The Eastern Ghats parallel the Coromandel Coast. The average elevation of the range is 600 metres (2,000 feet) above sea level. The Eastern Ghats lie at a distance of 80 to 240 km (50 to 149 mi) from the coast, but at Vishākhapatnam they form precipitous escarpments along the Bay of Bengal. The chief rivers that cut through the mountains are the Godāvari, Krishna, and the Kaveri.
The Western Ghats extend from the southern portion of the valley of the River Tāpi along the Malabar Coast to Cape Comorin. The range is divided by Pālghāt Gap (40 km/25 mi wide); the section north of the division is 1,300 km (810 mi) long and that to the south of the gap is 320 km (200 mi). In many sections, the range is separated only by a narrow strip of land from the coastline. At the northern part of the Western Ghats, the height may vary from 900 to 1,200 m (3,000 to 3,900 ft), but in the south they reach a height of 2,637 m (8,652 ft) at Doda Beta, their highest peak.
The region between the Eastern and Western Ghats is referred to as the Deccan Plateau. The east-sloping plateau is protected from the heavier rains by the two ranges, and has a dry season of between six and nine months.