India boasts some of the highest mountain ranges globally, including some of the world’s most renowned mountain roads. Among these majestic ranges, the Great Himalayan mountains stand tall as India’s most famous and highest peaks. These Himalayan ranges not only bisect India from the rest of Asia but also serve as the primary source of mighty rivers in the country.
The Himalayan Range
- Geography: The Himalayas span approximately 1,500 miles (2,400 km) across the north-eastern portion of India, passing through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Bhutan, and Nepal. This range comprises three parallel ranges, namely the Greater Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas, and the Outer Himalayas.
- Ecology: The Himalayas feature a diverse range of ecosystems, including Montane Grasslands and Shrublands, Temperate Coniferous Forests, Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests, and Tropical and Sub-tropical Broadleaf Forests.
- Highest Peak: The crown jewel of the Himalayas is Mount Everest, towering at an astonishing height of 29,029 feet (8,848 meters), making it the tallest peak on Earth. Other famous peaks in the region include Karakoram (K2), Kailash, Kanchenjunga, Nanga Parbat, Annapurna, and Manaslu.
- Rivers: The Himalayas serve as the source for major Asian rivers, including the Indus, the Yangtze, and the Ganga-Brahmaputra river systems. Noteworthy rivers originating in the Himalayas include the Ganges, Indus, Yarlung, Yangtze, Yellow, Mekong, and Nujiang.
- Glaciers: This mountain range holds the title of being the third-largest repository of ice and snow globally, trailing only Antarctica and the Arctic. Approximately 15,000 glaciers can be found throughout the Himalayas, with the Himalayan Siachen Glacier standing out as the largest glacier outside the polar regions. Other notable glaciers include Baltoro, Biafo, Nubra, and Hispur.
- Passes: The Himalayas offer several important passes like Rohtang La, Khardung La, South Col, Zoji La, and Nathula among others.
The Purvanchal Range
- Geography: Extending over an area of about 37,900 square miles (98,000 square km), the Purvanchal Range stretches across Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, and eastern Assam states. It is bounded by Bangladesh to the southwest, Myanmar (Burma) to the southeast, and China to the northeast.
- Highest Peak: The region’s highest peak is Mount Dapha in Arunachal Pradesh, standing at an elevation of 15,020 feet (4,578 meters). The Purvanchal Range includes other associated mountain ranges like Mishmi, Naga, Manipur, Tripura, and Mizo hills collectively known as Purvachal (meaning “eastern mountains”).
- Vegetation: The Purvanchal Range boasts a diverse range of vegetation, ranging from tropical evergreen to temperate evergreen and coniferous forests, along with species of oak, chestnut, birch, magnolia, cherry, maple, laurel,** and fig, along with extensive bamboo thickets.
- Rivers: Some of the major rivers originating in the Purvanchal Range include the Lohit, BurhiDihang, Diyung, Kusiyara, Gumti, Kaladan, Manipur, Tixu, Nantaleik, and Naurya.
The Vindhyan Range
- Geography: The Vindhya Range is a broken range of hills forming the southern escarpment of the central upland of India. It stretches about 675 miles (1,086 km) across Madhya Pradesh state, abutting the Ganges (Ganga) River valley near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. It divides into two branches, the Kaimur Range running north of the Son River into western Bihar state, and the southern branch running between the upper reaches of the Son and Narmada rivers to meet the Satpura Range in the Maikala Range (or Amarkantak Plateau).
- Highest Peak: The highest point of the Vindhyas is the Sad-bhawna Shikhar (“Goodwill Peak”), standing at 2,467 feet (752 m) above sea level. Also known as Kalumar peak or Kalumbe peak, it lies near Singrampur in the Damoh district, in the area known as Bhanrer or Panna hills.
- Rivers: The Vindhyas give rise to the main southern tributaries of the Ganges-Yamuna river system, including the Chambal, Betwa, Ken, and Tons rivers.
The Satpura Range
- Geography: The Satpura Range is a part of the Deccan plateau in western India, stretching for about 560 miles (900 km) across Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh states.
- Rivers: The Satpura Range takes a triangular shape with its apex at Ratnapuri, and the other two sides are parallel to the Tapti and Narmada rivers, both of which flow into the Arabian Sea.
- Highest Peak: The highest peak in the Satpura mountain range is Dhupgarh, standing at a height of 1,350 meters (4,429 feet) in Madhya Pradesh. The range includes the Mahadeo Hills to the north, the Maikala Range to the east, and the Rajpipla Hills to the west.
- Vegetation: The Satpura Range is largely forested, featuring dissected plateau country with valuable teak stands in the west.
The Aravalli Range
- Geography: The Aravalli Range, also spelled Aravali Range, runs northeasterly for 350 miles (560 km) through Rajasthan state in northern India. It includes isolated rocky offshoots continuing south of Delhi.
- Highest Peak: The highest peak in the Aravalli Range is Guru Peak on Mount Abu.
- Rivers: The Aravalli Range gives rise to several rivers, including the Banas, Luni, Sakhi, and Sabarmati.
The Western Ghats
- Geography: Starting near the border of Gujarat and ending at Kanyakumari, the Western Ghats cover approximately sixty percent of the Sahyadri Range, primarily located in the state of Karnataka.
- Ecology: This region is renowned as one of the world’s ten hottest biodiversity hotspots, featuring the Konkan area along the Arabian Sea, which serves as a major tourist attraction in India. The Western Ghats are home to the green city of Pune and several beautiful hill stations and wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala.
- Highest Peak: The highest peak in the Western Ghats is Anai Mudi in the Anaimalai Hills in Kerala, offering breathtaking valley scenery throughout the journey.
- Rivers: The major rivers originating in the Western Ghats include the Godavari, Kaveri, Krishna, Thamiraparani, and Tungabhadra.
The Eastern Ghats
- Geography: The Eastern Ghats are an irregular range of mountains stretching from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu, running parallel to the Bay of Bengal.
- Rivers: Major rivers in the Eastern Ghats region include the Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Kaveri. The Nilgiri Hills, also known as “The Blue Mountains” in Tamil Nadu, are located at the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats, hosting the largest population of Indian elephants.
- Highest Peak: The highest peak in the Eastern Ghats is the Shevaroy Hill.
Top 10 Highest Peaks of India
|Nanda Devi||7,816||Garhwal Himalaya||Uttarakhand|
|Saltoro Kangri / K10||7,742||Saltoro Karakoram||Ladakh|
|Saser Kangri I / K22||7,672||Saser Karakoram||Ladakh|
|Mamostong Kangri / K35||7,516||Rimo Karakoram||Ladakh|
|Saser Kangri II E||7,513||Saser Karakoram||Ladakh|
|Saser Kangri III||7,495||Saser Karakoram||Ladakh|
|Teram Kangri I||7,462||Siachen Karakoram||Ladakh|
|Jongsong Peak||7,462||Kangchenjunga Himalaya||Sikkim|