Geography of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh (including what is now Chhattisgarh) was constituted on recommendations of the State Re-organisation Commission on 1st November 1956. The Mahakoushal and Chhattisgarh part of the Old Central Provinces (CP) and Berar, Vindhya Pradesh, Madhya Bharat and Bhopal were merged to form the new state. Some districts of CP and Berar were transferred to Maharashtra and there were a few minor adjustments with Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. From 1st November 2000 Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh. The state is endowed with rich natural resources, salubrious climate and fertile agro-climatic conditions. At present Madhya Pradesh consists of 10 divisions and 50 districts. As per 2001 census, it has a population of 60 million with a population density of 196 persons per sq.km.

Madhya Pradesh lies between latitude 21' 6'and 26' 54'N and longitude 74' and 82' 47'E. It covers a geographical area of 308,245 sq.km which is about 9.38% of the total area of India. The State is land - locked and at no point is the sea less than 300 kms away. Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan surround it.

Most of the State lies on the tableland of Central India bounded by the Upper Gangetic plains in the north; the Godavari valley in the south; the plains of Gujarat in the west; and plateau of Bundelkhand and Chhattisgarh in the east. The State is traversed by the Vindhya, Satpura and Maikal hill ranges running east west. The highest point is at Dhupgarh near Pachmarhi in Hoshangabad district, at 1,350 m. Most of the State has an elevation of between 305 to 610 m above MSL. Low-lying areas are in the narrow Narmada valley in the central southern parts. In general, the State stretches across a geographically elevated position. Based on its topography, the state can be divided in to the following natural regions :-

The Plateau of Malwa : Covering almost the entire western region of Madhya Pradesh, the plateau, formed by the Deccan trap rocks, starts north of the Narmada and Betwa rivers and found in Guna, Rajgarh, Mandsaur, Jhabua, Dhar, Ratlam, Dewas, Ujjain, Sehore, Vidisha, Shajapur, Raisen and Sagar districts. Its average height is normally 350 to 450 m but some peaks have attained a height of even more than 800 m. Chambal, Mahi, Kshipra, Betwa and Parvati are the main rivers of this region.

The Plateau of Central India : This region covers the northern part of the lower basin of Chambal river. It is formed by the Vindhyan rock groups with the Deccan trap in the south and the Bundelkhand gneiss rocks in the east. The Bundi and Karauli hills form its western boundary. The region presents an amalgam of low land and upland topography. The area is marked by deep ravines of the Chambal, Kalisindh and Parvati rivers. This region spreads in Morena, Bhind, Gwalior, Shivpuri, Sheopur, Guna and Mandsaur districts. Maximum height of the region is 500 m., however, the plain situated to the north and north east has a height between 150 – 300 m.

The Plateau of Bundelkhand : It lies to the east of the Central India Plateau and is bound on the northeast by the Rewa – Panna plateau. The area consists of granite rocks of the Arabian era. Generally, the plateau is flat with marginal slopes and the topography is smooth and undulating. One third of the northern plain area is monotonously flat and is in strong contrast to the Vindhyan tableland which rises in three well – marked escarpments roughly delineated by the Betwa, Dhasan, Ken and Sindh rivers. This region in Madhya Pradesh is spread over in Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Datia, Gwalior and Shivpuri districts. The height of this region is between 150 to 450 m. Sidhababa hills (1172 m) constitute the highest peak.

The Plateau of Rewa and Panna : This is also known as Vindhyan plateau and lies to the northeast of the Bundelkhand plateau. The maximum height of the plateau is 750 m. The Bhander hills of the Vindhya State group and the Kymore ranges have a number of waterfalls with heights up to 450 m. The area is drained by the Ken, Sonar, Berma and Tons rivers. The covered area has most of its spread in Damoh, Panna, Satna and Rewa districts.

The Narmada-Sone Valley : It is drained by the Narmada and Sone rivers and extending from the northeast to west with an average height of 300m. It is bounded by the Vindhyan, Bhander and Kymore hills in north of the valley; the Satpura and the Maikal hills in the south; and the Baghelkhand hightlands in the east. The valley is narrow, and the trap falls in the Narmada River do not allow much navigation. The districts included are Mandla, Jabalpur, Hoshangabad, Raisen, East Nimar, West Nimar, Barwani, Harda, Dhar and Dewas of Madhya Pradesh. Part of Rewa, Shahdol, Umaria and Sidhi districts form the part of Sone valley.

The Satpura and Maikal Region : The region south of Narmada Valley has an average height of only 300m though it contains the highest point in the State, the peak of Dhupgarh. The Satpura slope is sharp on the south face and gentle on the north. The region is drained by Tawa, Johila, Denwa, Wainganga and Vardhan rivers. The area includes Chhindwara, Betul, Seoni, Balaghat, Mandla and parts of Khandwa and Khargone districts.

The Eastern Plateau : This region has a spread in the eastern districts of Madhya Pradesh, which is called Baghelkhand Plateau in Sidhi district. In this region, the height of plateau varies from 400 to 1000m.

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