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The Himalayas, or Himalaya (;
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
: , "snow", "dwelling", "abode"), are a
mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usu ...

mountain range
in Asia separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the
Tibetan Plateau The Tibetan Plateau (, also known as the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau or the Qing–Zang Plateau () or as the Himalayan Plateau in India, is a vast elevated plateau In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λ ...
. The range has some of the planet's highest peaks, including the highest,
Mount Everest Mount Everest (: Zhumulangma Feng; ; : ''Chomolungma'' ) is above , located in the sub-range of the . The runs across its . Its elevation (snow height) of was most recently established in 2020 by the Chinese and Nepali authoritie ...

Mount Everest
. Over 100 peaks exceeding in elevation lie in the Himalayas. By contrast, the highest peak outside Asia (
Aconcagua Aconcagua () is a mountain in the Principal Cordillera of the Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range i ...

Aconcagua
, in the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sout ...

Andes
) is tall. The Himalayas abut or cross five countries:
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Ch ...

Bhutan
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
,
Nepal Nepal (; ne, :ne:नेपाल, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in S ...

Nepal
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
, and
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
. The sovereignty of the range in the
Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale o ...

Kashmir
region is disputed among India, Pakistan, and China. The Himalayan range is bordered on the northwest by the
Karakoram The Karakoram is a mountain range spanning the borders of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and ...

Karakoram
and
Hindu Kush The Hindu Kush ( Dari, Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghani (, ). The language is natively spoken ...
ranges, on the north by the Tibetan Plateau, and on the south by the
Indo-Gangetic Plain#REDIRECT Indo-Gangetic Plain Image:India-Pakistan Borderlands at Night.JPG, 250px, Clusters of yellow lights on the Indo-Gangetic Plain reveal numerous cities large and small in this astronaut photograph of northern India and northern Pakistan, ...

Indo-Gangetic Plain
. Some of the world's major
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...

river
s, the
Indus#REDIRECT Indus River
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from miscapitalisation {{R unprintworthy ...

Indus
, the
Ganges The Ganges ( ) or Ganga ( , ) is a trans-boundary river of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, He ...

Ganges
, and the Tsangpo
Brahmaputra The Brahmaputra (), called Yarlung Tsangpo The Yarlung Tsangpo, also called Yarlung Zangbo () or Yalu Zangbu () is the upper stream of the Brahmaputra River The Brahmaputra (), called Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, Siang/Dihang River in Aruna ...

Brahmaputra
, rise in the vicinity of the Himalayas, and their combined
drainage basin A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences Atmospheric science is the study of the Earth's atmosphere File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Compos ...

drainage basin
is home to some 600 million people; 53 million people live in the Himalayas. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri La ...

South Asia
and
Tibet Tibet (; ; ) is a region in covering much of the spanning about . It is the traditional homeland of the as well as some other ethnic groups such as , , , and s and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of and . Tibet is the ...

Tibet
. Many Himalayan peaks are sacred in
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
and
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
; the summits of several—
Kangchenjunga Kangchenjunga, also spelled Kanchenjunga, is the third highest mountain in the world. It rises with an elevation of in a section of the Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', n ...

Kangchenjunga
(from the Indian side), Gangkhar Puensum,
Machapuchare
Machapuchare
,
Nanda Devi Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the Li ...

Nanda Devi
and
Kailas Mount Kailash (also Kailasa; ''Kangrinboqê'' or ''Gang Rinpoche Rinpoche, also spelled Rimboche and Rinboku (), is an honorific term used in the Tibetan language. It literally means "precious one", and may refer to a person, place, or thi ...
in the Tibetan
Transhimalaya The Transhimalaya (also spelled Trans-Himalaya), or "Gangdise – Nyenchen Tanglha range", is a mountain range in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and depe ...
—are off-limits to climbers. Lifted by the
subduction Subduction is a geological process in which the oceanic lithosphere A lithosphere ( grc, λίθος [] for "rocky", and [] for "sphere") is the rigid, outermost shell of a terrestrial planet, terrestrial-type planet or natural satellite. On ...

subduction
of the Indian tectonic plate under the
Eurasian Plate The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around thick and consist ...
, the Himalayan mountain range runs west-northwest to east-southeast in an arc long. Its western anchor,
Nanga Parbat Nanga Parbat (; ), known locally as Diamer (), is the ninth-highest mountain on Earth, its summit at above sea level. Lying immediately southeast of the northernmost bend of the Indus river The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A tr ...

Nanga Parbat
, lies just south of the northernmost bend of the Indus river. Its eastern anchor,
Namcha Barwa Namcha Barwa or Namchabarwa (; Chinese: 南迦巴瓦峰, Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China, Taiwan (ROC), and Sin ...

Namcha Barwa
, lies immediately west of the great bend of the
Yarlung Tsangpo RiverYarlung can refer to: *Yarlung Kingdom, see also: Tibetan empire The Tibetan Empire (, ) existed from the 7th to 9th centuries AD when Tibet was unified as a large and powerful empire, and ruled an area considerably larger than the Tibetan Plate ...
. The range varies in width from in the west to in the east.


Name

The name of the range hails from the
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
( 'abode of the snow'), from ( 'snow') and ( 'receptacle, dwelling'). They are now known as "", usually shortened to "the Himalayas". Following the etymology some writers refer to it as ''the Himalaya''. This was also previously transcribed as ''Himmaleh'', as in
Emily Dickinson Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Little-known during her life, she has since been regarded as one of the most important figures in . Dickinson was born in , into a prominent family with ...
's poetry and
Henry David Thoreau Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817May 6, 1862) was an American naturalist, essay An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument, but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a Letter (message), ...

Henry David Thoreau
's essays. The mountains are known as the in
Nepali
Nepali
and
Hindi Hindi (Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (''Nāgarī'', ),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida . ''May Śiv ...

Hindi
(both written ), ''Himāl'' (हिमाल) in Kumaoni, the ''Himalaya'' () or 'The Land of Snow' () in
Tibetan Tibetan may mean: * of, from, or related to Tibet * Tibetan people, an ethnic group * Tibetan language: ** Classical Tibetan, the classical language used also as a contemporary written standard ** Standard Tibetan, the most widely used spoken dialec ...
, the ''Himāliya'' Mountain Range () in
Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonpr ...

Urdu
, the ''Himaloy Parvatmala'' () in
Bengali Bengali or Bengalee, or Bengalese may refer to: *something of, from, or related to Bengal, a large region in South Asia * Bengalis, an ethnic and linguistic group of the region * Bengali language, the language they speak ** Bengali alphabet, the wr ...
and the ''Ximalaya'' Mountain Range ( zh, s=喜马拉雅 山脉, p=Xǐmǎlāyǎ Shānmài, c=, t=喜馬拉雅 山脉) in
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
. The name of the range is sometimes also given as ''Himavan'' in older writings.


Geography and key features

The Himalayas consist of parallel
mountain ranges
mountain ranges
: the
Sivalik Hills The Sivalik Hills (also known as the Shivalik Hills and Churia Hills) are a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ran ...
on the south; the
Lower Himalayan Range The Lower Himalayan Range ( ne, पर्वत शृङ्खला parbat shrinkhalā) – also called the Inner Himalayas or Lesser Himalayas – is a major east-west mountain range with elevations 3,700 to 4,500 m (12,000 to 14,500 feet) alo ...
; the
Great Himalayas The Great Himalayas or Greater Himalayas probably is the highest mountain range of the Himalayan Range.Hussain, MajidGeography of India/ref> Entities the range is within include Nepal Nepal (; ne, नेपाल ), officially Nepal, is a ...

Great Himalayas
, which is the highest and central range; and the Tibetan Himalayas on the north. The
Karakoram The Karakoram is a mountain range spanning the borders of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and ...

Karakoram
are generally considered separate from the Himalayas. In the middle of the great curve of the Himalayan mountains lie the peaks of
Dhaulagiri The Dhaulagiri massif in Nepal extends from the Gandaki River, Kaligandaki River west to the Bheri River, Bheri. This massif is bounded on the north and southwest by tributaries of the Bheri River and on the southeast by the Myagdi Khola. Dhaulag ...

Dhaulagiri
and
Annapurna Annapurna (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages ...

Annapurna
in
Nepal Nepal (; ne, :ne:नेपाल, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in S ...

Nepal
, separated by the
Kali Gandaki Gorge The Kali Gandaki Gorge or Andha Galchi is the Canyon, gorge of the Kali Gandaki (or Gandaki River) in the Himalayas in Nepal. By some definitions, it may be one of the deepest gorges in the world. The upper part of the gorge is also called Thak K ...
. The gorge splits the Himalayas into Western and Eastern sections both ecologically and orographically – the pass at the head of the Kali Gandaki the Kora La is the lowest point on the ridgeline between Everest and
K2
K2
(the highest peak of the Karakoram range). To the east of Annapurna are the peaks of
Manaslu Manaslu ( ne, मनास्लु, also known as Kutang) is the eighth-highest mountain in the world at above sea level. It is in the Mansiri Himal, part of the Nepal Nepal (; ne, नेपाल ), officially Nepal, is a Sovereign st ...

Manaslu
and across the border in Tibet,
Shishapangma Shishapangma, also called Gosainthān, is the 14th highest mountain in the world at above sea level. It was the last 8,000 metre peak to be climbed, due to its location entirely within Tibet Tibet (; ; ) is a region in East Asia cover ...

Shishapangma
. To the south of these lies
Kathmandu , pushpin_map = Nepal Bagmati Province#Nepal#Asia , coordinates = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = , subdivision_type1 = Province A province is almost always an administrative d ...

Kathmandu
, the capital of Nepal and the largest city in the Himalayas. East of the
Kathmandu Valley The Kathmandu Valley ( ne, काठमाडौं उपत्यका; also known as the Nepal Valley or Nepa Valley ( ne, नेपाः उपत्यका, : 𑐣𑐾𑐥𑐵𑑅 𑐐𑐵𑑅, नेपाः गाः)), lies at the ...

Kathmandu Valley
lies the valley of the Bhote/
Sun Kosi The Sunkoshi, also called Sunkosi, is a trans-boundary river that originates in Tibet Autonomous Region and is part of the Koshi River, Koshi or Saptkoshi River system in Nepal. River course The Sunkoshi's headwaters are located in the Zhangzangb ...
river which rises in Tibet and provides the main overland route between Nepal and China – the
Araniko Highway The Araniko Highway () connects Kathmandu , image_map = , mapsize = 300px , map_caption = , image_map1 = , pushpin_map = Kathman ...
/
China National Highway 318 China National Highway 318 (G318) runs from Shanghai Shanghai (, , Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ) is one of the four Direct-administered municipalities of China, direct-administered municipalities of the China, People ...
. Further east is the
Mahalangur Himal Mahālangūr Himāl ( ne, महालङ्गूर हिमाल, ''Mahālaṅgūra himāla'') is a section of the Himalayas in northeast Geography of Nepal, Nepal and south-central Geography of Tibet, Tibet of China extending east from the pas ...
with four of the world's six highest mountains, including the highest:
Cho Oyu __NOTOC__ Cho Oyu (Nepali: चोयु; ; ) is the sixth-highest mountain in the world at above sea level. Cho Oyu means "Turquoise Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper Copper is a chemi ...

Cho Oyu
,
Everest Mount Everest (Chinese characters, Chinese: ''Zhūmùlǎngmǎ''; ; Tibetic languages, Tibetan: ''Chomolungma'' ) is List of highest mountains on Earth, Earth's highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range ...

Everest
,
Lhotse Lhotse ( ne, ल्होत्से ; , ''lho rtse'') is the List of highest mountains#List, fourth highest mountain in the world at , after Mount Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga. Part of the Everest massif, Lhotse is connected to Everest via ...

Lhotse
and
Makalu Makalu ( zh, t=馬卡魯峰, p=Mǎkǎlǔ fēng; ne, मकालु हिमाल, Makālu himāl) is the fifth highest mountain in the world at . It is located in the Mahalangur Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit San ...

Makalu
. The
Khumbu Khumbu (also known as the Everest Region) is a region of northeastern Nepal on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest. It is part of the Solukhumbu District, which in turn is part of Province No. 1.Bradley, Mayhew; "Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya"; ( ...
region, popular for trekking, is found here on the south-western approaches to Everest. The Arun river drains the northern slopes of these mountains, before turning south and flowing to the range to the east of Makalu. In the far east of Nepal, the Himalayas rise to the
Kangchenjunga Kangchenjunga, also spelled Kanchenjunga, is the third highest mountain in the world. It rises with an elevation of in a section of the Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', n ...

Kangchenjunga
massif on the border with India, the third highest mountain in the world, the most easterly summit and the highest point of India. The eastern side of Kangchenjunga is in the Indian state of
Sikkim Sikkim (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Sikkim
. Formerly an independent Kingdom, it lies on the main route from India to
Lhasa Lhasa (; Lhasa dialect: ; bo, text=ལྷ་ས, translation=Place of Gods) is the urban center of the prefecture-level Lhasa City and the administrative capital of Tibet Tibet (; ; ) is a region in covering much of the span ...

Lhasa
, Tibet, which passes over the
Nathu La Nathu La (; hi, नाथू ला, IAST: ''Nāthū Lā''; ) is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in East Sikkim district. It connects the Indian States and territories of India, state of Sikkim with People's Republic of China, China's Tibet Auto ...

Nathu La
pass into Tibet. East of Sikkim lies the ancient Buddhist Kingdom of
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Ch ...

Bhutan
. The highest mountain in Bhutan is Gangkhar Puensum, which is also a strong candidate for the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. The Himalayas here are becoming increasingly rugged with heavily forested steep valleys. The Himalayas continue, turning slightly northeast, through the Indian State of
Arunachal Pradesh Arunachal Pradesh (, literally "land of dawn-lit mountains") is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Arunachal Pradesh
as well as Tibet, before reaching their easterly conclusion in the peak of
Namche Barwa Namcha Barwa or Namchabarwa (; Chinese: 南迦巴瓦峰, Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China, Taiwan (ROC), and Sin ...
, situated in Tibet inside the great bend of the Yarlang Tsangpo river. On the other side of the Tsangpo, to the east, are the Kangri Garpo mountains. The high mountains to the north of the Tsangpo including
Gyala Peri Gyala Peri ( Chinese: 加拉白垒, Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China, Taiwan (ROC), and Singapore. It is often used ...

Gyala Peri
, however, are also sometimes included in the Himalayas. Going west from Dhaulagiri, Western Nepal is somewhat remote and lacks major high mountains, but is home to
Rara Lake
Rara Lake
, the largest lake in Nepal. The
Karnali River Karnali may refer to: Places in Nepal *Karnali Bridge Karnali Bridge, the asymmetric, single-tower, cable-stayed bridge is the second longest of its type in Nepal and was built by international collaboration. The bridge spans the Ghaghara, Kar ...

Karnali River
rises in Tibet but cuts through the centre of the region. Further west, the border with India follows the
Sarda River The Sharda River, also called Kali River and Mahakali River, originates at Kalapani territory, Kalapani in the Himalayas at an elevation of in the Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand, India. It flows along Nepal's western India–Nepal border ...
and provides a trade route into China, where on the Tibetan plateau lies the high peak of
Gurla Mandhata Gurla Mandhata, or Naimona'nyi or Nemo Nani () is the highest peak of the Nalakankar Himal, a small subrange of the Himalaya.It is named after king Mandhatri, Mandhata of Ikshvaku dynasty, suryavansha of Ikshvaku dynasty. It lies in Burang County ...
. Just across
Lake Manasarovar Lake Manasarovar (Sanskrit: मानसरोवर), also called mTsho Mapham () or mTsho Ma-dros-pa locally, is a high altitude freshwater lake fed by the Kailash Glaciers near Mount Kailash in Burang County, Ngari Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous ...

Lake Manasarovar
from this lies the sacred
Mount Kailash Mount Kailash (also Kailasa; ''Kangrinboqê'' or ''Gang Rinpoche''; Tibetan: གངས་རིན་པོ་ཆེ; ; sa, कैलास, ), is a high peak in the Kailash Range (Gangdisê Mountains), which forms part of the Transhim ...

Mount Kailash
in the Kailash Ranges, which stands close to the source of the four main rivers of Himalayas and is revered in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, Jainism, and Bonpo. In the newly created Indian state of
Uttarkhand Uttarakhand (), formerly known as Uttaranchal (), is a state in the northern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by populati ...
, the Himalayas rise again as the Kumaon Himalayas with the high peaks of
Nanda Devi Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the Li ...

Nanda Devi
and
Kamet Kamet ( hi, कामेत) is the second highest mountain in the Garhwal Division, Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India, after Nanda Devi. It lies in the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand. Its appearance resembles a giant pyramid topped by a fla ...

Kamet
. The state is also home to the important pilgrimage destinations of Chaar Dhaam, with
Gangotri Gangotri is a town and a '' Nagar Panchayat'' (municipality) in Uttarkashi district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is a Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspe ...
, the source of the holy river
Ganges The Ganges ( ) (in India: Ganga ( ); in Bangladesh: Padma River, Padma ( )). "The Ganges Basin, known in India as the Ganga and in Bangladesh as the Padma, is an international river to which India, Bangladesh, Nepal and China are the riparian ...

Ganges
,
Yamunotri Yamunotri is the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the Goddess Yamuna in Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 ...

Yamunotri
, the source of the river
Yamuna The Yamuna (Hindustani language, Hindustani: ) is the second-largest tributary river of the Ganga by discharge and the longest tributary in List of major rivers of India, India. Originating from the Yamunotri Glacier at a height of on the ...

Yamuna
, and the temples at
Badrinath Badrinath is a holy town and a nagar panchayat A Nagar Panchayat (town panchayat; ) or Notified Area Council (NAC) in India is a settlement in transition from rural to urban and therefore a form of an urban political unit comparable to a N ...

Badrinath
and
Kedarnath Kedarnath is a town in the India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries an ...

Kedarnath
. Kumaon Himalayas is regionally divided into two, namely, Kumaon hills in
Kumaon division Kumaon(;Kumaoni language, Kumaoni: ''Kumāū''; ; historically romanized as Kemāon) is a List of divisions in India, revenue and administrative division in the Indian State of Uttarakhand. It spans over the eastern half of the state and is bou ...
and Garhwal hills in
Garhwal division Garhwal (IPA: /ɡəɽʋːɔɭ/) is one of the two administrative divisions of the Indian States and territories of India, state of Uttarakhand. Lying in the Himalayas, it is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Kumaon division, Kumaon ...
. The next Himalayan Indian state,
Himachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh (; ; "Province of the Snow-laden Mountains") is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...

Himachal Pradesh
, is noted for its hill stations, particularly
Shimla Shimla (; ; also known as Simla, the official name until 1972) is the capital and the largest city of the Northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh (; ; "Province of the Snow-laden Mountains") is a States and union terr ...

Shimla
, the summer capital of the
British Raj The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the In ...

British Raj
, and Dharmasala, the centre of the Tibetan community and
government in exile A government in exile (abbreviated as GiE) is a political group which claims to be a Sovereign state, country or Federated state, semi-sovereign state's legitimate government, but is unable to exercise legal power and instead resides in another ...
in India. This area marks the start of the Punjab Himalaya and the
Sutlej river The Sutlej or Satluj (Punjabi Language, Punjabi: سُتلج) River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroads region of Punjab region, Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. The Sutlej River is also known as '' ...
, the most easterly of the five tributaries of the
Indus#REDIRECT Indus River
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from miscapitalisation {{R unprintworthy ...

Indus, cuts through the range here. Further west, the Himalayas form most of the southern portion of
Jammu and Kashmir Jammu is the winter capital of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), Jammu and Kashmir. It is the headquarters and the largest city in Jammu district of the union territory. Lying on the banks of the river Tawi River ...
and
Ladakh Ladakh () is a region administered by India as a union territory, and constitutes a part of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947. (subscription required) Quote: "Jammu ...

Ladakh
, which are disputed between India and Pakistan but administered by India. The twin peaks of
Nun Kun The Nun Kun mountain massif In geology, a massif ( or ) is a section of a planet's Crust (geology), crust that is demarcated by geologic fault, faults or Lithospheric flexure, flexures. In the Plate tectonics, movement of the crust, a massif ...
are the only mountains over in this part of the Himalayas. Beyond lies the renowned
Kashmir Valley #REDIRECT Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale of Kashmir'', is an intermontane valley in Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until t ...

Kashmir Valley
and the town and lakes of
Srinagar Srinagar (English: , ) is the largest city and the summer capital A summer capital is a city used as an administrative capital during extended periods of particularly hot ummerweather. The term is mostly of relevance in a historical context ...

Srinagar
. Finally, the Himalayas reach their western end in the dramatic 8000 m peak of
Nanga Parbat Nanga Parbat (; ), known locally as Diamer (), is the ninth-highest mountain on Earth, its summit at above sea level. Lying immediately southeast of the northernmost bend of the Indus river The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A tr ...

Nanga Parbat
, which rises over above the Indus valley and is the most westerly of the 8000 m summits. The western end terminates at a magnificent point near Nanga Parbat where the Himalayas intersect with the Karakoram and
Hindu Kush The Hindu Kush ( Dari, Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language of the Indo-European family. It is known in Persian literature as Afghani (, ). The language is natively spoken ...
ranges, in the disputed Pakistani-administered territory of
Gilgit-Baltistan Gilgit-Baltistan (; , Balti language, Balti: རྒྱལ་སྐྱིད་ སྦལྟི་ཡུལ།), formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory, and constitutes the no ...

Gilgit-Baltistan
. Some portion of the Himalayas, such as the
Kaghan valley The Kaghan Valley ( ur, ) is an Alpine climate, alpine valley located in the Mansehra District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The valley covers a distance of across Geography of Pakistan, northern Pakistan, rising from its lowest elevation of ...

Kaghan valley
,
Margalla hills The Margalla Hills () is a hill range within the Margalla Hills National Park on the northern edge of Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan, just south of Haripur District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is part of the Himalayas, Himalayan foothil ...

Margalla hills
and
Galyat Galyat ( ur, گلیات ) region, or hill tract, (also written Galliat and Galiyat) is a narrow strip or area roughly 50–80 km north-east of Islamabad Islamabad (; ur, , translit=Islām Ābād) is the of Pakistan, and is adminis ...

Galyat
tract, extend into the Pakistani provinces of
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (; ps, خیبر پښتونخوا; ), often abbreviated as KP or KPK and formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province, is one of the Administrative units of Pakistan, four provinces of Pakistan. It is located in the Geo ...

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
and
Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a geopolitical, cultural, and in , specifically in the northern part of the , comprising areas of eastern and . The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts. ...

Punjab
.


Geology

The Himalayan range is one of the youngest mountain ranges on the planet and consists mostly of uplifted
sedimentary Sedimentary rocks are types of rock (geology), rock that are formed by the accumulation or deposition of mineral or organic matter, organic particles at Earth#Surface, Earth's surface, followed by cementation (geology), cementation. Sedimentatio ...

sedimentary
and
metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the mineral ...

metamorphic rock
. According to the modern theory of
plate tectonics Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. L ...
, its formation is a result of a
continental collision Continental collision is a phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical usage through Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, ; ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) ...

continental collision
or
orogeny Orogeny is the primary mechanism by which mountains are formed on continents. An orogeny is an event that takes place at a convergent plate margin when plate motion compresses the margin. This leads to both structural deformation Deformation ...
along the
convergent boundary A convergent boundary (also known as a destructive boundary) is an area on Earth where two or more lithospheric plates collide. One plate eventually slides beneath the other, a process known as subduction Subduction is a geological process in ...
(
Main Himalayan Thrust The Main Himalayan Thrust (MHT) is a décollement under the Himalayas, Himalaya Range. This Thrust fault, thrust fault follows a NW-SE Strike and dip, strike, reminiscent of an arc, and gently Strike and dip, dip towards the north, beneath the reg ...
) between the
Indo-Australian Plate #REDIRECT Indo-Australian Plate The Indo-Australian Plate is a major tectonic plate that includes the continent of Australia and surrounding ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers app ...
and the
Eurasian Plate The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around thick and consist ...
. The
Arakan Yoma The Arakan Mountains ( my, ရခိုင်ရိုးမ), also known as the Rakhine Mountains, are a mountain range in western Myanmar, between the coast of Rakhine State and the Central Myanmar Basin, in which flows the Irrawaddy River. It ...
highlands in
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
and the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a union territory of India consisting of 572 islands, of which 38 are inhabited, at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The territory is about north of Aceh in Indonesia and separated from Thai ...

Andaman and Nicobar Islands
in the
Bay of Bengal The Bay of Bengal is the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface ...

Bay of Bengal
were also formed as a result of this collision. During the
Upper Cretaceous The Late Cretaceous (100.5–66 Ma) is the younger of two epochs into which the Cretaceous geological period is divided in the geologic time scale The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geol ...
, about 70 million years ago, the north-moving Indo-Australian Plate (which has subsequently broken into the
Indian Plate The Indian Plate or India Plate is a minor tectonic plate straddling the Equator in the Eastern Hemisphere. Originally a part of the ancient continent of Gondwana, India broke away from the other fragments of Gondwana and began moving north. ...
and the
Australian Plate The Australian Plate is a major tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface Earth is the third planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant t ...
) was moving at about per year. About 50 million years ago this fast-moving Indo-Australian Plate had completely closed the
Tethys Ocean The Tethys Ocean ( el, Τηθύς ''Tēthús''), also called the Tethys Sea or the Neo-Tethys, was an ocean during much of the Era located between the ancient continents of and , before the opening of the and oceans during the Period. Etym ...
, the existence of which has been determined by
sedimentary rock Sedimentary rocks are types of rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compoun ...

sedimentary rock
s settled on the ocean floor and the volcanoes that fringed its edges. Since both plates were composed of low density
continental crust Continental crust is the layer of igneous Igneous rock (derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...
, they were
thrust fault A thrust fault is a break in the Earth's crust, across which older rocks are pushed above younger rocks. Thrust geometry and nomenclature Reverse faults A thrust fault is a type of reverse fault Reverse or reversing may refer to: Arts ...

thrust fault
ed and folded into mountain ranges rather than subducting into the
mantle Mantle may refer to: *Mantle (geology) A mantle is a layer inside a planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a n ...
along an
oceanic trench , while the lithosphere is subducted back into the asthenosphere at trenches Oceanic trenches are prominent long, narrow topography, topographic depressions of the ocean floor. They are typically wide and below the level of the surrounding ocean ...
. An often-cited fact used to illustrate this process is that the summit of Mount Everest is made of marine
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its na ...

limestone
from this ancient ocean. Today, the Indian plate continues to be driven horizontally at the Tibetan Plateau, which forces the plateau to continue to move upwards. The Indian plate is still moving at 67 mm per year, and over the next 10 million years it will travel about into Asia. About 20 mm per year of the India-Asia convergence is absorbed by
thrusting
thrusting
along the Himalaya southern front. This leads to the Himalayas rising by about 5 mm per year, making them geologically active. The movement of the Indian plate into the Asian plate also makes this region
seismic Seismology (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following perio ...

seismic
ally active, leading to earthquakes from time to time. During the last
ice age An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents an ...

ice age
, there was a connected ice stream of
glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less bluish-white color. In the , ice is abunda ...

glacier
s between
Kangchenjunga Kangchenjunga, also spelled Kanchenjunga, is the third highest mountain in the world. It rises with an elevation of in a section of the Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', n ...

Kangchenjunga
in the east and
Nanga Parbat Nanga Parbat (; ), known locally as Diamer (), is the ninth-highest mountain on Earth, its summit at above sea level. Lying immediately southeast of the northernmost bend of the Indus river The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A tr ...

Nanga Parbat
in the west. In the west, the glaciers joined with the ice stream network in the
Karakoram The Karakoram is a mountain range spanning the borders of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and ...

Karakoram
, and in the north, they joined with the former Tibetan inland ice. To the south, outflow glaciers came to an end below an elevation of . While the current valley glaciers of the Himalaya reach at most in length, several of the main valley glaciers were long during the ice age. The glacier snowline (the altitude where accumulation and
ablation Ablation is removal or destruction of material from an object by vaporization, chipping, or other erosion, erosive processes. Examples of ablative materials are described below, and include spacecraft material for ascent and atmospheric reentry, ...
of a glacier are balanced) was about lower than it is today. Thus, the climate was at least colder than it is today.


Hydrology

Despite their scale, the Himalayas do not form a major watershed, and a number of rivers cut through the range, particularly in the eastern part of the range. As a result, the main ridge of the Himalayas is not clearly defined, and mountain passes are not as significant for traversing the range as with other mountain ranges. The rivers of the Himalayas drain into two large river systems: * The western rivers combine into the ''Indus Basin''. The
Indus#REDIRECT Indus River
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from miscapitalisation {{R unprintworthy ...

Indus itself forms the northern and western boundaries of the Himalayas. It begins in Tibet at the confluence of Sengge and Gar rivers and flows north-west through India into Pakistan before turning south-west to the
Arabian Sea The Arabian Sea ( ar, بحر العرب ''Bahr al-Arab'') is a region of the northern Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering or 19.8% of the water Water is an Inorganic co ...
. It is fed by several major tributaries draining the southern slopes of the Himalayas, including the
Jhelum Jhelum ( ur, , ) is a city on the right bank of the Jhelum River , name_other = Hydaspes, Bidaspes, Vitastā, Bihat, Wihat, Bihatab, Biyatta, Jailam , image = Jhelum River-Pakistan.jpg , image_size = , im ...

Jhelum
,
Chenab The Chenab River ( pa, چَنّھاں, translit=cannhāṉ; ur, , translit=canāb; ) is a major river that flows in and , and is one of the 5 major rivers of the region. It is formed by the union of two headwaters, Chandra and Bhaga, which ...

Chenab
, ,
Beas Beas is a riverfront town in the Amritsar district of the Indian States and union territories of India, state of Punjab, India, Punjab. Beas lies on the banks of the Beas River. Beas town is mostly located in revenue boundary of Budha Theh wit ...

Beas
and
Sutlej The Sutlej or Satluj ( Punjabi: سُتلج) River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroads region of Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a geopolitical, cultural, and in , specifi ...

Sutlej
rivers, the five rivers of the
Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a geopolitical, cultural, and in , specifically in the northern part of the , comprising areas of eastern and . The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts. ...
. * The other Himalayan rivers drain the ''Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin''. Its main rivers are the
Ganges The Ganges ( ) (in India: Ganga ( ); in Bangladesh: Padma River, Padma ( )). "The Ganges Basin, known in India as the Ganga and in Bangladesh as the Padma, is an international river to which India, Bangladesh, Nepal and China are the riparian ...

Ganges
, the
Brahmaputra The Brahmaputra (), called Yarlung Tsangpo The Yarlung Tsangpo, also called Yarlung Zangbo () or Yalu Zangbu () is the upper stream of the Brahmaputra River The Brahmaputra (), called Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, Siang/Dihang River in Aruna ...

Brahmaputra
and the
Yamuna The Yamuna (Hindustani language, Hindustani: ) is the second-largest tributary river of the Ganga by discharge and the longest tributary in List of major rivers of India, India. Originating from the Yamunotri Glacier at a height of on the ...

Yamuna
, as well as other tributaries. The Brahmaputra originates as the
Yarlung Tsangpo River Yarlung can refer to: *Yarlung Kingdom, see also: Tibetan empire The Tibetan Empire (, ; ) was an empire centered on the Tibetan Plateau, formed as a result of imperial expansion under the Yarlung dynasty heralded by its 33rd king, Songsten Gamp ...
in western Tibet, and flows east through Tibet and west through the plains of
Assam Assam (, ) is a state in Northeast India, northeastern India, south of the eastern Himalayas along the Brahmaputra Valley, Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. Assam covers an area of . The state is bordered by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to ...

Assam
. The Ganges and the Brahmaputra meet in
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, বাংলাদেশ, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-c ...

Bangladesh
and drain into the
Bay of Bengal The Bay of Bengal is the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface ...

Bay of Bengal
through the world's largest river delta, the
Sunderbans Sundarbans is a mangrove area in Ganges Delta, the delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra River, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. It spans the area from the Hooghly River in India's state of West Bengal to ...

Sunderbans
. The northern slopes of
Gyala Peri Gyala Peri ( Chinese: 加拉白垒, Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China, Taiwan (ROC), and Singapore. It is often used ...

Gyala Peri
and the peaks beyond the Tsangpo, sometimes included in the Himalayas, drain into the
Irrawaddy River The Irrawaddy or, officially, Ayeyarwady River (, , also spelt Ayeyarwaddy, eventually from Indic ''revatī'' "abounding in riches") is a river that flows from north to south through Burma. It is the country's largest river and most important c ...
, which originates in eastern Tibet and flows south through Myanmar to drain into the
Andaman Sea The Andaman Sea (historically also known as the Burma Sea) is a marginal sea of northeastern Indian Ocean bounded by the coastlines of Myanmar and Thailand along the Gulf of Martaban and west side of the Malay Peninsula, and separated from the B ...

Andaman Sea
. The
Salween . , name_native_lang = , name_other = Burmese language, Burmese: , ''Thanlwin'' ( th, แม่น้ำสาละวิน, ''Mae Nam Salawin'' ( , name_etymology = , image = Sunset Salween River.jpg , image_si ...
,
Mekong The Mekong or Mekong River is a trans-boundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these river ...

Mekong
,
Yangtze The Yangtze or Yangzi ( or ) is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the Tanggula Mountains The Tanggula ( Chinese:  ...
and
Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin: uə xɔ Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is ...
all originate from parts of the Tibetan Plateau that are geologically distinct from the Himalaya mountains and are therefore not considered true Himalayan rivers. Some geologists refer to all the rivers collectively as the ''circum-Himalayan rivers''.


Glaciers

The great ranges of central Asia, including the Himalayas, contain the third-largest deposit of ice and snow in the world, after
Antarctica Antarctica ( or ) is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Oc ...

Antarctica
and the
Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar regions of Earth, polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Danish Realm, ...

Arctic
. The Himalayan range encompasses about 15,000 glaciers, which store about of fresh water. Its glaciers include the
Gangotri Gangotri is a town and a '' Nagar Panchayat'' (municipality) in Uttarkashi district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is a Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspe ...

Gangotri
and
Yamunotri Yamunotri is the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the Goddess Yamuna in Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 ...

Yamunotri
(
Uttarakhand Uttarakhand ( , or ; , lit. 'Northern Land'), formerly known as Uttaranchal ( ), is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the "Devbhumi" (literally "Land of the Gods") due to its religious significance and numerous ...

Uttarakhand
) and
Khumbu Khumbu (also known as the Everest Region) is a region of northeastern Nepal on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest. It is part of the Solukhumbu District, which in turn is part of Province No. 1.Bradley, Mayhew; "Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya"; ( ...

Khumbu
glaciers (
Mount Everest Mount Everest (: Zhumulangma Feng; ; : ''Chomolungma'' ) is above , located in the sub-range of the . The runs across its . Its elevation (snow height) of was most recently established in 2020 by the Chinese and Nepali authoritie ...

Mount Everest
region),
Langtang Langtang is a region in the north-central Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (); Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belong ...
glacier (
Langtang Langtang is a region in the north-central Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (); Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belong ...
region) and Zemu (
Sikkim Sikkim (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Sikkim
). Owing to the mountains' latitude near the
Tropic of Cancer The Tropic of Cancer, which is also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted ...

Tropic of Cancer
, the permanent
snow line The climatic snow line is the boundary between a snow Snow comprises individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere—usually within clouds—and then fall, accumulating on the ground where they undergo further chang ...
is among the highest in the world at typically around . In contrast, equatorial mountains in
New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu Hiri Motu, also known as Police Motu, Pidgin Motu, or just Hiri, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign ...

New Guinea
, the Rwenzoris and
Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by conv ...

Colombia
have a snow line some lower. The higher regions of the Himalayas are snowbound throughout the year, in spite of their proximity to the tropics, and they form the sources of several large perennial rivers. In recent years, scientists have monitored a notable increase in the rate of
glacier retreat The retreat of glaciers since 1850 affects the availability of fresh water for irrigation and domestic use, mountain recreation, animals and plants that depend on glacier-melt, and, in the longer term, the level of the oceans. Studied by glaciolo ...
across the region as a result of climate change. For example, glacial lakes have been forming rapidly on the surface of debris-covered glaciers in the Bhutan Himalaya during the last few decades. Although the effect of this will not be known for many years, it potentially could mean disaster for the hundreds of millions of people who rely on the glaciers to feed the rivers during the dry seasons. The global climate change will affect the water resources and livelihoods of the Greater Himalayan region.


Lakes

The Himalayan region is dotted with hundreds of lakes.
Pangong Tso Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake (; ; hi, text=पैंगोंग झील) is an endorheic An endorheic basin (; also spelled endoreic basin or endorreic basin) is a drainage basin A drainage basin is any area of land where pre ...

Pangong Tso
, which is spread across the border between India and China, at far western end of Tibet, is among the largest with surface areas of . South of the main range, the lakes are smaller.
Tilicho Lake Tilicho Lake() is a lake located in the Manang district of Nepal, as the crow flies from the city of Pokhara. It is situated at an altitude of in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas. Another source lists the altitude of Lake Tilicho as being . L ...

Tilicho Lake
in Nepal in the Annapurna massif is one of the highest lakes in the world. Other notable lakes include in western Nepal, She-Phoksundo Lake in the Shey Phoksundo National Park of Nepal, Gurudongmar Lake, in North Sikkim, Gokyo Lakes in Solukhumbu district of
Nepal Nepal (; ne, :ne:नेपाल, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in S ...

Nepal
and Lake Tsongmo, near the Indo-China border in Sikkim. Some of the lakes present a danger of a glacial lake outburst flood. The Tsho Rolpa glacier lake in the Rolwaling Himal, Rowaling Valley, in the Dolakha District of Nepal, is rated as the most dangerous. The lake, which is located at an altitude of has grown considerably over the last 50 years due to glacial melting. The mountain lakes are known to geographers as ''tarn (lake), tarns'' if they are caused by glacial activity. Tarns are found mostly in the upper reaches of the Himalaya, above . Temperate Himalayan wetlands provide important habitat and layover sites for migratory birds. Many mid and low altitude lakes remain poorly studied in terms of their hydrology and biodiversity, like Khecheopalri in the Sikkim Eastern Himalayas.


Climate

The vast size, huge altitude range, and complex topography of the Himalayas mean they experience a wide range of climates, from humid subtropical in the foothills to cold and dry desert conditions on the Tibetan side of the range. For much of the Himalayas – that on the south side of the high mountains, except in the furthest west, the most characteristic feature of the climate is the monsoon. Heavy rain arrives on the southwest monsoon in June and persists until September. The monsoon can seriously impact transport and cause major landslides. It restricts tourism – the trekking and mountaineering season is limited to either before the monsoon in April/May or after the monsoon in October/November (autumn). In Nepal and Sikkim, there are often considered to be five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, (or post-monsoon), winter, and spring. Using the Köppen climate classification, the lower elevations of the Himalayas, reaching in mid-elevations in central Nepal (including the Kathmandu valley), are classified as ''Cwa'', humid subtropical climate#South Asia, Humid subtropical climate with dry winters. Higher up, most of the Himalayas have a Oceanic climate#Subtropical highland variety (Cwb), subtropical highland climate (''Cwb''). In the furthest west of the Himalayas, in the west of the Kashmir valley and the Indus valley, the South Asian Monsoon of South Asia, monsoon is no longer a dominant factor and most precipitation falls in the spring. Srinagar receives around around half the rainfall of locations such as Shimla and Kathmandu, with the wettest months being March and April. The northern side of the Himalayas, also known as the Tibetan Himalaya, is dry, cold and generally, wind swept particularly in the west where it has a Desert climate#Cold desert climates, cold desert climate. The vegetation is sparse and stunted and the winters are severely cold. Most of the precipitation in the region is in the form of snow during the late winter and spring months. Local impacts on climate are significant throughout the Himalayas. Temperatures fall by 0.2 to 1.2 °C for every rise in altitude. This gives rise to a variety of climates from a nearly tropical climate in the foothills, to tundra and permanent snow and ice at higher elevations. Local climate is also affected by the topography: The leeward side of the mountains receive less rain while the well exposed slopes get heavy rainfall and the rain shadow of large mountains can be significant, for example leading to near desert conditions in the Upper Mustang which is sheltered from the monsoon rains by the
Annapurna Annapurna (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages ...

Annapurna
and
Dhaulagiri The Dhaulagiri massif in Nepal extends from the Gandaki River, Kaligandaki River west to the Bheri River, Bheri. This massif is bounded on the north and southwest by tributaries of the Bheri River and on the southeast by the Myagdi Khola. Dhaulag ...

Dhaulagiri
massifs and has annual precipitation of around , while Pokhara on the southern side of the massifs has substantial rainfall ( a year). Thus although annual precipitation is generally higher in east than the west, local variations are often more important. The Himalayas have a profound effect on the climate of the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau. They prevent frigid, dry winds from blowing south into the subcontinent, which keeps South Asia much warmer than corresponding temperate regions in the other continents. It also forms a barrier for the Monsoon of Indian subcontinent, monsoon winds, keeping them from traveling northwards, and causing heavy rainfall in the Terai region. The Himalayas are also believed to play an important part in the formation of Central Asian deserts, such as the Taklamakan and Gobi. An acceleration of Retreat of glaciers since 1850#Himalayas and Central Asia, ice loss across the Himalayas over the past 40 years has been proven with satellite photos. Even if the ambitious Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, 1.5 °C target would be reached, the Himalaya glaciers would expectedly lose one third of their surfaces.


Ecology

The flora and fauna of the Himalayas vary with climate, rainfall, altitude, and soils. The climate ranges from tropical at the base of the mountains to permanent ice and snow at the highest elevations. The amount of yearly rainfall increases from west to east along the southern front of the range. This diversity of altitude, rainfall, and soil conditions combined with the very high snow line supports a variety of distinct plant and animal communities. The extremes of high altitude (low atmospheric pressure) combined with extreme cold favor extremophile organisms. At high altitudes, the elusive and previously endangered snow leopard is the main predator. Its prey includes members of the goat family grazing on the alpine pastures and living on the rocky terrain, notably the endemic bharal or Himalayan blue sheep. The Himalayan musk deer is also found at high altitudes. Hunted for its musk, it is now rare and endangered. Other endemic or near-endemic herbivores include the Himalayan tahr, the takin, the Himalayan serow, and the Himalayan goral. The critically endangered Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan subspecies of the brown bear is found sporadically across the range as is the Asian black bear. In the mountainous mixed deciduous and conifer forests of the eastern Himalayas, Red panda feed in the dense understories of bamboo. Lower down the forests of the foothills are inhabited by several different primates, including the endangered Gee's golden langur and the Kashmir gray langur, with highly restricted ranges in the east and west of the Himalayas respectively. The unique floral and faunal wealth of the Himalayas is undergoing structural and compositional changes due to climate change. ''Hydrangea hirta'' is an example of floral species that can be found in this area. The increase in temperature is shifting various species to higher elevations. The oak forest is being invaded by pine forests in the Garhwal Himalayan region. There are reports of early flowering and fruiting in some tree species, especially rhododendron, apple and ''Myrica esculenta, box myrtle''. The highest known tree species in the Himalayas is ''Juniperus tibetica'' located at in Southeastern Tibet.


Religions

There are many cultural aspects of the Himalayas. In Jainism, Mount Ashtapad in Himalayas is a sacred place where the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhanatha, Rishabhdeva attained moksha. It is believed that after Rishabhanatha, Rishabhdeva attained ''nirvana'', his son, Emperor Bharata Chakravartin, had constructed three stupas and twenty four shrines of the 24 Tirthankaras with their idols studded with precious stones over there and named it ''Sinhnishdha''. For the Hindus, the Himalayas are personified as Himavath, the father of the goddess Parvati. The Himalayas is also considered to be the father of the river Ganges. Two of the most sacred places of pilgrimage for the Hindus is the temple complex in Pashupatinath Temple, Pashupatinath and Muktinath, also known as Saligrama because of the presence of the sacred black rocks called saligrams. The Buddhists also lay a great deal of importance on the Himalayas. Paro Taktsang is the holy place where
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
started in
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Ch ...

Bhutan
. The Muktinath is also a place of pilgrimage for the Tibetan Buddhists. They believe that the trees in the poplar grove came from the walking sticks of eighty-four ancient Indian Buddhist magicians or ''mahasiddhas''. They consider the saligrams to be representatives of the Tibetan serpent deity known as Gawo Jagpa. The Himalayan people's diversity shows in many different ways. It shows through their architecture, their languages, and dialects, their beliefs and rituals, as well as their clothing. The shapes and materials of the people's homes reflect their practical needs and beliefs. Another example of the diversity amongst the Himalayan peoples is that handwoven textiles display colors and patterns unique to their ethnic backgrounds. Finally, some people place great importance on jewelry. The Rai and Limbu women wear big gold earrings and nose rings to show their wealth through their jewelry. Several places in the Himalayas are of religious significance in
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
,
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
, Jainism and Sikhism. A notable example of a religious site is Paro Taktsang, where Padmasambhava is said to have founded
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
in
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Ch ...

Bhutan
. In
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
, the Himalayas have been personified as the king of all Mountain – "Giriraj Himavat", father of Ganges in Hinduism, Ganga and Parvati (form of Adi Shakti Durga). A number of Vajrayana, Vajrayana Buddhist sites are situated in the Himalayas, in
Tibet Tibet (; ; ) is a region in covering much of the spanning about . It is the traditional homeland of the as well as some other ethnic groups such as , , , and s and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of and . Tibet is the ...

Tibet
,
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Ch ...

Bhutan
and in the Indian regions of
Ladakh Ladakh () is a region administered by India as a union territory, and constitutes a part of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947. (subscription required) Quote: "Jammu ...

Ladakh
, Sikkim,
Arunachal Pradesh Arunachal Pradesh (, literally "land of dawn-lit mountains") is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ...

Arunachal Pradesh
, Spiti Valley, Spiti and Darjeeling. There were over 6,000 List of Tibetan monasteries, monasteries in Tibet, including the residence of the Dalai Lama.
Bhutan Bhutan (; dz, འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, Druk Yul, ), officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan ( dz, འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་, Druk Gyal Khap), is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Ch ...

Bhutan
,
Sikkim Sikkim (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Sikkim
and
Ladakh Ladakh () is a region administered by India as a union territory, and constitutes a part of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947. (subscription required) Quote: "Jammu ...

Ladakh
are also dotted with numerous monasteries.


Resources

The Himalayas are home to a diversity of medicinal resources. Plants from the forests have been used for millennia to treat conditions ranging from simple coughs to snake bites. Different parts of the plants – root, flower, stem, leaves, and bark – are used as remedies for different ailments. For example, a bark extract from an ''abies pindrow'' tree is used to treat coughs and bronchitis. Leaf and stem paste from an ''arachne cordifolia'' is used for wounds and as an antidote for snake bites. The bark of a ''callicarpa arborea'' is used for skin ailments. Nearly a fifth of the gymnosperms, Flowering plant, angiosperms and pteridophytes in the Himalayas are found to have medicinal properties, and more are likely to be discovered. Most of the population in some Asian and African countries depend on medicinal plants rather than prescriptions and such. Since so many people use medicinal plants as their only source of healing in the Himalayas, the plants are an important source of income. This contributes to economic and modern industrial development both inside and outside the region. The only problem is that locals are rapidly clearing the forests on the Himalayas for wood, often illegally.


See also

* Eastern Himalaya, Eastern and Western Himalaya * Indian Himalayan Region * List of Himalayan peaks and passes * List of Himalayan topics * List of mountains in India, List of mountains in Pakistan, Pakistan, Mountains of Bhutan, Bhutan, List of mountains in Nepal, Nepal and List of mountains in China, China * List of Ultras of the Himalayas * Trekking peak


Notes


References


Further reading

* William McKay Aitken, Aitken, Bill, ''Footloose in the Himalaya'', Delhi, Permanent Black, 2003. * Berreman, Gerald Duane, ''Hindus of the Himalayas: Ethnography and Change'', 2nd rev. ed., Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1997. * Bisht, Ramesh Chandra, ''Encyclopedia of the Himalayas'', New Delhi, Mittal Publications, c2008. * Edmundson, Henry, ''Tales from the Himalaya'', Vajra Books, Kathmandu, 2019. * ''Everest'', the IMAX movie (1998). * Fisher, James F., ''Sherpas: Reflections on Change in Himalayan Nepal'', 1990. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1990. * Augusto Gansser-Biaggi, Gansser, Augusto, Andreas Gruschke, Gruschke, Andreas, Olschak, Blanche C., ''Himalayas. Growing Mountains, Living Myths, Migrating Peoples'', New York, Oxford: Facts On File, 1987. and New Delhi: Bookwise, 1987. * Gupta, Raj Kumar, ''Bibliography of the Himalayas'', Gurgaon, Indian Documentation Service, 1981 * John Hunt, Baron Hunt, Hunt, John, ''Ascent of Everest'', London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1956. * Maurice Isserman, Isserman, Maurice and Weaver, Stewart, ''Fallen Giants: The History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes''. Yale University Press, 2008. * Ives, Jack D. and Messerli, Bruno, ''The Himalayan Dilemma: Reconciling Development and Conservation''. London / New York, Routledge, 1989. * Lall, J.S. (ed.) in association with Moddie, A.D., ''The Himalaya, Aspects of Change''. Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1981. * Nandy, S.N., Dhyani, P.P. and Samal, P.K., ''Resource Information Database of the Indian Himalaya'', Almora, GBPIHED, 2006. * Michael Palin, Palin, Michael, ''Himalaya'', London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson Illustrated, 2004. * Swami Sundaranand, ''Himalaya: Through the Lens of a Sadhu''. Published by Tapovan Kuti Prakashan (2001). * Swami Tapovan Maharaj, ''Wanderings in the Himalayas'', English Edition, Madras, Chinmaya Publication Trust, 1960. Translated by T.N. Kesava Pillai. * Bill Tilman, Tilman, H. W., ''Mount Everest, 1938'', Cambridge University Press, 1948. * 'The Mighty Himalaya: A Fragile Heritage,’ National Geographic Magazine, National Geographic, 174:624–631 (November 1988). * Turner, Bethan, et al. ''Seismicity of the Earth 1900–2010: Himalaya and Vicinity''. Denver, United States Geological Survey, 2013.


External links


The Digital Himalaya research project at Cambridge and Yale





South Asia's Troubled Waters
Journalistic project at the Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting
Biological diversity in the Himalayas
Encyclopedia of Earth {{Uttarakhand Himalayas, Mountain ranges Mountain ranges of the Himalayas, Mountain ranges of China Geography of East Asia Geography of South Asia Landforms of East Asia Landforms of South Asia Physiographic divisions Tibetan Plateau