Abstract A few long-range airborne magnetic profiles flown at an altitude of 7.5 km a.s.l. across the Indian shield are analysed and interpreted in terms of magnetization in the lower crust. The wavelengths of the crustal anomalies are in the range of 51–255 km and this is used to separate them from signals originating at shallow depths. Spectral analysis of these profiles provided a maximum depth of 34–41 km for the long-wavelength anomalies and 9–10 km for the shallow sources identified as Mohorovic̆ić discontinuity and the basement respectively. The magnetic “high” recorded in satellite observations over the Indian shield is interpreted as due to a bulge of 3–4 km in the Moho under the Godovari graben, with a magnetization of 200 nT in the direction of the Earth's present-day magnetic field. Similarly the magnetic lows observed over the Himalaya are interpreted in terms of thickening of the granitic part of the crust from 18 to 23.5 km with a magnetization contrast of 200 nT in the direction of the Earth's present-day magnetic field.