bear.
The Deccan Plateau: Economy
- The Deccan Plateau is home to many industries, including mining, steel production, textiles, and chemicals. Agriculture is also an important part of the economy, with crops such as cereals, oilseeds and pulses (legumes) being grown on the plateau.
- The Deccan Plateau is rich in mineral resources. Coal, iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, copper, limestone, and chromite are found in abundance here.
- Agriculture is the main occupation of the people living on the plateau.
- Cotton textiles, sugar, foodstuffs, tobacco, paper, machine tools, and medicines are produced at industries located in Hyderabad, Warangal, and Kurnool.
- Forest-based cottage businesses (timber, firewood, charcoal, bamboo goods) and mineral-based cottage industries (asbestos, coal, chromite, iron ore, mica, and kyanite).
- Livestock rearing is also an important economic activity.
The Deccan Plateau: Tourism
- The Deccan Plateau has a rich cultural heritage.
- The Deccan Plateau is home to several historical sites, including the Ajanta and Ellora caves, as well as the temples at Hampi.
- The city of Hyderabad is also a popular tourist destination, with its Charminar monument and Hussain Sagar Lake.
Ecological structure of the Deccan Plateau:
The general meaning of geologic structure is the study of the distribution and types of rock on the surface and inside the surface. Geogolicaly structurally, the Deccan plateau can be divided into the following parts.
Archaean Rock (4.5 Billion to 2.5 Billion years)
- Archaean rocks are first formed on the earth and it is the oldest rock and has no sign of fossil.
- Archean rocks are found in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.
Dharwar Rocks (2.5 Billion to 1.8 Billion years)
- It is the earliest sedimentary rock.
- It is mainly found in Karnataka in the Deccan plateau.
- The presence of Dharwar rocks is also present in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Aravali, and Meghalaya.
Cuddapha Rocks (1.8 Billion to 540 million years)
It is mainly found in the Nallamalai hills of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Gondwana Rocks (400 Million to 200 Million years)
- About 98 % of Indian rocks are found in Gondwana rocks.
- It spreads in the Mahanadi and Godawari regions of the Deccan plateau.
- It is also found in Chhotanagpur and Meghalaya plateau.
Deccan Trap (80 to 66 Million years)
- It is a basaltic volcanic origin.
- It spreads in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana.
- Read more about the Deccan trap here.
Significance of Deccan Plateau:
- Minerals and precious stones abound on the Deccan level.
- Numerous marsh kings, especially those of the Mauryan (fourth second century BCE) and Gupta (fourth sixth century CE), fought for the level’s mineral wealth.
- Coal, iron metal, asbestos, chromite, mica, and kyanite are among the significant minerals identified here.
- Low precipitation made agriculture difficult until the water system was introduced. At the moment, the zone under development is quite low, ranging from 60% in Maharashtra to roughly 10% in the Western Ghats.
- Rice is the most important crop in high-precipitation areas, whereas sorghum is the most important crop in low-precipitation areas.
- Cotton, tobacco, oilseeds, and sugar sticks are examples of massive crops.
- Espresso, tea, coconuts, areca, pepper, elastic, cashew nuts, custard, and cardamom are all widely grown on ranches in the Nilgiri Hills and the Western Ghats.
Article written by: Aseem Muhammed