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Geography of Odisha

The state of Odisha covers an area of 1,55,707 and extends for 800  kilometers  from north to south and 500 kilometers from east to west and having a coastline of about 480 km on the Bay of Bengal. It lies between 17° 31' and 22° 31' The Western Rolling Uplands are lower in elevation, 153-305 m and have a bedrock of hard soil and a lot of flora and fauna. 31' N latitude and 81° 31' and 87° 3°' E longitude. Bounded by West Bengal in the northeast, Jharkhand in the North, Andhra Pradesh in the South, Chattisgarh in the West, the State is open to the Bay of Bengal on the East. The state is divided into 30 districts which are further subdivided into 314 blocks. Odisha's topography comprises fertile plains along the coast and forested highlands towards the interior. The Odia people are generally of Indo-Aryan stock.

On the basis of homogeneity, continuity and physio-graphical characteristics, Odisha has been divided into five major regions:
   1. The coastal plains in the east.
   2. The middle mountainous and highlands region.
   3. The rolling upland.
   4. River valleys.
   5. Subdued plateaus.

Odisha Coastal Plains:
The coastal plains of Odisha stretch from Subarnarekha in the North to Rusikulya in the South. They are narrow in the north, widest in the middle, narrowest in the lake Chilika coast and broad in the south. The coastal plains are the gift of six major rivers, which bring silt from their catchments, has reclaimed this area from the depths of the Bay of Bengal. The rivers from north to south are the Subarnarekha, the Budhabalanga, the Baitarani, the Brahamani, the Mahanadi and the Rushikulya. The coastal plains can be termed as a land of "Six deltas". These deltas include the Subernarekha, the Budha Balanga, the middle coastal plain, the combine deltas of the Baitarani, the Brahamani, the Mahanadi and the south coastal plains (The Rusikulya plains).

Odisha Middle Mountainous and Highlands Region:
The mountainous region of Odisha covers about ¾ of the area of the state. The region is a part of Indian peninsula. Here deep and broad valleys are cut by the Baitarani, the Brahamani, the Mohanadi, the Rusikulya, the Bansadhara and the Nagavali rivers. They are fertile, well drained and thickly populated. Morphologically this region can be divided in to the following units.
    1. The Simulia and meghasana mountains.
    2. The Baitarani and the Brahamani interfluous.
    3. The water shed between the Brahmani and the Mahanadi.
    4. The water shed of Rusikulya and Vansadhara. The elevation ranges from 6102-1068 meters.

Odisha rolling uplands:
The rolling uplands are lower in elevation than the plateaus. They vary from 153m-305m. They are the products of continued river action, are rich in soil nutrients, and are situated in the koelsankh basin of the upper Brahamani in the IB, the Suktel and the tell of the middle Mohanadi and the Sabari basins. The rolling uplands may be grouped as follows: the Rajgangpur uplands, the Jharsuguda uplands, the Bhawani pattna uplands, the Bargarh uplands, the Balangir–Titlagarh uplands-the Patnagarh uplands, the Malkanigir uplands and the Rairangapur uplands.

Odisha subdued plateaus:
The subdued plateaus (305-601m) revel all the peculiarities of peninsular tablelands. They are almost flat and the monotony of geography is interrupted by the river valleys. These features are commonly met with in the upper Baitarani and the Sabari basins of the Keonjhar and Koraput Districts, respectively. In these uplands sheet erosion is most common while gullying is confined to the river valleys. These plateaus can be divided in to the Panposh–Keonjhar–Pallahara plateaus and the Nawrangpur- Jeypore plateaus.

Natural Resources of Odisha:
Odisha is the store house of natural resources. Among these, water, wild life, forest and mineral resources are found in abundant and which are very essential for growth and development of the state. The mineral resources of Odisha form a very important constituent of India’s mineral wealth. Her possession includes a wide variety of ores and minerals such as Iron-ore, Chromite, Manganese-ore, Bauxite, Non-coking Coal, Limestone, Dolomite, Nickel- ore, Vanadium-ore, Copper ore, Lead ore, Fireclay, China clay, Graphite, Quartz and Quartzite, mineral sands like Limonite, Sillimanite, Zircon and Tin ore. Government of Odisha is taking essential steps towards preserving and managing natural resources so that it can be available in the acceptable quantity, quality and at the required time for the all round development of the state.

Almost one-third of Odisha is covered by forests which make up about 37.34% of the total land area of the state. These forests cover most of southern and western Odisha. The eastern plains adjacent to the coast are covered by farmlands.The forest cover of Odisha extends over an area of 58,136.869 square kilometers out of which reserve forests make up an area of 26,329.12 square kilometers (10,165.73 sq mi), demarcated protected forests make up 11,687.079 square kilometers (4,512.406 sq mi) and un-demarcated protected forests make up 3,638.78 square kilometers (1,404.94 sq mi). Other types of forests make up 16,261.34 square kilometers (6,278.54 sq mi) while un-classed forests make up 20.55 square kilometers (7.93 sq mi) of the total forest cover. The State Government of Odisha also classifies forests based on their density. About 538 square kilometers (208 sq mi) of land are classified as very dense forests with a canopy density of over 70 percent, 27,656 square kilometers (10,678 sq mi) of forests are classified as moderately dense cover with a canopy density of 40 to 70 percent and 20,180 square kilometers (7,790 sq mi) of land are classified as open forest with a canopy density of 10 to 40 percent.

Odisha river valleys:
The river valleys are net product of the action of rivers. They are fertile and times present and undulating topography. The major river valleys of Odisha are associated with the Brahamani, the Mahanadi and the Vansadhara rivers.
Rivers: There are four groups of rivers which flow through Odisha into the Bay of Bengal.
1. Rivers that have a source outside the State (the Subarnarekha, the Brahmani the IB and the         Mahanadi).
2. Rivers having a source inside the State (the Budhabalanga, the Baitarani, the Salandi, and the         Rushikulya).
3. Rivers having a source inside the Odisha, but flow through other states (the Bahuda, the Vamsadhara River, and the Nagavali River).
4. Rivers having a source inside Odisha, but tributary to rivers which flow through other states (the Machkund, the Sileru River, the Kolab, and the Indravati River).

There are a number of Mountain springs and hotspring in Odisha. The Badaghagara and Sanaghagara in Keonjhar district, Saptasajya in Denkanal district, Chandikhole in Jajpur district, Barunei in Khorda district, Taptapani, Narayani and Nirmalajhar in Ganjam district, the Patalaganga in Kalahandi district, Nursinghanath in Bargarh district and Harisankar of Balangir district of odisha.

Most of the rivers, either at the point of origin or over the mountainous bed, have waterfalls. The Harishankar and Nhrusinhanath waterfalls in the Gandhamardan hills in Bolangir and Bargarh districts, the Barehipani and Joranda (Similipal) in Mayurbhanja districts, Sanaghagara and Badaghagara in Keonjhar district, Pradhanpat in Deogarh district, khandadhar (Banei) in Sundargarh district, Koilighugar in Jharsuguda district, Phurlijharan, Khandabaladhar, and Rabandhara in Kalahandi district, Kentamari and Putudi in Boudh and Phulbani district Duduma in Malkangiri district and Bogra in Koraput district are some of the major waterfalls of Odisha. Chota Ghagra and Bada Ghagra in the Keonjhar district, Bhim Kund and Deb Kund in Mayurbhanj district are the major water falls. There are many more water falls in Dhenkanal district.

1. The Chilika Lake is brackish water lagoon located in the southern part of the Odisha coastal plane. It areas varies 780 km2 and 144 km2; during the two monsson months it is 71 km long and 32 km wide. It salinity decleans to a minimum during the monsson. However in winter, due to the overflow of the tidal water through the narrow opening from the Bay of Bengal, it is maximum.
2. Anshupa is a sweet water lake located in Athagarh of Cuttack district. It is 3 km long and 1.5 km wide. Sara is another sweet water lake located near Puri. It is 5 km long and 3 km wide.
3. Kanjia lake is another sweet water lake with about 134 acres (0.54 km2) of area located in Nandankanan of Cuttack district near Bhubaneswar.
4. Pata is another sweet water lake located alongside the town of Chatrapur. It is 4 km long and 0.5 km wide.
5. Hirakud Dam: Artificial Lake in Sambalpur and Jharsuguda largest in Asia.
6. Indravati Dam: Artificial Lake in Kalahandi and Nabarangpur.
7. Kolab Dam: Artificial Lake in Koraput. And khandadhar at Rourkela.

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