What are the north-south and east-west extents of India?
India is located in the northern hemisphere of the world. It’s a vast country, covering an area of around 3.28 million sq. km. Geographically, India lies to the north of the equator, between 6°44′ and 35°30′ north latitude and 68°7′ and 97°25′ east longitude.
India shares its borders with other countries, and the length of its land boundary is around 15,200 km. When it comes to its coastline, it stretches for over 7,500 km and includes two island groups, the Andaman and Nicobar and the Lakshadweep.
Key points to Remember
- India is located in the northern hemisphere of the world.
- The Tropic of Cancer, which is located at 23°30’N, passes almost halfway through the country.
- India is north of the Equator, which runs through the middle of the country.
- The Tropic of Cancer passes through eight states in India.
- The mainland of India extends from south to north, covering latitudes between 8°4’N and 37°6’N.
- The north-south extent of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is approximately 3,200 km.
- India extends from west to east between longitudes 68°7’E and 97°25’E.
- The east-west extent of India, from Arunachal Pradesh in the east to Kuchchh in the west, is about 2,900 km.
Why India’s North-South extent longer than the East-West extent?
India’s North-South extent is longer than the East-West extent due to the following reasons:
- India is situated on the Indian tectonic plate, which is moving towards the north at a slow pace. This slow movement has caused the landmass to stretch towards the north, resulting in a longer North-South extent.
- The Himalayan mountain range, which runs along India’s northern border, is one of the largest and highest mountain ranges in the world. It extends for more than 2,400 km and has played a significant role in shaping India’s geography.
- The Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea flank India’s east and west coasts, respectively. The presence of these large water bodies has restricted the country’s East-West extent, resulting in a relatively shorter distance between its eastern and western borders.
- The distance between latitudes remains the same throughout the world. However, the distance between longitudes reduces as we move towards the poles. Therefore, the North-South extent of India remains unaltered, while the East-West extent is shorter due to the bending of the lines of longitude.
- The distance between two latitudes is constant, i.e., approximately 111 km. In contrast, the distance between two longitudes is 111 km at the equator, reducing to zero at the poles. This difference results in a U-shaped bending of the lines of longitude, reducing the actual East-West distance of India.
- The presence of the Himalayan mountain range has also contributed to the longer North-South extent of India. The range extends for over 2,400 km and is one of the most prominent features of India’s geography.