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Introduction to the Himalayas
 ·  General Info
 ·  Classification of the Himalayas
 ·  Where to start

The Himalayas - where earth meets sky
An introduction to the Himalayas

Gurudogmar Lake at 17,200ft in the Trans Himalayan region of Sikkim, India. Credit: Karamjeet Singh
Gurudogmar Lake at 17,200ft
in the Trans Himalayan region
of Sikkim, India.

Credit: Karamjeet Singh

General Info
On a cold afternoon high up in the hills in the north of the Indian subcontinent, a short gaze towards the horizon by the light snowy touch of the day's fading brush strokes will reveal one of Nature's most magnificent monuments - the towering Himalayas. "Himalaya" is a Sanskrit word which literally means "Abode of Snow" - from hima, "snow," and alaya, "abode" - a term coined by the ancient pilgrims of India who travelled in these mountains. For Tibetans, Indians, Nepalese, and many of the other inhabitants of the Himalayas, the mountains continue to be the predominant factor in their lives. The beauty of the Himalayas has lured visitors to this region since olden times. And being the world's highest mountain chain, it constitutes the greatest attraction to climbers and trekkers throughout the world. But more than anything else, the Himalayas represent the awe-inspiring power, beauty, and grandeur of Nature. Welcome to the Himalayas - Where Earth Meets Sky!

In the heart of South Asia is located the loftiest mountain chain on earth. Forming a distinct geographical divide that separates the Indian subcontinent from Central Asia, the Himalayas extend from west to east in a massive arc for about 2500 kilometers (1550 miles). Covering an astounding area of 612,021 sq. km, the vast mountain chain passes through the Indian States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan . The Tibetan Plateau - the roof of the world - forms the borthern boundary of this magnificent mountain system while lower extensions of the Himalayas branch off from eastern and western frontiers of these mountains.

Sunset at Nuptse, a Himalayan giant in Nepal. Credit: Stan Armington
Sunset at Nuptse,
a Himalayan giant in Nepal

Credit: Stan Armington

Destination Himalayas - Where Earth Meets Sky offers an exploration of the Himalayas by region. It will take you across the vast Himalayas from one region to the next, exploring the unique beauty of each region.

Classification of the Himalayas
For a proper study, it is necessary to classify the vast area covered by the mountains into smaller sub-sections. Throughout our website, references will be made to these classifications.

The Himalayas can be classified in a variety of ways. From south to north, the mountains can be grouped into four parallel, longitudinal mountain belts, each with its unique features and distinctive geological history.

From west to east the Himalayas are divided broadly into three mountainous regions - the Western Himalayas, the Central Himalayas and the Eastern Himalayas.

Possibly the most important divisions of the Himalayas these days are the ones based on political boundaries. For anyone exploring the mountains, knowledge of the political boundaries is very important nowadays because most of the Himalayas lie very close to sensitive international border regions, many of which are disputed territories. Special permission is often required to visit certain areas close to the borders which are under military control due to their strategic importance. Based on international political boundaries, the Himalayas are divided into

Where to start
After reading through this brief introduction to the Himalayas you are now ready to embark upon your Himalayan journey. There are a variety of ways to explore the Himalayas and our site.

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