Rainfall Distribution in India

Rainfall Distribution in India – UPSC Indian Geography Notes

India is a vast country in geographical terms, with various regions experiencing divergent climatic conditions. This is also reflected in the distribution of rainfall in India. Some regions encounter very high rainfall, while others receive scanty rainfall. The difference between the recorded highest and lowest rainfall in India is approximately 1178 cm. In this article, we will discuss various zones of the country according to the average annual rainfall. This topic is an important part of the Geography Syllabus of the UPSC for Prelims and Mains.

Rainfall Distribution in India

Precipitation in India exhibits irregular patterns throughout the year, marked by a well-defined rainy season prevailing from approximately June to September. According to the Koppen climate classification, India comprises seven distinct climatic regions:

  1. Tropical semi-arid
  2. Sub-tropical arid desert
  3. Sub-tropical semi-arid
  4. Tropical rainforest
  5. Tropical Savannah
  6. Sub-tropical humid
  7. Alpine

The average rainfall in India stands at 118 cm, as per annual data from the Meteorological Department. The following outlines the distribution of rainfall in India across various regions:

Extreme Precipitation regions

  • Northeastern regions and the windward side of the Western Ghats experience an average of 400 cm of annual rainfall.
  • Areas like Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, and hilly tracts of the Western Ghats host tropical rainforests.
  • The highest rainfall in India and the world is recorded at Mawsynram village in Meghalaya.

Heavy Precipitation regions

  • Regions experiencing 200-300 cm of rainfall fall into this zone, covering most of Eastern India.
  • States such as West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Odisha, and Bihar are included in this zone.
  • The sub-Himalayan belt also falls under this zone, featuring tropical rainforests.

Moderate Precipitation regions

  • Areas with 100 to 200 cm of rainfall include parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and the leeward side of the Western Ghats.
  • These regions are characterized by Wet Deciduous forests as the most common natural vegetation.

Scanty Precipitation regions

  • Areas with 50 to 100 cm of rainfall encompass parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh.
  • Common vegetation types include Tropical Grasslands, Savannah, and Dry Deciduous forests.

Desert and Semi-desert Regions

  • Areas receiving below 50 cm of rainfall include the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and adjacent areas.
  • Some parts of Jammu & Kashmir, like the Ladakh plateau, are classified as cold deserts.
  • Vegetation in these regions comprises hardy species adapted to withstand extended droughts.
  • Parts of Gujarat feature Savannah vegetation in wetter regions.
  • The lowest recorded rainfall in India is in Ruyli village, Rajasthan.

The rainfall distribution in India is influenced by the Thar Desert and the Himalayas. Temperature and pressure changes over the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the southern part of the Pacific Ocean also exert a significant role in the monsoon rains over the country.

Average Rainfall in India

Every year, the Average Rainfall in India hovers around 125 cm of rain (890 mm). Owing to the country’s highly varied geography, encompassing factors such as relief or topography, distance from the sea, etc., there is a significant variance in the amount of rainfall it receives annually. On average, India witnesses approximately 1,170 millimeters (46 inches) of rainfall each year. However, it’s crucial to note that the distribution of rainfall is not uniform throughout the country.

The coastal regions along the western coast, such as the Western Ghats and the northeastern states, receive higher rainfall, ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 millimeters (98 to 197 inches) annually.

In contrast, the northwest region, including Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat, experiences lower rainfall, ranging from 100 to 500 millimeters (4 to 20 inches) annually, making it more arid and prone to droughts. The central and northern parts of India receive moderate rainfall, with an average range of 500 to 1,000 millimeters (20 to 39 inches) per year.


In conclusion, the rainfall distribution in India is a complex and dynamic phenomenon shaped by diverse geographical factors such as relief, distance from the sea, and topography.
The area in India receiving the highest rainfall is Mawsynram, situated in the state of Meghalaya. Mawsynram holds the Guinness World Record for being the wettest place on Earth, with an average annual rainfall of approximately 11,871 millimeters (467.4 inches), solidifying its status as the highest rainfall region in India.

FAQs on Rainfall Distribution in India

Q. Where is the highest rainfall in India?

Answer – The highest rainfall in India is recorded in Mawsynram, a village in the state of Meghalaya.

Q. How to download Rainfall in India UPSC Notes PDF?

Answer – Unfortunately, I cannot provide specific download links, but you may find UPSC notes on Rainfall in India by searching on official UPSC websites, educational platforms, or utilizing relevant study materials.

Q. Where is the lowest rainfall in India recorded?

Answer – The lowest rainfall in India has been recorded in Ruyli village, located in the state of Rajasthan.

Q. What is the average rainfall in India?

Answer – The average annual rainfall in India is approximately 118 cm, according to data from the Meteorological Department.

Q. What is the annual rainfall in India?

Answer – The annual rainfall in India varies across regions. On average, it is around 118 cm, but specific areas may receive higher or lower amounts.

Q. What is the distribution of rainfall in India?

Answer – Rainfall in India is distributed unevenly. Different regions experience varying amounts, ranging from extremely heavy precipitation in certain areas to scanty rainfall in others.

Q. What is average annual rainfall?

Answer – Average annual rainfall refers to the mean amount of precipitation a region receives over the course of a year. It is a key indicator of the climatic conditions in a particular area.

Q. Which is the highest average annual rainfall in India?

Answer – The regions with the highest average annual rainfall in India include the northeastern regions and the windward side of the Western Ghats. Mawsynram in Meghalaya holds the record for the highest annual rainfall.

Q. How to calculate average annual rainfall in India?

Answer – Average annual rainfall is calculated by summing up the rainfall data for a specific period, usually a year, and dividing it by the number of years. This provides the mean or average annual rainfall for the given period.

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