Longitudinal Division of the Himalayas

Longitudinal Division of the Himalayas is an important segment in the IAS Geography syllabus of the UPSC civil services exam.

The Himalayas, the abode to the highest peaks on earth, are incredible mountain system of Asia and a great wall between the Plateau of Tibet to the north and the alluvial plains of the Indian subcontinent to the south. It is divided longitudinally into 5 divisions from west to east.

Longitudinal Division of the Himalayas

  1. The Kashmir /Punjab/ Himachal Himalayas
  2. The Kumaun Himalayas
  3. The Central/ Nepal Himalayas
  4. The Assam/ Eastern Himalayas

The Kashmir /Punjab/ Himachal Himalayas

Kashmir Himalayas lies between Indus River and Sutlej. A significant portion of the Himalayas lies in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. This is also known as Punjab Himalayas.

In Jammu and Kashmir region:  It is characterized by high snow covered peaks, deep valleys, interlocked spurs and High Mountain passes. The range stretches for 700km in length and 500 km in width. It has a height of 3000 m with a large number of glaciers. The Ladakh region of the Kashmir Himalayas is dominated by cold desert conditions. The Kashmir valley which belongs to this division is surrounded by the Greater Himalayas and the Lesser Himalayas. The Karewa soil is found here and this area is famous for the saffron and other dry fruit cultivation.

Important passes of the Kashmir Himalayas: Pir panjal, Banihal, Zoji La, Burzil, Khardungla, Pensi- La, Saser- La, Lanak- La, Jara- La, Tasaka-La, Umasi-La and Qara-Tagh-La. The important snow-capped peaks are Nanda Devi, Trisul, Nunkun, Kamath and Nanga-Parbat

In the Himachal Pradesh Region: All the three ranges- the greater, the lesser and the outer Himalayas are well represented in this region. The northern slopes of the Himachal Himalayas are covered with thick forest, plains and lakes. The southern slopes are rugged with forest clad. The Kangra valley, Kullu- Manali lies here. These areas are highly productive and well known for orchards and scenic beauty. Dalhousie, Shimla, Chamba, Kullu- Manali and Dharam sala is the important hill station in this region. The important passes are Rohtang pass, Bara-Lacha, Shipki La.


The Kumaun Himalayas

This division lies between the Satluj and Kali River. The highest peak in this division is Nanda Devi. Important peaks in this region are Nanda Devi, Trisul, Kedarnath, Dunagiri, Kamet, Badrinath, Jaonli, Gangotri, and Bandarpunch. Pindari, Gangotri, and Milam are the important glaciers in this division. The major hill stations are Mussorie, Nainital, Ranikhet, Almora, and Bageshwar. The important passes are Thaga La, Muling La, Mana, Mangsha Dhura and Lipu Lekh.


The Central / Nepal Himalayas

This division stretches from stretches from Kali River to Tista River. Major part of it lies in Nepal except for the extreme eastern part- Sikkim Himalayas. The important peaks are the Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Dhaula giri, Annapurna, Manasuly, and Gosainath. Nathu La and Jelep La are the important passes in this region.


The Assam/ Eastern Himalayas

This division lies between Tista and the Brahmaputra River (Dihang). It occupies the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India and Bhutan. On the southern border of Arunachal Pradesh, it takes a southerly turn and ranges are arranged in North-South direction passing through Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura called Purvanchal.  The Purvanchal is joined by Meghalaya Plateau in the west and its extension of the Myanmar mountain chain continues to Andaman and Nicobar islands and to the Archipelago of Indonesia.

The Himalayas rise very rapidly in the plains of Assam and narrow at the foothills of Shiwaliks. It comprises of many hills called Aka hills, Dafla hills, Miri hills, Abor hills, Mishmi hills and Namcha Barwa. The important hills of eastern Himalayas are Pakai bum, Manipur hills, Blue Mountain, Tripura range and Brail range. The important passes in this region are Bomdi La, Yonggyap, Diphu, Pangsau, Tse La, Dihang, Debang, Tunga and Bom La


Longitudinal Division of Himalayas UPSC question

Previous Year Questions

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When you travel in Himalayas, you will see the following: (UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2012)

  1. Deep gorges
  2. U-turn river courses
  3. Parallel mountain ranges
  4. Steep gradients causing land-sliding

Which of the above can be said to be the evidences for Himalayas being young fold mountains?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1, 2 and 4 only
  3. 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: D

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