The Peninsular Plateau
The Peninsular Plateau is tableland composed of the old crystalline igneous and metamorphic rocks.It was formed due to the breaking and drifting of the Gondwanaland and thus,making it a part of the oldest landmass. This region of the country is surrounded on three sides by water and thus, is a peninsular plateau. The plateau has broad and shallow valleys and rounded hills. Narmada river, which flows into a rift valley, divides the region into two parts namely, the central highlands in its north and the Deccan plateau in its South. However, on the basis of prominent relief features, the Peninsular plateau can be divided into three broad groups.
The Central Highlands
The Central Highlands are bounded to the West by the Aravalli range. Satpura range demarcates its boundary in the South from Deccan Plateau. An Eastern extension of central high lands is formed by Rajmahal hills. The general elevation of the central high lands ranges between 700-1000m above the mean sea level. It slopes towards the North and North-Eastern directions.
The Aravalli Range
It runs North East to South-West for 800 km from Delhi through Rajasthan to Palanpur in Gujarat. These are the relict mountains representing one of the world’s oldest high lands formed as a result of folding process in Archean times. It has a lower elevation between Delhi and Ajmer, where it is characterized by a chain of discontinuous ranges. But it become a continuous range South of Ajmer where it rises to 900 m elevation. The general height of this range varies between 400-1300m. Guru Shikhar (1722 m) is the highest peak of the range, located in Abu hills of Rajasthan. Barr, Piplighat, Dewari, Desuri are some of the passes associated with this range.
East Rajasthan Uplands: It is located East of the Aravalli range in North-West India. The upland covers an area of 23,200 sq km and have a general elevation of 350 m. It constitute the Northern part of Central Highlands.
Madhya Bharat Plateau: It is the Northern of the central highlands. It covers an area of about 22 thousand sq km.
Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand Uplands: It lies to the South of Yamuna river along border region of Utter Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Bundelkhand covers five districts of Utter Pradesh and four districts of Madhya Pradesh. Baghelkhand lies South-East of the Bundelkhand region and is largely made up of limestones and Sandstones. They are represented by rounded Hummocky hills made of granite and sandstone. Streams like Betwa and Ken have carved out uplands rendering them unfit for cultivation.
The Malwa Plateau
The Malwa Plateau largely in Northern Madhya Pradesh, forms a triangular shape and is typical for having two systems of drainage. River like Mahi and Narmada flow through it into the Arabian sea, while rivers like chambal and Betwa flow through it to join Yamuna and ultimately fall into Bay of Bangal.
It is composed of lava flows and is covered with black soils. This Plateau is marked in its North by the badlands or ravines formed by Chambal river by exercising gully erosion.
The Vindhyan Ranges
It runs parallel to the Narmada Rift valley as an escarpment in an East-West direction from Jobat in Gujarat to Sasaram in Bihar for a distance of 1200 km. The general elevation of the ranges in 400-700m. It consists of horizontal beds of sedimentary rocks.
This range acts as a watershed between North flowing rivers of the Ganga system and Peninsular rivers. It continues Eastwards as Bharner hills and Kaimur hills. Panna hills also lie in these ranges. The Great boundary fault separates the Aravalli from Vindhyan range.
The Chhotanagpur Plateau
It lies East of Baghelkhand in the state of Jharkhand covering some parts of Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. Its average elevation is 700m above sea level. It is the storehouse of minerals and a large scale mining of iron, manganese,coal, uranium etc is done in this region. This Plateau is drained by numerous rivers forming a radical drainage pattern. Damodar river valley is well-known for its coal deposits.
In the North-East of this region lies Hazaribagh plateau, while towards East are Parasnath hills and towards South-East is Ranchi Plateau. Rajmahal hills form the North-Eastern edge of the Chhotanagpur plateau and are covered by black soil. The plateau is an example of Pat Land.