Geology of Himalayan Mountains Range
The Himalayan Mountain Range is known to be one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world. In the Miocene Period, there was a sea known as the Tethys Sea, where the Himalayan range is located now. The process of formation of these mountain ranges began in the Oligocene period and continued up to the Post-Pliocene period.
Divisions of Himalayan Mountain Range
There are five divisions of Himalayan Mountain Range. They are the Greater or Central Himalayas with the highest and oldest peaks in the world (many of which are in Nepal), the Shiwaliks or Outer Himalayas located in between the Great Plains and Lesser Himalayas, the Lesser or Middle Himalayas (including ranges like the Pir Panjal Mountain Range and the Dhauladhar Mountain Range), the Trans-Himalayas and the Purvanchal Hills or Eastern Hills. These divisions are described below.
Geographical Extensions of Himalayan Mountain Range
Himalayan Mountain Range can be divided into three major regions namely, the Western Himalayan region, the Central Himalayan region and the Eastern Himalayan region, from west to east. In the western region, the valleys are under irrigation and cultivated wherever possible. Along these valleys and over the passes such as the Gomal, the Bolan and the Khyber run the routes to Central Asia and China on one hand and to Persia and the West on the other hand. The central region extends from Bhutan to Chitral. The eastern region consists of mountains, which lie to the east of the Brahmaputra. Along the summit of these mountains run the frontiers of India and Burma. They are divided by a series of river valleys and are covered for most of the part with thick forests. The routes through these mountains are difficult.
Significance of Himalayan Mountain Range
Himalayan Mountain Range acts as a natural barrier in the northern part of the Indian peninsula, due to its large size and expanse. Himalayan Mountains have hindered trade routes and prevented military expeditions across its expanse. These mountains have not only protected the country from invasion from the north, but have also sheltered the vast plains of northern India from the ice cold winds from Tibet. They play a vital role in determining the climate of northern India. Himalayan Mountain Range is the source for several large perennial rivers, most of which combine into large river systems. For example, it is the source of three of the world's major river systems namely, the Indus River system, the Ganga- Brahmaputra river system and the Yangtze River system. Himalayan Mountains are studded with a variety of vegetations ranging from dense tropical forests in the lower foothills to alpine and sub-alpine vegetation in the higher reaches and from the rain forests of the east to the desert vegetation in the barren Trans-Himalayas.
Himalayan Mountains have been restricting movement of people for thousands of years. This range of mountains has prevented intermingling of Indians with Chinese and Mongolians. This can be comprehended from differences in languages and customs of India, China and Mongolia.
Tourism in Himalayan Mountain Range
Himalayan Mountain Range is famous for adventure tourism among climbers and trekkers throughout the world. It offers some of the finest trekking and mountaineering challenges. Since most of India's northern boundary lies in the Himalayan Mountains, many areas close to the international borders have been declared off-limits for tourists, especially for foreigners. Territorial disputes and trouble caused by militants are other reasons why access to some parts of Himalayan Mountain Range is restricted. However, many high mountain ranges and deep valleys are still accessible to the tourists. Himalayan Mountain Range is also associated with pilgrimage tourism. From ancient times, Himalayan Mountains have attracted pilgrims from all over India.