The province of Karnataka is situated in the south western part of India and spreads over the Deccan Peninsular region. It covers an area of 191,791 square km. Karnataka is blessed with the bounty of nature that is revealed in the spectacular topography of the state.
Topographical Variations in Karnataka
Karnataka boasts of a geography that has all types of topographical variations. The state exhibits a splendid mix of lofty mountains, coastal plains, residual hills and plateaus. Karnataka is located in the region where the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats converge into the Nilgiri Hills. It is surrounded by chains of lush green mountains on three sides: east, west and south. There are many rivers that criss-cross through Karnataka. The entire landscape of Karnataka has an undulating look, dotted with high mountains and deep ravines.
When considered from west to east across the Western Ghats, Karnataka starts with a narrow coastal plain that extends towards the east with short and small plateaus having different altitudes, and then suddenly rises up to great heights. This is followed by the gentle east and east-north-west sloping plateau.
Geographical regions of Karnataka
The topography of Karnataka basically reflects the region’s geology. Karnataka can be primarily divided into three distinct geographical regions: the Coastal Plains, the Sahyadri and the Deccan Plateau.
The Coastal Plains: The coastal belt of Karnataka, also known as Karavalli, lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. This coastal strip is around 320 km in length and 48–64 km in width. This narrow coastal belt is a lowland. It is the only area in Karnataka that comprises of plain land having elevation of less than 300 metres above mean sea level. The area receives moderate to high rainfall.
The Sahyadri: The Sahyadri or the Western Ghats, also known as Malenadu, is a mountain range inland from the Arabian Sea. It rises to an average height of about 900 metres and receives moderate to high rainfall levels. There are several high peaks in the Western Ghats that possess altitudes of more than 1,500 metres. Mullayanagiri peak, situated in the Chandradrona Mountain Range of the Western Ghats in the Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka, is the highest peak in the state. It has a height of 1,930 metres (6,398 ft.).
Among the other significantly tall peaks of Karnataka are the Baba Budangiri peak (1,895 m), the Kudremukh peak (1,892 m), the Tadiandamol peak (1,748 m) and the Pushpagiri peak (1,712 m). Covered with evergreen forests, the Sahyadri abruptly slopes towards the Arabian Sea. It stands as a natural barrier between the plateau and the coastal regions of Karnataka.
The Deccan Plateau: The Deccan Plateau, also known as the Bayalu Seeme, comprises the main inland area of Karnataka. The plateau region of Karnataka has higher elevation of 600 to 900 metres above mean sea level. This area is drier as compared to the other areas of the state and borders on the semi-arid. The humidity in this area always remains below 50 per cent.
Overall, the amazing topography of Karnataka enhances the scenic beauty of the state.