World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Geography of Karnataka

Article Id: WHEBN0007986997
Reproduction Date:

Title: Geography of Karnataka  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Karnataka, Outline of Karnataka, Taluks of Karnataka, Anandavana, Varnashilpi Venkatappa Award
Collection: Geography of Karnataka
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Geography of Karnataka

Topographic map of Karnataka. Western Ghats are parallel to the cost.

The Indian State of Karnataka is located North and 18°30' North latitudes and 74° East and 78°30' East longitude. It is situated on a tableland where the Western and Eastern Ghat ranges converge into the complex, in the western part of the Deccan Peninsular region of India. The State is bounded by Maharastra and Goa States in the north and northwest; by the Arabian Sea in the west; by Kerala and Tamil Nadu States in the south and by the States of Andhra Pradesh in the eastyolo. Karnataka extends to about 750 km from north to south and about 400 km from east to west.

Karnataka is situated in the Deccan Plateau and is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the east and southeast, and Kerala to the southwest. It is situated at the angle where the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats of South India converge into the Nilgiri hills. The highest point in Karnataka is the Mullayanagiri hill in Chikkamagaluru district which has an altitude of 1,929 metres (6,329 ft) above sea level.[1]


  • Landforms of Karnataka 1
  • Area and population 2
  • Mineral resources 3
  • Geology 4
  • Soil types 5
  • Water Resources 6
    • Water Falls in Karnataka 6.1
    • East flowing rivers 6.2
    • West flowing rivers 6.3
    • Reservoirs 6.4
    • Lakes 6.5
  • Climate 7
  • Rainfall 8
  • Forests 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11

Landforms of Karnataka

The state has three principal physical zones;[2]

  • The coastal strip, called Karavalli, between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, which is lowland, with moderate to high rainfall levels. This strip is around 320 km in length and 48–64 km wide.Sometimes it starts raining in the month of May.
  • The Western Ghats, called Malenadu, a mountain range inland from the Arabian Sea, rising to about 900 m average height, and with moderate to high rainfall levels.
  • The Deccan Plateau, called Bayalu Seeme, comprising the main inland region of the state, which is drier and verging on the semi-arid. The humidity in these plains or maidans never exceeds 50%.

Karnataka has one of the highest average elevations of Indian states at 1,500 feet. The highest recorded temperature was 45.6 °C (114.08 °F) at Raichur on May 23, 1928. The lowest recorded temperature was 2.8 °C (37.04 °F) at Bidar on December 16, 1918.[3]

Area and population

Karnataka has a total land area of 1,91,791 km² and accounts for 5.83% of the total area of the country (measured at 3,288,000 km²). This puts it in eighth place in terms of size. With a population of 6,11,30,704, it occupies ninth place in terms of population. The population density which stands at 319 persons per km² is lower than the all-India average of 382.

Mineral resources

Karnataka is rich in its mineral wealth which is distributed fairly evenly across the state. Karnataka's Geological Survey department started in 1880 is one of the oldest in the country. Rich deposits of asbestos, bauxite, chromite, dolomite, gold, iron ore, kaolin, limestone, magnesite, Manganese, ochre, quartz and silica sand are found in the state. Karnataka is also a major producer of felsite, moulding sand (63%) and fuchsite quartzite (57%) in the country.

Karnataka has two major centers of gold mining in the state at Kolar and Raichur. These mines produce about 3000 kg of gold per annum which accounts for almost 84% of the country's production. Karnataka has very rich deposits of high grade iron and manganese ores to the tune of 1,000 million tonnes. Most of the iron ores are concentrated around the Bellary-Hospet region. Karnataka with a granite rock spread of over 4200 km² is also famous for its Ornamental Granites with different hues.


According to Radhakrishnan and Vaidyanadhan (1997), there are four main types of geological formations in Karnataka:[4]

Soil types

Eleven groups of soil orders are found in Karnataka viz. Entisols, Inceptisols, Mollisols, Spodosols, Alfisols, Ultisols, Oxisols, Aridisols, Vertisols, Andisols and Histosols.[4] Depending on the agricultural capability of the soil, the soil types are divided into six types viz., Red, lateritic (lateritic soil is found in bidar and kolar district), black, alluvio-colluvial, forest and coastal soils.[5] The common types of soil groups found in Karnataka are:[5][5]

  • Red soils: Red gravelly loam soil, Red loam soil, Red gravelly clay soil, Red clay soil
  • Lateritic soils: Lateritic gravelly soil, Lateritic soil
  • Black soils: Deep black soil, Medium deep black soil, Shallow black soil
  • Alluvio-Colluvial Soils: Non-saline, saline and sodic
  • Forest soils: Brown forest soil
  • Coastal soils: Coastal laterite soil, Coastal alluvial soil

Water Resources

With a surface water potential of about 102 kilometers, Karnataka accounts for about six percent of the country's surface water resources. Around 60% of this is provided by the west flowing rivers while the remaining comes from the east flowing rivers. There are seven river basins in all formed by the Godavari, Cauvery, Krishna, the west-flowing rivers, South Pennar, and Palar.

Water Falls in Karnataka

Lot of WaterFalls in Karnataka.

East flowing rivers

26 east-flowing rivers.

West flowing rivers

10 west-flowing rivers, providing 60% of state's inland water resources.




Karnataka has the following four seasons in the year:

  • The winter season from January to February
  • The summer season from March to May
  • The monsoon season from May to September
  • The post-monsoon season from October to December.

The post-monsoon (period of retreating) and winter seasons are generally pleasant over the entire state. The months April and May are hot, very dry and generally uncomfortable. Weather tends to be oppressive during June due to high humidity and temperature. The next three months (July, August and September) are somewhat comfortable due to reduced day temperature although the humidity's continue to be very high. The highest recorded temperature was 45.6 °C (114 °F) at Raichur on May 23, 1928. The lowest recorded temperature was 2.8 °C (37 °F) C at Bidar on December 16, 1918.[6]

Karnataka is divided into three meteorological zones:

  • Coastal Karnataka: This zone comprises the districts of Uttara Kannada, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. It is a region of heavy rainfall and receives an average rainfall of 3638.5 mm per annum.[7] far in excess of rest of state.[8]
  • North Interior Karnataka: This zone comprises the districts of Belgaum, Bidar, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Haveri, Gadag, Dharwad, Gulbarga, Koppal, Bellary and Raichur Districts. This is an arid zone and receives only 711.5 mm of average rainfall per annum.[7]
  • South Interior Karnataka: The rest of the districts of Karnataka falls into this zone. This zone receives 1064.8 mm of average rainfall per annum.[7]


The southwest monsoon accounts for almost 80% of the rainfall that the state receives. The annual rainfall across the state ranges from low 50 cm to copious 350 cm. The districts of Bijapur, Raichur, Bellary and Southern half of Gulbarga experience the lowest rainfall ranging from 50 to 60 cm while the west coastal region and Malenadu enjoy the highest rainfall. Agumbe in the Western Ghats experiences the heaviest rainfall in the country next only to Cherrapunji.


About 38724 km² (or 20% of Karnataka's geographic) are covered by forests. The forests are classified as reserved (28.611 km²) protected (3,932 km²), unclosed (5,748 km²), village (124 km²) and private (309 km²) forests. The percentage of forests area to Geographical area in the State is less than the all-India average of about 23%, and 33% prescribed in the National Forest Policy. The area under protected forests in the neighboring States is as follows: Andhra Pradesh 62,000 km² (9% of the total area of the country), Maharastra 54,000 km² (8%), Tamil Nadu 22,000 km² (3%) and Kerala 11,000 km² (2%).

Karnataka is known for its valuable timbers from the evergreen forests in the Western Ghat region, notably Teak and Rosewood, the richly ornate panels of which adorn the beautiful chambers of the Two Houses of Karnataka Legislature.


  1. ^ Bala Chauhan. "The coffee-flavoured hills beckon". Online Webpage of the Deccan Herald, dated 2006-01-22. © 2005, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  2. ^ "Environment Database - Fish". Online Webpage of the Department of Ecology and Environment. Government of Karnataka. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  3. ^ "Karnataka Temperatures". Website. Retrieved July 20, 2005. 
  4. ^ a b Detailed description of the geology of Karnataka is provided byRamachandra TV and Kamakshi G. "Bioresource Potential of Karnataka" (PDF). Technical Report No. 109, November 2005. Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  5. ^ a b c National Informatics Centre. "Traditional Soil Groups of Karnataka and their Geographic Distribution". Official Website of the Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Karnataka. Govt. of Karnataka. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Karnataka Temperatures". Website. Retrieved July 20, 2005. 
  7. ^ a b c Average Rainfall of the zones in Karnataka are mentioned by "Rainfall in different sub-divisions of the country during 1-1-2003 to 31-12-2003" (PDF). Online Webpage of Central Water Commission. Government of India. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  8. ^ Pushpa Narayan (2005-10-20). "October's rain highest in 49 yrs". Online Webpage of the Times of India, dated 2005-10-20 (© 2007 Times Internet Limited.). Retrieved 2007-05-04. 

Further reading

  • Ground Water Quality in Rural Areas: A Case Study of Karnataka. Dr. Oinam Jayalakshmi Devi & Dr. S.L. Belagali. Ruby Press & Co. New Delhi. (2013). ISBN 978-93-82395-11-9
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.