Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 1, p. 42.
42 THE I.TZII94N EMlIPIRE [CHAP.
the misty distance, now breaking the dead monotony of
the surf-bound coast with bold bleak headlands. At intervals
there occur broken edges in this ancient coast-line, where
large lagoons or lakes range themselves in a formation not
unlike that of the backwaters of Malabar. Whenever the
delta of a great river occurs, there reaches out seaward a
wide expanse of banks and shallows which render a close
approach to the coast ports impossible to ships of any size.
When no such silt-formations exist, the open roadstead
usually affords fair and close anchorage (as at Madras and
Vizagapatam), but on the whole the east coast of India is
singularly deficient in natural harbours. From the deck of
a coasting steamer at anchor off Masulipatam a far-away line
of nodding palms is frequently all that may be seen to indi-
cate the existence of land.
On the west of India the long line of maritime territory
stretching between the Ghits and the sea is unbroken by the
passage of any considerable river south of the Tapti. But
on the eastern coast we have in succession all the rivers of
Central and Southern India, which, rising almost within
sight of the western coast, break through the line of
Eastern Ghlts and form wide fertile deltas, which are the
granaries of the' Peninsula. The deltas of the Godavari,
the Kistna, and the Cauvery together form the most re-
markable feature in the economic geography of Madras;
and to the north of them the Mahanadi intervenes with
another system of deltaic irrigation which adds to the wealth
of Lower Bengal.
The The term Deccan (Dakshin, the 'right hand' or 'south')
IDeccan. in its political application comprises the highlands filling
the triangular space south of the central transverse watershed,
and within the crest-line of the Eastern and Western GhRts
which buttress it on either side. Shelving gradually from
west to east, it is generally an area of open valleys and broad
plains, broken by the fantastic outlines of the Western Ghats
and their outliers; extensively cultivated within the States
of Hyderabad and AMysore, but covered with primaeval forests
to the east of the Godsvari, where it stretches in gentle grades
to the crests of the Eastern Ghats.
The two great river basins of the God5vari and the Kistna
nearly divide the Deccan highlands between them. The
Cauvery is a third river of the Deccan which has its sources
in the Western Ghats to the north-west of Mysore, close
to those of the Tungabhadra, the chief southern affluent of