The Himalayas: The World’s Youngest Mountain Range
Despite being the youngest mountain range in the world (just 70 million years young!), the India Trekking Himalayas Range is home to a beautiful array of flora and fauna, with trekking routes suitable for new hikers and experienced mountaineers alike.
The Himalayas, also known as Himalaya or the Himalayan Range, stretches across five countries and includes many of the world’s tallest mountains, such as Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga. Nearly 53 million people call the mountain range home, spanning India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Pakistan.
Himalayan Religion and Culture
The four main cultures are Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and Animist. The diverse groups of people living in Himalaya dress differently and live in homes that look different from the rest. For example, different colours and textures indicate their different unique backgrounds. But what’s common is the delicious lentil, bread, potato curry, noodles and booze!
In Hinduism, the Himalaya is called the Giri-raj, which translates to the “King of the Mountains”. As the name suggests, Hindus consider the Himalayas as sacred lands. It is believed to be the dwelling place of Gods. The locals regard the Himalayas as the land of holy practices where, and while visitors are always welcome, respect for the land should be observed.
Intersection of Glaciers and Rivers
The word “Himalaya” means “abode of snow” in Sanskrit, which is apt, given how it has the third largest deposit of ice and snow, after Antarctica and the Arctic. The higher portions of Mount Everest (above 5,500 km) glistens with snow that never melts. The glaciers surrounding this mountain range are a serpentine reservoir of crystal-clear fresh water. Other than tall peaks and icy glaciers, the Himalayan Range also intertwines with renowned rivers, most notably the Ganges, which runs more than 2,500km long!
The Ganges flows through most of Indian territory, although it shares its large delta in the Bengal area with the Brahmaputra River in Bangladesh. The mouth of the Ganges River forms the Sunderbans, the world’s largest delta, and it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. It covers more than a staggering 105,000 square kilometers.
Home to Majestic Creatures
Because of its huge size and high altitude, the climate ranges widely, from hot and humid in the foothills to cold and dry as you go higher. Spring here is March to May, and Fall from September to November. The difference in weather, depending on the season you go, also means you will encounter a variety of creatures and plants, including goats and red pandas.
Aside from the cute and cuddly, The Himalayas also serve as a natural habitat to some of the most exotic species like the elusive snow leopard. In order to observe the true natural majesty of snow leopards, you have to climb the higher altitudes of the mountain.
Treks for All Abilities
There are myriad treks you can take, depending on your expertise and experience. You can go it solo if you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a challenge, or you can join a group if you prefer some company. The length of your trek can range from a few days to many weeks. Do your homework to know what you need to pack and which group you’ll feel comfortable with. Remember there are no malls up in the mountains, so it’s better to be more prepared than not!
There are countless treks but here are some you’ll find interesting. Sandkaphu is one such trek that is steeped in cultural and religious significance. From there you can see the Sleeping Buddha, also known as Kanchenjunga. Get there at the right time, and you will see Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu, mountains all over eight thousand feet!
Another popular trek is Roopkund for its spectacular vista of mighty and impressive mountains aside its beautiful meadows and lush forests.
Another truly awesome trek is Kedarkantha, best known for its stunning clearings.
The number of options–and hidden gems–for you to trek is as vast as Himalaya itself. But one of the most profound sight you will ever see is Netalia, Uttarakhand. Marvel at the sheer force of the Bhagirathi river!
As the trekking saying goes, “The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other…again and again and again. And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit”. That’s exactly what you’ll find at the Himalayas.