The Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountain range, covers five nations, including India. It’s hardly surprise that it’s the most well-known of India’s main mountain ranges. Three religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam—meet in the Himalayas. The range is mentioned in Hindu mythology and draws both holy sages and Tibetan monks. The Himalayas also have an impact on India’s climate by keeping cold winds from drifting south. There are, however, a number of other significant mountain ranges in India that are as essential to the country’s ecology and culture. Continue reading to learn about the best ones.
Great Himalaya Range
The Great Himalaya, Middle Himalaya, and Outer Himalaya mountain ranges are physically separated in India. The Great Himalaya is the highest zone, with peaks that are always covered with snow and rise to more than 22,000 feet above sea level. It runs for approximately 1,200 miles along India’s northern border, from Jammu and Kashmir in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east, and is bordered by the Indus River. The highest peaks are found in Sikkim, with Mount Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak at 28,169 feet above sea level. However, it is shared with Nepal. At 25,643 feet above sea level, Nanda Devi in Uttarakhand’s Garhwal area is the highest peak altogether in India. The Great Himalaya is also home to two of Uttarakhand’s most important glaciers: the Gangotri glacier, which feeds the Yamuna River, and the Yamunotri glacier, which is the source of the sacred Ganges River.
Both hikers and religious pilgrims are drawn to India’s daunting yet alluring Great Himalaya Range. Some of India’s most popular pilgrimage destinations, such as the Char Dham in Uttarakhand, are placed there because Hindus consider it to be the abode of the gods. While Mount Kanchenjunga remains unclimbed, the Dzongri Peak hike in Sikkim is more manageable. Treks to Nanda Devi are also organised by several groups from Munisyari. You will, however, need to be really fit! Because to the range’s great elevation, there are only a few mountain passes. Before it was blocked, one of them, Nathu La, connected India and Tibet and is now a popular day excursion from Gangtok, Sikkim. Foreigners are unfortunately barred from entering due to security concerns.
Middle Himalaya Range
The Middle Himalaya mountain range, which is mostly forested, runs parallel to the Great Himalaya on its southern side. Its summits, which range in elevation from 5,000 to 20,000 feet above sea level, are far more approachable. The Middle Himalaya, in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, is home to the majority of India’s prominent hill stations. Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie, Dharamsala (home of the Dalai Lama), Nainital, Mussoorie, and Almora are among them. The Great Himalayan National Park (one of India’s lesser-known UNESCO World Heritage sites), as well as famous adventure locations Auli and the Valley of Flowers National Park in Uttarakhand, are also part of the range. The Kashmir Valley in Jammu and Kashmir, Darjeeling in West Bengal, and Gangtok in Sikkim are all part of the Middle Himalayas.
The Pir Panjal Range and the Dhauladhar Range are the two major mountain ranges in the Middle Himalaya. The Pir Panjal Range is the most prominent and longest. It begins in Patnitop in Kashmir and runs approximately 180 miles southeast to the upper Beas River in Himachal Pradesh. The Kullu district has the highest peaks, with Indrassan at 20,410 feet above sea level being the highest. Kashmir Alpine Lakes, Deo Tibba, Pin Parvati, Bhabha Pass, and Hampta Pass are among the moderately challenging treks available in the range. Gulmarg, a ski resort in Kashmir, is also located inside the Pir Panjal Range. The mountain also has India’s longest railway tunnel, which stretches for roughly 7 miles and connects the Kashmir Valley to Banihal in Jammu. The Dhauladhar Range, in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district, towers above Dharamsala and McLeodganj. Hanuman Tibba, at 19,488 feet above sea level, is the highest point on the mountain. Trekking options abound there as well.
Outer Himalaya Shivalik Range
The Shivalik Range, commonly known as the Outer Himalayas, is considered the Himalayan foothills. It separates the plains from the highlands, with valleys and hills rising no more than 5,000 feet above sea level. Up to the Beas River, a major portion of the range lies in Himachal Pradesh. It also includes Jammu, parts of Punjab and Chandigarh, Uttarakhand’s Haridwar and Rishikesh, and West Bengal’s Kalimpong.
From Kalka, about 45 minutes north of Chandigarh, to Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, the historic Kalka Shimla Mountain Railway toy train makes its way over the Shivalik Range. Haridwar is a well-known Hindu pilgrimage site. In Rishikesh, the home of yoga, foreigners frequent the ashrams. River rafting and bungee jumping are among the adventure activities available. Kalimpong offers a spectacular view of Mount Kanchenjunga, and river rafting is available close on the Teesta River. The town also includes Buddhist monasteries, which were founded by the numerous monks who left Tibet, and offers trekking and rural life experiences.
Trans-Himalaya Karakoram Range
The Trans-Himalaya is India’s most isolated and inaccessible mountain range, located to the north of the Great Himalaya in the Union Territory of Ladakh. The Karakoram, Zanskar, and Ladakh ranges make up this region. The rugged Karakoram Range is bordered on the south by the Nubra Valley and continues north into Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan area. The “top of the world” is a term used to describe this tremendous, impassable mountain range. It contains eight peaks that rise beyond 24,600 feet, while the elevation seldom drops below 18,045 feet. K2, the highest mountain in the range, is located in disputed territory now held by Pakistan. It is the world’s second tallest peak, standing at 28,251 feet above sea level.
Saltoro Kangri in the Saltoro mountain range in India is the Karakoram’s highest peak, standing at 25,400 feet above sea level. The five peaks of Saser Kangri, which are part of the Saser Muztagh range, are not far behind, with the highest reaching 25,171 feet. Mamostong Kangri is 24,659 feet above sea level and is located in the isolated Rimo Mustagh mountains surrounding Siachen Glacier. Outside of the polar regions, the Karakoram Range is the most glaciated portion of the world. Mountaineers can reach the Nubra Valley’s Indian peaks, although permissions are required because it is a sensitive border area.
Trans-Himalaya Ladakh Range
Between the Nubra Valley and Leh, the Ladakh Range is to the south of the Karakoram Range. It travels along to the Indus River and reaches India’s Tibetan border. Granite boulders and scant flora define the area. This range’s summits are between 16,400 and 19,700 feet above sea level. The Ladakh Range is most renowned for its magnificent high-altitude mountain passes, rather than any prominent peaks. The most renowned of these is Khardung La, which is sometimes misidentified as the world’s highest drivable road. You won’t want to spend more than 15 minutes at an altitude of 17,582 feet above sea level before getting lightheaded. The Sham Valley Trek, which passes through foothill settlements, is a great opportunity to see the Ladakh Range. This hike is organised by Yama Adventures and Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company, two renowned companies.