Himalayan mountains are the gigantic snow filled mountain ranges which cover the northern part of the Indian sub-continent. Besides the mighty Everest, many other highest peaks of the world lie in the Himalayan ranges. Without the Himalayas, our country would have been a desert as they prevent the cold continental air masses of central Asia from entering India. We always wonder how these mighty Himalayas are formed. In this article, we will discuss about their evolution and importance.
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EVOLUTION OF HIMALAYAS:
Many million years ago the world map was not similar to the one we are familiar now. There are only two large land masses, Angara land in the north and Gondwanaland in the south separated by a huge water body called Tethys Sea. Over time, these lands were split into many plates and started moving in different directions.
The Indian plate which was separated from Gondwanaland started moving north and over a long period of time it came near the Asian plate. By this time, Tethys Sea was a small water body separating Indian plate and Asian plate. When Indian plate started moving further north towards Asian plate,the debris (deposited material) present in the Tethys Sea started rising(Imagine two plates placed in the sand with some distance. When we try to bring the plates together by applying force the sand in between rises above. The same thing happened here).
Over millions of years, the material had risen to greater altitudes and that’s how the present-day The Himalayas were formed. The interesting fact is that the height of Himalayas is still rising that means the Indian plate is still pushing itself towards the north. Since this is a convergence zone of two plates the complete Himalayan region is the earthquake prone zone. You can now easily relate to the recent disastrous earthquake in Nepal.
IMPORTANCE OF HIMALAYAS:
The Himalayas play a very important role in different aspects according to the needs of our country:
Located in the north, Himalayas protect as well as provide us. They obstruct the cold winds coming from the central Asia and thereby protecting the country from becoming a cold desert. The monsoonal winds coming from the south are reflected back by the Himalayas, causing rain in the northern part of the country.
The unique feature of Himalayas is that they have all types of vegetation across their altitudes which are present all over the world across latitudes. That means ranging from tropical forests in lower heights to alpine vegetation in higher altitudes it covers almost every kind of flora and fauna.
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Many famous temples like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Amarnath, Manasarovar and hill stations like Shimla, Manali are present in the Himalayas attracting tourists not only from India but also from the other parts of the world. This helps in the revenue generation and enriching our cultural heritage as well.
In addition to these Himalayan mountains provide us with many mineral resources and of higher strategic importance as well.