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The Northern Plain


The Northern Plain was formed by the deposits brought in by the three major rivers and their tributaries.

(i) The Indus

(ii) The Ganga

(iii) The Brahmaputra

Alluvium was deposited at the foot–hills of the Himalayas for millions of years. These deposits are now the fertile Northern Plains.

Alluvium is soil or sediments deposited by a river or other running water. Alluvium is typically made up of a variety of materials, like fine particles of silt and clay and larger particles of sand and gravel. The Indo-Gangetic belt is the world's most extensive expanse of uninterrupted alluvium. The plains are flat and mostly treeless, making it conducive for irrigation through canals. The area is also rich in ground water sources.

Let us learn about the Northern Plain in detail.

The Plains are roughly 7 lakh sq. km. in size. It is 2400 Km long and 240 to 320 Km broad.

Crops Grown
Crops grown here are primarily rice and wheat . These crops are grown in rotation.

Reverine Islands
The numerous tributaries of the Rivers that flow through the Plains form Reverine Islands

Divisions of the Northern Plains

(1) The Punjab Plains

(2) The Ganga Plains

(3) The Brahmaputra Plains

(1) The Punjab Plains

The Punjab plains are formed by the River Indus and its tributaries. A major part of the Punjab plain lies in Pakistan. The main tributaries of the Indus River are, the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj. These tributaries start from the Himalayas.


 The Indus River

(2) The Ganga Plains

The Ganga plain lies between the Ghaggar and Teesta rivers. It extends over the states of Haryana, Delhi, U.P., Bihar, and part of Jharkhand and West Bengal .The Ganges and its tributaries feed the Ganges Plains.

The Ganges is a major river in the Indian subcontinent . It flows east through the plains of northern India into Bangladesh. The 2,510 km long river begins at the Gangotri Glacier in the State of Uttarakhand in the central Himalayas and drains into the Bay of Bengal through its vast delta in the Sunderbans. It is held sacred by the Hindus and is worshipped in its personified form as the goddess Ganga.

Some of the most important Hindu festivals and religious congregations are celebrated on the banks of the river Ganga. Some of the main festivals are the Kumbh Mela and the Chhat Puja. Varanasi is a holy city situated on the banks of the Ganges.


(3) The Brahmaputra Plains

The Brahmaputra River


The Brahmaputra Plains are fed by the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries.

Physical features of the Northern Plains

The plains mostly comprise of flat land. There are 4 distinct relief features.


(i) Bhabar: The bhabar is a pebble covered belt. It is 8 to 16 km. in width. It lies parallel the Shiwalik slopes. All the streams disappear into this belt.

(ii) Terai: South of the Bhabar belt lies the Terai belt. This belt was originally covered with thick forests. These forests were cut to enable; cultivation.

(iii) Bhangar: The Bhangar is the largest part of the plains. It is covered with rich alluvial soil. The Bhangar presents a terrace like feature.

(iv) Khadar: The Khadar belt is made up of newer deposits from the rivers. The soil is renewed often due to the flow of the rivers. This belt is ideal for agriculture.

The Northern Plains are one of the world's most intensely farmed areas. Crops grown on the Indo-Gangetic Plain are primarily rice and wheat. Other crops include maize, sugarcane and cotton. The Northern Plains are also known as the Great Plains or the Indo-Gangetic plains. They rank among the world's most densely populated areas.

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