Deep desires to explore
the lofty ranges of the Himalayas attract people from all
over the world. If you visit the Himalayas just once you will
understand why it's called the paradise on earth. Not many
destinations in the world can charm you like the Himalayas.
Not every place gives you a reason to be there every season.
But then not every place is the Himalayas. The silvery slopes
of the Himalayas are the home to one of the best adventure
sports zones in the world. Today it has become a favorite
destination as much for families as for the adventure sport
enthusiasts. Each and every region of the Himalayas has its
own unique characteristics. No other place in the world can
offer such varied topography ranging from the lush green valleys
to turbulent rivers and glistening mountain peaks on one side
to the tropical jungles of the Arunachal and the stark land
of the Trans Himalaya on the other side that extends to the
Tibetan plateau. It is the place where you can find some amazing
range of flora and fauna.
So we have tried to knit together these seemingly diverse
features of the Himalayan topography by bringing out the unique
beauty of different regions. So come lets explore the majestic
Himalaya with Himalaya Visit as we travel down from one region
Region: Northern Part Of Indian Sub-Continent
Also Known As: Himvan, Himvat, Himachal And Himadri
Famous Peaks: Mount Everest, Kunchenjunga, K2, Nanga
Himalayas - The Great Snowy Ranges
In a memorable verse of the Kumarsambhava,
the famous Sanskrit poet Kalidasa compares the Himalaya to
a gigantic measuring rod striding the earth between two oceans.
The snow-capped peaks are indeed the most impressive feature.
Himalaya, a Sankrit word, which means ' The Abode Of Snow'
and all other names used to describe this mountain range associate
it with eternal snow - Himvan, Himvat,
Himachal and Himadri.
Interestingly, a vast shallow sea, the Tethys, existed where
the Himalaya stands today. The submerged landmasses on either
side started pushing towards each other, giving birth to these
mountains. This was a relatively recent occurrence in the
geographical time frame, so the Himalaya is considered a young
and fragile land formation. Scientists speculate that the
whole process took five to seven million years. Fossil finds
at heights of over 8,000 metres (26,000 feet) support these
theories. The Himalaya has risen about 2,000 metres (6,600
feet) in the past 20,000 years and continues to rise at the
rate of 7.5 to 10 centimetres (3-4 inches) a year.
The High And Mighty
The Himalaya is the world's mightiest mountain range.
No other chain can boast of peaks of 8,000 metres (26,000
feet). In the Himalaya there are 14 such peaks and hundreds
of summits over 7,000 metres (23,000 feet) high. The range
of mountains stretches 2,700-kms (1,700 miles) across an area
between Assam and Kashmir. In the east, Namche Barwa stands
sentinel; the western extremity is guarded by the awesome
The snow-capped, frost-crusted peaks have posed a challenge
not only to the physical prowess of adventures; they have
also inspired sublime metaphysics and lyrical poetry. There
are innumerable references to this king of mountains, the
glistening divinity, and the noble soul.
The earliest is in the Rig Veda. Singing the praise of the
supreme deity, the poet sages refer to the Himalaya: 'It is
to He to whom belong these celestial mountain ranges.' These
sages also describe its stretch as: 'the expanse of the two
arms of the great being'. The epic Ramayana and Mahabharat,
and the Puranas, describe this as the region where the Gods
dwell, and the landscape is evoked beautifully in classical
poetical works. According to the Skanda Purana
notes: 'As the sun dries the morning dew so does the mere
sight of the Himalaya dissipate the sins of man.'
Rivers Running Through It!
The Himalaya is the source of many great rivers of the Indian
subcontinent. The Indus or Sindhu (the river rising out of
a lion's mouth) rises in the trans-Himalayan Tibetan Plateau,
as does the Brahmaputra. The Ganga and Yamuna, with their
countless colourful Himalayan tributaries, are inextricably
intertwined with local myths and legends.
Securing The Lands
For centuries, the Himalaya acted as the bulwark of Indian
security, serving as the great divide between India and Tibet.
The rugged terrain deterred all but the most dauntless from
risking their lives on perilous journeys in the icy heights.
But, difficult though many of the passes and valleys were,
they did not prevent a slow penetration by determined and
hardy souls for the purposes of trade and pilgrimage. It must
be remembered that the Himalayan region has also served through
history as a melting pot of races, religions and cultures.
The vast Himalaya is far from being a homogenous region. It
is, in fact, a region of remarkable variety. 'Himachal' (steadfast
snows), is the term used to denote the lesser Himalaya; the
outer rim rises sharply from the foothills, which are called
the 'Doars', from the Sanskrit Dvar (gateway). The
greater Himalayas themselves are referred to as the 'Himadri'.
' Uttarakhand' is a loose, general term covering all the northern
territories; it also denotes Kumaon and Garhwal as a unit.
Outlining the North Indian Subcontinent
Although the Himalaya can be traced to the Arakans and Arunachal
in the east, its majesty is truly encountered only when one
reaches Bhutan and Sikkim. The 8,682 metre (28,483-foot)-tall
Kanchenjunga overshadows all else in Sikkim. This beautiful
mountain is considered sacred by Hindus and Buddhists alike
and its name translates as the ' Treasure of Five Jewels'.
It is the third-highest mountain in the world.
Uttrakhand lies in the central sector of the Himalaya, its
boundaries marked by the Kali River in the east and the river
Sutlaj in the west. Once, third of the land here consists
of barren rocks, ridges and wild gorges. The 7,890-metre (25,885-feet)
high Nanda Devi is the highest peak here followed by Kamet,
Trishuli and the Panchachuli.
Himachal Pradesh lies further west, and Kinner Kailash in
Kinnaur, is the most famous peak in this region. The Dhauladhar
Range may not boast of many high peaks but it exudes a quaint
charm of its own.
Nanda Devi is the beloved Goddess of the people in Kumaon
and Garhwal. Veteran mountaineers have gone into raptures
over this moving sight, which has been described as 'the white-robed
vision hanging from heaven which pulsates like a star with
purity.' Eric Shipton and H W Tilman discovered the Nanda
Devi sanctuary, and were of the view that the scenes of grandeur
there were too visit for human conception.
Trans Himalayan Region
The trans- Himalayan region proper is encountered in Ladakh,
the northernmost part of the Indian Himalayas. Before the
district of Kargil was carved out of it, Ladakh was the largest
district of India. It is bounded to the north by the Kunlun
and Karakoram mountains and to the south by the Zanskar ranges.
Mountain ranges run parallel to each other in the southeast
and the northwest.
The famous Silk Route passed through Leh, meaning 'oasis',
which is the district headquarters of present-day Ladakh.
Until recently, caravans rested here before and after crossing
the dangerous passes. The highest pass traversed through the
Karakoram is at 5,628 metre (18,464 feet). The confluences
of the Indus River and the Shyok, Zanskar, Nubra and the Drass
rivers are in Ladakh. The landscape is almost lunar and the
climate extremely arid. It is here that the Himalaya begins
to taper down and merges into the Hindukush skirting the heartland
The beautiful valley of Kashmir and the alpine meadows of
Pahalgam and Gulmarg have been well trodden by travelers for
centuries. Jehangir, the grand Mughal (also spelt as Moghul),
was particularly fond of Kashmir and retired here in the summers
to escape the blistering heat of the plains. He laid out beautifully
landscaped gardens like the Nishat and the Shalimar in an
effort to enhance the natural beauty of the land.
Sikkim is situated to the south of Tibet and east of Nepal.
Many of the most famous mountains in the Himalayas, including
the majestic Everest, lie in Nepal. Neighbouring Bhutan also
shares in the grandeur of the Himalayas. The entire country
is a closed basin between two parallel and deeply intersecting
transverse ridges. It is the catchment area of the Tista (also
spelt as Teesta) River and its affluents. After travelling
through Sikkim, the Tista joins river Brahmaputra.
The Himalayan kingdom of Nepal is today's most popualar Himlayan
destination in the world. Offering something special for everyone.
You can easily combine wildlife safari, river rafting, a small
trek to a normal tour. The distance are not too long and the
possibilites are many. It is also possible to combine a tour
to Nepal with a visit to Lahasa, or an extended over land
tour to Tibet. There is no seasonal constraint on travelling
in and through Nepal. Even in December and January, when the
winter is at its severest, there are compensating bright sun
and brilliant views.
Bhutan, or the land of the Thunder Dragon, the second Himalayan
kingdom is still perhaps the world's most exclusive tourist
destination. An unspoiled country with majestic mountains impressed
with a certrain mystique; a unique cultural heritage preserved
intact and with a continuity of many centuries; an architectural
style like no other; a land full of warm hearted and friendly
Tibet is one extraordinary destination, where adventure lurks
around every corner. Its name the Roof of the World
is not a mere stetment. The valley bottoms are hiugher than
the highest mountains elsewhere. Adventure on the road is
never short on the beautiful Trans-Himalayan drive of over
970-kms, through the four mountain passes, promising a panoramna
of a cultural and scenic diversity unsurpassable anywhere.