Let’s get out of the box and work on an exercise, shall we? Name a few mountain ranges in India. Himalayan Mountain Range, and… and…, perhaps, few of you may add Aravalli Range. But that’s the limit of our knowledge, well for most of us. So, to start with, there are 27 mountain ranges in India, competitively better and larger than the other. So would you like to give yourself a chance and explore the country with a more open mind? Introducing to my blog readers is the Top 10 Mountain Ranges in India you must visit before you die!
Nilgiri Range: The Nilgiri Hills, often referred to as Blue Mountains are the largest Western Ghats mountain chain making up the southwestern edge of the Deccan Plateau. It has 24 peaks, all above 2000 meters—Doddabetta is the highest peak at 2623 meters above the sea level. This range is spread across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Nilgiri Hills is considered to be one of the most ravishingly beautiful hilly terrains in the world. The steep hills, the fascinating narrow valleys, the rivers and the creeks running, all running in different directions—and let’s not forget over a dozen of scenic waterfalls. It’s a trekker’s paradise, and houses one of the most exotic wildlife sanctuaries in the world.
Karakoram Range: The Karakoram (also spelt as Karakorum) is a large mountain range spanning the borders between Pakistan, India and China. It is located in the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan), Ladakh (India), and Xinjiang (China); it is actually the northwestern extension of the Himalaya. This range is home to K2 – 8611 meters, the 2nd highest peak in the world—and three other tallest peaks on earth that are above 8000 meters; Gasherbrum – 8,068 meters, Broad Peak – 8,047 meters, and Gasherbrum II – 8,035 meters. This is the most heavily glaciated part in the world outside the Polar Regions—the Siachen Glacier is 44 miles long and the Biafo Glacier is 39 miles long (the second and third longest glaciers).
Zanskar Range: The Zanskar Range is a mountain range in Jammu and Kashmir that separates Zanskar from Ladakh. Geologically, the Zanskar Range is part of the Tethys Himalaya, an approximately 100 km wide; synclinorium formed by strongly folded and imbricated, weakly metamorphosed sedimentary series. The average height of the Zanskar Range is about 6,000 meters, and its eastern part is known as Rupshu. Zangskar comprises two main valleys of Stod (Doda chu) and Lunak (Tsarab chu), which converge below at Padum. The area remains inaccessible for nearly 7 months a year—Zanskaris walk along the frozen river to reach the Indus River in Nimo village, which is known as the Chadar Trek.
Pir Panjal Range: The Pir Panjal Range is a group of mountains in the inner Himalayan region, from east-southeast to west-northwest across Himachal Pradesh, and the disputed territories comprising Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Azad Kashmir. The average elevation varies from 1,400 meters to 4,100 meters. It is the largest range of mountains in the lower Himalayas. Near the bank of the rive Sutlej, it dissociates itself from the Himalayas and forms a divide between the rivers Beas and Ravi on one side and the Chenab on the other. The famous Murree and Galliat mountains are also located in this range.
Naga Hills: The Naga Hills, reaching a height of around 3,825 meters lie on the border of India and Burma (North East India). They are part of a complex mountain system, and the parts of the mountain ranges inside Nagaland and the Burmese region of Sagaing. This monsoon forest is evergreen throughout the year—the area is very rich in flora and fauna. Many tourists travel to Naga Hills (Nagaland) to watch rare birds and study the flora. The famous unexplored Dzukou Valley is located here—many call this valley a paradise on earth! Saramati is the highest peak at 3,826 meters.
Dhauladhar Range: The Dhauladhar Range, literally known as the White Range is a southern branch of the main outer Himalayan chain of mountains. It rises from the north of Kangra and Mandi. All these famous touristy places, Mcleod Ganj, Kangra Valley, Chamba and etc. are located here. Due to the position of the range, it receives two monsoons a year with heavy rains so, where the mountains have not been heavily logged, there are dense Pine and Deodar forests. As a matter of fact, Triund, (around four hours from Mcleod Ganj) is the nearest and most accessible snow line in the Indian Himalayas. One of the most popular passes in this range is Indrahar Pass, located at an altitude of 4,342 meters.
Shivalik Hills: The Shiwalik Hills is a range of mountain on the Outer Himalayas, also known as Manak Parbat in ancient times. Shivalik means ‘tresses of Shiva’. This range is about 2,400 km long, enclosing an area that starts almost from the Indus and ends close to the famous river, Brahmaputra. The width of the Shivalik hills varies from 10 to 50 km, and their average elevation is between 1,500 and 2,000 meters. Most of the famous tourist destinations in Nepal, Uttarakhand and North East India lie in this range. North of the Siwalik belt the 1,500-3,000 meter, Lesser Himalayas also known as the Mahabharat Range rises steeply along fault lines.
Satpura Range: Satpura Range is a range of hills in Central India—Satpura in Sanskrit means seven mountains. The range rises in eastern Gujarat state, near the Arabian Sea coast, and runs through the eastern border of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, till the east of Chhattisgarh. The famous Narmada River originates from north-eastern end of Satpura and runs in the depression between the Satpura and Vindhya ranges. This range is home to many rare wild animals and birds. Most Indian rivers run in this range, thus the terrain makes an ideal destination for trekking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
Western Ghats: The Western Ghats are a mountain range that runs almost parallel to the western coast of Indian peninsula. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. A total of 39 properties including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites; 20 in Kerala, 10 in Karnataka, 5 in Tamil Nadu, and 4 in Maharashtra.
Kudremukh Hills: Kudremukh also spelled as Kuduremukha is a mountain range and also a name of a peak located in Chikkamagaluru district, in Karnataka. It is also the name of a small hill station cum mining town situated near the mountain, about 48 km from Karkala. The name Kuduremukha literally means ‘horse-face’ in Kannada language, and refers to a particular picturesque view of a side of the mountain that resembles a horse’s face. Kuduremukh is Karnataka’s 3rd highest peak after Mullayangiri and Bababudangiri. The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport, located at Mangalore which is at a distance of 130 km.
So, now that you know India has one of the best mountain ranges in the world, the ever more reasons to visit India and to explore. Wishing you a great journey ahead—love you all travelers.