In this section we go beyond Ladakh to the other Himalayan regions. The Himalaya is the world’s mightiest mountain range. No other chain can boast of peaks of 8,000 meters. In the Himalaya there are 14 such peaks and hundreds of summits over 7,000 meters high. Some of the famous Peaks are Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, K2, Nanga Parbat, and Namche Barwa. The range of mountains stretches 2,700-kms across an area between Assam and Kashmir.
The Himalayas are perhaps, one of the world’s most dominant ranges which lie in the northern part of the Indian Sub continent. “Himalaya”, basically means the Abode of Snow and is derived from a Sanskrit word. Interestingly, a vast shallow sea, “the Tethys”, existed where the Himalaya stands today. The submerged landmasses on either side started pushing towards each other, giving birth to these mountains. Scientists speculate that the whole process took five to seven million years and therefore the Himalayas are considered a young and fragile land formation. Fossil finds at heights of over 8,000 meters support these theories. The Himalaya has risen about 2,000 meters in the past 20,000 years and as the Indian subcontinent is still slowly pushing against mass of Central Asia, the Himalayas continue to rise at a relatively fast geologic rate. So, every year Mt. Everest continues to rise at the rate of 7.5 to 10 centimeters (3-4 inches) a year.
The Himalaya is the source of many great rivers of the Indian subcontinent. The Indus rises in the trans-Himalayan Tibetan Plateau, as does the Brahmaputra. The Ganga and Yamuna, with their countless colorful Himalayan tributaries, are inextricably intertwined with local myths and legends.
As you make your way along the Himalaya trails in India and in other countries of this region, you’ll be partaking in a culture that has existed for hundreds of years, or even longer. Some is still uncorrupted by modern Western influences. If you don’t know what that means, you will when you go there and enjoy the Himalayas experience. It is, one would say – profound.
All of the Himalayas make for an excellent adventure. You’ll be in the heart of an area that has been a fertile ground for religions. It all makes for a fascinating landscape. Some of the best, in fact perhaps the very best trekking of anywhere is to be found here. There is an extensive mountain trekking system. It’s great because most people in the mountains have no choice here – they must walk to get from one place to another.
For the rest of the world Himalayas is a mountain range that encloses the highest peaks of the world. For the thrill seekers, Himalayas is the ultimate adventure sports destination. And for the tourists they have the most exotic and picturesque holiday resorts found on earth. But for the pilgrims they are the most sacred and revered mountain ranges in the world.
For those seeking spirituality, one can travel on the same trail used by pilgrims for centuries to visit sacred pilgrimage site such as Kailash Mansarovar, the Holy Mountain in Tibet and the Char Dhams Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri. Himalayas is home to the finest and the most exotic destinations of this world.