The Himalayas are a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The greater span of the range includes the Himalaya proper, the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush, and a host of minor ranges, which spells a transition from lush forests to ice and snow. The mountain range is home to the world's tallest peaks with over one-hundred exceeding 7,200 metres (including Mt. Everest).
Of colour, the rich browns of the mountains, their snow-capped tops that resemble white clouds, lush greens of the lowland forests, stretches of blue sky, and the teals found in the rushing, life-giving rivers are just waiting to be discovered. Although it's not the same as being there -- to see these wonderful earth tones -- let's take a journey through pictures to the largest mountain range on planet Earth.
The Himalayas stretch across the six nations of Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their peaks and valleys hold the sources of three of major river systems in the world, being the Indus basin, the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin and the Yangtze basin. This teal-green supply of silt-rich water allows for so much to grow around it, as it passes its wealth down the spider-web rivers to even more fertile lands, allowing for the greens of plant-life to flourish.
On the Indo-Gangetic plain at the base of the mountains, vegetation varies from west to east. The xeric Northwestern thorn scrub forests occupy the plains of Pakistan and the Indian Punjab. The leaves of a scrub forest are often waxy, and retain water through water-proofing. Further east lie the Upper Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests of Uttar Pradesh and Lower Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests of Bihar and West Bengal. These are monsoon forests, with drought-deciduous trees that lose their leaves during the dry season. The moister Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests occupy the plains of Assam.
Above the alluvial plain lies the Terai strip, a seasonally marshy zone of sand and clay soils. The Terai has higher rainfall than the plains, and the downward-rushing rivers of the Himalaya slow down and spread out in the flatter Terai zone, depositing fertile silt during the monsoon season and receding in the dry season. The Terai has a high water table due to groundwater percolating down from the adjacent bhabhar zone. The central part of the Terai belt is occupied by the Terai-Duar savanna, deciduous, and evergreen forests that include some of the world's tallest grasslands.
The Tibetan Plateau and its capital, Lhasa, are also in the Himalayas. With an average elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft), it is the highest region on Earth and is commonly referred to as the "Roof of the World." Here, snowy mountain tops can easily be confused as clouds. The Tibetan Plateau is home to 6,330,567 in the area dominated by the People's Republic of China alone. The plateau is also the source of the Yangtze, Yellow, Indus, Mekong, Brahmaputra (the main river that flows through Tibet), Ganges, Salween, and Yarlung Tsangpo Rivers.
Most famously in the Himalayas is Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth, as measured by the height of its summit above sea level. The mountain, which is part of the Himalaya range in High Asia, is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet, China. As of the end of the 2006 climbing season, there have been 3,050 ascents to the summit, by 2,062 individuals, and 203 people have died on the mountain. The conditions on the mountain are so difficult that most of the corpses have been left where they fell.