The Indian mainland extends between 8°4′ North and 37°6′ North latitudes and from 68°7′ East and 97°25′ East longitudes. Thus, the latitudinal and the North-south extent is 3214 km and East-west extent is 2933 km. India accounts 2.42% of the total world land area.

India lies entirely in the northern hemisphere, and eastern hemisphere.

The Tropic of Cancer (23°30′ North) passes through the centre of the country. It divides the country into almost two equal parts. Northward of this latitude is North India and South of it is known as south India.

Similarly, 82°30′ East longitude passes almost from the middle of the country. It is known as Standard Meridian of India. The 82°30′ East has been selected as standard Merdian because there is a time lag of almost two hours between Gujarat and Arunanchal Pradesh. Therefore, a Central Meridian is selected to determine the time for the whole country.

India is part of Asian continent. It is surrounded by water from three sides. Arabian sea in west, Bay of Bengal in the east and Indian ocean in the south.

Towards its north west is Pakistan and Afghanistan. China, Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal lies to its north. Bangladesh and Myanmar lies to its east. Srilanka and Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean towards its south.

The southern most point of the country is Indira Point (Nicobar Islands) which lies on 6°4′ N latitudes and Kannya Kumari is southern most point of Indian mainland which lies on 8°4′ N latitudes.

Significance

India is the largest country in terms of area and population in South-Asia. It is surrounded by ocean. India is strategically located in Indian Ocean. It commands sea routes between Europe and Africa, South East Asia, far East Asia and Oceania. It is because of this that India shares good trade relation between many countries since ancient times.

India has a good location in terms of sea and also well connected by land. Various passes like Nathu-La (Sikkim), Shipki-La (Himachal Pradesh), Zoji-La and Burji la pass (Jammu & Kashmir) have their own importance. The main India-Tibet trade route that connects Kalimpong near Darjeeling with Lhasa in Tibet passes through Jelepa La. Several passes have provided a passage to many ancient travellers. These routes are not only important for trade but also to exchange ideas and culture.

Important Terms

Latitude: Latitude is the angular distance, north or south from the equator, of a point on the earth’s surface.

Longitude: Longitude is an angular distance on the earth’s surface, measured east or west from the prime meridian at Greenwich.

Angular distance: The angular distance between the points from the centres is called angular distance.