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The Indian Himalayas

 Introduction

The arc-shaped Himalayas extend along the entire northern boundary of India and carve just as far across the Indian subcontinent as they do deeply into the life around them. The term "Himalaya" - a Sanskrit word meaning "the Abode of Snow" -- was coined by the Indian pilgrims who traveled in these mountains in ancient times. For centuries, the inhabitants of India have been fascinated by this mountain chain. The feeling is a mixture of admiration, awe and fear; and for the Hindus of India, the Himalayas are also "the Abode of God".There are numerous pilgrim routes that have brought the Hindu pilgrims to these mountains since time immemorial. The Indian Himalayas cover a vast area along the northern frontiers of the country and span five Indian States – Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim & Arunachal Pradesh. -- From west to east. For the mountain people living in these states, the Himalayas continue to be the predominant factor in their lives. Having acted as a natural and political barrier for centuries, the Himalayas have isolated a number of communities, cultures and customs. The Indian Himalayas mark the crossroads of Asia's three main religions. Kashmir -- formerly a paradise on earth -- is largely influenced by Islam. The foothills of Jammu, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh form the northern boundary of Hinduism. The entire Trans Himalayan region, from Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) through Tibet and onto the eastern state of Sikkim, has seen a dominating influence of Buddhism

  Jammu & Kashmir

"A city blessed by the Gods" - Kashmir Valley is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world and is a land of immense natural beauty. It is also called 'Tourist Paradise on earth'. Jammu and Kashmir is the sixth largest state in India including the area occupied by Pakistan and China. On tour to Jammu and Kashmir, experience spectacular mountains, broken by stretches of valley and dotted with beautiful lakes. The state is studded with a number of hill stations, which are refreshing cool in summer. They offer a leisurely or adventurous holiday amidst breath-taking scenery. While on India tour, welcome to the strategically located state that constitutes the northern most extremity of India. A major portion of Jammu & Kashmir consists of the western Himalayas, which besides many lofty mountain ranges with varying heights of 3000 to 6000 meters and above, also abound in rivers, lakes, passes, glaciers, plateaus and plains. The number of streams, brooks, hill torrents and rivers is also fairly large. The most important rivers are the Indus, Chenab, Jehlum and Ravi.

  Himachal Pradesh

Popularly known as the Devbhumi – "Land of the Gods", Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful hill state in India, nestles in north-west region of western Himalayas. The state is landlocked with the Tibetan plateau to the east, Jammu and Kashmir to the north, and the Punjab to the west.However, the state stands apart from its neighbours in terms of its sheer topographic diversity and breathtaking pristine natural beauty. From vast tracts of high-altitude Trans-Himalayan desert to dense green deodar forests, from apple orchards to cultivated terraces, from snow capped high Himalayan mountain ranges to snow fed lakes and gushing rivers. The earliest known inhabitants of the region were tribals called Dasas. Later, Aryans came and they assimilated in the tribes. In the later centuries, the hill chieftains accepted suzerainty of the Mauryan empire, the Kaushans, the Guptas and Kanuaj rulers. During the Mughal period, the Rajas of the hill states made some mutually agreed arrangements which governed their relations. In the 19th century, Ranjit Singh annexed/subjugated many of the states. When the British came, they defeated Gorkhas and entered into treaties with some Rajas and annexed the kingdoms of the others. The situation largely remained the same untill 1947. After Independence, 30 princely states of the area were united and Himachal Pradesh was formed on 15th April, 1948. On 1st November, 1966, certain areas belonging to Punjab were included in Himachal Pradesh. On 25th January, 1971, Himachal Pradesh was made a full-fledged State. The State is bordered by Jammu & Kashmir on North, Punjab on West, Haryana on South, Uttar Pradesh on South-East and China on the East.

  Uttrakhand

Uttrakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India on 9th November 2000. The State came out of Uttar Pradesh. Demand for Uttrakhand was first made in 1930 at the Karachi session of INC. It occupies 17.3% of India's total land area with 51,125 sq kms. Uttrakhand is a place with great diversity of the region where snow-clad mountains, green hills, fertile valleys, flowing rivers and thriving lakes add to the natural beauty.Uttrakhand is also known as the Abode of the gods, there are several highly venerated pilgrimage places. The tourists must visit Kedarnath, Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Jageshwar, Bageshwar, Rishikesh and Haridwar for their religious importance on Uttarakhand Travel. Each hilltop or bent is known to have a temple, big or small, which are considered very sacred by the locals.Its a region with several natural lakes, which are the center of attraction of the town and good for sporting activities. The popular hill stations of Uttarakhand are Almora, Bhimtal, Munsiyari, Mussorie, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Ranikhet, Chopta, Valley of Flowers, Joshimath and Lansdowne. For unlimited serenity and tranquility in pleasant pollution free environs, hill station on Uttarakhand Travel are ideal for vacations. Uttarakhand is also ideal for several adventure sports activities because of its geographical attributes. The tourist here takes the maximum pleasure out of adventure sports like trekking, ice-skiing, white water rafting, sailing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, yachting, water-skiing and parasailing. To climb the big mountain stretch or to pass the dense jungles of the hills is in itself very exciting. The huge water-filled rivers and deep lakes are perfect for water sports.

  Sikkim

Sikkim is sheer magic. This is not just the most beautiful place in the world but cleanest and safest too. If once the charms of the State were limited to mists, mountains and colourful butterflies, they are now complimented by tangible development and progress. With its unique culture and natural landscape, Sikkim is a picture of perfection and pristine purity.Nestled in the Himalayas and endowed with exceptional natural resources, Sikkim is a hotspot of biodiversity and development. Though small in size, yet Sikkim has been identified world over as an important repository of germplasms of unknown dimensions. Perhaps, there is no part of the world, which offers a spectacular scene with every turn of the road as Sikkim. Though land-locked, Sikkim is one of the most beautiful and strategically important state of the Indian Union. Bounded by foreign nations on three sides, it shares its boundary with the sister state of West Bengal. Surrounded on three sides by precipitous mountain walls, Sikkim appears as a small rectangular Gem. Sikkim is like a stupendous stairway leading from the western border of the Tibetan plateau down to the plains of West Bengal, with a fall of about 5,215 metres in 240 kms. Sikkim, in the west is bound by the north-south spur of the Great Himalayan Range which includes the world's third highest peak, Khangchendzonga and down to its south is Singalila ridge. In the north it is bound by Dongkia range and also partly includes the Tibetan Plateau. In the east it is bound by the Chola range. The average steepness is about 45 degree. Sikkim is the main catchment area for the beautiful river Teesta, which has its main source from Chho Lhamo lake in the north and is further strengthened by many streams and rivers of which Tholung, Lachung, Great Rangeet and Rangpo are important drainers. It also has about 180 perennial lakes, among which Khachoedpalri, Gurudongmar, Chho Lhamo and Men Moi Tso are some of the most scenic.

  Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal finds mention in the literature of Kalika Purana and Mahabharata. This place is supposed to be the Prabhu Mountains of the Puranas. It was here that sage Parashuram washed away his sin, sage Vyasa meditated, King Bhishmaka founded his kingdom and Lord Krishna married his consort Rukmini.The widely scattered archeological remains at different places in Arunachal bears testimony to its rich cultural heritage. Arunachal Pradesh, a serene land tucked into the North Eastern tip of India, invites you to relax in its picturesque hills and valleys, enjoy its salubrious climate and meet its simple and hospitable people, with their glorious heritage of arts and crafts and colourful festivals that reflect their ancient faith in the inexorable power of nature. The visitor has a wide variety of options to pick from. There are places of worship and piligrimage such as Parasuramkund and 400 years old Tawang Monastery, or the sites of archeological excavations like Malinithan and Itanagar, the serene beauty of lakes such as Ganga lake or Sela lake or the numerous variations of scenic beauty of the snowclad silver mountain peaks and lush green meadows where thousands of species of flora and fauna prosper. In addition, the state provides abundant scope for angling, boating, rafting, trekking and hiking. Besides, there are a number of wild life sanctuaries and national parks where rare animals, birds and plants will fascinate the visitor.Arunachal Pradesh is considered to be Nature’s treasure trove and home to orchids, known for their exquisitely beautiful blooms, from one of the dominant taxa with more than six hundred species, occurring in varying elevations and climatic conditions throughout the state.

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