The geography of India describes the geographic features of India, a country in South Asia.India lies largely on the Indian Plate, the northern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, whose continental crust forms the Indian subcontinent. The country is situated north of the equator between 8°4' and 37°6' north latitude and 68°7' and 97°25' east longitude. It is the seventh-largest country in the world, with a total area of 3,166,414 square kilometres (1,222,559 sq mi). India measures 3,214 km (1,997 mi) from north to south and 2,933 km (1,822 mi) from east to west. It has a land frontier of 15,200 km (9,445 mi) and a coastline of 7,517 km (4,671 mi).
On the south, India projects into and is bounded by the Indian Ocean – in particular, by the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Laccadive Sea to the south, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast. The Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar separate India from Sri Lanka to its immediate southeast, and the Maldives are some 400 kilometres (250 mi) to the southwest. India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, some 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) southeast of the mainland, share maritime borders with Burma, Thailand and Indonesia. Kanyakumari at 8°4′41″N and 77°32′28″E is the southernmost tip of the Indian mainland, while the southernmost point in India is Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island. India's territorial waters extend into the sea to a distance of 12 nautical miles (13.8 mi; 22.2 km) from the coast baseline.
Rivers of India play an important role in the lives of the Indian people. The river systems provide irrigation, potable water, cheap transportation, electricity, and the livelihoods for a large number of people all over the country and to rural areas. This easily explains why nearly all the major cities of India are located by the banks of rivers. The rivers also have an important role in Hindu Dharma and are considered holy by all Hindus in the country.
Seven major rivers along with their numerous tributaries make up the river system of India. Most of the rivers pour their waters into the Bay of Bengal; however, some of the rivers whose courses take them through the western part of the country and towards the east of the state of Himachal Pradesh empty into the Arabian Sea. Parts of Ladakh, northern parts of the Aravalli range and the arid parts of the Thar Desert have inland drainage. Dr.Francis Buchanan surveyed the courses of the rivers of India along with their tributaries and branches in 1810-11 AD and presented a minute account of it. The shifting of the courses and bed over the centuries is very remarkable. Many of the channels mentioned in that survey have now become dead, dried or even extinct.
The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE) extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India (see map). Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilizations of the Old World, and of the three the most widespread. It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, one of the major rivers of Asia, and the Ghaggar-Hakra River, which once coursed through northwest India and eastern Pakistan.
At its peak, the Indus Civilization may have had a population of over five million. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley developed new techniques in handicraft (carnelian products, seal carving) and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin). The Indus cities are noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and clusters of large non-residential buildings.
Gihon is the name of the second river mentioned in the second chapter of the biblical Book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers (along with the Tigris, Euphrates, and Pishon) issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name (Hebrew Giħôn גיחון) may be interpreted as "bursting forth, gushing".
The Gihon is described as "encircling the entire land of Cush", a name associated with Ethiopia elsewhere in the Bible or Kush. This is one of the reasons that Ethiopians have long identified the Gihon (Giyon) with the Abay River (Blue Nile), which encircles the former kingdom of Gojjam. From a current geographic standpoint this would seem impossible, since two of the other rivers said to issue out of Eden, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are in Mesopotamia. However, the scholar Edward Ullendorff has argued in support of this identification. The city in the Mesopotamian area which best fits the description is called Kish (derivative of Kush or Cush) located in a plain area (Sumerian 'edin') and resembles an area that is repeatedly flooded by the rivers Euphrates and Tigris.
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu ("seven rivers"), play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion. It may have been derived from an older Proto-Indo-Iranian hydronym, as a cognate name, hapta həndu, exists in the Avestan language.
A recurring theme in the yajur veda is that of Indra slaying Vritra (literally "the obstacle"), liberating the rivers; in a variant of the myth, Indra smashes the Vala cave, releasing the cows that were within. The two myths are separate however, rivers and cows are often poetically correlated in the Rigveda, for example in 3.33, a notable hymn describing the crossing of two swollen rivers by the chariots and wagons of the Bharata tribe,
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and union territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.
The Pishon or Pison is one of four rivers (along with Hiddekel (Tigris), Phrath (Euphrates) and Gihon) mentioned in the Biblical Book of Genesis. In that passage, these rivers are described as arising within the Garden of Eden. The Pishon is described as encircling "the entire land of Havilah."
Unlike the Tigris and the Euphrates, the Pishon has never been clearly located. It is briefly mentioned together with the Tigris in the Wisdom of Sirach (24:25), but this reference throws no more light on the location of the river. The Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus, in the beginning of his Antiquities of the Jews (1st century AD) identified the Pishon with the Ganges. The medieval French rabbi Rashi identified it with the Nile.