Indian Geography Part 4 – Himachal and Uttaranchal Himalayas

(ii) Himachal and Uttaranchal Himalayas

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Figure Himalayan Mountain Complex: Cross-Sectional View from South to North

Great Himalaya or Himadri

  • Northernmost range is known as the Great or Inner Himalayas or the ‘Himadri’.
  • ‘Himadri’. It is the most continuous range consisting of the loftiest peaks with an average height of 6,000 meters.
  • The folds of Great Himalayas are asymmetrical in nature.
  • The core of this part of Himalayas is composed of granite.
  • It is perennially snowing bound, and a number of glaciers descend from this range. The Himalayan Mountains are divided into three main parallel ranges.


  • In the Great Himalayan range, the valleys are mostly inhabited by the Bhotia’s.
  • These are nomadic groups who migrate to ‘Bugyals’ (the summer grasslands in the higher reaches) during summer months and return to the valleys during winters.

Himachal or lesser Himalaya

  • The range lying to the south of the Himadri forms the most rugged mountain system and is known as Himachal or lesser Himalaya.
  • The altitude varies between 3,700 and 4,500 meters and the average width is 50 Km.
  • The Pir Panjal range forms the longest and the most important range
  • The Dhaula Dhar and the Mahabharat ranges are also prominent ones.
  • This range consists of the famous valley of Kashmir, the Kangra and Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh.
  • This region is well known for its hill stations


  • The outer most range of the Himalayas is called the Shiwaliks.
  • They extend over a width of 10-50 Km and have an altitude varying between 900 and 1100 meters.
  • These ranges are composed of unconsolidated sediments brought down by rivers from the main Himalayan ranges located farther north.
  • Covered with thick gravel called Alluvium.
  • The longitudinal valley lying between lesser Himalaya and the Shiwaliks are known as Duns.
  • Dehra Dun, Kotli Dun, and Patli Dun are some of the well-known Duns.
  • The word shiwalik has its origin in the geological formation found in and around a place called Sivawala near Dehra Dun
  • Which was once a headquarter of the Imperial Survey and which subsequently established its permanent headquarters at Dehra Dun.
  • Dehra Dun is the largest of all the duns with an approximate length of 35-45 km and a width of 22-25 km.

Some of the important hill stations

  • Dharamshala
  • Mussoorie
  • Shimla
  • Kaosani

The cantonment towns and health resorts

  • Shimla
  • Mussoorie
  • Kasauli
  • Almora
  • Lansdowne
  • Ranikhet

The two distinguishing features of this region

  • The ‘Shiwalik
  • ‘Dun formations’

Some important duns

  • Chandigarh-Kalka dun
  • Nalagarh dun
  • Dehra Dun
  • Harike dun
  • The Kota dun

(iii)The Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas

    • They are flanked by Nepal Himalayas in the west and Bhutan Himalayas in the east.
    • It is relatively small but is a most significant part
    • Known for its fast-flowing Rivers such as Tista
    • It is a region of high mountain peaks like Kanchenjunga (Kanchengiri), and deep valleys.
    • The higher reaches of this region are inhabited by Lepcha tribes while the southern part, particularly the Darjiling Himalayas, has a mixed population of Nepalis, Bengalis, and tribals from Central India.
    • The British, taking advantage of the physical conditions such as
      • Moderate slope
      • Thick soil cover
      • High organic content
      • Well distributed rainfall throughout the year
      • And mild winters,
    • Introduced tea plantations
    • In place of the Shiwaliks here, the‘duar formations’ are important
    • Which has also been used for the development of tea gardens

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