Regional Division of the Himalayas

Photo by Denis Linine

On a regional basis, the Himalayas are classified according to the location to which they belong. In the previous posts, we have discussed the Geographical division of the Himalayas which is based on the age of the Formation of the Himalayas in different stages. However, the regional division of the Himalayas is not a natural division but a man-made one. Division of the Himalayas on a regional basis is as follows:-

1. The Punjab Himalayas

The 560 km long stretch of the Himalayas between the Indus and the Satluj rivers is known as Punjab Himalayas. A large portion of this sector lies in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh as a result of which it is also called the Kashmir or the Himachal Himalaya. Karakoram, Ladakh, Pir Panjal, Zaskar, and Dhaola Dhar are the main ranges of this section. The 3,444 mt high Zoji La pass provides an easy passage. In between the main contents, there are valleys, duns and lakes. The general elevation falls westwards.

2. The Kumaon Himalayas

Between the Satluj and the Kali river is the 320 km long Kumaoan Himalaya. Its western part is called Garwhal Himalaya and the eastern part is known as Kumaon Himalaya. The general elevation is higher as compared to Punjab Himalaya. Nanda Devi, Kamet, and Trishul  Badrinath Kedarnath Gangotri are important peaks. Kumaon Himalaya is also the source of sacred rivers like the  Ganga and the Yamuna. There are several duns between Middle Himalayas and Shiwalik hills. Nainital and Bhimtal are important lakes

3. The Nepal Himalayas

This section of the Himalayas stretches for a distance of 800 km from the Kali river to the Tista river. Most of this Himalaya lies in Nepal hence it is called Nepal Himalayas. This is the tallest section of Himalaya and is crowned with several peaks of perpetual snow. Mount Everest is the highest peak of the world. The other major peaks are Kanchenjunga, Lhotse I, Makalu, Dhaula Giri, Cho Oyu, and Annapurna. Kathmandu is a famous valley in this Himalaya.

4. The Assam Himalayas

The Himalayan ranges from Tista to Brahmaputra rivers covering a distance of 750 km are called the Assam Himalayas. It has less elevation than that of Nepal Himalaya and it covers part of Assam Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The northern slope is more gentle than the southern slope. The important peaks of this region are Namcha Barwa, Kula Kangri, and chombo Lhari.

The Himalayas could also be divided into the following three divisions:

The Western Himalayas

Stretching for 880 km between the Indus in the west and Kali river in the east, the western Himalayas spread in three states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttaranchal. It encompasses three physiography provinces namely Kashmir Himalaya, Himachal Himalaya, and Kumaon Himalaya.

The Kashmir Himalaya lies almost entirely in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The average height of this region is nearly 3,000 mt above sea level. This province is marked by a number of glaciated troughs. The Indus is the most important river which traverses this area diagonally for about 650 km. The northern side o this river lies the imposing Karakoram range. This range has lofty peaks and a large number of big glaciers. The second highest peak of the world k2 lies in this range. The Ladakh plateau and the Kashmir valley are two important areas of this Himalaya. The chief characteristics of Kashmir Himalaya is high snow-covered peaks, deep valleys, interlocked spurs, and high mountain passes.

The Himachal Himalaya is mainly confined to Himachal Pradesh. All three ranges of Himalaya are presented in this section of Himalaya- Zaskar range of the Greater Himalaya, the Pir Panjal and Dhauladar ranges of Lesser Himalaya, and the Shiwalik range of Outer Himalaya. Some peaks of this Himalaya attain an elevation of 6,000 mt. The southern slope of this Himalaya is rugged and forested while the northern slopes are bare. This area has beautiful valleys of Kullu, Kangra, and Lahul-Spiti.

The Kumaon Himalayas lie in Uttaranchal and extend from the Sutlej to the Kali River. Its main peaks are Nanda Devi (7,817 mt), Kamet (7,756 mt), Mana (7,273 mt), Trissul (7,140 mt), Badrinath (7,138), Kedarnath (6,968), Jauli or Shivling (6,638 mt) and Gangotri (6,515 mt). The Gangotri glacier is the source of the sacred river Ganga. There are about 36 lakes in this area, Nainital is one of the famous lake. The Shiwalik in this region is about 900-1000 mt high and runs south of the Mussoorie range.

The Central Himalayas

 The Central Himalayas extends from the Kali river in the west to the Tista river in the east. It stretches for a distance of about 800 km. All Three Ranges of the Himalayas are present here. The Great Himalayas range attains maximum height in this portion. It is the abode of some of the highest and most famous peaks of the world like Mount Everest, Kanchanjunga, Makalu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri are located here. The lesser Himalaya is known as Mahabharat Lekh in this region. The range is crossed by the rivers like Ghagara, Gandak, Kosi, etc. In between the Great and Lesser Himalayas, there are Kathmandu and Pokhra Valleys which represent lacustrine deposits. 

The Eastern Himalayas

Stretching for a distance of 720 km this Himalaya lies between the Tista river in the west to the Brahmaputra river in the east. Also known as Assam Himalayas, the eastern Himalayas occupy mainly the areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan. This part of the Himalaya is known by different names according to the names of tribal people living in the different parts. The Prominent Peaks of this area are Namcha Barwa (7,756 mt), Kula Kangri (7,554 mt), Chamo Lahri (7,327 mt), etc. The Assam Shows a marked dominance of fluvial erosion due to heavy rainfall.     
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