Geography of Tamil Nadu
The Article for written for the topic ‘Geography of Tamil Nadu Tnpsc‘. It is referred from Tamil Nadu Samacheer Kalvi Book. This Article cover the most important points of the physiography of Tamil Nadu and its wildlife.
Tamil Nadu has different traditional and cultural practices. It has exquisite Physiography and climate which makes it unique from other India States.
Tamil land has a variety of flora and fauna that is different plants and animals species, Several exotic hill station, Huge forest, beautiful waterfalls and long beaches and coastline which is the lifeline of millions.
Location and size of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is located in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula. Its location is 8°4’N to 13°35’N latitudes and from 76°18’E to 80°20’E longitudes.
Its eastern boundary is Point Calimere and its western Boundary is Anaimalai Hills. Similarly, its northern boundary is marked by Pulicat lake and its southernmost point is Cape Comorin.
Compared to India, Tamil Nadu has 4% of its total size.
Tamil Nadu neighbouring states and Boundaries
Tamil Nadu has the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Indian Ocean in the South. Her Neighbouring states are Kerala in the West and Andra Pradesh in the North and Karnataka in the Northeast.
Also she has the second longest coastline in India after Gujarat which is 1076 Km.
Since Tamil Nadu is present in the southernmost tip of the Indian Mainland, it shares its border in another country called Sri Lanka.
Administrative divisions of Tamil Nadu
Just after Independence, Tamil Nadu has only 13 districts. The state administrative divisions were reorganised many times. As of now, Tamil Nadu has 35 districts.
The newly formed districts are Kallakurichi, Tenkasi and Chengalpet.
Physiography of Tamil Nadu
Physical features of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is located on the Indian Peninsular plateau will is also called Deccan Plateau. It was part of the ancient Gondwana land which broke away 135 million year ago during the Cretaceous Period.
Tamil Nadu physical features include high eroded mountains, shallow deep valleys and plains. Overall its slopes towards the east.
Tamil Nadu Physiography is divided into West Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Plateaus, Coastal and Inland Plains. Let us see the description of east Physiography.
Eastern, Western Ghats and its Hills of Tamil Nadu
The Western Ghats is present on the Western border of Tamil Nadu alongside Kerala. It extends from Nilgiris in the North to Maruthuvazh Malai at Swamithope in the Kanyakumari district in the South.
Its height ranges from 2000 to 3000 metres and covers an area of about 2500 sq Km. The Western Ghats is a continuous range but it also has some passes.
Passes in GeographyPasses are generally a gap or break in a continuous range of hills, terrains, mountains etc.
The Passes found in the Western Ghats are Palghat, Shencottah, Aralvaimozhi and Achankoil and the Major hills of Western Ghats are Nilgiris, Anaimalai, Palani Hills, Cardamom Hills, Varusanadu, Andipatti and Agasthiyar Hills.
Nilgiri Hills are part of the western ghats which is located in the northwestern part of Tamil Nadu. It consists of 24 peaks of a height of more than 2000 metres.
Its highest peak is Doddabetta with a height of 2637 metres and it is followed by Mukkuruthi peak with a height of 2554 metres.
Nilgiri Hills is famous for a hill station that attracts millions of tourist worldwide. The major hill station located on Nilgiris is Coonoor and Ooty.
Nilgiris is natural wonder, it home to more than 2700 species of flowering plants. Tamil Nadu state animal is Nilgiri Tahr which are found on these hills.
For several years its natural montane grasslands and shrublands are damaged or disturbed by cattle grazing and tea plantations.
Anaimalai or Elephant Mountains is a range of mountain that forms the southern portion of western ghats. It is located on Palghat Gap, the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Important places of Anaimalai are Anaimalai Tiger Reserve, Aliyar Reserved Forest, Valparai Hill station, Kadamparai Hydroelectric Power plant.
Two dams namely Aliyar and Tirumurthy are located in the foothills of this range.
Palani Hills are the eastward extension of the western ghats. These hills are located in the Dindigul district except for its western side.
Its highest peak is Vandaravu which is of the height of 2533 metres and its second-highest peak is Vembadi Shola which is of height of 2505.
Kodaikanal is the famous hill station present in these hills. Its height is 2150 metres and lies in the south-central portion of this range.
The Cardamom Hills is also Yela Malai. It is located in the south western part of Tamil Nadu.
Yela Malai gets its name from the spice named Cardamom which is commonly grown here, Also Pepper and Coffee are cultivated here.
Cardamom hills meet the Anaimalai Hills in the northwest, the Palani Hills in the northeast and Varusanadu and Andipatti hills in the southeast.
Varusanadu and Andipatti Hills
Varusanadu and Andipatti Hills are the other eastward extensions of Western Ghats. Megamalai (highway mountain), Kalugumalai, Kurangani Hill station and Suruli and Kumbakarai waterfalls are found on these hills.
Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the southern slope of these hills in Virudhunagar district.
Vaigai River and its tributaries originate from this region.
The most part of Pothigai Hills lies in Tirunelveli district, with its southern slope lies in the Kanyakumari district. Pothigai Hills called by different names such as Shiva Jothi Parvath, Agasthiyar Hills, and Southern Kailash.
Pothigai area is known for its evergreen forest, ancient temples and waterfalls. Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve is located in this region.
Mahendragiri Hills are a continuous range, which is situated along the border of the Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts. Mahendragiri Hills are part of the southern range of the Western Ghats and its average height is 1645 metres.
ISRO Propulsion complex is a test facility for the ISRO to launch space vehicles that are situated on the lower slopes of this mountain.
The Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats are discontinuous and irregular. It is dissected at many places by river and these rivers drains into the Bay of Bengal.
The height of these ranges are 1,100 to 1,600 metres. These hills separate the plains from plateaus.
The major hills of the Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu are Javadhu, Servarayan, Kalrayan, Kollimalai and Pachaimalai. These are located in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu.
Javadhu Hill are an extension of the eastern ghats which are spread over the parts of Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts. These hills separates these two districts as well.
The average height of these peaks ranges from 1100-1150 metres. Its heighest peak is Melpattu. The Vainu Bappu Observatory (VBO) Kavalur is located on these hills. This observatory have started its observations in 1967.
Bluish-Grey Granites are covered many parts of this range. These hills are covered with fruit bearing trees, Medicinal herbs and Sandalwoods.
The illegal logging of Tree such as Sandalwood is a major concern here.
It got its name from ancient tribes called Karalar. It is one of the major ranges of eastern ghats in Tamil Nadu. This range along with Pachaimalai, Aralvaimalai, Javadhu and Servarayan hills, separates the river basins of Cauvery and Palar.
The height of these Hills ranges from 600 to 1220 metres. Kalvarayan Hill has two sections. They are Chinna Kalvarayan in the northern section and the Periya Kalvarayan in the southern section.
The average height of Chinna Kalvarayan is 825 metres and the Periya Kalvarayan is 1,220 metres.
It is located near Salem City and its height ranges from 1200 to 1620 metres. It gets its name from a local deity known as Servarayan. The highest peak Solaikaradu in the southern part of Eastern Ghats is located in this range.
Its height is 1620 metres. The hill station named Yercaud is located on this range. Yercaud is also known as Poor man Ooty. Servarayan temple is its highest point (1623 metres).
Kolli hills is a small mountain range located in the Namakkal district. It covers an area of about 2800 sq.km. Its average height is up to 1300 metres.
This mountain range runs almost parallel to the east coast of South India. Important Pilgrim Centre in this range is Arpaleeswarar temple.
Kolli Hills has the largest cover of evergreen or shola forest compared to other parts of the eastern ghats. On the commercial side many coffee plantations, fruits, flowers and silver Oak estates are found in this region.
Pachaimalai is the lowest hill range and is spread over the Perambalur, Tiruchirapalli and Salem districts. In the Tamil language, Pachai means Green colour.
The vegetative cover of this region is green than other vegetative covers of this region and hence it is named ‘Pachai Malai‘. Jackfruit is a popular seasonal agricultural product of these hills.
Plateau of Tamil Nadu
Plateaus of Tamil Nadu are located between the Western and Eastern Ghats. It is roughly triangular in shape and covers an area of about 60000 sq.km.
It height increases from east to west and its height ranges between 150 to 600 metres. This plateau is broader in the north and very narrow in the south. It has many subdivisions.
List of plateaus in Tamil Nadu
Bharamahal plateau is a part of the Mysore plateau and is situated in the northwestern part of Tamil Nadu. Its height ranges from 350 to 710 metres. Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts are located in this region.
It lies between Nilgiris and Dharmapuri District and its height ranges from 150 to 450 metres. Salem, Coimbatore and Erode districts are located in this region. This area spans about 2560 sq. km.
Moyar River separates this plateau from the Mysore plateau. Rivers like Bhavani, Noyyal and Amaravathi, which originate from the Western Ghats, from valleys in this region.
Its height varies from 353 to 710 metres. Many intermontane plateaus are found in the region of the Nilgiris.
This plateau found in the Madurai district extends up to the foothills of the western ghats. Vaigai and Thamirabarani basin are located in this zone.
The plains in Tamil nadu is divided into two they are inland plains and coastal plains. Inland plains are are drained by Palar, Ponnaiyar, Cauvery and Thamirabarani.
Cauvery plains are the most fertile plains of the state. The plains of Cauvery is found in Salem, Erode, Karur, Tiruchirapalli, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts.
The coastal plains of Tamil Nadu are also called Coromandel or Cholamandalam plain. It extends from Chennai to Kanyakumari.
These coastal plains are formed by rivers that flows towards east and drains in the Bay of Bengal and in some places it is more than 80 km wide.
Tamil Nadu coastal plains are emerging coast, still some parts are submerged into the sea.
The sand dunes formed along the coast of Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi districts are called Teri. Coral rocks are found at the head of the Gulf of Mannar in the eastern coastal plain.
The Coromandel coast along the Bay of Bengal consists of beautiful and exotic beaches. The golden sands of Tamil Nadu beaches are scattered with palm and casuarinas groves. Marina and Elliot beaches of Chennai, Kovalam and Silver beaches of Kanyakumari are some of the famous beaches in Tamil Nadu.
The total forest cover of Tamil Nadu is lower than the National Forest Policy, 1988 that say a minimum of one-third of total geographical area should be under the forest cover.
Tamil Nadu forest cover is 2.99 and its types vary from wet evergreen to scrub forest.
The Western Ghats, the longest hill range in the state is one of the 25 global hotspots of biodiversity and one of the three mega centres of endemism in India.
This article we have discussed the Geography of Tamil Nadu, including its physiography, hill, plateau, plains, beaches and Natural vegetation of Tamil Nadu.