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Top 12 Mountain Ranges in India - Best for Trekking and Picturesque Trips

Top 12 Mountain Ranges in India - Best for Trekking and Picturesque Trips

By CarolUpdated Sep. 10, 2021

India is home to a few of the most noteworthy mountain ranges and roads within the world. The Himalayan region is the most famous and the larger part of the most elevated summits within the world are located there, such as Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga.

The Himalayas are not the only famous mountain range in this country. Numerous others are recognized for their trekking and picturesque trips. The Ladakh area, the Aravalli Range, the Vindhya Range, and the Satpura Range are a few of these.

Highlights

  • The Himalayas are divided into three parts: the Inner Himalayas, the Middle Himalayas, and the Outer Himalayas.
  • The Ladakh Range is well-known for its high-elevation mountain passes, the most conspicuous of which is Khardung La.
  • The Aravalli Range is India's oldest mountain range and it stretches for over 500 miles (805 kilometers).
  • The Karakoram Range is one of India's largest ranges, reaching through neighboring countries, such as Pakistan and China.
  • The Bhimbetka Caves at the foothills of the Vindhya Range are home to over 700 rock shelters dating back to the Paleolithic Period.

1. Great Himalaya Range

The Great Himalaya Range is the highest of the three Himalayan ranges. Located at an altitude of over 22,000 feet (6.7 kilometers) above sea level, this is where the highest mountains in the world - including Mount Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga  are situated.

The Himalayas are very sacred to the Hindus as they consider this region to be the gods' abode. There are several pilgrimage places within the Great Himalaya Range. One of them is the Chota Char Dham, situated in Uttarakhand province.

Aside from pilgrims, the Great Himalaya Range also draws trekkers from around the world. The trek to Dzongri Peak in Sikkim is one of the trekkers' favorites. The journey passes through beautiful rhododendron forests until you reach the snow-clad Dzongri Peak, which is located at more than 13,000 feet above sea level.

The best times to go trekking in the Great Himalaya Range are from March to April and September to October to avoid snowfall and monsoon rains. Travelers are also required to be super fit as the treks take a few days and the altitudes can be very steep.

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2. Middle Himalaya Range

The Middle Himalayas are close to the Great Himalaya Range, which is mostly surrounded by trees. The region is much more accessible, rising to heights that range from 5,000 to 20,000 feet above sea level. Shimla is one of India's most famous hill stations.

Shimla is located in Himachal Pradesh district. Located more than 7,000 feet above sea level, the hill station is surrounded by pine, oak, and deodar trees, snow-clad mountains, and colonial-era structures. There are also other popular hill stations, such as Manali and Dalhousie.

Apart from hill stations, the Middle Himalayas are also home to the Great Himalayan National Park, one of India's under-viewed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The park is surrounded by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows, and riverine wetlands, and is home to over 300 flora and fauna species.

The Middle Himalayas are better explored from March to June to avoid heavy snowfall. Travelers need to be quite fit to explore the region as a huge amount of walking is involved.

3. Shivalik Range

The Shivalik Hills are most commonly known as the Outer Himalayas. The mountain range separates the Himalayan ranges from the plains. The region comprises of valleys and slopes set at nearly 5,000 feet (1,524 kilometers) above sea level.

Rishikesh is the most well-known destination within this region. It is reflected as being the origin of yoga where numerous ashrams or religious retreats can be held. Visitors can also encounter a bounty of adventure sports there, including river rafting and bungee jumping.

Visitors can get a dazzling view of the world's third-highest mountain, Kangchenjunga, in West Bengal's eastern Indian hill town of Kalimpong and even go stream rafting nearby in the Teesta River.

The Shivalik range is best explored from November to February in the winter months as the cool climate makes it charming for outdoor sightseeing.

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4. Ladakh Range

The Ladakh Range lies between the Nubra Valley and the city of Leh, running parallel to the Indus River. The peaks in this region range from 16,000 to 19,000 feet above sea level. The range is renowned for its high-altitude mountain passes, the most famous one being Khardung La.

Situated at over 17,500 feet above sea level, Khardung La lies north of Leh and is the gateway to the remote Shyok and Nubra valleys. With its winding roads and valley, the mountain pass is a hot spot for tourists taking pictures of the picturesque panoramas.

The Sham Valley Trek is one of the easier treks in the Ladakh region of India. The trek goes through the Sham region of Ladakh and passes through small mountain passes, streams, shady willows, and barley fields.

May to October is the best time to visit the Ladakh Range to avoid freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall. The Sham Valley Trek is best done in July or August. Although considered to be an easy trek, certain sections are still pretty steep and challenging so it is recommended for active or experienced trekkers.

5. Aravalli Range

The Aravalli Range is India's oldest mountain range, stretching for over 500 miles from Champaner and Palanpur in eastern Gujarat to Delhi. Bordering the Thar Desert, the mountain range provides protection from the extreme desert climate. Its highest peak, Guru Shikhar at Mount Abu, is located 5,650 feet above sea level.

The range is home to many forts and palaces built by the previous Mewar rulers. One of the most famous ones is Kumbhalgarh Fort. The 15th-century fort was named after the Mewar ruler Rana Kumbha and was said to be impenetrable by Mughal invaders of the time.

There are many other tourist destinations in the Aravalli Range. The city of Pushkar is famous for being the site for the annual camel fair. Held every November, travelers can see over 50,000 camels dressed up, paraded, shaved, raced, and made to dance.

November to February is the best time to visit destinations in the Aravalli Range. The temperatures during this time are around 12 to 28℃ (54 to 82℉), making it pleasant enough for outdoor sightseeing.

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6. Western Ghats

The long Western Ghats extend for about 5,250 miles (8,449 kilometers), expanding from near the Satpura Range in Gujarat to the southernmost tip of India near Kanyakumari. The region comprises of a few mountain ranges, with heights extending from 1,700 feet (518 meters) to 8,500 feet (2,591 meters) above sea level.

What makes the Western Ghats extraordinary is the exceptional biodiversity. The mountain range is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's best biodiversity hot spots that is the native home to almost 30 percent of India's greenery and fauna species.

There are also numerous national parks there. Periyar National Park in Kerala is one of the most well-known national parks in southern India. Travelers can take a watercraft safari to see the natural life inside the park.

It's best to visit the Western Ghats in the cooler and drier months, which are from October to February.

7. Eastern Ghats

The lesser-known Eastern Ghats stretch through Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Flatter than the Western Ghats, the peaks within the Eastern Ghats rise over 3,000 feet (914 meters) above sea level. The most noteworthy peak is Jindhagada Peak, found in Andhra Pradesh, which has a height of 5,545 feet (1,690 meters).

Similipal National Park is a major attraction in Odisha. The park has a wealth of thick forests, striking meadows, fabulous waterfalls, and radiant streams. Home to over 1,000 species of flora, the park is a great place for seeing natural life.

A trip to the Borra Caves is also not to be missed. Being one of the biggest caves within the nation, it shows an assortment of speleothems of diverse sizes and irregularly molded stalactites and stalagmites.

Similar to the Western Ghats, the Eastern Ghats are best visited between October and February due to the cool and comfortable weather.

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8. Vindhya Range

On the northern side of the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, the Vindhya Range extends for over 675 miles, running from Jobat in Gujarat to Sasaram in Bihar. The range has a height of about 1,000 feet above sea level, with Kalumar Peak being its tallest at about 2,500 feet above sea level.

The Vindhya Range comprises chains of hills, ridges, and plateaus. The Bhimbetka Caves, located in the foothills of the Vindhya Range, are home to more than 700 rock shelters, which date back to the Paleolithic age. The rock shelters also have paintings on them and were drawn over different periods.

The abandoned city of Mandu is another well-known destination. It was established in the 10th century and is spread over a 2,000-foot-high hilltop. The city has numerous palaces, tombs, mosques, and landmarks to visit. A few of them are the Jahaz Mahal, Baz Bahadur's Palace, and Roopmati's Pavilion.

The cool and dry months from November to February are the best time to visit the Vindhya Range.

9. Satpura Range

The Satpura Range sits on the Narmada River's south side, stretching for approximately 560 miles, and runs parallel to the Vindhya Region. The most elevated peak is Dhupgarh, which is the highest peak in central India at 4,400 feet above sea level.

Pachmarhi, the only hill station in Madhya Pradesh, can be found within the Satpura Range. It is the home of cave sanctuaries dedicated to Lord Shiva. The most important temple is located at the station's third highest peak, Chauragarh. There is also a fort there, which is known for its dawn views.

You should also visit Satpura National Park. There, you can enjoy cycling, jeep safaris, night safaris, and canoe safaris. You can also follow the path to Duchess Falls, where you can take a refreshing plunge in the waterfall at the end of the trek.

The winter months from November to February provide the most wonderful climate to visit the Satpura Range. To trek to Duchess Falls, you must be quite fit as the journey can be very challenging.

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10. Karakoram Range

The mountainous Karakoram Range is one of India's biggest mountain ranges, extending through neighboring countries that include Pakistan and China. Sometimes labeled "the roof of the world", the range is host to the second-highest mountain in the world, K2.

As it is a sensitive border area, many of the destinations in the Karakoram Range are still very hard to access. Mountaineers must gain permits to access the Indian peaks in the region.

The Karakoram Range is one of the most glaciated parts of the world outside of the polar regions. You can visit the Siachen Glacier. Rated as the highest battleground in the world, it is the source of the Nubra River that spans 50 miles (80.5 kilometers).

To avoid extreme temperatures, August and September are the best times to visit the Karakoram Range. Treks to the Siachen Glacier are also very demanding so it is recommended for fit and experienced trekkers.

11. Zanskar Range

Located to the south of the Ladakh Range, the Zanskar Range is what separates the Ladakh region from the Zanskar region of Jammu and Kashmir. The peaks there rise to more than 19,500 feet above sea level. The twin peaks, Nun and Kun, are the highest ones at 23,409 and 23,218 feet respectively.

These twin peaks can be climbed. The trek will take up to 20 days and will go through many challenges, such as glacial formations, icefall slopes, slippery surfaces, cliffs, and ice walls.

Zanskar is also famous for its Buddhist monasteries. The most famous one is Phugtal Monastery, which is located halfway between Padum and Darcha. To reach the monastery, you will have to walk or ride a pony.

The summer months between June and September are the best months to visit the Zanskar Range. The weather during this time is not too cold and is perfect for exploring the sceneries.

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12. Purvanchal Range

Lying south of the Brahmaputra River, the Purvanchal Range forms the boundary between India and Myanmar. The peaks in this region are at a height of about 9,000 feet. The most elevated peak, Dapha Bum, stands at 15,000 feet above sea level.

Keibul Lamjao National Park is found within the Bishnupur area of the state of Manipur in India. Characterized by numerous floating decomposed plant materials called phumdis, it is the only floating park in the world.

Another famous national park is Namdapha National Park. Harboring the northernmost lowland evergreen rain forests in the world, the park is a biodiversity hot spot with more than 1,000 flora and about 1,400 fauna species.

The Purvanchal Range is best visited in the winter months between November and February as the weather is pleasant for outdoor sightseeing.

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