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<< Indian Himalayas << About Himalayas >> << Fast Facts >>

F a s t   F a c t s   &   C l i m a t e  o f   H i m a l a y a s

Pine, Deodar, Fir, Oak, Rhododendron, Birch
Mid-June Till The End Of September

Birth of Himalaya

The authors provide a comprehensive natural history of the region from the birth of the Himalaya out of the tectonic disruptions beneath the primordial Tethys Sea to the variety of landforms, habitats, and climates seen today; a lively study of the peoples who make the mountains their home, tracing human history in the Himalaya back more than a thousand years; and an in-depth analysis of the relationship between nature and society in the Himalaya and the pressing problems of environmental degradation, explosive population growth, spiraling poverty, and globalization confronting the region and its people.

Challenging widely held assumptions about the current ecological crisis in the Himalaya — that deforestation, for example, can be blamed exclusively on local villagers or that pollution and rampant resource exploitation occur uniformly throughout the range — the authors detail a much more complex scenario in which the population explosion is only one of the many factors affecting the Himalayan landscape and in which some regions exhibit little of the environmental decline witnessed elsewhere.

Climate of Himalaya

The Himalayan Alpine climate varies according to the elevation. It gets colder as the elevation increases and gets wetter as the elevation drops. As a result the temperature and climatic changes in the Himalayan regions change very quickly. All of a sudden there can be occurrences of monsoons, floods, high winds, snowstorms and other types of precipitation, which makes the climate over here quiet an unpredictable and dangerous one.

Wildlife Corner

Himalaya also offers reasons for hope, documenting the success of wildlife preserves and national parks in protecting the region's fragile ecology, effective strategies of local environmental activists, the encouraging rise of ecotourism, and the introduction of both new and rediscovered techniques of sustainable agriculture. The fauna of the alpine ecosystem depends on the tubers and roots of these plants for survival when the thick blanket of winter snow covers the hill-sides, and sources of nutrition are at a premium. However, in the absence of these herbs many animals are moving away from affected regions as they are not able to sustain themselves. As a result, the chief predator of this alpine ecosystem - the Snow Leopard is forced to move with its prey and the animal populations get concentrated into smaller areas. Thoroughly researched, engagingly written, and lavishly illustrated with helpful maps and evocative photographs, Himalaya provides a compelling account of the mountain range's natural history, cultural diversity, environmental predicament, and future survival.

Himalayan Flora

Himalayan flora is the chief victim of this abuse. But the biggest threat to some of our Himalayan flora comes from a different quarter. The large-scale removal of certain mountain herbs and plants of medicinal value is bringing about different changes within the mountain ecosystem. These plants, which include species of Saussurea, Podophyllum, Geranium, Anemone and Potentilla constitute the chief source of lean season sustenance for the high altitude fauna such as the Bharal or the Blue Sheep and the Himalayan Red Bear. These root plants, which are systematically mined from entire hill slopes and meadows in portions of Himachal Pradesh and Garhwal, are subsequently processed locally and exported for use in perfumeries and medical preparations abroad and in India.

For Future Trekker

Trekking parties to the high mountains not only destroy the last stands of Birch and Rhododendron at the high altitudes to use as fuel wood, but they also leave behind empty tin-cans and waste that is not biodegradable in nature. Juniper bushes are likewise used as incense in camp fires. The answer to such 'abuses' is for all trekking parties and expeditions to carry with them to the mountains their own supplies of liquid fuel such as Kerosene or LPG. All garbage that is biodegradable should be buried in shallow pits in the ground, while that which is not likely to biodegrade should be carried back to the plains for recycling or proper disposal. Such actions, although seemingly insignificant in the face of Himalayan scale, can help preserve the mountains in their pristine state not only for the enjoyment of future trekkers but for the goodness of the Himalayan ecosystems.

Himalayan Panorama

To know the mountains one has to be amongst them. In the evening as one begin settling down so do the mountains, valleys and clouds. It is a wonderful sight to see a sea of clouds sinks in repose in the deep valleys. At the same time the setting sun converts the surrounding peaks into molten gold which gradually fade away into pale pink and steel grey.

At night, the moon lends a peculiar charm to the snow transferring the rugged peaks and ridges into soft contours. The hamlets in the valleys, surrounded by fields, are in deep slumber. The silence of the mountains is complete. The only sound one can hear is of the campfire.

Natural Warning

In recent years, there has been great emphasis on saving the trees but the actual progress has been insignificant. Day by day, the trees are being destroyed and being cut down without replacement and without a thought for our children’s future. Overgrazing and ruthless assault on herbs is destroying the meadows and pastures.

In the absence of forests, there will be less precipitation in the form of rain and snow - leaving the grand peaks without their white mantle. This ecological damage, if not redeemed, will lead to catastrophes in the form of extreme floods, droughts, forests fires and disappearance of wildlife.

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