The Mighty Himalayas

– Ricardo Stephens

“He who goes to the mountains goes to his mother, a loving, nourishing and bounteous mother.”

Whenever I recall this saying or hear the words ‘mother’ and ‘hills’ in the same phrase, the first thing that comes to my mind is the mighty Himalayas.And why not, after all they are undoubtedly on of the best things that ever happened on planet earth. Standing tall for more than a million years and spreading across five countries in central Asia, the Himalayas are truly as mighty as they are proclaimed. Talking about our country- India, the Himalayan range spans across the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and the hilly parts of Assam and West Bengal. Well, traveling wise, not many are acquainted with the Himalayas and its geography because they are merely considered as just another hill station or a sightseeing place in India.
To be technically precise, the physio-geography of Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) comprises of the following:

Siwalik (Foothills of South)
North Tibetan Plateau (Trans Himalayas)
Himadri (Greater Himalayas)
Himanchal (Lesser Himalayas)

Out of the four regions, our country majorly covers the Trans Himalayan, Siwalik and Himanchal ranges. In addition, the Himalayas also play source to famous and holy rivers like Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra and others. It would not be boastful to say that the majority of India’s water supply and identity is because of mother Himalayas. Well, if you thought the article was interesting until now, travelling to Himalayas is simply next level and so is my next topic.

Decoding the Indian Himalayan Ranges:

I have been travelling to Himalayas for the past five years and every journey has left an impression on my life. The love story began as a kid when I used to learn about it theoretically in a school subject in Geography. I always wondered if those facts and information were true as it was quite difficult to imagine or visualize. Sooner the later, I went on a family trip to Shimla and Manali yet never realized that I was resting in the lap of Himalayas.In the year 2013 I travelled solo for the first time and learnt about the IHR through a travel research. Finally after 2 years, I was able to decode the entire region and based on that add them to my bucket list. Therefore, this is how the state by state classification goes :

Jammu and Kashmir



It holds a majority of the Trans Himalayan region that comprises of ranges such as the Karakonam Mountains, Zanskar range, Ladakh range and Pir Panjal range. Most of the highest mountains on earth have found home in this range.

Himachal Pradesh



As the name itself signifies ‘Within Himalayas’, Himachal Pradesh holds most of the variety of the Himalayan Mountains. From the Dhaula Dhar ranges in the west covering Chamba and Beas River valleys to the Zanskar range covering Lahaul, Kinnaur and Spiti valley, this state has it all. It also plays home to the Siwalik range nearby Mandi. In a nutshell, this state has mountains ranging from 1600 m to 4600 m, most of them covered in snow throughout the year. In addition, this state also has an exquisite variety of flora, fauna and human culture. If you ever wish to begin journey in the Himalayas, trust me, Himachal Pradesh should be your first destination.

Uttarakhand



Also known as ‘Dev Bhumi’, this state is abode to Himalayan ranges that date back to prehistoric times and have a mention in the Hindu mythology. Although the capital is in a semi plain landform, this state holds the Siwalik range and some hills of the Zanskar range. It has a good composition of plains, peaks and plateau. It is from Uttarakhand, one can easily see the famous Nanda Devi and Kedarnath peaks. Last but not the least,it is exquisitely known for a place called Valley of Flowers, where exotic and colourful species of flora take roots.

The others states such as Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam majorly hold the lesser Himalayas and Siwalik ranges. Sikkim is taken as an exception as it is home to Kanchanjunga, the earth’s third highest peak. However apart from a few peaks, the majority of hills do not exceed a height of more than 2600 m.

Travelling the Himalayas:

Life is not easy in the Himalayas. From basic amenities to exceptional scenarios, the approach to life is quite different here. As a traveller, one needs to understand the life before hand and readily adapt as per requirement. Having covered almost 30 % of the Himalayas, here are some takeaways that will certainly take your Himalayan experience to the next level:

Be a traveler, not a tourist.
Travel Solo. You will fall in love with yourself.
Do not expect much from Food, Shelter or other life comforts. Adapt wisely.
Choose water over any form of liquid. It will be the fuel your body will need, always.
Try local food for a change. Most important eat on time and eat well.
Sleep Early, Rise early. Be punctual. Every minute is precious.
Begin your day with a plan and end it with debrief.
Travel light but keep the lifesaving and basic needs with you at all times.
Connect with the people you meet. Add memories to their life.
Click, Write, Record, and Share. Inspire others to travel like you to the Himalayas.

I hope this blog has surely justified why I love the Himalayas and rightfully call it my ‘Mother’. On a concluding note, I would like to share this beautiful and inspiring quote:-
“The World is like a book and those who do not travel have read only a page from it.” – Saint Augustine

“Every hundred feet the world changes” ― Roberto Bolaño

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