The Northern Plains

Now, David is going to explore the northern plains, the part where India’s most of the agriculture takes place.

Important facts about Northern Plains

The northern plains lie just south of the Himalayas. David also found alluvial soil in this region.

They are the work of the three major rivers- the Indus, the Ganga, and the Brahmaputra, along with their tributaries.

The area of these plains is over 7 lakh square kilometre! Try and imagine how much would that be!

The fertility of this region is due to the deposition of alluvium in a basin at the foot of the Himalayas, for millions of years.

The northern plains are densely populated as well.

Favourable climate and water supply, in addition to the fertility make this region agriculturally important.

The Himalayan rivers are responsible for all the deposition of fertile substances.

Sometimes, this also ends up forming riverine islands in the lower course of rivers.

Majuli is the largest of these riverine islands, and is located in the Brahmaputra!

As the course gets lower, the rivers split into distributaries, which are numerous channels.

Three sections of Northern Plains

The three sections of the northern plains are the Punjab plains, the Ganga plains, and the Brahmaputra plains.

The Punjab plains are the western part of the plains, and are formed by Indus and its tributaries.

The tributaries of the Indus river include Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Satluj.

In the middle, we have what are called the Ganga plains.

These plains spread over Haryana, UP, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.

David also visited the Brahmaputra plains in the east that lies in Assam.

You might think that the northern plains are flat all around, with no variations. Well, it isn’t the case! Diverse relief features are present in these plains.

The plains can be divided into four sections based on these relief features.

Parallel to the Shiwaliks, David found a belt of pebbles deposited by streams, known as the Bhabar.

As David travelled south of the bhabar, he saw a wet and swampy region called terai.

Dudhwa national park lies in this region. It used to be thickly forested, but man has cleared forests to create empty land for agriculture and habitation.

David also visited the largest part of the northern plains called the bhangar.

The calcareous deposits of soil in this region are known as kankar.

The newer deposits form the fourth part of the plains, known as khadar.

These are renewed every year, and therefore are suitable for agriculture.


The northern plains lie just south of the Himalayas and are agriculturally important.

They are formed by the interplay of the Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra rivers.

The sections on the basis of region are the Punjab plains, the Ganga plains, and the Brahmaputra plains.

A diversity of relief features also exists in the northern plains.

According to relief, there are four parts of the northern plains, which are bhabar, terai, bhangar, and khadar.