This is the highest mountain range of the world. It extends in the shape of an arc for a distance of about 2500 km from west to east along the northern boundary of India between the Indus gorge in Jammu and Kashmir in the west and Brahmputra gorge in Arunachal Pradesh in the east.

The breadth of the Himalayas ranges between 400 km in the west to 150 km in the east. The area covered by this mountain system is about 5 lakh square km. It has three major ranges. These ranges are separated by deep valleys and plateaus.

The southern slopes of Himalayas facing India are steeper and those facing the Tibetan side are generally gentler. In the east, Himalayas rise almost abruptly from the plains of West Bengal and Assam. That is why two of the highest peaks of Himalayas, Mt. Everest (in Nepal) and Kanchenjunga are not very far from the plains.

On the other hand, the western part of Himalayas rises rather gradually from the plains. Hence, the higher peaks in this part are farther from the plains and a number of ranges lie between the plains and high peak. The high peaks of this part such as Nanga Parbat, Nanda Devi and Badrinath are very far from the plains.

Three parallel ranges can be identified in the Himalayas. These are:

  1. Himadri
  2. Himachal
  3. Siwalik