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Nagaland Physiography and Physical Features | North East India Info

Nagaland tapering towards the north and with its narrow end at the south-west is one of the easternmost states of Indian Union, with an area of 16,579 sq. km. it is the third smallest state in the country, first and second, being Sikkim and Tripura respectively.

It is one of the North-eastern states of India, sharing an international border with the adjacent country of Myanmar on the extreme south-east. Nagaland is located on the extreme in the north-eastern part of India and lies south of the state of Arunachal Pradesh and its long eastern strip is adjacent to the neighboring country of Myanmar. On the west lies the state of Assam with Manipur bordering its southern portion.

Nagaland is a hilly, rugged, and mountainous state with its major peaks Saramati (3840 meters) in Tuensang district, Japfü (3014 meters) in Kohima district, Zanübou (2750 meters) and Küpamedzü (2620 meters) both in Phek district, the average height of the peaks is between 900 and 1200 meters. The plain area of the state is limited to Dimapur, Jalukie and adjoining areas with Assam comprising of only 8% of the total area of the state. Kohima, the capital of Nagaland is situated at 1444 meters above sea level.

Nagaland Physiographic Map
Physical Map of Nagaland

Physiographic Divisions of Nagaland

The state of Nagaland, which is once submerged in the deep sea has at present complicated structure geo-physically and the formation of landmass may be correlative with the young fold mountains of the Alpine Himalayan orogeny. As a result, its topography is similar to that of any young fold mountain terrain featured with high hills, sharp ridges, deep gorges and narrow valleys.

Nagaland can be broadly divided into three main physiographic divisions as-

  • The high hills situated in the east, 
  • The lower hills ranges in the intermediate zone, and 
  • The plains and the foothills in the extreme west and North-western side of the state.

The high hills in the east are parts of the Patkai range. In the south, such high ranges form the Barail range. Saramati is the highest peak in Nagaland, lying near the Myanmar border (3,826 m). The Barail range enters the state at its southwest corner and runs in the north-eastern direction beyond Kohima to merge with the Patkai range. The Japfu, which is the second-highest peak, is located near Kohima and stands at an altitude of about (3,014 m), followed by Kahu (2,841 m), Paona (2,791 m) and Kapamedzu (2,429 m).

The hills of Nagaland rise from the plains of Assam i.e. the plains in the west as well as in the North West form the Dimapur plain, which starts from Chumukedima and merges into the Golaghat district of Assam. Its area is about 150 sq. km. which is situated in the south-western part of the state in Dimapur district. The plain of Naganimora in the mid-west starts from Borjan and extends up to the Dikhu River on the west. The area of this plain is about 50 sq. km. the Tizit plain located in the Mon district is about 75 sq. km. in area.

The outer foothills areas which rise from the plains of Assam in the western portion of the State are of the lowest elevation of the three segments mentioned above. Here the altitude ranges from 110 meters to 600 meters.

On the extreme western part bordering Assam, the areas are dotted with a few plain expanses. The most important one is the plain of Dimapur where the town of Dimapur itself is located. This p la in starts from Chumukedima and after covering a surface area of about 150 sq. km within the State merges with the plains of Sibsagar District of Assam.

This plain falls under Kohima District. Another plain with a surface area of about 50 sq. km is found around Naginimara in the mid-west of the State. It commences from the foothills at Kongon Village (Mon District) and stretches up to the lower course of the Dikhu River. The third important p la in skirting Tizit (Mon District) is in the north-western side of the State, It has a total surface area of about 75 sq. km.

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