I N D I A : GENERAL INFORMATION
India has three major seasons: winter, summer and monsoon. The winter months (November-March) are pleasant throughout India with bright sunny days. In the Northern plains, the minimum temperature drops steeply and there is snowfall in hills. In Maharashtra, the south and eastern India, however, December and January are pleasantly cool, never very cold.
The summer months (April-June) are hot in most parts of India. During this time `Loo' (Hot waves) and `Andhi' (Dust storm) are often experienced.
The south-west monsoon usually breaks about the beginning of June on the west coast and reaches elsewhere later. With the exception of the south-eastern areas, India receives the major share of its rainfall between June and September. The south-eastern areas receive most of the rainfall from the north-east monsoon between mid-October and December-end.
The subcontinent of India lies in south Asia, between Pakistan, China and Nepal. To the north it is bordered by the world's highest mountain chain, where foothill valleys cover the northernmost of the country's 26 states. Further south, plateaus, tropical rain forests and sandy deserts are bordered by palm fringed beaches.
The mainland comprises of four regions, namely, the great mountain zone, plains of the Ganga and the Indus, the desert region and the southern Peninsula.
The Himalayas comprise three almost parallel ranges interspersed with large plateaus and valleys. Some of the highest peaks in the world are found these ranges. The mountain wall extends over a distance of about 2,400 kms with a varying depth of 240 to 320 km. In the east, between India and Myanmar and India and Bangladesh, hill ranges are much lower, Garo, Khasi, Jaintia and Naga Hills, running almost east-west, join the chain to Mizo and Rakhine Hills running north-south.
The plains of the Ganga and the Indus, about 2,400 km long and 240 to 320 km broad, are formed by basins of three distinct river systems - the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.
The desert region can be divided into two parts - the great desert and the little desert. The great desert extends from the edge of the Rann of Kachch beyond the Luni river northward. The little desert extends from the Luni between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur upto the northern wastes.
The Peninsular Plateau is marked off from the plains of the Ganga and the Indus by a mass of mountain and hill ranges varying from 460 to 1,220 meters in height. Prominent among these are the Aravalli, Vindhya, Satpura, Maikala and Ajanta. The Peninsula is flanked on one side by the Eastern Ghats where the average elevation is about 610 meters and on the other by the Western Ghats where it is generally from 915 to 1,220 meters, rising in places to over 2,440 meters. The southern point of plateau is formed by the Nilgiri Hills where the Eastern and the Western Ghats meet.
Books of South Asian Writers is a huge bibliography of Indian (and other) writers.