Great Indian Himalayas
The Great Himalayan mountain ranges running
from India's north to east have fascinated scholars, poets,
writers, painters, photographers and adventure sports lovers
alike. The Himalayas have been protecting and bestowing many
boons to India since ages. They are also regarded as the eastern
sentinels of India. The Himalayas stretches to a length of about
2400 km, from Nanga Parbat in the west to Namche Barwa in the
east. The width of the Himalayas vary between 250-300 km.
Geographically, the Himalayas consist of three ranges. The Sub-Himalayan
range (Shivalik mountains in India) are the youngest ranges
having an elevation of about 1200 metres. The ranges are made
of erosion material from the rising Himalayas. Next are the
Lower Himalayan Ranges that run parallel to the Sub-Himalayan
ranges. They are at elevations between 2000 to 5000 metres.
A number of hill stations in India likShimla, Nainital and Darjeeling
are located in these ranges. The northernmost ranges, oldest
of the three are called Higher Himalayas. They have an elevation
of more than 6000 metres and some of the world's highest peaks
are located there. This includes the three highest-Mount Everest,
K2 and Kanchenjunga.
Vegetation in the Himalayan ranges vary with climate and altitude.
The Sub-Himalayan ranges mainly have deciduous forests. The
vegetation shifts ttemperate forests, conifers and tundra in
the Higher Himalayan ranges. The topmost regions have a permanent
snow line and does not allow any growth of vegetation. Evergreen
rainforests could be seen in the far eastern Himalayas.
The Himalayas are among the youngest mountain ranges on the
planet. The theory of plate tectonics reveal that the Himalayas
were formed as a result of continental collision along the convergent
boundary between the Indo-Australian Plate and Eurasian Plate.
Indian states lying mostly in the Himalayas are Jammu&Kashmir,
Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Himalayas in Kashmir : Perched on the lap of Himalayas
are many beautiful destinations of Kashmir. The magnificent
snow capped mountain peaks running through Kashmir have earned
the state the name jannat or heaven. The Himalayas have also
resulted in Kashmir turning into a major hub for mountaineering
and trekking. The main mountaineering destinations are Ladakh,
Nubra region, Zanskar region and Kishtwar. Trekking expeditions
are mainly organized in Amarnath, Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Ladakh.
Himalayas in Himachal : Himalayas have gifted to Himachal
many picturesque hill stations. Places that are thronged by
people from both India and abroad. The snow capped peaks could
be seen from very close quarters in Himachal. The popular hill
stations are Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Dalhousie, Dharamshala and
Chamba. In the Himalayas, mountaineering and trekking cannot
be far behind. Mountaineering and trekking mainly takes place
in Kangra, Chamba, Kulu, Lahul -Spiti and Kinnaur.
Himalayas in Uttaranchal : The Himalayas in Uttaranchal
are visited for pilgrimage, adventure and holidaying. Some of
India's most sacred pilgrimage sites are perched on the Garhwal
Himalayas. Haridwar, Rishikesh, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri
and Kedarnath have been visited by saints, sages and ordinary
mortals sine many centuries. Dehradun, Mussorie, Almora and
Nainital are popular hill stations in the Himalayan region.
Corbett and Nanda Devi are two wildlife sanctuaries located
on the foothills of the Himalayas. Mountaineering in Uttaranchal
mainly involves taming the challenging Nanda Devi and Mount
Shivalik ranges. Joshimath and Gangotri valley are also popular
mountaineering destinations. Some of the favourite trekking
routes in the state are Gangotri-Kalindikhal-Badrinath trek,
Roopkund-Homekund trek, Dodital-Darba Pass-Yamnotri trek and
Garhwal-Panwati Kantha trek.
Himalayas in Sikkim : Almost the whole of tiny Sikkim
is perched on the lap of Himalayas. Some of the most beautiful
hill stations of eastern India are found here. They include
Gangtok, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Mirik. In the Himalayan ranges,
Buddhism has also flourished in a big way. Many beautiful Buddhist
monasteries also dot the landscape of Sikkim. Some of the popular
peaks in Sikkim for mountaineering are Talung, Jonsong and Tent,
all of which are above 24,000 feet.
Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh : If the Himalayan ranges
have to be seen in their most virgin form, one must visit India's
far eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. The landscape of Arunachal
enthralls one and all. Tawang is Arunachal's most popular hill
station perched in high altitudes. One of India's largest Buddhist
monasteries is also located in the place.