Mountains and Glaciers
Cozily snuggled in the arms of the great Himalayas, the state of Uttarakhand has time and again been referred to as ‘Dev Bhumi’ or ‘The Land of Gods’. This accounts for the numberless Hindu and Buddhist lore associated with the very roots of its terrain whose astounding splendor reveals itself in all shades of nature – there is abundant greenery, a rare variety of wildlife and million floral hues and of course the pristine Himalayas. At the feet of these Himalayan heights lie the glaciers. Glaciers are ice in gradual motion and several sacred and life-giving rivers find their origin in them.
According to the glacial formations, two of the five traditional divisions of the Himalayan range are found in Uttarakhand, namely Garhwal and Kumaon. The major glacial formations of Garhwal include Bandarpunch, Doonagiri, Khatling, Gangotri and the Nanda Devi cluster of glaciers, while Kumaon incorporates the Kaphni, Milam, Pindari and Ralam Glaciers.
Mountaineering as an activity has been known to mankind since the first tryst with the mountains was made. Since time immemorial, sages and pilgrims have been drawn to these mountains because they provide not only serene sheds of solitude, but their very sight uplifts the spirit and makes it soar, fulfilling the longing for the Infinite that is both beyond and yet within the human soul. The Himalayan Mountains are no exception to this longing.
Holiday-makers can make the most of these mountains, which are a playground for many an enjoyable holiday activity. Trekking, high altitude camping, mountain biking, rock climbing and skiing in the winter months are some of the many holiday activities offered, and the State Tourism Board is doing all it can to make Uttarakhand the adventure capital of the country. Nature-lovers and photographers can invigorate their passion with the plush flora and fauna of this kingdom of nature that boasts of thousands of species, some of which can only be found in this lap of the world. The importance of eco-friendly diversity has been noted and this is why forest institutes in the region promote the learning and discovery of new species with an emphasis on the preservation of existing ones.
The snow-capped peaks of the mountains that surround this region make a profound impression, connecting the spirits of man the mountains. The beauty of Uttarakhand is said by many to be unsurpassed where mountains and valleys, birds and animals all come together to mingle in delightful synchronicity.
Resting majestically in the Garhwal Himalayas is a twin-peaked massif that forms a long high ridge leaning east to west, known as Nanda Devi. The Nanda Devi East Peak is part of this, and together with the West Peak.
Named after the trident of Lord Shiva, Trishul is the group of three imposing peaks of western Kumaon near the Bageshwar district. The main peak, Trishul I, is notable for being the first peak over 7,122 metres
One of the chief mountain massifs in the Gangotri cluster of mountains in the Garhwal Himalayas is the magnificent Chaukhamba peak. ‘Chaukhamba’ literally means ‘four pillars’ and its four impressive peaks rise.
The lofty Shivling Peak is perhaps one of the most imposing peaks in the Garhwal Himalayas, positioned at an altitude of 6,543 metres. This important Himalayan mountain range and can be accessed through the Chaturangi Vamak route.
In the Bandarpunch Range of the Garhwal Himalayas lies the striking Swargarohini mountain massif. Located in the Uttarkashi District, it is situated on the west side of the Gangotri group of peaks.
In the Garhwal Himalayas lies the magnificent Bhagirathi group of three soaring peaks – Bhagirathi I, Bhagirathi II and Bhagirathi III, rising to the heights of 6,856 metres, 6,512 metres, and 6,454 metres respectively.
Popularly known as the Queen of Garhwal, Neelkanth is a beautiful snowy peak towering above the holy town of Badrinath. The history of Central Garhwal would remain unfinished without mentioning this peak of supreme.
The Gaumukh Glacier is the source of the Holy Ganga and is therefore held in special regard by devout pilgrims. It is an 18-kilometre walk from the Gangotri Glacier.
Abigamin, Arwa Spire, Arwa Tower, Baljuri, Banderpunch (Route-I), Banderpunch (Route-II), Banderpunch (Route-III), Banderpunch West/White Peak (Route-I), Banderpunch West/White Peak (Route-II), Barmal, Bhagirathi-I.
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