The North Indian Mountains - The Himalayas



  1. The Greater Himalayas or Himadari
  2. The Lesser Himalayas or Himachal
  3. The Outer Himalayas or Siwaliks


The Northern Mountain Wall 

The northern mountain wall is known as the Himalayan Range. The Himalayas are made up of three parallel ranges that are easily distinguished by their height.

  • The Himalayas is one of the world's young fold mountains. It extend eastward from Tajikistan's Pamir Knot. It is a significant mountain system on the Asian continent. It stretches from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh in India. The Himalayas do not consist of a single mountain range. The system contains numerous parallel ranges.
  • The Himalayas are one of the world's highest and most rugged mountain ranges. They form an arc that spans approximately 2,400 kilometres. Their width ranges from 400 kilometres in Kashmir to 150 kilometres in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Himalayas

A) Longitudinal Division of the Himalayas:

(i) The Great or Inner Himalayas, or Himadri It is the most continuous range, consisting of the highest peaks with an average height of 6,000 metres. It contains all of the major Himalayan peaks. The folds of the Great Himalayas are asymmetrical in nature. The Himalayas' core is made of granite. 

  • It is one of the world's highest mountain ranges and forms the northernmost part of the Himalayan range.
  • It is known as the Himadri because it is completely covered in snow all year.
  • North of the Lesser Himalayas, the Greater Himalayas rise suddenly like a wall.
  • The Greater Himalayas span a distance of around 25 kilometres.
  • Compared to the Siwaliks and the Lesser Himalayas, the Greater Himalayas experience less rainfall.
  • Compared to other ranges, physical weathering is less effective throughout the Greater Himalayas.
  • Himalaya is the home of several lofty peaks. However, it holds the record of having the maximum number of highest peaks among any mountain range in world. Out of 14 highest peaks in this world, Himalayas holds 9.
  • Mt. Everest (8,848 m) and Kanchenjunga (8,586 m) are two of the noteworthy ones. Kanchenjunga is situated between Nepal and Sikkim, whereas Mt. Everest is found in Nepal.
  • It has a lot of glaciers. Among them are Siachen, Yamunotri, and Gangotri. They are located in Uttarakhand. These glaciers are a constant source of water for the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. This range is the source of the Sharda, Ghagra, Kosi, and Gandak rivers.
  • It also has passes in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim. It includes the Karakoram Pass in Kashmir, the Bara Lapcha La and Shipki La in Himachal Pradesh, and the Thaga La and Niti in Uttarakhand.
  • The Plateau of Tibet, the world's highest plateau, is located to the north of the Himalayan ranges. It is located in the Himalayan rainshadow area.
Some Highest Peaks of the Himalayas
Peak Country Height (in metres)
Mt. Everest Nepal 8848
Kanchenjunga India 8598
Makalu  Nepal 8481
Dhaulagiri Nepal 8172
Nanga Parbat India 8126
Annapurna Nepal 8078
Nanda Devi India 7817
Kamet India 7756
Namcha Barwa India 7756
Gurla Mandhata Nepal 7728

(ii) The Himachal, or lesser Himalaya

  • This range is also known as the Himachal-Himalayas, or the Middle or Lesser Himalayas. It runs parallel to the Himadri and to the south of it.
  • The altitudes range between 3,700 and 4,500 metres, and the average width is 80 kilometres. 
  • The ranges are mostly made up of highly compressed and altered rocks. Slate, limestone, and quartzite are the main rocks found in this range.
  • Large-scale erosion occurs in this area as a result of frequent rainstorms, deforestation, and urbanisation.
  • While the Pir Panjal range is the longest and most important, the Dhaula Dhar and Mahabharat ranges are also significant.
  • The Himalayas most well-known hill towns are situated in this range. The well-known ones are Shimla, Mussoorie, Nainital, Almora, Ranikhet, and Darjeeling.
  • Doons are located between the Himachal and Shiwalik ranges. These are longitudinal valleys with flat bottoms. Dehra Dun is one such valley.
  • This range has a vast vegetative cover.
  • It contains a number of peaks with elevations greater than 5,050 metres. Throughout the year, they are blanketed in snow. Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, for example, has a height of 7025m. These ranges have elevations ranging from 3500m to 6000m.
  • Kullu, Jammu, and Srinagar are among the valleys found here. 

(iii) The Shiwaliks 

  • It is also known as the Outer Himalayas. These are the Himalayas' most remote range. 
  • The Siwalik are found from Jammu & Kashmir to Assam.
  • It is the range that is most erratic. It is not a continuous range. 
  • It is produced in part from the debris that the rivers in the Himalayas carry.
  • The average elevation of this range, which extends from 900 to 1100 metres.
  • Shiwaliks are 10 km wide in the east and 50 km wide in the west.
  • The slopes facing the subcontinent are steep, while those facing north are gentle.
  • Between the Siwalik and the Lesser Himalayas are a series of valleys known in the west as Duns and in the east as Duars. These are the perfect locations for the growth of towns in this area. Some of the well-known Duns are Dehra Dun, Kotli Dun, and Patli Dun.
  • It is known by various names in different places - Jammu Hills in Jammu and Miri, Abor, and Mishmi Hills in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • This region includes valleys such as Udhampur in Jammu and the Doon valleys.

B) Regional Division of the Himalayas:

  • The Himalayas have been divided into regions from west to east in addition to longitudinal divisions.
  • River valleys have demarcated these divisions. These broad categories include regional names as well. For example,
  1. The Himalayan region between the Indus and Satluj rivers has traditionally been referred to as the Punjab Himalaya, but it is also known regionally as Kashmir and Himachal Himalaya from west to east respectively.
  2. The part of the Himalayas lying between the Satluj and Kali rivers is known as Kumaon Himalayas.
  3. The Kali and Teesta rivers demarcate the Nepal Himalayas.
  4. The part lying between Teesta and Dihang rivers is known as Assam Himalayas.


Find out the names of the glaciers and passes that lie in the Great Himalayas.

Glaciers in the Great Himalayas are: Gangotri, Yamunotri, Siachen, Pindari, Aksai Chin and Liang Zi Tang

Passes in the Great Himalayas are: Shipki La, Nathu La, Bum La, Imis Pass and Kimokal Pass


Find out the name of the states where the highest peaks are located.

States with the highest number of peaks are: Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh


Find out location of Mussoorie, Nainital, Ranikhet from your atlas and also name the state where they are located.

All the three towns are in the state of Uttarakhand in the range called lesser Himalaya or Himachal.

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