Formation of Popular Travel Routes to Majestic Himalayan Region
The Himalaya is home to the world's highest peaks. Himalaya comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “Abode of Snow”. It is the mountain range which separates the Indian plains from the Tibetan plateau. The Himalayas start from Pakistan, go through India, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. This range is home to some of the world's highest mountains. More than 14 Himalayan peaks have an elevation of over 8000m! Some of the prominent and famous peaks are Mount Everest (8848m, Nepal/Tibet), Mount K2 (8611m, China/Pakistan), Mount Lhotse (8516m, Nepal/Tibet). These are only a few of the numerous high peaks of the Himalayas. Many like Mount Everest, Mount Kailash, Mount Lhotse are located on the Nepal-Tibet border. Some of the popular mountains for trekkers and mountain climbing are Mount Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Chomolhari among the few.
Formation of the Himalayas
The Himalaya range is ancient and was formed approximately 10 million years ago! This happened due to the Indian landmass colliding with the Asian plate. The Indian landmass or Indian plate started drifting towards Asia about 50 millions years ago. As a result of this drifting and collision with the Asian plate, it gave rise to the current Himalayan range. The collision of the Indian plate into the Asian plate literally resulted in the earth getting lifted up to form the mountains that exist today.
One surprising thing is that the Himalayan mountains continue to grow by a few centimeters every year as the Indian plate continues to push into the Asian plate. Also because of this, the region has some occasional earthquake activity.
Mountains of the Himalayas and Corresponding Activities
The Himalayan range running along the Nepal-Tibet border has some of the highest mountains in the world. This region is also famous with adventure enthusiasts for trekking and mountain climbing experiences. Some of the popular treks and mountains will be listed further.
The sun raise up from Himalaya range
Mount Everest- Mount Everest or Chomolangma as it is known in Tibetan, is the world's tallest mountain at 8848m. It lies on the Nepal-Tibet border, so it can be approached from both sides. A famous trek in this mountain is the Everest base camp trek.
The best time to go for the base camp trek is usually April to June and Sept. to Nov. This is the time when the air is clear and views are stunning. The climate also is not unbearably cold.
Trek to Everest Base Camps from Nepal and Tibet
The Everest base camp trek can be reached by two ways- from Nepal and from Tibet. Ultimately both routes lead to the same destination but there are significant differences between the two routes.
Trek to Everest Base Camps from Nepal
Nepal Route- The Nepal route involves going to the base camp from Nepal (Kathmandu/Pokhara) depending on the tour guide. Entering through Nepal is much easier than entering through Tibet because Nepali visas are easier to obtain than Tibetan visas. Also Nepal tends to have more budget accommodation to suit low budget travellers.
Trek from Nepal to Himalaya range
The disadvantage of taking the Nepal route is that it involves a very long and arduous trek by foot to the base camp. Travellers trek through the Gokyo valley which is very beautiful to behold. This can be physically exhausting for most travellers and they may not have enough energy left to enjoy the base camp experience fully. Also the accommodation at the Nepalese side tends to get booked out very, very quickly so many travellers report having to sleep on the floor and on benches. This may not be suitable for all.
One more disadvantage is that the Nepal side of Mount Everest is that the view of the mountain itself is not that nice. It is blocked by the Nuptse-Lhotse range so trekkers will only be able to see the tip of Everest. Of course, the overall view is amazing but the Tibetan base camp offers more spectacular views of Mount Everest.
The trek to base camp in the Nepali side is wonderful because travellers get to experience the Sherpa (traditional mountain guides) way of life and see Sherpa villages. The route is also very scenic and cheaper than the Tibetan route.
Trek to Everest Base Camps from Tibet
Tibet Route- The Tibetan journey to the base camp at Mount Everest starts at Lhasa. The journey from Lhasa to the Everest base camp is quite comfortable which is mainly why it is so popular with tourists. The base camp is reached by car from Lhasa. It is a fairly long but comfortable drive and takes around two-three days. The stopover is generally at Shigatse, which is a lovely city with historical monasteries like the Tashilhunpo monastery. Shigatse is known as the Gateway to Everest. There are plenty of accommodation and traveller shops for those going on the trek. It is a smooth ride of nicely maintained roads. The scenery is generally drab and dry with not much to see. It resembles typical Tibetan land-arid, empty and rocky.
The real deal starts when travellers cross the mountain passes into Qomolangma national park. Here the scenery changes and becomes more stunning. The dry, flat land changes into undulating hills, grassland, etc. It is vast and beautiful. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Mount Everest rises and stands there alone like a pillar. This sight is truly one of the most awe inspiring sights in the world. To see the world's tallest mountain, standing alone without being blocked by any other mountain is just spectacular! This is one of the main reasons travellers are recommended to choose the Tibetan side. Not only is the view unobstructed by other mountains like in the Nepali side, it is less crowded, the journey more comfortable and the accommodation also more comfortable.
Travellers can either go all the way to the base camp by car or they can get down at Rongbu town to trek the remaining 4-5 kilometres to the base camp.
Everest Base Camp Trekking
In a nutshell, making the trip to the Everest base camp is an absolute must for anyone visiting the Himalayas. Seeing the world's highest mountain and climbing a part of it is a truly unforgettable experience whether the traveller chooses the Tibetan route or the Nepal route. Both routes are good and come with their own advantages and disadvantages. The Nepal route is beautiful but the view of the mountain is average. It is cheap but always very crowded.
The Tibetan route is more expensive and the route is a little less spectacular than the Nepali route but it's more comfortable, convenient and the view of the mountain is just unbeatable! It is also less crowded so travellers can enjoy the experience with less hassle.