India's northern regions are filled with some of the world’s highest peaks, most of which are part of the Great Himalayan Ranges. These mountains have religious significance in India’s communities. They have been revered since ancient times and are thought to be the home of gods, attracting religious pilgrimages yearly. The mountains also have economic value due to the booming tourism, fueled by the unique flora and fauna. Some of the tallest and most majestic mountains of India are looked at below.
Kangchenjunga Mountain, towering at an elevation of 28,169 feet, is the highest mountain in India. The mountain is part of the greater Himalayan Ranges, and it is on the border of Nepal and India. Kangchenjunga has five peaks and numerous glaciers which drain into the Himalayan Rivers. The rivers have long been sources of livelihood for people around the region.
The flora and fauna of the mountain are protected in the Khangchendzonga National Park of India. The mountain is home to fauna such as Indian leopard, Himalayan tahr, musk deer, red panda, elephants, Bengal tigers, Himalayan black bear, rat snake, civet and over 500 species of birds. The mountain is holy according to the Sikkim people, and every expedition to the mountain has had to halt one or two yards before the original peak, as per the people’s customs. The residents of Sikkim worship the mountain as holy, and the five peaks are thought to be God’s five deposits namely gold, silver, precious stones, grain, and sacred books.
Mount Kangchenjunga has not been immune to the environmental threats facing the Himalayan Ranges as whole. Deforestation, human encroachment, tourism activities and poaching have taken their toll on the fragile ecosystem. The effects can already be seen from the occasional flooding in the lowlands caused by rapid glacier melting in the mountain.
Nanda Devi is the second largest mountain in India with elevation of 25,643 feet. Nanda Devi Mountain is located in the state of Uttarakhand in India, and it is part of the Garhwal Himalayas. The Locals beliefs that the mountain is home to Parvati the goddess. The Nanda Devi National Park was founded in 1982 to protect the flora and fauna, and was subsequently named a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Animals found in the park include the Himalayan black bear, blue mountain goat, Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan musk deer, Langurs and over 100 species of birds. Flora in the mountain includes fir, juniper, and birch. The vegetation along the mountain is mainly shrubs.
The mountain is considered holy, and is an important destination for both Sikh and Hindu pilgrims. The government of India has enforced measures to curb environmental threats in the mountain. Access to its ecosystem is highly regulated.
Mount Kamet is the third highest summit in India with an elevation of 25,446 feet. It is the second highest peak of the Garhwal Himalayas, and it is located in Uttarakhand. It lies in proximity to three other major peaks and it is situated close to Tibet. Mount Kamet made history as the first of the Himalayan Mountains over 25,000 feet to be climbed. The mountain is home to several glaciers and rivers. The mountain is remotely located, and it is largely inaccessible.
Mount Saltoro Kangri, at 25,400 feet, is the highest summit of the Saltoro Mountain Ranges, a sub-range of the Karakoram, which is part of the Himalayan Ranges. The mountain resembles a pyramid topped by a level summit and two peaks. The mountain lies in both India and Pakistan’s territories and has been a source of territorial disputes. The disputes were resolved through treaties and both countries control the mountain. The mountain is not highly visited due to military operations and inaccessibility.
Significance of India's Great Mountains
Other high mountains in India, and their respective heights in feet, include Saser Kangri I at 25,171 feet, followed by Mamostong Kangri (24,659), Saser Kangri II (24,649), Saser Kangri III (24,590), Teram Kangri I (24,482), and Jongsong Peak (24,482). These mountains attract tourists by the numbers due to unique ecosystems, religious purposes, and beautiful scenery. The ecosystem of the mountains is, however, suffering because of the effects of tourism activities in part and poaching and other human encroachment.