Deccan Plateau

Deccan Plateau Hampi

The famous Deccan Trappes, basalt plateaus, the aftermath of violent volcanic activity at the end of the Cretaceous. Seas of lava flooded the earth, and when it cooled, water and wind worked the surface – and stepped basalt-river valleys were formed, cutting along and across the entire Deccan Plateau.

The basalt cover of the Deccan Plateau, where the craters of ancient extinct volcanoes are scattered here and there, reaches a staggering thickness of almost two kilometers.


The Deccan Plateau, or simply the Deccan, is located in the very center of India and is literally the backbone and core of the entire Indian peninsula. The boundaries of the plateau form a triangle inscribed in the limits of the Indian peninsula, which also has a triangular shape.

The name of the plateau reflects its location, but with an amendment to the religious and geographical ideas of the Hindus. Dakshina-Panth means “right road” in Sanskrit. Hindus tend to orient themselves facing east, towards sunrise, which is connected with the traditions of Hinduism and veneration of the cult of the supreme god Vishnu, who originally personified the sun as a life-giving force of nature. Given the eastward orientation, the Hindu right side is south, and the Deccan Plateau is just south of the valley of the sacred Ganges River.

The typical relief of the Deccan Plateau is stepped plains, falling to the east from 600-900 to 300-500 meters. On the background of the plains, mountains and hills, called remnants, stand out prominently: these are the embeddings of hard crystalline rocks left after the surrounding softer rocks have been destroyed by water and wind. Many of them are the craters of extinct volcanoes.

But the most characteristic detail of the Deccan’s topography has been the extensive basalt coverts, or trappes. The trappes were formed by a series of powerful successive volcanic eruptions that occurred 60-68 million years ago and created a series of descending scarps that look like giant staircases. This apparent resemblance was one of the reasons for the deification of the trappes in Hindu mythology, which speaks of these “steps” as a ladder by which the gods descend to earth and return back to heaven. The Deccan trappes are one of the largest volcanic formations on Earth, their thickness in some places exceeds two kilometers.

The mythological character of the Deccan Plateau also applies to the rivers flowing through its territory. The Narmada is the most sacred river in India after the Ganges, associated with the names of Hindu gods. It forms the natural boundary between northern India – especially the Ganges valley – and southern India – the Deccan. Its waters are used for both irrigation and navigation, and the river is so deep that it is navigable by quite impressive vessels.

For all the apparent abundance of water in the Deccan, there is not much moisture here: the high mountain range of the Western Ghats, running from north to south and representing the western edge of the plateau, blocks the way of humid air masses coming from the Arabian Sea.

Since the Deccan is an area of ancient volcanic activity, large deposits of ore minerals such as copper, iron, and gold have formed here. There are also significant reserves of hard coal, confined to valleys where sedimentary rocks have accumulated over millions of years.

The Deccan Plateau occupies the inner central part of the Indian Peninsula. The natural boundaries of the plateau are considered to be the Narmada River in the north and the Kaveri River in the south, and the Western and Eastern Ghats and the Satpura Range in the north. The latter is the elevated edge of the plateau.


The Deccan Plateau was once home to wealthy kingdoms that created a unique culture on the fertile volcanic soil of the plateau.

The Deccan Plateau is home to the population of the top ten states of India: Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu (Tamil Nadu), Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh. Many peoples, divided into tribes, clans and clans, live here. The largest peoples are the Bhils, who are mainly engaged in farming, the Gonds, who are excellent artisans, and the Marathas, who form the majority in Maharashtra, the second most populous state in the country.

The Deccan Plateau is characterized by very fertile soil formed by the erosion and pulverization of volcanic rocks. However, farming is complicated by the fact that enormous amounts of water are required to produce crops.

The most important monuments of Indian history, religion and culture are concentrated within the plateau. In fact, in ancient times, more than one kingdom flourished within the plateau.

The state of Karnataka is home to the ruins of Vijayanagar, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Hindu Vijayanagar Empire occupied the entire south of India from the first half of the fourteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries. The area surrounding the former capital is firmly linked in Hindu mythology to the historical region of Kishkindha, the kingdom of the Vanaras, the monkey-men mentioned in the Indian epic Ramayana. The Vijayanagar festival is held here every year, attracting many pilgrims and tourists.

The largest city on the Deccan Plateau is Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana state on the Musi River. In the Middle Ages it was the capital of the legendary sultanate of Golconda, whose possessions stretched from the Godavari and Krishna rivers all the way to the Bay of Bengal. The name. Golconda became a noun, denoting any wealthy place, although in Telugu it means merely “shepherd’s hill”. The sultanate of Golconda owed its untold wealth to its diamond mines: it supplied diamonds all over the world. Some of the world’s most famous diamonds were found here: Kohinoor, Regenta, Hope and Derianur. Everything collapsed when the mines were exhausted. Nowadays, the picturesque ruins of a fort on a granite hill remain as a reminder of the rich past. However, Hyderabad still has something to offer to the world: it remains the largest pearl trading center in India.

Another city, Warangal, was the capital of the Kakatiya kingdom from the 12th to the 14th century. The great traveler Marco Polo himself visited it and noted the beauty of the city. The city is famous all over the world for the temple of Shiva with a thousand columns in the shape of a star, built by King Rudra Dev in 1163. The most typical for volcanic Deccan building material – basalt – was used in the construction. The city is no less famous for the Medaram Jatara religious festival, which takes place every two years for four days and attracts more than 10 million pilgrims.

General Information

  • Location: the center of the Hindustan peninsula.
  • Origin: volcanic and tectonic.
  • Administrative affiliation: India.
  • The largest cities: Hyderabad (Telangana) – 6,809,970 (2011), Warangal (Telangana) – 620,116 (2011), Karnulu (Andhra Pradesh) – 430,214 (2011).
  • Major rivers: Narmada, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Musi.
  • Languages: Telugu, Urdu, English, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi.
  • Ethnic composition: Bhils, Gonds, Marathi, Telugu, Kannara, Tamils, Malayali.
  • Religions: Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism.
  • Currency unit: Indian rupee.
  • Major airport: Hyderabad International Airport named after Rajiv Gandhi.
  • Area: about 1 million km2.
  • Length: 1600 km from north to south, 1400 km from west to east.
  • Population: about 400 million people (2011).
  • Population density: 400 persons/km2.
  • Average altitude: 300 to 1000 m above sea level.
  • Highest point: Anamudi (Kerala, 2,695 m).

Climate and weather

  • Subequatorial monsoon.
  • Average temperature in January: +22.5°C.
  • Average temperature in July: +30.5°C.
  • Average annual precipitation: 2500 to 3000 mm on windward slopes, 500 to 700 mm in the center.
  • Relative humidity: 60%.


  • Minerals: copper, iron, manganese, tungsten, gold, coal.
  • Industries: mining, light industry (cotton fabrics, sugar, tobacco), pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, computer technology.
  • Hydroelectric power industry.
  • River navigation.
  • Agriculture: crop production (wheat, cotton, millet, beans, sunflower), animal husbandry (pasture, small cattle).
  • Traditional crafts: blacksmithing, jewelry, pottery, weaving.
  • Services: tourist, transportation, trade.


  • Natural: Hogenakal waterfall (Kaveri River), nature reserves Rollapadu, Vettangudi, Nandur Madmesh Var, Jakwadi, Tungabadra.
  • Historical: ruins of Vijayanagar city (including Hampi village), cave temple complexes of Ellora (including Kailasanatha temple), Pithalkora and Ajanta, temples of Pattadakala (VIII c. ), the abandoned city of Daulatabad (12th-14th centuries), the tomb of Aurangzeb and the Valley of the Saints (Khuldabad), the temple city of Kanchipuram, the temple complex of Srirangam, the temple of Tirumala Venkateshwara.
  • Hyderabad city (Telangana state): Golconda fortress (XVII-XVIII cc.), Mecca Masjid mosque (XVIII c.), Chowmahalla palace (1869), tombs of rulers of Qutb Shahi dynasty.
  • Varangal city (Telangana state): Badrakali temple (625, 1950), Shirab Khan (Audience Hall, beginning of XI century), Swayambhu temple (1162), Ramappa temple (1213), Ramappa temple, Varangal fort, Shiva temple (1163).
  • Karnulu City (Andhra Pradesh): Belum Caves, Royal Fort (14th-16th centuries), Orvakal Rock Park, Gole Gumma Mausoleum, Mahanandi Village, Jaganti Temple (15th century), Brahma Gundam Temple.

Fun Facts

  • It is a common mistake to confuse the Deccan Plateau with the geographical area of the same name. The Deccan Plateau is the southern part of the Indian peninsula, washed by the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, and the Source of the Krishna River is a spring flowing from the mouth of the sacred cow statue in the ancient Shiva temple in the city of Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra. According to legend, it was into this river that the god Vishnu turned as a result of a spell.
  • When the Deccan Trappes were formed, their original area covered by lava was more than 1.5 million km2, or half of modern India. By our time, the area of the trappes is about 512,000 km2, a result of erosion.
  • Numerous pilgrimage sites are scattered all along the course of the sacred Narmada River. The most honorable pilgrimage is the journey from the source of the river to the mouth – on one bank and back – from the mouth to the source – on the other, and such a pilgrimage can last up to two years.
  • Golconda Fortress has a unique acoustic effect. If you clap your hands at one of the gates – the clap will be heard at a distance of a kilometer at the top of the fortress. In ancient times it helped to signal danger in time.
  • The plateau is characterized by hills of boulders – remnants of mountains destroyed by the forces of nature, worked by water and wind. Indians found their use in accordance with the canons of their religion, carving murti – statues of gods from them. Murtis made of Deccan stones, particularly in the state of Telangana, are honored with special ceremonies and worshiped by numerous pilgrims. It is the murti, according to Hinduism, that can help establish a connection with the god.
  • The 20-meter-high Hogenakal Falls on the Kaveri River are nicknamed “Indian Niagara” for their obvious similarity in appearance: both waterfalls have a horseshoe shape.
  • Kerala’s Eravikulam National Park is home to the largest population of the Nilgir Thar, a type of mountain goat, numbering 750.
  • During the grand religious festival of Medaram Jatara in Warangal, which attracts millions of pilgrims, a traffic jam stretches for 60 kilometers.
Scroll to Top