In this lesson you’ll be learning about the major mountain ranges of India, including the Himalayas, Karakoram, Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats, and Aravalli Range.
In this lesson, we’ll cover some basic facts about each mountain range and where they are located.
Imagine India. A plethora of colors, smells, and sounds fill the air as you walk down a crowded street in New Delhi.
Vendors are peddling marinated meats, deep fried pockets of dough, and bowls of vegetables and rice. Indian people go about their daily business, bustling around at the market. Animals aren’t far from sight, either. Monkeys swing from electrical cables, searching for abandoned fruit on the street.
A place filled with deep traditions, India boasts one of the world’s most complex cultures, filling your senses with as many experiences as you can take.However, the hustle of the city isn’t all India has to offer. Spanning through all areas of India are some of the tallest and most beautiful mountain ranges in the world.
To start, we’ll learn about the most famous, the Himalaya mountains.
Picture crawling out of your tent at six in the morning. Bitter winds bite at your face, despite having five layers of clothing on. Despite your utter physical exhaustion, sickness and hunger, you can’t be anything but in awe of the scenery. Evergreen trees dot the rocky landscape below and high snowy peaks remain frozen year-round in the backdrop. You breathe a sigh of relief as you know you have one more day of trekking to reach Everest Base Camp, one of the most physically demanding treks there is.
Although border crossings outside of customs are illegal, the border between Afghanistan China, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and India also have natural barriers to keep immigrants out. The Karakoram Range spans across these borders, slightly north to the Himalayas in India.
Rivaling the Himalayas, K2 is the tallest peak in this mountain range, towering at about 28,000 feet. Jagged rock, long slopes, and icy glaciers coat the mountains in the south, whereas shorter, steep slopes characterize the northern part of the range. The glaciers that coat this mountain range melt in the spring, giving rise to intense floods below the southern peaks. This glacial runoff provides important water sources for rivers in the area, giving life to both local people, plants and animals.
Although we usually think of mountain ranges as being cold and rocky, like the Himalayas and Karakoram Range, others are far more lush, teeming with species of plants and animals. Spanning the western side of India, bordering the Arabic Sea lies the Western Ghats, a mountain range that is lush and full of life.
This ancient mountain range lacks the magnitude of the snowy peaks of the Himalayas and the Karakoram Range, but it is a hot spot for biodiversity that rivals Sri Lanka or Madagascar. Over half of the tree, reptile, amphibian and fish populations are endemic only to the Western Ghats, with many species being endangered. It is one of the last homes for the Asian elephant and hosts about 10% of the world’s tiger population.
On the opposite side of India, the Eastern Ghats run northeast-southwest along the coast, bordering the Bay of Bengal. Unlike the Western Ghats, the Eastern Ghats are cut into separate hill masses by rivers. The the Krishna and Godavari rivers cut through the mountain ranges, leaving gaps reaching up to 100 miles wide as they reach the coast.
The result is a discontinuous mountain range with individual low laying peaks. Like the Western Ghats, the highest peak in the Eastern Ghats is only around 5,500 feet high, much smaller than the peaks of the Himalayas.
Another low laying hill system, the Aravalli Range runs through northern India’s Rajasthan state, ending just south of Delhi . Peaks in the Aravalli Range only reach around 3,000 feet, giving them a more similar appearance to the Eastern and Western Ghats than the larger ranges, like the Himalayas and Karakoram. The Aravalli Range gives rise to rivers that provide water for populations below, as well as storing important minerals. The southern part of the range is filled with dense forest, but this growth becomes sparser as you move north in the range, where it is generally bare, with great amounts of sand and quartz.
The Himalayas are world famous, boasting the tallest peak on Earth, Mount Everest. Jagged, frozen peaks span through India, Kashmir, Namjagbarwa, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. The Karakoram Range, also filled with frosty cliff faces runs the border between Afghanistan China, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and India. It has the second highest peak in the world, K2. The Western Ghats are much smaller with heights of about 3,000 feet, but they are a biodiversity hot spot, hosting many endemic and endangered species along the west coast of India. The Eastern Ghats run the opposite side of India, bordering the Bay of Bengal.
This mountain range is discontinous, cut by multiple rivers. The Aravalli Range is also only around 3,000 feet and runs through northern India in the Rajasthan state. It is rich in minerals and has dense forest on the southern end.