The most majestic and mysterious mountain range on our planet is the Himalayas. This massif, whose name is translated as the abode of snow conditionally divides Central and South Asia, and the height of its individual peaks reaches more than 8,000 meters. The Himalayas are rightfully considered the highest mountains in the world, consider the Himalayas on the map and find out what makes these mountains so unusual.
Location of the Himalayan mountain system on the world map
“Where are the mountains of the Himalayas, in what country” – this question often arises in beginner travelers who have heard about the beauty of the most impregnable mountains of the planet and decided to go there in search of adventure. A glance at a world map shows that the Himalayas are located in the northern hemisphere between the Tibetan Plateau and the Indo-Gangetic Plain. India, Nepal, China, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Bangladesh are the countries whose territories encompass the Himalayas. The most visited country in the Himalayas is India. There are many attractions and resorts. The massif is 2,900 km long and about 350 km wide. There are 83 peaks in the mountain system, the highest of which is Everest, the height of the mountain is 8848 m.
The Himalayan mountains on the map consist of three main stages:
- Sivalik Ridge. This is the southernmost part of the mountain range. The range is located in Nepal and affects several states in India. Here the height of the Himalayan Mountains does not exceed 2 km.
- Lesser Himalayas. This ridge runs parallel to the Sivalik Ridge. The average height here is 2.5 km.
- The Greater Himalayas. This is the highest and oldest part of the mountain range. The height of the ridge exceeds 8 km, and it is here that the highest peaks of the planet are located.
The highest peaks
The mountain range has 9 of the 10 highest peaks in the world. Here are the highest of them all:
- Dzhomolungma – 8848 m.
- Kanchenjunga – 8586 m.
- Lhotse – 8516 m.
- Makalu – 8463 m.
- Cho Oyu – 8201 m.
Most of them are located in Tibet, and it is here the mountain climbers rushes from all over the world, because to climb the highest peaks – it is the life of a true mountain climber.
Flora and fauna
The flora of the Himalayas changes as the altitude changes. The natural features of the Himalayas at different levels surprise with changing landscapes, fauna and flora. In the foothills of the lesser Himalayas, the terai or swampy jungle prevails, followed by tropical forests, mixed forests, coniferous forests and, finally, alpine meadows. Deserts and semi-deserts prevail on the northern slopes. The animal life of the Himalayas is as varied as the plant life. Wild tigers, rhinos, elephants and monkeys can still be found here, and going higher up the risk of meeting a bear, a mountain yak and a snow leopard increases.
There is a unique nature reserve in the mountains that capture Nepal, where endangered species of animals are still preserved. The area is protected by UNESCO. Mount Everest is located on the territory of this reserve.
Rivers and Lakes
It is in the Himalayas that three of South Asia’s largest rivers originate. These include the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus. Moreover, there are many beautiful and clean lakes in the mountain range. The most high-mountain lake is Tilicho, located at an altitude of 4919 m.
The special pride of the Himalayas, of course, are the glaciers. The mountain range is surpassed only by the Arctic and Antarctic in the amount of fresh water reserves. The largest glacier here is the Gantotri layer, which reaches a length of 26 km.
When is it good in the Himalayas?
According to travelers, the Himalayas are always good. Each season gives the slopes of this ridge unique landscapes, the beauty of which simply can not be told in words. In spring the slopes are strewn with beautiful flowers, the fragrance of which reaches many kilometers, in summer during the rainy season the lush greenery breaks through the light fog and gives freshness and coolness, in fall it is full of colors, and in winter when the snow falls, no place in the world is cleaner and whiter.
The main tourist season is in the fall months, but in winter there are many fans of skiing, because the Himalayas are many ski resorts of world significance.
The northern slopes of the Indian Himalayas are a wonderful and very special world, imbued with ancient culture, traditions and philosophy. It concentrates the most beautiful ski resorts, holidays that can be combined with a visit to the unique attractions. The most famous resorts:
Gulmarg. This is one of the few ski resorts, which corresponds to the European level. The season lasts from December to March, and the altitude of the slopes reaches 1400 m. The base has all the necessary equipment, so you can come here light.
Narcanda. Located in the pine forests near the town of Shimla, this resort attracts both beginners and experienced skiers. Here, at an altitude of 2,400 meters you can completely disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the world and enjoy the unity with the magnificent nature.
Kufri. This is one of the most famous and respectable ski resorts in India. Here, in the vicinity of the national nature reserve, are arranged dozens of trails of varying difficulty. Comfortable rooms and a variety of equipment on offer make this resort a favorite for beginners and advanced skiers alike.
People and culture
The most densely populated areas of the Himalayas are the foothills. There are many towns here, and the locals mostly earn their money from tourism. The higher you go in the mountains, the fewer settlements you see. Even today, however, there are tribes that live high in the mountains, at the very edges of the snow cap. Most of them are monks and hermits practicing Buddhism and Hinduism.
Locals downstream are quite friendly to tourists. Many of them earn their living by leading hikers on their trails to the tops of the mountains. Without a guide really can not do here, the natural landscapes are such that it is easy to simply get lost and the chances that you will be found away from populated areas is little. The mountain dwellers are tolerant of tourists, but do not hurry to exude hospitality. These people do not like outsiders, because the mountains are sacred to them, and we worldly inhabitants bring chaos and disturb the harmony of their lives.
Historical and cultural attractions
There are many Buddhist and Hindu temples in the Himalayas. Some of them are closed to tourists and are the abode of hermit monks. It is very difficult to get here, but you can even live with the monks if you want and have a good argument. These temples are high up in the mountains, and not every tourist goes that far. They come here purposely. In the foothills you can visit dozens of temples and sacred places in the cities of Rishikesh and Hardwar.
The Mecca for Buddhists is the city of Dharamsala. Here is the residence of the Dalai Lama, and the local population is so hospitable that every traveler invariably gets a desire to stay here forever.
Excursions to natural attractions are also interesting. In the western Himalayas there is an amazing natural park called the Valley of Flowers. The name speaks for itself, but it is impossible to imagine all the beauty of this park. The valley is a continuous carpet of unusual bright colors, which delight the eye from early spring to late fall.
The Himalayas in Art, Literature, and Cinematography
Many books have been written about the Himalayas and their mysteries, dozens of films have been made, and hundreds of songs have been composed. The unexplored and unfathomable mountains have become the home of the Snowman, the mythical land of Shambhala and the place where the mystery of the birth of man is kept. However, even documentary chronicles and films cannot convey all the mystery of the Himalayas, and we ordinary people have only to believe, or not believe, in myths, fairy tales and eyewitness accounts.
The most famous works of world art about the Himalayas are:
- “Kim.” A Novel by Joseph Kipling.
- “The Vertical Limit. A film about the events on Mount Chogori.
- “Black Daffodil. A film about a nunnery in the Himalayas.
- “Seven Years in Tibet. A film based on the autobiographical book by Heinrich Harrer.
Indeed, the Himalayas are mysterious and majestic. And probably, in fact, hold a lot of secrets that are inaccessible to the average person. However, each of us must remember that mountains can be cruel and accept only those who come here with goodness and a pure soul.