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The Seven Families of Mountains

Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Mahendra Mountain
Mahendra Mountain

It is a high peak in the eastern side of the Ganjam district of Utkal Pradesh ( Orissa ). This mountain is known for the existence of 4 big historical temples on it. The Chola king Rajendra established here a Victory-Pillar in the 11th century. People believe that one out of the 7 persons with long lives, Parasu Rama has his abode on this mountain. Two rivulets, known as ' the sons of Mahendra ' ( Mahendratanaya ) flow from this mountain. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Malaya Mountain
Malaya Mountain

We find in Bharatiya literature description of Malayagiri given by many poets. Known for its sandalwood trees this mountain is situated in the Karntaka province in southern Mysore. It is also known by the name Nilagiri which is sometimes used for its one peak as well. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Sahya Mountain
Sahya Mountain

This mountain, situated on the western sea-side of the Indian ocean in Maharashtra and Karnataka, is the source of Godavari and Krishna rivers. Tryambakesvara, Mahabalesvara, Pancavati, Mangesi, Balukesvara, Karavira etc. are the places of pilgrimage situated on the various peaks or on the banks of the rivers flowing out from Sahyadri mountain. This mountain has been the foundational place for the doings of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Many historically known forts are situated on the peaks of Sahyadri. Some of them worth mentioning are Sivaneri, Pratapagadha, Panhalagadha, Visalagadha, Purandara, Simhagadha and Rayagadha. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Himalaya

Situated in the northern part of Bharat ( India ), always adorned with snow, the world's highest mountain which has been addressed by the great poet Kalidas as ' Devatatma ' ( having divine soul or identity - " Astyuttarasyam disi Devatatma Himalayo nama nagadhirajah - from this on the northern direction is the emperor of the mountains with the divine soul ( identity ) known as the Himalaya " ). Standing in the form of a strong boundary wall to prevent or checkmate the alien attacks from the north this chieftain of the mountains has played a great role. This mountain has been the source of many of India's great rivers. Big and greatly important rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Sindhu, Brahmaputra and the like flow from Himalaya itself. The dear abode of Bhagavan Siva, mount Kailasa is situated within Himalaya. The holy place of Nara-Narayana is here itself. The famous places of pilgrimage such as Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badarinatha, Kedarnatha are within the great complex of its great mountain ranges. It is in the open space within Himalaya itself that king Bhagiratha did his great penance for the descence of river Ganga. Goddess Parvati had been born here itself and here itself she got Lord Shiva as her consort after penance. In Himalaya's ' Badarivana ' ( jungle of Berry trees ), sage Vyasa composed many of his works. After 36 years of the Mahabharata war the Pandavas went to Himalaya. Innumerable incidents of the traditional cultural life of Bharata are connected with Himalaya. It has been for ages a place of stay for the Rishis, Munis, Yogis and Tapasvis.

From west to east, the Indian Himalayas can be divided into Kashmir, Ladakh, Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Kinnaur, Kumaon, Garhwal, Sikkim and Arunachal; these divisions are in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Himalaya
The highest mountain range on Earth, the Himalayas form the northern border of the Indian subcontinent in Asia. The mountain ranges extend in a massive arc for about 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometers) from west to east with more than 30 peaks rising to heights greater than 24,000 feet (7,300 meters) above sea level. These include Mount Everest, the world's highest peak at 29,023 feet (8,846 meters), Kanchenjunga at 28,208 feet (8,598 meters), Makalu at 27,766 feet (8,463 meters), and Dhaulagiri at 26,810 feet (8,172 meters).

Several Indian states and the kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan lie along the southern slopes of the Himalayas, and the Tibetan Highlands border them in the north. The width of the mountain system varies from 125 to 250 miles (200 to 400 kilometers) from south to north, and the average height is 20,000 feet (6,100 meters). The Himalayas extend over about 229,500 square miles (594,400 square kilometers), and India has sovereignty over most of them; Pakistan and China also occupy parts.

The Sanskrit name Himalayas, meaning "abode of snow," truly characterizes the vast permanent snowfields above the snow line. These mountains pose the greatest challenge in the world to mountaineers. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Himalaya
Physical Characteristics

The most characteristic features of the Himalayas are their great height, complex geologic structure, snowcapped peaks, large valley glaciers, deep river gorges, and rich vegetation. From south to north the Himalayan ranges can be grouped into four parallel belts of varying width.

They are the Outer, or Sub-, Himalayas; the Lesser, or Lower, Himalayas; the Great, or Higher, Himalayas; and the Tethys, or Tibetan, Himalayas. The Karakoram Range in the northwest is also sometimes considered part of the Himalayan system. The mountains can be divided broadly into three regions. The backbone of the system is the Great Himalayas, a single range rising above the snow line with nine of the 14 highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest (see Everest, Mount ).

Geologically the Himalayas are relatively young folded mountains and are still undergoing the mountain-building process. Precambrian metamorphic rocks--rocks formed by heat and pressure from 4.6 billion to 570 million years ago--make up much of the structure. The uplift took place in at least three phases. The first phase occurred at the close of the Eocene epoch (about 38 million years ago) when the Great and Tethys Himalayas were uplifted. In the second phase, which occurred in the Miocene epoch (26 million to 7 million years ago), ranges of the Lesser Himalayas were formed. The final mountain-building phase started at the end of the Tertiary period (about 7 million years ago) when the Siwalik Range, the foothills of the Outer Himalayas, were formed.

The Himalayas act as a great divide and influence the climatic conditions of the Indian subcontinent to the south and of the Central Asian highland to the north. The winter season lasts from October to February, the summer from March to June, and the rainy season from June to September. Climate varies considerably with altitude; the snow line generally lies at about 16,000 feet (4,900 meters) in the Great Himalayas. The annual and daily temperature variation is much greater in the foothills. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Himalaya
The mountain ranges obstruct the cold, dry air from the north into India in winter. They also force the monsoonal winds to give up moisture, causing heavy rain and snow on the Indian side but arid conditions in Tibet. Rainfall decreases from east to west--120 to 60 inches (300 to 150 centimeters). Cherrapunji in Meghalaya State in northeastern India is noted for the world's second highest average annual rainfall of 450 inches (1,140 centimeters).

The Himalayas are drained by 19 major rivers, of which the Indus and the Brahmaputra are the largest. The Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej belong to the Indus system; the Yamuna, Ramganga, Kali, Gandak, and Kosi are part of the Ganges system; and the Tista, Raidak, and Manas belong to the Brahmaputra system. Rivers are more numerous and extensive on the southern slopes of the Himalayas and have great potential for producing hydroelectric power. The Bhakra Nangal multipurpose river-valley project, located on the Sutlej River, is one of the most extensive in India. Such major rivers as the Indus, Sutlej, and Brahmaputra have narrow and deep upper valleys that are older than the mountains themselves. Glaciers cover more than 12,700 square miles (32,900 square kilometers). One of the largest is Gangotri glacier in northern India--20 miles (32 kilometers) long. Glaciers feed most of the upper courses of the rivers, while the middle and lower courses are fed by rain. The Himalayan rivers also serve to float logs downstream to sawmills in the foothills. There are several freshwater lakes--Wular is the largest in Jammu and Kashmir. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Himalaya
Plants and Animals

There is great variation in the Himalayan soils. The dark brown soils are well suited for growing fruit trees. The wet, deep, upland soils with high humus content--especially in the Darjeeling and Assam hills--are good for growing tea. Himalayan vegetation is based on altitude and rainfall and can be classified into four groups: tropical evergreen forests of rose chestnut, bamboo, alder, pine, laurel, and palm up to 3,280 to 3,940 feet (1,000 to 1,200 meters); subtropical deciduous forest with sal, oak, and magnolia up to 7,220 feet (2,200 meters); temperate forests of cedar, birch, hazel, maple, and spruce from 7,220 to 8,860 feet (2,200 to 2,700 meters); and the alpine zone with juniper, rhododendron, mosses, lichens, and several kinds of flowering plants from 8,860 to 11,800 feet (2,700 to 3,600 meters). Alpine meadows are found up to 16,400 feet (5,000 meters).

Elephants, bison, and rhinoceroses inhabit the forested lower slopes of the Outer Himalayas. The snow leopard, brown bear, red panda, and Tibetan yak are found above the tree line--above 10,000 feet (3,050 meters). The black bear, langur monkey, clouded leopard, and goat antelope live in the foothills. Several animal species, such as the Indian rhinoceros, musk deer, and Kashmir stag, or hangul, were at the point of extinction but are now protected in several national parks and sanctuaries in India. There are catfish in most Himalayan streams, and butterflies are extremely varied and beautiful. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Himalaya
Sacred Ganga

The Gangotri region is the place where the holy Ganga river rises in the Great Gangotri Glacier. It is a 30 km long river of ice, which gives birth to the main headwater -- the Bhagirathi. The Ganga emerges from the depths of a glacier and rises at Gaumukh, an ice cave. At one time, the ice cave was apparently shaped like a cow's mouth, and hence the name. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Himalaya

Auli is nestled in the lap of snow-capped peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas, in the Chamoli district of Uttar Pradesh, and near the world-famous religious shrine of Badrinath. At an altitude of 2,500 to 3,050 meters above sea level, Auliís well-dressed slopes are flanked by coniferous and oak forests, which offer a panoramic view of Mountains. Auli is in the vicinity of the mountain peaks Nanda Devi and Mana Parbat.

The conditions for skiing are perfect at Auli. A 500 meters long ski-lift and an 800 meters long chair-lift link the upper and lower slopes, and snow beaters and snow-packing machines maintain the smoothness of the slopes. Skiers can enjoy almost 20 km of virgin slopes, which provide excellent opportunities for cross-country, slalom and down-hill skiing events. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Himalaya

Badrinath is considered the holiest of the four main shrines of Uttarakhand. The town, situated on the left bank of the Alaknanda, is equidistant from the twin mountains of Nara and Narayan Parvats. Badrinath is on the itinerary of every devout Hindu. The place is also known as Badri Van after the forest of Badri trees which grow here.

The present temple was built about two centuries ago by the kings of Garhawal. The principal idol in the temple is of black stone and represents Vishnu seated in a meditative pose, and flanked by Nara-Narayan. Badrinath is also known as Vishal Badri and is one of the Panch Badris.

The temple remains closed from October to April due to severe winter conditions. During this period the idols the idols of Utsavo Murti are taken to Pandukeshwar. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Raivataka Mountain
Raivataka Mountain

It is a mountain situated in the area called Prabhasa Kshetra of Kathiyawad district of the Gujarat province that is famous with its name as Girnar too. It is nearby the famous city Dvarika. We find a beautiful description of it in the Sanskrit poet Magha's play Sisupala Vadha. We learn it from the Puranas that Bhagavan Shiva stayed at Raivataka. When the gods came to ask him to return to Kailas, they were asked by Shiva to stay themselves here and he returned leaving a part of him ( amsa ) here. Here are many sacred ponds and temples including few Jain temples. Among its peaks, the Gorakhnath peak is the highest. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Vindhyacala Mountain
Vindhyacala Mountain

Spread from Gujarat to Bihar this complex of mountain ranges is situated in the mid-region of Bharat. It is the source of Narmada and Sonabhadra rivers. It is one of seven such complexes - i. e. one of the seven mountain families. It is said that these mountain ranges of Vindhya that have been separating northern Bharat from southern Bharat were crossed by saint Agastya from the north and that way he accomplished the great praise-worthy task of binding the two regions in one cultural thread. According to one Pauranika tradition, in jealousy with the Himalaya this mountain was rising higher and higher to be not only higher than the Himalaya but also than the Sumeru Parvata. On the request of gods Saint Agastya went to the mountain. Finding the preceptor to be near to it, Vindhya assumed a humble position in his honour. Sage Agastya asked it to keep up itself into the humble condition of the time till he returned from southern Bharat. The Vindhya has maintained itself in that humble condition ever since and is waiting the arrival of Rishi Agastya, its Guru. The charming ( beautiful ) place of pilgrimage known as Amarakantaka is situated in the range of Vindhyachal mountain. Freeindia > The Seven Families of Mountains > Aravali Mountain
Aravali Mountain

Aravali is the main mountain of Rajasthan, with the help of which the attacks by the aliens from the north-western side were checked. Witness to the chivalry ( valour, heroism ) and doings of Maharana Partap, this mountain had been his place of work. Famous ' Haldighati ' is one of the valleys of Aravali mountain. The highest peak of Aravali is known as mount Abu ( Arbudacala ) where there are sacred places of pilgrimage of the Jains. The Dilwara temple is known for its very fine stone cutwork, a unique art of the highest order. The ancient Sanskrit name of Aravali is Pariyatra has been counted among the seven mountain complexes in the following shloka :

Mahendro Malayah Sahyo Suktiman Rksavanapi Vindhyasca Pariyatrasca Saptaite Kulaparvatah

The ranges of Aravali are spread upto Agra and Delhi.

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Published on: 2003-01-30 (24311 reads)

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The Seven Families of Mountains
Mahendra Mountain
Malaya Mountain
Sahya Mountain
Raivataka Mountain
Vindhyacala Mountain
Aravali Mountain
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