The Northern Mountain Ranges in India

The Northern Mountains

The Northern Mountain Ranges in India are the Himalayan Mountain Ranges. The Himalayas stand on the north of India. The Himalayas are the highest mountains in the world and extend west-east between the Indus and the Brahmaputra in an arcuate form. Their length is about 2400 km and breadth on an average 240 km.

Physical features: The Himalayas are young fold mountains. Physiographically the mountains of the North may be divided into four parts, namely, (i) The Siwalik Mountains, (ii) The Middle Himalaya or the Himachal, (iii) The Great Himalaya or the Himadri, (iv) The Trans-Hima1aya.

1. The Siwalik Mountains: The Siwalik Mountains or Hills lie north of the Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra Plain and extends south-east almost uninterruptedly from Jammu Hills of Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. The Siwalik is non-existent only in a stretch between the eastern boundary of Nepal and the Torsa River in Bhutan. The Siwalik rises gradually northward from the North Indian Plain to a height of about 620 m.

2. The Himachal Himalaya: The Himachal Himalaya is comprised of a number of ranges running in different directions. It is about 80 km broad and rarely rises above 4000 m. In the Western Himalaya and in Nepal the ranges run generally in an east-west direction. The notable ranges of the Himachal Himalaya in this section the Dhauladhar, the Pir Panjal, the Nag Tibba and the Mahabharata (Nepal). In Eastern Himalaya the ranges of the Himachal Himalaya extend in a north-south direction. The Singalila range forming the boundary between Nepal and Darjeeling district or Sikkim and the Dongkya range bordering Bhutan and Sikkim are really off shoots of the Himadri Himalaya which descends down to the regime of Himachal Himalaya. Between the Pir Panjal and the Himadri Himalaya lies the famous Vale of Kashmir. Banihal and Pir Panjal, the two passes on the Pir Panjal range, give access to the Vale from the south. The Vale is called ‘the heaven of the earth’ for its picturesque scenic beauty. The Jhelum flows westward through the Vale.

3. The Great Himadri Himalaya: This region is the highest range in the world. It is also called the Main Himalaya or the Inner Himalaya. Its average breadth is 120-190 km and height 6,100 m. Many of the high peaks including Mount Everest (8848 m), the world’s highest, Nanga Parbat (8123 m), Kanchenjunga (8598 m), the third worlds highest are found in this range. Nanda Devi is the highest Himalayan peak in India. Some of the important passes on the Himadri Himalaya are Baralacha, Shipki La (Himachal Pradesh), Niti, Lipulekh (Uttaranchal), Nathu La, Jelep La (Sikkim) and Burzil (Kashmir).

4. The Trans-Himalaya: The region lies in Kashmir, north of the Great Himalaya. Fringing it is the Zaskar range, an off shoot of the Great Himalaya itself. North of Zaskar is the Ladakh range. North of the Ladakh Range is the mighty Karakoram Range whose highest peak Godwin Austin is the second highest in the world. The Ladakh Plateau, the highest in India, spreads north and north-east of the Karakoram.

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