The Northern Plains

The northern plain of India is formed by three river systems, viz. the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra; along with their tributaries. This plain is composed of alluvial soil which has been deposited over millions of years. The total area of the northern plain is about 7 lakh square kilometer. It is about 2400 km long and about 240 to 320 km broad.

Norhtern plains - Punjab Ganga Brahmputra

The northern plain is divided into three sections, viz. the Punjab Plain, the Ganga Plain and the Brahmaputra Plain.

Punjab Plains: The Punjab plains form the western part of the northern plain. This is formed by the Indus and its tributaries; like Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. A major portion of this plains is in Pakistan. Doabs abound in this plain.

Ganga Plains: This plain extends between Ghaggar and Tista rivers. The northern states, Haryana, Delhi, UP, Bihar, part of Jharkhand and West Bengal lie in the Ganga plains.

Brahmaputra Plains: This plain forms the eastern part of the northern plain and lies in Assam.

Based on the relief features; the northern plain can be divided into four regions, viz. bhabar, terai, bhangar and khadar.

  1. Bhabar: After descending from the mountains, the rivers deposit pebbles in a narrow belt. The width of this belt is about 8 to 16 km and it lies parallel to the Shiwaliks. This region is known as bhabar. All the streams disappear in this region.
  2. Terai: The terai region lies towards south of the bhabar belt. In this region, the streams reappear and make a wet, swampy and marshy region.
  3. Bhangar: Bhangar is the largest part of the northern plain and is composed of the oldest alluvial soil. They lie above the flood plains. They resemble terraces. The soil of this region is locally known as kankar and is composed of calcareous deposits.
  4. Khadar: The floodplains formed by younger alluvium are called khadar. The soil in this region is renewed every year and is thus highly fertile.

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