Northern Indian Himalayas-Travellers delight

Some of the highest mountains in the world are located in northern India.These are called northern indian himalayas.  These are part of the Himalaya mountains. Being the world’s highest mountain chain, the Himalayas is characterized by its great height, complex geologic structure, snowcapped peaks, large valley glaciers, deep river gorges, and rich vegetation.

chandratal lake in the northern indian himalayas

chandratal lake in the northern indian himalayas

They were given the name northern indian  Himalayas which means “home of snow”, because snow never melts on their high peaks.
The northern indian Himalayas form the planet’s highest mountain region, containing 9 of the 10 highest peaks in the world. Among these peaks are the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8848 m), which is on the Nepal-Tibet border; the second highest peak, K2 or Mount Godwin Austen (8,611 m), located on the border between China and Jammu and Kashmir, the third highest peak, Kanchanjunga (8,598 m) on the Nepal-India border.

The Himalayas can be classified in a variety of ways. From south to north, the mountains can be grouped into four parallel, longitudinal mountain belts,

a trail in the northern indian himalayas

a trail in the northern indian himalayas

The northern indian  Himalayas have the third largest deposit of ice and snow in the world, after Antarctica and the Arctic. The Himalayan range encompasses about 15,000 glaciers, which store about 12,000 km3 (3000 cubic miles) of fresh water. Its glaciers include the Gangotri and Yamunotri (Uttarakhand) and Khumbu glaciers (Mount Everest region), Langtang glacier (Langtang region) and Zemu (Sikkim).

Owing to the mountains’ latitude near the Tropic of Cancer, the permanent snow line is among the highest in the world at typically around 5,500 metres (18,000 ft). In contrast, equatorial mountains in New Guinea, the Rwenzoris and Colombia have a snow line some 900 metres (2,950 ft) lower. The northern indian  Himalayas are snowbound throughout the year, in spite of their proximity to the tropics, and they form the sources of several large perennial rivers, most of which combine into two large river systems:

a river hurtling through the northern indian himalayas

a river hurtling through the northern indian himalayas

The western rivers combine into the Indus Basin, of which the Indus River is the largest. The Indus begins in Tibet at the confluence of Sengge and Gar rivers and flows southwest through India and then through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. It is fed by the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, and the Sutlej rivers, among others.
Most of the northern indian Himalayas rivers drain the Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin. Its main rivers are the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Yamuna, as well as other tributaries. The Brahmaputra originates as the Yarlung Tsangpo River in western Tibet, and flows east through Tibet and west through the plains of Assam. The Ganges and the Brahmaputra meet in Bangladesh, and drain into the Bay of Bengal through the world’s largest river delta,the Sunderbans.
The easternmost Himalayan rivers feed the Ayeyarwady River, which originates in eastern Tibet and flows south through Myanmar to drain into the Andaman Sea.

snow clad mountains in the northern indian himalayas

snow clad mountains in the northern indian himalayas

The Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and Huang He (Yellow River) all originate from parts of the Tibetan Plateau that are geologically distinct from the northern indian Himalayas mountains, and are therefore not considered true Himalayan rivers. Some geologists refer to all the rivers collectively as the circum-Himalayan rivers. In recent years, scientists have monitored a notable increase in the rate of glacier retreat across the region as a result of global climate change. For example, Glacial lakes have been forming rapidly on the surface of the debris-covered glaciers in the Bhutan Himalaya during the last few decades. Although the effect of this will not be known for many years, it potentially could mean disaster for the hundreds of millions of people who rely on the glaciers to feed the rivers of northern India during the dry seasons. Some of the lakes present a danger of a glacial lake outburst flood. The Tsho Rolpa glacier lake in the Rolwaling Valley is rated as the most dangerous in Nepal

another view of northern indian himalayas

another view of northern indian himalayas

 

The Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) is a range that spans ten states of India namely, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh as well as the hill regions of two states – Assam and West Bengal. The region is responsible for providing water to a large part of the Indian subcontinent and contains varied flora and fauna. The IHR physiographically, starting from the foothills of south (Siwaliks), this mountain range extends up to Tibetan plateau on the north (Trans-Himalaya). Three major geographical entities, the Himadri (greater Himalaya), Himanchal (lesser Himalaya) and the Siwaliks (outer Himalaya) extending almost uninterrupted throughout its length, are separated by major geological fault lines. All these combined are known as northern indian himalayas. Mighty but older streams like the Indus, Sutlej, Kali, Kosi and Brahmaputra have cut through steep gorges to escape into the Great Plains and have established their antecedence.

scenic spots in northern indian himalayas

scenic spots in northern indian himalayas

The Karakoram ranges are the best looking part of India. To the south of the Karakoram range lie the Zangskar ranges. Parallel to the Zangskar ranges lie the Pir Panjal ranges. These three mountain ranges lie parallel to each other in the north-western part of India, most of its area lying in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Some of the highest mountains on earth are found in the region. Many rivers considered holy like the Ganga and Yamuna flow from the northern indian Himalayas.

TRANS-HIMALYAYAS: This Zone is the Northen most area in the country in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal pradesh. It’s an extension of Tibetan plaeteau around the Himalayas.The Main northern indian  Himalayas Ranges are:

Pir Panjal Range Dhaula Dhar Range Zanskar Range Ladakh Range East Korakoram Range Pir Panjal Range: To the south of the main northern indian Himalayas lies the Pir Panjal Range at an average height of 5,000m. From Gulmarg in the Northwest it follows the southern rim of the Kashmir valley to the Banihal pass. Here the Pir Panjal meets the ridgeline, which separates the Kashmir valley from the Warvan valley. The major passes here in Pir Panjal are the pir panjal pass due west of Srinagar, the Banihal pass which lies at the top of the Jhelum River at the southern end of the Kashmir valley, and the sythen pass linking Kashmir with Kishtwar.

Dhaula Dhar Range: To the south of the Pir Panjal lies the Dhaula Dhar range. It is easily visible because of its distinct feature of the snow-capped ridge, which forms the division between the Ravi and the Beas valleys. In the west it divides the Chenab valley and the Tawi valley. Towards the east it extends across Himachal Pradesh forming the high ridges of the Largi gorge and extending towards the south of the Pin Parvati valley before it forms the ridgeline east of the Sutlej River.This part of the northern indian himalayas is the best.

Zanskar Range: It lies to the north of the main northern indian Himalayas. It acts as a backbone of Ladakh south of the Indus River, extending from the ridges beyond Lamayuru in the west across the Zanskar region; there it is divided from the main Himalaya by the Stod and Tsarap valleys, the Zanskar valley. On the east of the Zanskar region the range continues through Lahaul and Spiti. While on the North it continues across the Kinnaur before extending towards west across Uttaranchal. Some of the main passes are the Fatu La, on the Leh-Srinagar road, while the main trekking passes into the Zanskar valley are Singge La, the Cha Cha La and the Rubrang La are.

Ladakh Range: To the north of the Leh lies the ladakh range and it is an important part of the Trans-Himalayan range that merges with the Kailash range in Tibet. Here the important passes are the famous Kardung La, and Digar La, which lie to the north east of Leh.

off roading in northern indian himalayas

off roading in northern indian himalayas

East Korakoram Range: It is a giant range, which geographically divides India and Central Asia. The range consists of high mountain peaks like Saltoro Kangri, Rimo and Teram Kargri. The Korakoram Pass acts as the main connector between the markets of Yarkand, Leh and Kashgar.

Siwalik Hills: It lies to the south of the Dhaula Dhar, with an average height of 1,500 to 2,000m.It includes the Jammu hills and Vaishno Devi, and extends to Kangra and if you move further east to the range south of Mandi. In Uttaranchal side it stretches from Dehra Dun to Almora before it heads across the southern borders of Nepal.

So these were some of the major mountain ranges of northern indian Himalayas.

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