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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 1, p. 1.


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THE INDIAN EMPIRE
VOLUME I
DESCRIPTIVE
CHAPTER I
PHYSICAL ASPECTS
No one who travels through the length and breadth of the Extreme
continent of India can fail to be struck with the extraordinary pahity f
variety of its physical aspects. In the north rise magnificent aspects.
mountain altitudes, bound by snowfield and glacier in eternal
solitude. At their feet lie smooth wide spaces of depressed
river basins; either sandy, dry, and sun-scorched, or cultivated
and water-logged under a steamy moisture-laden atmosphere.
To the south spreads a great central plateau, where indigenous
forest still hides the scattered clans of aboriginal tribes; flanked
on the west by the broken crags and castellated outlines of the
ridges overlooking the Indian Ocean, and on the south by gentle,
smooth, rounded slopes of green upland. Something at least
of the throes and convulsions of nature which accompanied
the birth of this changeful land is recorded in the physical
aspect of the mountains and valleys which traverse it; and an
appeal to the evidence of the rocks is answered by the story
of its evolution.
Oldest of all the physical features which intersect the con- India in
tinent is the range of mountains known as the Ardvallis, ancient
geological
which strikes across the Peninsula from north-east to south- times.
west, overlooking the sandy wastes of Ra.jputana. The Ari.-
vallis are but the depressed and degraded relics of a far more
prominent mountain system, which stood, in Palaeozoic times,
on the edge of the Rajputana Sea. The disintegrated rocks
which once formed part of the Aravallis are now spread out in
wide red-sandstone plains to the east. There Vindhyan and
Cuddapah sedimentary deposits cover the ancient core of
VOL. I. B



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