Coastal States of India: Features and Significance

By K Balaji|Updated : August 25th, 2022

Small or medium-sized states located alongside the ocean refer to the Coastal states of India. The Indian peninsular region remains encompassed by water bodies on all three sides and holds an in-depth network of oceans and rivers. Furthermore, the Indian coastline runs approximately 7500 km long, with nine coastal states, four union territories, and two groups of islands.

The coastal belt constitutes multiple ecosystems stretching from shores and mangroves to coral reefs. These Coastal states can play a significant part in expanding harbors and inland waterways for sustainable growth. In this article, you will read more about the Coastal States of India that will assist you during your UPSC prelims and mains examination.

Table of Content

Coastal States of India

The coastal atmosphere plays a crucial part in a country's economy through productive habitats, resources, and vibrant biodiversity. The coastal zone also has numerous ecosystems like coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses, salt marshes, dunes, lagoons, estuaries, etc.

The coastal areas in India are taking greater prominence due to rising urbanization, human population, and accelerated developmental actions. There are approximately 13 significant docks in India.

List of 9 Coastal State and Union Territories in India

The nine coastal areas in India are as follows -

  1. Gujarat
  2. Maharashtra
  3. Goa
  4. Karnataka
  5. Kerala
  6. Tamil Nadu
  7. Andhra Pradesh
  8. Odisha
  9. West Bengal

There are four Union Territories of India:

  1. Daman & Diu
  2. Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Bay of Bengal)
  3. Puducherry
  4. Lakshadweep Islands (Arabian Sea)

Coastline of India - Total Length (Kilometers)

Gujarat is the state with the longest coastline boundary in India, whereas Daman & Diu has the shortest coastline. The total length of the coastline of India (in kilometers) is roughly 7,516. To know the length of each coastline, refer to the table below.

State or Union Territory

Length (in Km)

Gujarat

1600

Tamil Nadu

1076

Andhra Pradesh

973.7

Maharashtra

652.6

Kerala

569.7

Odisha

476.4

Karnataka

280

West Bengal

157.5

Goa

101

Andaman & Nicobar Islands

1962

Lakshadweep

132

Puducherry

47.6

Daman & Diu

42.5

Total

7,516.60

Features of Coastal Boundary of India

Below is the brief information about the 9 coastal states of India, their location, number of ports they possess, and the type of plantations they support.

Gujarat

Gujarat holds the first position as the longest coastline in India, having a total length of 1,600 km, observed in the Kathiawar region.

  • It is surrounded by the Arabian Sea and has 41 ports, including 1 Major and 40 Intermediate ports.
  • Some of the beaches of Gujarat are Porbandar, Diu, Dwarka, etc.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is India's second largest coastal state, being 1,076 km long, and is referred to as the coromandel coast.

  • Utkal Plains bounds it on the north side, the Bay of Bengal on the east, the Kaveri delta on the south, and the Eastern Ghats on the West.
  • The main crops of this coastal area are sugarcane, cotton, rice, pulses, and peanuts.
  • Coconut agribusiness is done along this coast.
  • It also has important seaports, including Marina Beach, Tuticorin and Chennai, fishing dockyards, and the Gulf of Mannar National Park.

Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh ranks third in the list of coastlines in India situated in the Coastal Andhra region.

  • This coastline of India stretches over a distance of 973 km.
  • It is found along the Coromandel Coast between the Bay of Bengal and the Eastern Ghats.
  • This coastline has prosperous agricultural land due to the Krishna river, Godavari delta, and Penna river.
  • Rice is the area's primary yield; other plantations are pulses and coconut.
  • It has 12 Major Ports.

Maharashtra

Konkan Coast is a popular name for the Maharashtra coast and has a coastline length of 720 km.

  • The Western Ghats mountain defines Maharashtra's coastal area in the eastern part, the Arabian Sea in the western region, the Daman Ganga River in the north, and the Gangavalli River in the south.
  • The main crops of the zone are pulses, rice, millets, coconut, etc.
  • The Konkan coastline is spotted with numerous beaches and is a perfect escape for the Pune and Mumbai locals.
  • It has 53 ports, wherein 2 are Major and 51 Minor or Intermediate.

Kerala

The coastal area in India that ranks fifth is Kerala, with a length of 590 km, commonly called the Coast of Malabar.

  • It initiates from the south-western coast of Maharashtra and arrives in Kanyakumari along the coastal region of Goa, via the entire western coast of Karnataka.
  • It encloses the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the West.
  • Malabar coast is renowned for stunning scenarios, tea and coffee farms, beaches, salty water lakes, etc.
  • The state has 13 Major Ports.

Odisha

The sixth coastline of India, which is Odisha state's coast, stretches over 485 km, also called the Utkal Plains.

  • The Lower Ganges Plain borders the region in the north, the Tamilnad Plains in the south, the West by the Eastern Ghats, and the Bay of Bengal in the east.
  • This region has Chilka lake, the ancient kingdom of Kalinga, beaches, and Bhitarkanika.
  • Odisha has only one Port.

Karnataka

Kanara is another name for the coastal area of Karnataka, which is 300 km in length.

  • Konkan borders the area in the north, Kerala Plains in the South, West holds the Arabian Sea, and the Western Ghats in the east.
  • It has many tourist destinations such as St. Mary's Island Beach, Maravanthe, and more.
  • Karnataka has three districts: Udupi, Uttara Kannada, and Dakshina.
  • This coastal area of India has 10 Ports and 2 Intermediate Ports.

West Bengal

The West Bengal coastal area is found in Purba Medinipur and South 24 Parganas district, which has a length of 158 km.

  • The Sundarbans delta here is the biggest mangrove forest in the world.
  • Sundarbans is a dwelling for various fauna, particularly the royal Bengal tiger.
  • The top economic sector in this coastal state of India is Agriculture.
  • Potato, jute, rice, sugarcane, and wheat are the major plantation crops of West Bengal.
  • It has only one Port.

Goa

The smallest Indian state, Goa, has the shortest coastline distance of 131 km. It is home to many captivating beaches worldwide.

  • Goa is enveloped by the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, with the Arabian Sea composing its western coast.
  • The soil in this coastal region of India comprises oxides of ferric-aluminum and is reddish, alluvial, and earthy.
  • The soil composition makes it rich in minerals and humus, so it is facilitative to agriculture.
  • Goa holds one Major and 5 Minor Ports.

Significance of Coastal States in India

The coastal states in India hold immense significance due to the following reasons.

Fishing sector: Fishing is an essential livelihood of the individuals in our country. Furthermore, seafood is a good and healthy part of their diet, and India's cumulative commercial ocean net accounts for roughly 30% of all landings.

Tourism: India holds a long coastline along the continent and countless islands. It has attained admirable success in Andaman and Goa regarding beach tourism, and Beach tourism is a significant commercial activity.

Transport: Indian water bodies are essential for transport and logistics, which is necessary for developing different sectors of the economy.

Tidal energy: The power created by the frequent elevation and fall of ocean tides due to the sun, moon, or earth's gravitational force can be harnessed to generate electricity. Tidal energy could become an essential power source in the coming days because it is a renewable energy resource.

Minerals from the ocean: Coal, natural gas, and oil can be brought under the seabed. Several minerals are also available in seawater, and salt is the most prevalent. India has abundant resources of minerals, such as rutile, ilmenite, zircon, sillimanite, monazite, and garnet.

Important UPSC Topics

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UPSC Exam Pattern

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UPSC Syllabus in Hindi

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UPSC Question Paper

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Physiography of Indian Coastal States

The features of the Indian western and eastern coastline are distinct. Large regions of the coastal plains in our country are surrounded by fertile grounds on which additional crops are grown.

  • The total length of the shore remains dotted with oversized and short docks, which assist in bringing out trade.
  • The sedimentary pebbles of these grasslands comprise extensive depositions of mineral oil.

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The white sands of the Kerala shore have a considerable quantity of monazite employed for nuclear power.

  • In a nutshell, India should expedite its endeavors to use marine resources in the country and its coastal states.
  • What is needed is the active involvement of states and cooperative federalism.
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FAQs on the Coastal States of India

  • The four coastal union territories in India are as follows -

    • Daman & Diu
    • Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Bay of Bengal)
    • Puducherry
    • Lakshadweep Islands (Arabian Sea)
  • Gujarat is the largest coastal state of India, with a coastline length of 1600 km. It is surrounded by the Arabian Sea and has 41 ports, including 1 Major and 40 Intermediate ports.

  • There are nine coastal states in India. Furthermore, the Indian coastline runs approximately 7500 km long, spread along with these nine Coastal States of India, four union territories, and two groups of islands.

  • The nine Coastal States of India are as follows -

    • Gujarat
    • Maharashtra
    • Goa
    • Karnataka
    • Kerala
    • Tamil Nadu
    • Andhra Pradesh
    • Odisha
    • West Bengal
  • Among the states, Gujarat has the longest coastline in India, and among the Union Territories, Andaman and Nicobar Islands have the longest coastline.

  • Goa, India's smallest state, is considered the smallest coastline state in India, having a length of only 160 km.

  • It includes the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. The region consists of the Konkan (Mumbai to Goa), Kanara or the "Karavali," and the Malabar Coast.

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