It may also include the southeastern coast of the island of Sri Lanka.
The coast is generally low, and punctuated by the deltas of several large rivers, including the Kaveri (Cauvery), Palar, Penner, and Krishna, which rise in the highlands of the Western Ghats and flow across the Deccan Plateau to drain into the Bay of Bengal.
The alluvial plains created by these rivers are fertile and favour agriculture. The coast is also known for its ports and harbours, Pulicat, Chennai (Madras), Sadras, Pondicherry, Karaikal, Cuddalore, Tranquebar, Nagore, and Nagapattinam, which take advantage of their close proximity with regions rich in natural and mineral resources (like the Chhattisgarh belt and the mines of Golconda and Kolar) and/or good transport infrastructure.
The Coromandel Coast falls in the rain shadow of the Western Ghats, and receives a good deal less rainfall during the summer southwest monsoon, which contributes heavily to rainfall in the rest of India. The region averages 800 mm/year, most of which falls between October and December. The topography of the Bay of Bengal, and the staggered weather pattern prevalent during the season favours northeast monsoon, which has a tendency to cause cyclones and hurricanes rather than a steady precipitation. As a result, the coast is hit by inclement weather almost every year between October to January. The high variability of rainfall patterns are also responsible for water scarcity and famine in most areas not served by the great rivers. For example, the city of Chennai is one of the driest cities in the country in terms of potable water availability, despite high percentage of moisture in the air, due to the unpredictable, seasonal nature of the monsoon.
The Coromandel Coast is home to the East Deccan dry evergreen forests ecoregion, which runs in a narrow strip along the coast. The Coromandel coast is also home to extensive mangrove forests along the low-lying coast and river deltas, and several important wetlands, notably Kaliveli Lake and Pulicat Lake, that provide habitat to thousands of migrating and resident birds.