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M o u n t a i n   R a n g e s   o f   H i m a l a y a s

2,250-km
200-km
Pine, Deodar, Fir, Oak, Rhododendron, Birch
Mid-June Till The End Of September

Formation of Himalayas

Though the formation of the Indian sub-continent is among the oldest in the world, the Himalaya mountains are among the youngest.  A geologist can present conclusive proof that the Himalaya were once at the bottom of the ocean. The Himalayas is one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world. Its revolution can be traced to the Jurassic Era (80 million years ago) when the world’s landmasses were split into two:

Laurasia in the Northern hemisphere, and Gondwanaland in the southern hemisphere. The landmass which is now India broke away from Gondwanaland and floated across the earth’s surface until it collided with Asia. The hard volcanic rocks of India were thrust against the soft sedimentary crust of Asia, creating the highest mountain range in the world.

The Himalayan have attracted geologists, geographers and lovers of nature.  They have a strange fascination for artists, poets photographers and mystics. They are a paradise for trekkers and mountaineers and are the cradle of thousands of rivers, streams and glaciers.  The Himalaya extend over 2500 km in east-west and between 250 to 425 Km in north-South direction.  The most extraordinary thing about Himalaya is the way they have been formed in three parallel ranges known as Great Himalaya, the Lesser or the Central Himalaya and the Outer or the Siwalik Himalaya.  Commencing at Nanga Parbat in the north-west, these ranges pass through Pakistan, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Garhwal, Kumaon, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan & Arunachal Pradesh.  Of these the following from the part of Indian Himalaya Range :-

Jammu & Kashmir - Which includes Jammu, Valley of Kashmir {Sonmarg , Gulmarg, Pahlgaon}, Leh, Srinagar and Zanskar, Kargil Area.

Himachal Pradesh - Which includes the valleys of Chamba, Kangra, Kullu, Pangi, Lahaul-Spiti, Kalpa and Hill Stations {Shimla, Manali, Kullu, Dharamsala, Dalhousie, Mandi} area.

Garhwal & Kumaon - Which includes Nanda Devi, Gangotri and Yamunotri area.

Sikkim

Arunachal Pradesh

The Himalaya can be divided into four zones parallel to each other :

The Siwalik foothills - 5 to 50 km. wide and their altitude rarely exceeds 1500m. This region is generally covered with damp forest.

The Lesser Himalayan Zone - 40 to 80 Km wide and of an average altitude of about 3050M. In the lower slopes are found magnificient forests of chir, deodar, the blue pine, oak and mangolias, whereas above 2450 m. are found brich, spruce, silver fir and other species.

The Great Himalaya - Comprising the Zone of high snow-caped peaks which are about 150 or 160 Km. from the edge of the plains, this consists of lower alpine zone up to 4875 M. and upper snow-bound zone usually above 4575M. to 5100 M. The alpine zone has rhododendrons, thick shrubs with variety of beautiful flowers and grass.

The Trans Himalayan Zone - About 40Km. in width, encompassing the valleys of the rivers rising behind the great Himalaya, these river basins are at an altitude of 3600M. to 4250M.

Pir Panjal Range

The Pir Panjal Range lies south of the main Himalaya at an average elevation of 5,000m. From Gulmarg in the North west it follows the southern rim of the Kashmir valley to the Banihal pass. Here the Pir Panjal meets the ridgeline separating the Kashmir valley from the Warvan valley. From Banihal the Pir Panjal sweeps south-east to Kishtwar, where the combined waters of the Warvan and Chandra Rivers meet to form the Chenab River, one of the main tributaries of the Indus.

Pir Panjal Passes

The main passes over the Pir Panjal include the pir panjal pass due west of Srinagar, the Banihal pass which lies at the head of the Jhelum River at the southern end of the Kashmir valley, and the sythen pass linking Kashmir with Kishtwar. In Himachal Pradesh the main passes are the Sach which links the Ravi and the Chandra valleys, and the Rohtang, which links the Beas and Kullu valleys with the upper Chandra valley and Lahaul. Roads are constructed over all these passes.

Dhauladhar Range

The Dhauladhar range is a southern branch of the main Himalayan chain of mountains. It rises spectacularly from the Indian plains to the north of Kangra and Mandi.

The highest mountain in the range, just behind Dharamsala, is the Dhauladhar, or 'White Mountain', about 5,639m. or 18,500ft. tall. There are several peaks which are close to 5,180m. or 17,000ft.

Due to the position of the range it receives two monsoons a year with heavy rains so, where the mountains have not been heavily logged, there are dense pine and Deodar forests. Because of their renowned beauty, the friendliness of the Gaddi people who live on both sides of the range, and relatively easy access from Delhi, they are popular for hikers and trekkers. To the east it extends across Himachal Pradesh forming the high ridges of the Large gorge and extending south of the Pin Parvati valley before forming the impressive ridgeline east of the Sutlej River. Thereon it forms the snow capped divide between the Sangla valley and upper tons catchment area in Uttaranchal, including the Har Ki Dun Valley. Beyond the Bhagirathi River it forms the range between Gangotri and Kedarnath before merging with the main Himalaya at the head of the Gangotri glacier.

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