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How long and wide are the Himalayas?

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  • Last Updated : 08 Sep, 2022
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The Himalayas, also known as the Nepali Himalayas, are a vast mountain range in Asia that forms a barrier between the Tibetan Plateau to the north and the Indian subcontinent’s alluvial plains to the south. The Himalayas are home to the world’s tallest mountains, with more than 110 peaks rising to elevations of 24,000 feet (7,300 metres) or more above sea level. Mount Everest (Tibetan: Chomolungma; Chinese: Qomolangma Feng; Nepali: Sagarmatha), the world’s tallest peak, with an elevation of 29,032 feet (8,849 metres), is of them. For thousands of years, the Himalayas have held enormous significance for the peoples of South Asia, as indicated by their literature, mythology, and religions. The immense glaciated heights have captivated pilgrim mountaineers in India since ancient times, prompting the Sanskrit term Himalaya—from hima (“snow”) and Alaya (“abode”)—for that great mountain chain. In modern times, the Himalayas have captivated mountaineers all around the world as both an allure and a challenge.

The mountains, which form the Indian subcontinent’s northern border and an almost impenetrable barrier between it and the lands to the north, are part of a large mountain belt that runs halfway around the planet from North Africa to Southeast Asia’s Pacific Ocean coast. Between Nanga Parbat (26,660 feet [8,126 metres]), in the Pakistani-administered sector of Kashmir, and Namjagbarwa (Namcha Barwa) Peak (25,445 feet [7,756 meters]), in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, the Himalayas run for about 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometres) from west to east.

The mountains, which span halfway around the earth from North Africa to Southeast Asia’s Pacific Ocean coast, create the Indian subcontinent’s northern border and a nearly insurmountable barrier between it and the lands to the north. The Himalayas span around 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometres) from west to east between Nanga Parbat (26,660 feet [8,126 metres]) in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and Namjagbarwa (Namcha Barwa) Peak (25,445 feet [7,756 meters]) in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. Although India, Nepal, and Bhutan control the majority of the Himalayas, Pakistan and China also claim territory there. Pakistan has the administrative authority of 32,400 square miles (83,900 square kilometres) of the range north and west of the 1972 “line of control” between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region. China governs 14,000 square miles (36,000 square kilometres) in Ladakh and has claimed territory in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh at the eastern end of the Himalayas. These issues exacerbate the Himalayan region’s boundary disputes between India and its neighbours.

Formation of Himalayas

The Himalayan mountainous region and Tibetan plateau are the results of the Indian Plate colliding with the Eurasian Plate, which began 50 million years ago and is still going on now.

Himalayan mountain characteristics

  • The Himalayan region is shaped like an arc.
  • Sedimentary rocks make up the Himalayan region.
  • Mountain peaks in the Himalayan region average roughly 6000 metres in height.
  • It is the longest and northernmost range.
  • It is snow-covered and consists of snow glaciers.
  • It is symmetrical and made of granite by nature.

Physical Features

The Himalayas are famous for their soaring heights, steep-sided jagged peaks, valley and alpine glaciers, deeply eroded topography, seemingly incomprehensible river gorges, complex geologic structure, and a series of elevational belts (or zones) that show various ecological correlations of flora, fauna, and climate. When viewed from the south, the Himalayas seem like a massive crescent with the main axis rising above the snow line, where snowfields, alpine glaciers, and avalanches all feed lower-valley glaciers, which in turn feed most Himalayan rivers. However, the majority of the Himalayas are below the snow line. The range’s mountain-building process is still in progress. Significant stream erosion and massive landslides occur as the bedrock is lifted.

The Himalayan ranges are divided into four parallel longitudinal mountain belts of varying widths, each with its own geologic history and physiographic features. The Outer, or Sub-, Himalayas (also known as the Shivalik Range); the Lesser, or Lower, Himalayas; the Great Himalaya Range (Great Himalayas); and the Tethys, or Tibetan, Himalayas (from south to north). In Tibet proper, the Trans-Himalayas are located further north. The Himalayas are separated into three mountainous zones from west to east: western, central, and eastern.

The Himalayas’ Longitudinal Division

 The Himalayas, home to the world’s tallest peaks, are an impressive mountain series in Asia that serves as a vast barrier between the Tibetan Plateau to the north and the Indian subcontinent’s alluvial plains to the south. It is divided into five sections longitudinally from west to east.

  1. The Himalayas of Kashmir, Punjab, and Himachal
  2. The Himalayas of Kumaun
  3. The Himalayas of Central/Nepal
  4. The Eastern Himalayas/Assam
  • The Himalayas of Kashmir, Punjab, and Himachal: The Kashmir Himalayas are situated between the rivers Indus and Sutlej. A substantial portion of the Himalayas can be found in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. These mountains are also known as the Punjab Himalayas.
  • In the state of Jammu & Kashmir: High snow-covered summits, deep valleys, interlocking spurs, and High Mountain passes define it. The range is 700 kilometres long and 500 kilometres wide. It is 3000 metres high and features a great number of glaciers. Cold desert conditions dominate the Ladakh region of the Kashmir Himalayas. The Greater Himalayas and the Lesser Himalayas surround Kashmir valley, which is part of this division. This area is known for saffron and other dry fruit growing because of the Karewa soil. Pir Panjal, Banihal, Zoji La, Burzil, Khardungla, Pensi-La, Saser-La, Lanak-La, Jara-La, Tasaka-La, Umasi-La, and Qara-Tagh-La are some of the most important passes in Kashmir. Nanda Devi, Trisul, Nunkun, Kamath, and Nanga-Parbat are the major snow-capped peaks.
  • In the state of Himachal Pradesh: This region is well-represented by all three Himalayan ranges: the major, lower, and the outer Himalayas. The Himachal Himalayas’ northern slopes are covered with lush forests, grasslands, and lakes. The southern slopes are forested and rough. Here you will find the Kangra Valley, Kullu-Manali. These places are noted for their orchards and scenic beauty, as well as their great productivity. The notable hill stations in this region are Dalhousie, Shimla, Chamba, Kullu-Manali, and Dharamshala. Rohtang Pass, Bara-Lacha Pass, and Shipki La Pass are all significant passes.
  • The Himalayas of Kumaun: The Satluj and Kali Rivers meet at this point. The tallest peak in this sector is Nanda Devi. Nanda Devi, Trisul, Kedarnath, Dunagiri, Kamet, Badrinath, Jaonli, Gangotri, and Bandarpunch are notable peaks in this region. The glaciers Pindari, Gangotri, and Milam are noteworthy in this section. The most well-known hill stations are Mussoorie, Nainital, Ranikhet, Almora, and Bageshwar. The most important passes are Thaga La, Muling La, Mana, Mangsha Dhura, and Lipu Lekh.
  • Himalayas of Central and Nepal: From the Kali River to the Tista River, this section runs. Except for the Sikkim Himalayas in the extreme east, the majority of it is in Nepal. The most noteworthy peaks include Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, and Gosainthan are among the highest peaks in the world.  Nathu La and Jelep La are the two important passes in this area.
  • The Eastern Himalayas/Assam: Between Tista and the Brahmaputra River is this divide (Dihang). It spans the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as well as Bhutan. It takes a southerly bend on the southern boundary of Arunachal Pradesh, and mountains are arrayed in a north-south direction through Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura, forming Purvanchal. In the west, the Purvanchal Plateau meets the Meghalaya Plateau, and the Myanmar mountain range continues to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Indonesian Archipelago. The Himalayas climb quickly in Assam’s lowlands and narrow towards the Shiwalik foothills. Aka hills, Dafla hills, Miri hills, Abor hills, Mishmi hills, and Namcha Barwa are among the many hills that make up this area. Patkai Bum, Manipur Hills, Blue Mountain, Tripura Range, and Brail Range are major hills in the eastern Himalayas. Bomdi La, Yonggyap, Diphu, Pangsau, Tse La, Dihang, Debang, Tunga, and Bom La are the most important passes in this region.

Sample Questions

Question 1:  How tallest is the Himalayan mountains and give an example of the highest peak.

Answer:

The Himalayas are home to the world’s tallest mountains, with more than 110 peaks rising to elevations of 24,000 feet (7,300 metres) or more above sea level. Mount Everest (Tibetan: Chomolungma; Chinese: Qomolangma Feng; Nepali: Sagarmatha), the world’s tallest peak, with an elevation of 29,032 feet (8,849 metres), is of them.

Question 2:  Write about the Himalayas of Kumaun?

Answer: 

The Satluj and Kali Rivers meet at this point. The tallest peak in this sector is Nanda Devi. Nanda Devi, Trisul, Kedarnath, Dunagiri, Kamet, Badrinath, Jaonli, Gangotri, and Bandarpunch are notable peaks in this region. The glaciers Pindari, Gangotri, and Milam are noteworthy in this section. The most well-known hill stations are Mussoorie, Nainital, Ranikhet, Almora, and Bageshwar. The most important passes are Thaga La, Muling La, Mana, Mangsha Dhura, and Lipu Lekh.

Question 3: What are the Himalayas’ Longitudinal Division?

Answer:

 The  Himalayas, home to the world’s tallest peaks, are an impressive mountain series in Asia that serves as a vast barrier between the Tibetan Plateau to the north and the Indian subcontinent’s alluvial plains to the south. It is divided into five sections longitudinally from west to east.

  1. The Himalayas of Kashmir, Punjab, and Himachal
  2. The Himalayas of Kumaun
  3. The Himalayas of Central/Nepal
  4. The Eastern Himalayas/Assam.

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