Facts You Must Know about Himalayas
As a marvelous gift from the great nature, the Himalayas, as well as the surrounding areas, is the destination for many tourists. No matter you are planning your trip to Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan or India, the Himalayas is always on your list. For most general travelers, it is an impossible mission to conquer the highest peak of the world in the Himalayas, but it will be one of the most unforgettable journeys when you visit the forests, the villages, and the mountains of the Himalayas. Here are some interesting facts about the Himalayas.
What does the word Himalaya Mean?
The name of the mountain range, Himalaya, originally came from the world Himā-laya, which means ‘ Abode of Snow’ in Sanskrit. In Tibetan, the Himalaya means the Land of Snow. And in Chinese, it is called Ximalaya.
Where are the Himalayan Mountains Located?
The Himalaya is located along the border of India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and China in southern Asia. As a part of the frontier, the Himalaya is southwest to China, north to Bhutan, and northeast to India and Nepal.
Physical Features of Himalayas
There are fourteen peaks exceeding 8000 metres in elevation in the Himalaya Ranges, namely Mount Everest (8848 metres), Godwin Austen (8611 metres), Kangchenjunga (8586 metres), Lhotse (8516 metres), Makalu (8463 metres), Cho Oyu (8201 metres), Dhaulagiri (8167 metres), Manaslu (8163 metres), Nanga Parbat (8125 metres), Annapurna (8091 metres), Gasherbrum I (8068 metres), Broad Peak (8047 metres), Gasherbrum II (8035 metres) and Shisha Pangma (8013 metres). Moreover, there are another thirty-six mountains over 7200 meters above the sea level. That’s why the Himalaya is the highest mountain range on the Earth.
The Himalayas range is formed by the convergent boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate.
Running from west-northwest to east-southeast, the Himalayan Range is 2400 kilometers’ long, with the western anchor in Nanga Parbat and the eastern anchor in Namcha Barwa. The northern Himalaya is bordered by the Karakoram Mountains and the Hindu Kush Mountains. To the north, it is separated from the Tibetan Plateau by the Indus-Tsangpo Suture, which is a 50 to 60 kilometers’ wide tectonic valley. To the south, the Himalaya is facing the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The width of the Himalaya is from 350 kilometers in the west to 150 kilometers in the east.
As one of the youngest mountain ranges on the Earth, the Himalayas range is formed by the convergent boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate. In about 70 million years ago, the Indo-Australian Plate was moving north and reached the Eurasian Plate in about 50 million ago. Then, these two plates were faulted and folded into mountain ranges. The marine limestone found in the summit of Mount Everest, the highest peak of the Himalayas, proved that the mountain range was from the ancient Tethys Ocean.
The Importance of Himalayas
Thanks for the Himalaya ranges, the monsoon rains can be kept on the Indian plain, and there is a limited amount of rainfall on the Tibet plateau. The glacier and snowfields on the top of Himalaya Mountains are the source of the most important rivers in Asia, such as the Indus River, the Ganges River and the Yarlung Tsanpo River. The forests at the foot of the Himalaya on the southern side are the home to many endangered species, like the Snow Leopard, Wild Yak, Himalayan blue sheep and so on.
Himalayas Temperature Today
The climate of the Himalayas varies from tropical climate to alpine climate. The climate of the Himalayas is mainly influenced by the India monsoon from mid-June to the end of September. From the very eastern Himalayas to the western Himalayas, it becomes drier and drier for the less effect of the monsoon. And the southern side of the mountain has lush and moist climate while the northern side is warmer and dryer due to the lack of rain.
Enjoying a Himalayan trip from Tibet to Nepal and Bhutan
The climate of Himalaya Mountains can be simply divided into summer and winter. The average temperature of summer in the southern side is around 20°C while the average temperature in winter is just 18°C. As the altitude increases, the temperature of the Himalayas gradually decreases. The average summer temperature drops to 15°C and the average winter temperature is below freezing point at the middle range of the Himalaya Mountains. Over 5000 meters, the temperature is below freezing point all year round, and the mountain top is always covered by snow.
The Best Time to Visit the Himalaya Regions:
Best time to Visit Tibet: April to October
Best time to Visit Nepal: February to April and October to November
Best time to Visit Bhutan: October to December
Best time to Visit India: October to March
There are over 50 million people living in the entire range of the Himalayas in northeast India, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. The population of the Himalayas includes Aryans, Mongoloids and Negroids. Furthermore, there are about 600 million people living in the basins that formed by the rivers rising in the Himalayas, such as the Indus, the Ganges and the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra.
Tibetan Lama is feeding the cat in the prestigious Tashilhunpo Monastery
People living in the different regions of the Himalaya are influenced by different culture and have their own faith and belief. In the north side of Mount Everest, the Tibetans believe in Tibetan Buddhism. The culture of the middle Himalayan valleys is similar to that of Afghanis and Iranians. And in Nepal, its culture is influenced by both Tibetan and Hindu cultures. So it will be a lifetime experience to explore the different cultures that all origins from the great Himalayas when you visit India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.
Himalayan Mountain Animals
Though it is an awful living environment for human beings, the Himalaya Mountains is the home to some rare animals, like Snow Leopard, Himalaya Wild Yak, Musk Dear, Himalayan Tahr and some other endangered species. In total, there are over 300 mammal species and thousands of birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians living harmoniously in the Himalayas. Due to the different climate in different regions of the Himalaya Mountains, such as the subtropical regions and alpine regions, the animals are different.
Blue sheep resides in the Himalayas
Tourists may have a chance to see the yaks and Himalayan Marmots at the lower areas of Mount Everest. The Himalaya Tahrs prefer to live in the mountain slopes and wooded hills at 3000-4000 meters above the sea level at the southern side of Mount Everest, which the Himalayan blue sheep resided in the rocky hills at 4000 to 6000 meters regions. There are also two kinds of bears living in the Himalayas, namely the Himalayan brown bear and the Himalayan Black bear. One of the rarest species in Himalaya Mountain is the Snow Leopard. Recently, there are just around 7000 wild snow leopards that have been found. Living in the altitude ranging from 2500 to 6000 meters, the Snow Leopard usually moves to the lower places in winter. The major sources of food for Snow Leopard are blue sheep, marmots, and game birds.
In order to keep away from the extremely cold atmosphere in the third pole on the Earth, the animals living in Himalaya mostly have thick skin and heavy body. Unlike their bulky appearance, these animals in Himalaya are very alert.
What makes the Himalaya so attractive? Not only because of the wonders of the Nature, the unique culture and the mysterious religions, but also some of the interesting folklores, such the world-famous story of Yeti.
In the legend, the Yeti is a kind of huge creature that inhabits in the Himalaya regions in Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. It is taller than ordinary people and covered with thick hair. Till 19 century did the western know the story of the Yeti. And the reports of seeing odd creatures in the Himalayas had been increased during the 20th century. The so-called footprint and the scalp of the Yeti were be found in the past, but till now, it is still hard to say whether there are Yetis or not in the Himalaya Regions. However, the legend of the Yeti has always kept people’s attention to the Everest, making the Himalaya a destination for the curious explorers from all over the world.