The Vindhya Range (Sanskrit: विन्ध्य) is a range of older rounded mountains and hills in the west-central Indian subcontinent, which geographically separates the Indian subcontinent into northern India (the Indo-Gangetic plain) and Southern India.
The western end of the range is in the state of Gujarat at the eastern side of the Gujarat peninsula, near the border with the modern states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Reaching the sub-continent proper, the range runs east and north nearly to the Ganges River at Mirzapur. The area to the north and west of the range are arid and inhospitable, located in the shadow of both the Vindhya and the higher Satpura range to the south blocking the prevailing winds.
Origin of rivers
The southern slopes of the range are drained by the Narmada River, which proceeds westward to the Arabian Sea in the wide valley between the Vindhya Range and the parallel Satpura Range farther to the south. The northern slopes of the range are drained by tributaries of the Ganges, including the Kali Sindh, Parbati, Betwa, & Ken (both are tributary of the yamuna), Son & Tamsa or Tons both are tributary of the Ganges, drains the southern slopes of the range at its eastern end.
The earliest known multicellular fossils of eukaryotes (filamentous algae) have been discovered from Vindhya basin dating back to 1.6 to 1.7 billion years ago. Shelled creatures are documented to have first evolved at the start of the Cambrian 'explosion of life', about 550 million years ago.
The Vindhyan tableland is a plateau that lies to the north of the central part of the range. The cities of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, and Indore lie on the tableland, which rises higher than the Indo-Gangetic plain to its north.
Hindu legends say that the Vindhya mountains once showed a tendency to grow so high as to obstruct the usual trajectory of the sun. This was accompanied by increasing vanity on the part of that mountain range, which demanded that Surya should circum-ambulate the Vindhyas in the same way as he does Mount Meru. The need arose to subdue, by guile, the Vindhyas, and Agastya was chosen to do that.
Agastya Muni journeyed from north to south, and on the way encountered the now impassible Vindhya mountains. He asked the mountain range to facilitate his passage across to the south. In reverence for Agastya, the Vindhya mountains bent low enough to enable the sage and his family to cross over and enter southern India. The Vindhya range also promised not to increase in height until Agastya Muni and his family returned to the north. Agastya Muni settled permanently in the south, near Nasik by the river Godavari in the beginning & later far south in Tamilnadu, and the Vindhya range, true to its word, never grew further.
- Srivastava, P. and Bali R. 2006. Proterozoic carbonaceous remains from the Chorhat sandstone: oldest fossils of the Vindhyan supergroup. Geobios V. 39, pp. 873–878.
- Bengtson, S.; Belivanova, V.; Rasmussen, B.; Whitehouse, M. (May 2009). "The controversial "Cambrian" fossils of the Vindhyan are real but more than a billion years older". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106 (19): 7729–7734. Bibcode:2009PNAS..106.7729B. doi:10.1073/pnas.0812460106. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 2683128. PMID 19416859.