The Himalayas undulate over vast stretches of indescribable diversity
of plant and animal life,
people and cultures, soils and rocks,
shrubs and trees, lakes and falls,
rivers and streams, towering peaks,
glacial passes, settlements quaint,
deep canyons, vertical cliffs,
clear sunshine, dark shadows,
picturesquely terraced fields,
and dense forested solitudes…
Discover Himalayas. Discover Yourself.
There is nothing like reclusive living to touch ourselves,
away for a while from all claimants on our time and attention,
among strange lands, stranger people and a different life.
There is nothing like the Himalayas
to facilitate this process
of happy passage of spirit.
The most massive and highest mountain system on this planet,
Himalayas, the “ abode of snow ”
form an arc 2400 km long between the Indus and Brahmaputra river valleys,
and 400 to 150 km wide from west to east.
They also contain the largest area of glaciers and permafrost outside of the poles.
The flora and fauna of the Himalayas varies with climate, rainfall, altitude, and soil.
The unique biodiversity it supports include 10000 plant species,
300 mammals, over 900 birds, and about 550 species of reptiles, fishes and amphibians.
The seasonally marshy zone south of Himalayan foothills offer a mosaic of grasslands, savannas,
deciduous and evergreen forests, including some of the world’s tallest grasslands
that are home to the Indian rhinoceros.
Higher up appear the pine and broadleaf forests and open valleys,
before the Lower Himalayan ranges begin.
Here, at altitudes between 2000 to 3000 m, we find the subtropical forests,
deep canyons, and a handful of places where rivers flowing from the north
gather like candelabra to break through the range.
About a 100 km up north, at altitudes of 4000 m, the Greater Himalayan ranges appear
with their temperate coniferous and subalpine conifer forests,
exceptionally diverse rhododendrons,
and abrupt rise into the realm of perpetual snow and ice.
Being wider, the number of parallel high ranges are more in the west,
where grasslands and shrublands are widespread above the treeline.
The northwestern Himalayan ranges contain alpine shrub and meadows,
including junipers and rhododendrons.
Snow leopards are found in high elevations of
Leh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The Himalaya region is dotted with hundreds of lakes.
Most lakes are found at altitudes of less than 5,000 m,
their size diminishing with altitude.
Tarns caused by glacial activity can be discovered at still higher altitudes.