If you look at the map of India, you will observe that the southern half of the country looks like a triangle and is surrounded by water on three sides. This makes it a peninsula. This is also called Peninsular India.
The presence of the sea on three sides has given India a very long coastline (see map). Cities like Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Kandla, etc., are some of the main ports of India. Because of its of its size and diversity, we will divide the coastline into a western and eastern part and then study it.
The Western Coastal Plains:
This is the area between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. The part that includes Gujarat is called the Gujarat Plain or Saurashtra Coast. A gulf is a small part of the sea that enters land.
Look at the map and the names of the two gulfs in Gujarat. To the south of the Saurashtra Coast is the Konkan Coast which includes the state of Maharashtra. Mumbai and Goa are in this region. Coastal parts of Karnataka also lie on the Gulf of Khambhat Konkan Coast. Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli are two union territories along the western coast.
Further south in Kerala is the Malabar Coast. It is the southernmost part of the Western Coastal Plains.
Climate in the Western Coast:
The winter and summer are both mild in these regions. It gets warm in summer but unlike the extreme heat in the plains, the evenings and mornings here remain pleasant due to the sea breeze.
The Malabar Coast is the first place the monsoons reach in India. It is from Kerala that the monsoon advances to other parts of the country. In the months of June and July there is heavy rainfall here because of the monsoon winds being stopped by the Western Ghats.
Lifestyle of people living in the Western Coast:
Gujarat is a land of farmers and traders. Crops grown here are jowar, bajra, cotton and groundnuts. Salt is produced here by evaporating seawater. It also has a flourishing textile and diamond industry. The famous Amul Dairy is located at Anand near Baroda.
The farmers in the Konkan region grow rice, coconuts, spices and mangoes. Mumbai, located on the coast, is the biggest industrial and commercial centre of our country and lakhs of people work here. It is a natural harbour. There are thick teak forests in Karnataka.
On the Malabar Coast, Kerala is famous for its spices, coconuts and rubber plantations. Coffee, cacao and bananas are also grown here. Fishing is also an important means of livelihood in Kerala.
Clothes people wear:
Clothes people wear in Western Coastal Plains depend on the state which they belong to. Women in the Saurashtra region wear ghaghra-choli with chunni or sarees and men wear dhoti-kurta with a Gandhi cap. Along the Malabar Coast men wear lungis or mundus with shirts. The women wear sarees or long skirts and blouse with a dupatta.
The Eastern Coastal Plains:
The Eastern Coastal Plains stretch from Kanniyakumari in the south to West Bengal in the east. They include the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and the union territory of Pondicherry. The southern half of the Eastern Coast is called the Coromandel Coast which includes coastal Tamil Nadu. The river Kaveri which flows through Karnataka splits into many small branches here before finally flowing into the sea. The Mahanadi is another major river of the Eastern Coastal Plains. It flows through Orissa and forms a delta before it enters the Bay of Bengal.
Climate in the Eastern Coast:
Parts of Tamil Nadu receive rain in October. In other places, winter is mild and people do not need woollens. The summer months are warm but the sea breeze cools the land and prevents it from getting too hot. The rains along the Eastern Coastal Plains are heavy.
Lifestyle of people living in the Eastern Coast:
Agriculture is the main occupation of the people living in this region. Rice, cereals, coconut, groundnuts and sugarcane are grown on the Coromandel Coast. Tea is planted on the slopes of the Nilgiri Hills. Sandalwood, rubber and timber are the main forest products. Many industries and rich deposits of iron ore, copper, bauxite and limestone are found here. Fishing and farming are other occupations.
Orissa is well known for its handicrafts, delicate silver jewellery called filigree, tussar silk sarees, papier-mache masks, etc.
Clothes people wear:
The women wear sarees or long skirts and blouse with a dupatta and men wear dhoti-kurta or lungis with shirts. Orissa^ is the home of many tribes that have their own style of wearing clothes.