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GEOGRAPHY OF ORISSA
 

Physiographically, Orissa is of a heterogeneous character. It's geological formations vary from the oldest rocks of the earth's crust in the stable land mass of the Indian Peninsula to Deltaic alluvium or littoral deposits and ridges of wind blown sand on the Seaboard.

Broadly, the State can be devided in to 4 natural Divisons: (1) The Northern Plateau . (2) The Eastern Ghats (3) The Central Tract and (4) The Coastal Plains. The Northern Plateau is an extension of the Chhotanagapur Plateau covering Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, and Eastern Sundergarh areas. The upper reaches of the rivers Subernarekha, Baitarani and Brahmani lie in the area. It's central portion contains many small hills and forests. The Eastern Ghats form an undulating plateau that extends over Koraput, parts of Kalahandi, Phulbani and Ganjam. The central tract covers the districts of Sambalpur, Bolangir and Dhenkanal and parts of Kalahandi, Sundergarh and Phulabani. The rivers Mahanadi, Brahmani, and Baitarani and their tributaries flow through the area. The land scape consists of a succession of plateaus, hills, uplands and valleys. The coastal plains comprise Balasore, Cuttack,and Puri districts and parts of Ganjam. This fertile area runs parallel to the coast and contains the river deltas; it is formed of alluvium and silt.

The main rivers are the Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Baitarani, Brahmani, Mahanadi, Rushikulya and Bansadhara. Notable mountain ranges are the Mahendragiri (rising to 4924 feets), the Mallyagiri (3896 feet), and the Meghasini (3823 feet). Orissa's Chilika lake is the biggest salt water lagoon in India.

Orissa is situated in the hot climatic belt where the monsoon windsblow. The main seasons are Summer from mid-February to June, the rainy season from July to October, and the winter from November to Mid-February. Places in Sambalpur and Mayurbhanja districts have an extreme climates, where as in places like Puri and Gopalpur the climate is equable. The average rain fall is about 60 inches.

The vegetation is of a tropophilous character-that is to say it is able to adapt it self to a rapidly changing environment. Forests cover about 40% of the total land area. In forest wealth, Orissa ranks among the top states in India. The forests are of 3 broad types; Northern Tropical semi ever green ; Northern tropical moist deciduous; and Northern tropical dry deciduous. The first group includes the Mango; the second group includes, for example, Teak; while the third includes Bamboo.

Orissa has the same animal life as the rest of Peninsula India. Monkeys are common. Carnivores include different Tigers. The Elephant, Wild Buffalo, The Black Buck, and the four - Horned Antelope are found in some districts. The Peafowl is one of the features of Orissa Forests. Lake Chilika is noted for its marine Fauna.

 
 
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