The Northern Mountain Wall – India

The physical features of India can be grouped under the following physiographic divisions:

  1. The Himalayan Mountains  (The Northern Mountain Wall)

  2. The Northern Plains

  3. The Peninsular Plateau

  4. The Indian Desert

  5. The Coastal Plains

  6. The Islands

The Northern Mountain Wall

The Northern Mountain wall physiography is classified into 3 distinct units:

  1. Trans-Himalayan range,

  2. Himalayan range &

  3. Purvanchal.

The Trans Himalayan range

  • Represent oldest young mountain of the country extensively in J & K.

  • Also called the Tibetan Himalaya because most of it lies in Tibet.

  • They represent the parallel running 3 demo-crated ranges because of the flow of the Indus and its tributaries.

  • The 3 demo-crated ranges Zaskar, the Ladakh, and the Karakoram.

  • It stretches for a distance of about 1,000 km in east-west direction.

  • Average elevation is 3000 m above mean sea level.

  • The Nanga Parbat (8126 m) is an important range which is in The Zaskar Range.

  • The northern most range of the Trans-Himalayan Ranges in India is the Great Karakoram Range also known as the Krishnagiri range.

  • Karakoram Range extends eastwards from the Pamir for about 800 km. It is a range with lofty peaks It is the abode of some of the greatest glaciers of the world outside the polar regions.

  • Some of the peaks are more than 8,000 metre above sea level. K2 (8,611 m) is the second highest peak in the world and the highest peak in the Indian Union.

  • The Ladakh Plateau lies to the north-east of the Karakoram Range. It has been dissected into a number of plains and mountains (Soda Plains, Aksai Chin, Lingzi Tang, Depsang Plains and Chang Chenmo)

Himadri, Shiwaliks and HimachalThe Himalayan Mountains

  • The Himalayas, geologically young and structurally fold mountains stretch over the northern borders of India.

  • The Himalayas represent the loftiest and one of the most rugged mountain barriers of the world. They covers a distance of about 2,400 Km and their width varies from 400 Km in Kashmir to 150 Km in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • They cover the major part of Northern mountain wall of the country.

On the basis of relief, alignment of ranges and other geomorphological features, the Himalayas can be divided into the following sub-divisions:

  1. Himadri,

  2. Himachal and

  3. Shiwaliks.

Important peaks The Great Himalayas / Himadri.

  • The Himadri represents its latitudinal extension between Trans-Himalayan fault and Main land Thrust – one in the Nanga Parbat in north-west and the other in the Namcha Barwa in the north-east.

  • Average elevation of 6,100 m above sea level and an average width of about 25 km.

  • Mount Everest was first located by George Everest, the then Surveyor General of India in 1841 and in 1852 it was established as the highest peak of the world by the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India. (The Northern Mountain Wall)

Note: In Nepal and Tibet Mt. Everest is called Sagarmatha & Chomlungma respectively.

Himachal / The lesser / Middle Himalayas

  • It runs almost parallel to both the ranges.

  • Lesser Himalayan ranges are 60-80 km wide and about 2400 km in length.

  • Many peaks are more than 5,050 m above sea level and are snow covered throughout the year.

  • Lower Himalayas have steep, bare southern slopes and more gentle, forest covered northern slopes.

  • In Uttarakhand, the Middle Himalayas are marked by the Mussoorie and the Nag Tibba ranges.

  • The Mahabharat Lekh, in southern Nepal is a continuation of the Mussoorie Range

  • East of the Kosi River, the Sapt Kosi, Sikkim, Bhutan, Miri, Abor and Mishmi hills represent the lower Himalayas.

  • Majority of the Himalayan hill resorts like Shimla, Mussoorie, Ranikhet, Nainital, Almora and Darjeeling, etc. are located here.

The Shiwalik / Outer Himalayas

  • The altitude varies from 600 to 1500 m and runs for a distance of 2,400 km from the Potwar Plateau to the Brahmaputra valley.

  • The width of the Shiwaliks varies from 50 km in Himachal Pradesh to less than 15 km in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • The famous ‘Valley of flowers’ is also situated in this region.

  • The places of pilgrimage (Prayags) such as the Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib are also situated in this part.

  • Dehra Dun is the largest of all the duns with an approximate length of 35-45 km and a width of 22-25 km.

the north mountain wall - Purvanchal Purvanchal / Eastern Hills

  • Eastern Hills or The Purvanchal are the southward extension of Himalayas running along the north-eastern edge of India.

  • At the Dihang gorge, the Himalayas take a sudden southward bend and form a series of comparatively low hills which are collectively called as the Purvanchal.

 (The Northern Mountain Wall) Shiwalikhs -himadri-himachalHimalayas – Regional Divisions
  • Punjab

  • Assam

  • Western Himalayas

  • Central Himalayas

  • Eastern Himalayas


  • Between the Indus and the Satluj rivers (560 km).

  • Major ranges: Karakoram, Ladakh, Pir Panjal, Zaskar and Dhaola Dhar.


  • Spreads over Sikkim, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Western Himalayas

  • Between the Indus in the west and the Kali river in the east (880 km).

Central Himalayas

  • Between river Kali in the west and river Tista in the east (800 km).

Eastern Himalayas

  • Between the Tista river in the west and the Brahmaputra river in the east (720 km).

Altitudinal division of The Northern Mountain Wall

1. High elevated (6000 m +)

  • Trans-Himalayan

  • Himadri

2. Mid elevated (4500 m +)

  • Himachal

3. Low elevated

  • Shiwaliks

  • Purvanchal

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