Also known as the Himalaya, the Himalayas is a mountain range that is situated on the Asian continent. The mountain range includes at least fifty mountains with an elevation of more than 23,000 feet including the famous Mount Everest which is the world’s highest peak. The Himalayas also have a number of rivers such as the Ganges and the Indus.
The Himalayan range acts as the separator between Tibetan Plateau and the subcontinent of India. The Himalayas is spread out over five countries namely Nepal, China, Pakistan, Bhutan, and India. Presently, at least 52 million people in all the five countries live in the area designated as the Himalayas.
Size and Age
With an age of about 70 million years and massive height, the Himalayas are actually the youngest and the tallest mountain ranges in the world. The mountain ranges were formed after a collision between the Eurasian and the Indian tectonic plates. Interestingly, a number of studies have established that the range has an annual movement of about 20 mm. For this reason, the area is prone to landslides, tremors, and other natural disasters.
The name of the mountain stems from a Sanskrit word that roughly translates to an abode made of snow. The first part of the word “hima” corresponds to a word meaning snow while the other part means a dwelling or an abode. Other languages have variations of the name that also translate to the same thing in English. The naming is not a surprise considering that the top of Mount Everest is constantly covered with snow.
The range is home to plenty of cultures and religions such as Buddhism, Islam, Jainism, Christianity, and Hinduism. Accordingly, there are many famous religious sites for the religions. An example of such a site is Paro Taktsang in Bhutan where people claim is the founding site of Buddhism. Interestingly, Hinduism believes that the mountain range is an all-powerful deity. This belief is mentioned in several Hindu religious texts like the Rig-Veda and the Skanda Purana.
Flora and Fauna
Naturally, the extensive range is home to a vast array of rare and exotic animals. These animals include mountain goats, Tibetan sheep, wild goats, and the endangered snow leopards. The animals vary depending on factors like climate and height. For example, the snow leopard lives in places with a high elevation. An example of a unique tree species is the Juniperus tibetica which grows at heights of around 16,080 feet in the southeastern side of Tibet.
The record for the most climbs of the Mount Everest peak is currently at 21 and is held by two Sherpas known as Phurba Tashi and Apa Sherpa. In the case of Phurba, he managed to climb the mountain three times in a single year (2007). In the case of Apa, between 1990 and 2011, he made the climb almost every year. The first person to climb Mount Everest was a man known as Edmund Percival Hillary together with Tenzing Norgay.