(Last Updated on : 29/10/2010)
The term Assam Himalaya was originally applied to the entire Himalayan chain that is stretching eastwards from Pauhunri (7125 m) to Namcha Barwa (7762 m). It is the highest peak of this Himalayan range. It is stated that the name `Assam Himalaya` is misleading because some parts of this particluar range are in the southeastern Tibet, and some portion lies in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh
. Time has rendered this nomenclature outdated as the portion of this Himalayan range that is lying mainly in Bhutan is presently called Bhutan Himalaya, and the erstwhile mega-province of Assam has lost its Himalayan frontier to the state of Arunachal Pradesh. So, it is not known as Assam Himalaya any more. But the term is familiar and sanctified by long usage. The mountains beyond the Tsangpo-Dihang are not considered part of the Himalaya, which leaves Gyala Peri (7150 m) and Nyimo Chomo (6000 m) range out of our reckoning. These are the other two highest peaks of this particular Himalayan range. The Assam Himalayan range is still poorly surveyed and little visited by travelers.
The major portion of Assam Himalaya is a low range by the Himalayan standards, between 5000 and 6000 metres high, and devoid of extensive mountaineering interest. There are two significant exceptions to this. Firstly, it is the Namcha Barwa section. The position and height of this `mysterious giant` was determined by British expeditions operating in the Abor and Mishmi tribal areas recently as 1912 metres. However, its existence had been reported more than forty years earlier by the explorers. The following year it was approached and surveyed by Morshead during his exploration of the Tsangpo with Bailey. They also discovered Gyala Peri during this expedition. After a prolonged period of negligence, caused by geographical and political inaccessibility, Namcha Barwa was strongly receded by a Chinese team in the year 1983.
The other zone of mountaineering interest is the least known of all Himalayan areas. Visible from the distant plains of Assam
and the hills of Meghalaya
, from where it was surveyed, the high range of the Kangto section lies in a gigantic curve running roughly west-southwest and east-northeast between the passes of the Tulung la and Keshong la. The McMahon line runs more or less along the crest and to the south spread the high, rain-sodden, thickly forested spurs and ridges of the lesser Himalaya, impeding access from the Assam plains. It is said that the approach from Tibet is comparatively easier. Inhabited by less than friendly tribal groups, the area had little allure except to hardy botanists and ethnologists up till the end of the thirties. This zone has a very lesser accessibility. Though roads have been built and detailed mapping done, most of the peaks of Assam Himalayas remain as pristine and remote behind the ring wall of the Official Secrets Act. Assam Himalaya is the least explored range.