Coastal Plains in India

Coastal Plains in India
Posted on 18-08-2023

Coastal Plains in India: A Comprehensive Overview

The expansive coastline of India stretches over approximately 7,517 kilometers, encompassing 6,100 kilometers along the mainland and an additional 1,417 kilometers surrounding the Indian islands. This coastal expanse plays host to 13 states and union territories characterized by coastal plains.

States and Union Territories along India's Coastline:

  1. Gujarat – 1,215 kilometers

  2. Andhra Pradesh – 974 kilometers

  3. Tamil Nadu – 907 kilometers

  4. Maharashtra – 652.6 kilometers

  5. Kerala – 569.7 kilometers

  6. Odisha – 476.4 kilometers

  7. Karnataka – 280 kilometers

  8. Goa (including Daman & Diu) – 160.5 kilometers

  9. West Bengal – 157.5 kilometers

  10. Puducherry – 30.6 kilometers (Union Territory)

Western Coastal Plains of India: Extending from the Rann of Kutch in the north to Cape Comorin in the south, the western coastal plains showcase an example of submerged coastal terrain. The width of this belt averages around 65 kilometers. These plains offer conducive conditions for the development of ports and harbors, including significant ones such as Kandla, Mazagaon, JLN Port Navha Sheva, Marmagao, Mangalore, and Cochin.

Kutch and Kathiawar Coast: Once part of the Deccan Lava-based Peninsular plateau, the Kutch Coast is now leveled down and integrated into the western coastal plains. The filling of seas and lagoons with sediment from the Indus River transformed the Kutch Peninsula from an island to its present state. The arid landscape is a consequence of reduced rainfall.

Gujarat Plain: Sloping westwards and southwards from Kutch and Kathiawar, the Gujarat Plain is shaped by rivers such as Narmada, Tapi, Mahi, and Sabarmati. This fertile plain encompasses the southern segment of Gujarat and coastal regions along the Gulf of Khambat.

Konkan Coast: Stretching from Daman to Goa, the Konkan Coast spans 720 kilometers and is a submerged coastal area. The shoreline displays features of marine erosion, including cliffs, shoals, reefs, and islands. Notably, the Thane Creek in Mumbai offers a natural harbor.

Goan Coast: This narrow coastal belt, extending from Goa to Karnataka, boasts an average width of 8-25 kilometers, reaching a maximum of 70 kilometers near Mangalore. Notable features include the Sharavati River's Gersoppa Falls, which stand at 271 meters.

Malabar Coast: Referred to as the Kerala Plain or the Malabar Plain, this coastal strip stretches from Mangalore to Kanniyakumari. Characterized by a broader and low-lying nature, it showcases various features such as lakes, lagoons, backwaters, spits, and the expansive Vembanad Lake.

Eastern Coastal Plains of India: Extending from the Subarnarekha River along the West Bengal-Odisha border to Kanniyakumari, the eastern coastline is broader and exhibits emergent coast features. Notable deltas formed by rivers like Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri contribute to the region's diversity. However, the lack of good harbors is a challenge due to the continental shelf extending up to 500 kilometers into the sea.

The coastal plains of India hold immense significance, contributing to agriculture, trading through ports, harboring mineral resources, sustaining fishing communities, and offering natural attractions for tourism. These plains reflect the diverse geographical makeup and cultural heritage of the nation.


India, with its extensive shoreline bordering three sides of the country, boasts coastal plains along both its western and eastern perimeters. Spanning a remarkable 7,516.6 kilometers, these coastal plains can be categorized into two main types:

Eastern Coastal Plains of India: Extending from West Bengal in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south, the eastern coastal plains traverse Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Within these plains lie the fertile deltas of significant rivers such as the Mahanadi, Krishna, Godavari, and Cauvery. Renowned for their agricultural productivity, these deltas, particularly the Krishna River's delta, are often referred to as the 'Granary of South India.' The eastern coast can be further segmented into three distinct regions:

  1. Utkal Coast: Stretching between the Chilika Lake and Kolleru Lake, this expansive region experiences substantial rainfall. It supports the cultivation of crops like rice, coconuts, and bananas.

  2. Andhra Coast: Extending from Kolleru Lake to Pulicat Lake, the Andhra Coast serves as a basin for the Krishna and Godavari rivers, fostering agricultural activity in the region.

  3. Coromandel Coast: The Coromandel Coast spans from Pulicat Lake to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. Characterized by a dry summer and winter monsoon-driven rainfall, this coast experiences seasonal variation.

Western Coastal Plains of India: Stretching from Kerala in the south to Gujarat in the north, traversing Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra, the western coastal plains span approximately 1,500 kilometers from north to south, with a width ranging between 10 to 25 kilometers. The Western Continental Shelf, at its widest off the Bombay coast, holds significant oil reserves. The Malabar Coast along this stretch features picturesque lagoons that contribute to its appeal as a tourist destination. Notably, the western coast is narrower than its eastern counterpart.

The western coastal plains can be further divided into four distinctive regions:

  1. Kachchh and Kathiawar Coast: Formerly a gulf, Kachchh has evolved through silt deposition by the Indus River. This area features the Great Rann in the north and the Little Rann in the east. South of Kachchh lies Kathiawar.

  2. Konkan Coast: Extending from Daman to Goa, this region is known for its cultivation of rice and cashew.

  3. Kanada Coast: Stretching between Marmagaon and Mangalore, this area possesses significant iron deposits.

  4. Malabar Coast: Spanning from Mangalore to Kanyakumari, the Malabar Coast is relatively broader. Its southern Kerala section features lagoons that run parallel to the coast.

Significance of Indian Coastlines:

India's expansive coastline, encompassing around 7,516.6 kilometers, including islands such as Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, contributes to a favorable climate for human habitation. Notably, the coastal plains are characterized by:

  1. Fertile Soils: The majority of these coastal plains feature fertile soils, ideal for agriculture, with rice being a prominent crop.

  2. Trade and Ports: The presence of various ports along the coast facilitates trade activities.

  3. Mineral Resources: Sedimentary rock formations within these plains house substantial mineral oil deposits, offering potential for marine-based economic activities.

  4. Fishing: Coastal inhabitants significantly engage in fishing, contributing to local economies.

  5. Diverse Ecosystems: Rich coastal and marine ecosystems, including mangroves, coral reefs, estuaries, and lagoons, make for attractive tourism prospects.

The coastal plains in India hold immense significance, supporting agriculture, trade, economic activities, and tourism, while fostering a diverse range of ecosystems.


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