Based on relief, alignment of ranges and other geomorphological features, there are large-scale regional variations within the Himalayas.
The Himalayas can be divided into the following sub-divisions:
Kashmir or Northwestern Himalayas
- It comprises a series of ranges such as the Karakoram, Ladakh, Zaskar and Pir Panjal.
- The northeastern part is a cold desert lying between the Greater Himalayas and the Karakoram ranges.
- Baltoro and Siachen glaciers are also found in this region.
- The Kashmir Himalayas are also famous for Karewa formations, which are used for the cultivation of Zafran. (Karewas are the thick deposits of glacial clay and other materials embedded with moraines).
- Some of the important fresh lakes such as Dal and Wular and saltwater lakes such as Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are also in this region. This region is drained by the river.
Himachal and Uttarakhand Himalayas:
- This part lies approximately between the Ravi in the west and the Kali (a tributary of
- Ghaghara) in the east.
- It is drained by two major river systems of India, i.e., the Indus and the Ganga.
- The northernmost part of the Himachal Himalayas is an extension of the Ladakh cold
- desert, which lies in the district Lahaul and Spiti.
- All the three ranges of Himalayas are prominent in this section also.
- In the Great Himalayan range, the valleys are mostly inhabited by the Bhotia’s. These are nomadic groups who migrate to ‘Bugyals’ (the summer grasslands in the higher reaches) during summer months and return to the valleys during winters.
- The famous ‘Valley of flowers’ is also situated in this region.
Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas:
- They are flanked by Nepal Himalayas in the west and Bhutan Himalayas in the east.
- It is Known for its fast-flowing rivers such as Tista, it is a region of high mountain peaks like Kanchenjunga (Kanchengiri), and deep valleys.
- The higher reaches of this region are inhabited by Lepcha tribes while the southern part, particularly the Darjeeling Himalayas, has a mixed population of Nepalis, Bengalis and tribals from Central India.
- They are well known for orchids
As compared to the other sections of the Himalayas, these along with the Arunachal Himalayas are conspicuous by the absence of the Shiwalik formations. In place of the Shiwaliks here, the ‘Duar formations’ are important, which have also been used for the development of tea gardens.
- These extend from the east of the Bhutan Himalayas up to the Diphu pass in the east.
- The general direction of the mountain range is from southwest to northeast.
- Some of the important mountain peaks of the region are Kangtu and Namcha Barwa.
- Subansiri, Dihang, Dibang and Lohit are perennial with the high rate of fall, thus, having the highest hydro-electric power potential in the country.
- Important tribes: Monpa, Abor, Mishmi, Nyishi and Nagas.