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Orissa Physiography

Geographical Location of Orissa comprises of many facets of Topology. There are the burning Chotnagpur plateaus on one hand while on the other lies the mystifying Bay of Bengal. The topography of the states reveals the exact location of Orissa on the axis of the earth and enlightens us about the unique physical features of the state. It lies between the 81.27'E and 87.29'East longitude and 17.49'N and 22.34'North latitude. It is the 9th largest state of India with an area of around 155,707 square kilometers. Bay of Bengal fences its boundaries from the eastern side with a coastline of around 450 kms. Madhya Pradesh lies on its western part while it has Andhra Pradesh on its South; towards the North it has West Bengal as its neighbor.


The areas of the state bordering the Bay of Bengal has coastal plains, while the middle part has mountains and highlands and are sparsely populated areas. The Chotanagpur plateaus run in the central part of the state while on the west it has the rolling uplands. The state also has plain fertile lands as a result of the floods it experiences during the monsoons. These five units together comprise the metamorphological regions of Orissa.


The coastal plain of Orissa is stretched between the Subernrekha River near West Bengal and River Rushikulya in south. Several rivers including Mahanadi and its tributaries like Baitarani, Suberrekha, Brahmani, Budhabalnga etc. forms their delta in this region before their final submergence in Bay of Bengal. The largest coastal lake of India, Chilka is basically a backwater lagoon formed by the main rivers and their tributaries.


The lands of Orissa are irrigated by many large rivers and their tributaries. While some of them originate in Orissa itself, River Mahanadi is the largest river of Orissa and the sixth largest of India, originates from the Holy Amarkantak Hills of the Bastar Plateau lying in the state of Chatisgarh. But unlike river Bhauda and river Vamsadhara, Mahanadi forms almost all of its catchment area in Orissa while the former ones Originates from Orissa but irrigates the land of other states. Brahmani River is the second largest river of Orissa, River Koel and River Sankh merges into one at Ved Vyasa near the steel city of Rourkela to form River Baitarini.


The three fourth part of Orissa is comprised of the middle mountains which were once part of the Gondwanas. Now these mountains are a part of the Eastern Ghat ranges. The highest peak of the region is called Deomali.


The central plateaus comprise the slopes of the Eastern Ghats. The two main plateau of the region are Panposh-Keonjhar-Pallahara plateau and the Nabrangpur-Jeypore plateau. These two plateaus are more elevated in comparison to the uplands. Infact the elevation goes down as we move from the middle mountains towards the rolling uplands. The average height of Middle Mountains is 900 metres above sea level while it comes down between 305-620 metres in the central plateau and decline further with an average height of mere 153 metres � 305 metres in the plains. There are a number of springs and hot springs also in the state and a number of waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani, increasing the scenic beauty of the state.


The flood plains are the most fertile lands of the state. The heavy rains of monsoons bring in flood in many regions of Orissa as most of the rivers of this state flows beyond their normal level during this season. The accumulation of the soils eroded by floods every year has resulted in the fertile lands in forms of Flood plains in Orissa. Most of the agricultural activities of the state takes place in these plains.

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