India Physiography – The Northern Mountains (Himalayas)

Physiography of India



India can be divided into following physical divisions viz.

  • The Northern Mountains
  • The North Indian Plain
  • The Peninsular Plateau
  • Great Indian Desert
  • The coastal Regions
  • Islands

The Northern Mountains (Himalayas)

  • The Himalayan Mountains form the northern mountain region of India.
  • They are the highest mountain ranges in the world.
  • These mountain ranges start from Pamir Knot in the west and extend up to Purvanchal in the east.
  • Youngest & Loftiest mountain range of the world
  • Formed by Tectonic Forces & are 2400 Km in Length
  • Are of varying width from 400 Km in Kashmir to 160 Km Arunachal Pradesh
  • Altitudinal variations are greater in the eastern part than in the western part
  • Prominent Features Highest peaks, Deep valleys & Gorges, Glaciers etc.

The Northern Mountains (Himalayas)

The Himalayan Mountains can be further divided into following major ranges -

Trans Himalayas 

  • Immediate to the north of the Great Himalayan Range
  • Most of the part of this Himalayan range lies in the Tibet and hence also called Tibetan Himalaya
  • Ranges Zaskar, K2 (Godwin Austin), Ladakh,  Kailash and  Karakoram Range
Greater Himalaya (Inner Himalaya) 

  • Always covered with snow Known as Himadri
  • Average height 6000 mts
  • Most continuous range
  • Core composed of granite
  • Ranges Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga
  • Forests type Needle leaved coniferous
Middle Himalaya 

  • Average height 3500 – 4500 mts
  • Most of the valleys & hill stations are located in this range e.g. Kashmir, Kathmandu , Nainital
  • Ranges Pir Panjal, Dhaula Dhar, Mahabharat
  • Forests type Broad leaved evergreen
Outer Himalaya (Shivalik Range/ Himachals) 

  • Average height 600 – 1200 mts
  • Most of the Dun & Duars are located in this range
  • Ex. Dehradun, Patlidun (longitudinal valleys)
  • Deciduous type forests

Eastern hills / Purvanchal

  • Brahmaputra marks the eastern border of the Himalayas.
  • Beyond the Dihang gorge, the Himalayas bend sharply towards south and form the Eastern hills or Purvanchal which run through the NE India & are mostly composed of sandstones
  • Mishmi hills, Patkai Hills, Naga Hills, Manipuri Hills and Mizo Hills

Eastern hills  or  Purvanchal

Classification of Himalayas on the basis of Geographic Location

  • Punjab Himalayas / Kashmir Himalaya / Himachal Himalaya Between the Indus and Sutlej
  • Kumaon Himalayas Between Sutlej and Kali rivers
  • Nepal Himalayas Between Kali and Tista rivers
  • Assam Himalayas Between Tista and Dihang rivers


Significance of Himalayas for India

Strategic significance Acts as a natural frontier of India with other countries (China, Pakistan, Afghanistan)
Climatic significance  Prevent further northward movement of summer monsoon and also prevent cold northern winds from Siberia to enter into India
Agricultural significance Rivers from Himalayas deposits a lot of sediment on its foothold, from which are formed India’s most fertile agricultural grounds known as Northern plains
Economic significance Huge hydro-electric power potential of Himalayan rivers + Himalayan timber + Himalayan Herbs & Medicinal plants
Tourism Significance Comprises of Large ecological biodiversity, natural views & hill stations
India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017


  1. Thanks for Sharing … You can read more at Northern plains

  2. thankyou very much to share the knowledge.

  3. Thanks for helping ,but can u pls update points on Himadri ,Himachal and Shiwaliks.

  4. Please add with mcqs

  5. there any way to save these pages as pdf ? I cant find the option. I wanted to do so, so that it can be printed for easier revision.

    • select the text -> right click and select ‘print’ -> save as pdf

    • use print friedly google chrome extension……for print , save pdf as desired

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