The Indian subcontinent is home to mountain ranges, hill stations and soaring peaks over 3,000 meters high. The Himalayan mountain ranges in India are the most famous mountain ranges and are home to the highest peaks in the world.

In India, the Himalayas stretch for more than 2,500 kilometers from west to east. Other high mountains in India can be found in the Trans Himalayas, the Purvachal Himalayan ranges and the Western Ghats. India also has many smaller peaks and older mountain ranges that are home to many beautiful hills, tea and coffee plantations, evergreen forests and more.

Himalayan ranges

  • These are the highest and youngest mountains in the world. When viewed from afar, most of the Himalayan ranges are huge snowy mountains.
  • The Himalayas stretch 2,500 kilometers from Afghanistan and run through the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir in the west to Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in the east.
  • Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and West Bengal are other Indian states through which the Himalayan mountain ranges pass.
  • The Himalayas lie between Tibet and the Gangetic Plain and consist of three parallel mountain ranges called the Great Himalayas, the Middle Himalayas and the Outer Himalayas.
  • The Great Himalayas is the highest zone, bordering the Tibetan Plateau, with high snow-capped peaks with an average height of 6100 meters. The Greater Himalayas are home to many of the highest peaks in the world such as Everest and Kanchenjunga.
  • These mountain ranges are covered in snow throughout the year and feature many high-altitude hiking trails, spectacular glacial lakes, and vehicular mountain passes. The Great Himalayas pass through the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Middle Himalayas are mountain ranges in the second belt of the Himalayan mountain system, parallel to the Great Himalayas. The height of most mountain peaks ranges from 3600 meters to 4600 meters, with deep valley gorges.
  • The two main mountain ranges in the Middle Himalayas are the Pir Panjal and Dhauladar ranges. Mountain peaks in this region are considered sacred by Hindus.
  • The Outer Himalayas are the southernmost of the three belts of the Himalayan mountain range. The average height of most mountain peaks in this range is below 2000 meters.

Unlike the Greater and Middle Himalayas, the range of the Outer Himalayas narrows as you move east and is barely visible outside of West Bengal and Sikkim. These mountains are much more accessible, but the forest cover decreases towards the west.

What to do in the Himalayas

Marvel at the beauty of a high mountain lake

  • Many high mountain lakes are located in valleys next to the mountains and glaciers of the Greater Himalayan ranges. Lake Gurudongmar in Sikkim is fed by meltwater from glaciers and is surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks.
  • The picturesque view of the lake among the mountains is a truly unforgettable sight. Pangong Lake near Leh in Ladakh is another popular highland lake on the border of India and China.

Go skiing on the slopes of Auli

Auli is a ski resort located among the high Himalayan peaks. The ski resort is located near the National Park «Valley of Flowers» and offers a wide range of accommodation options for every taste.

In winter, the ski resort has slopes that are suitable for skiing, while in summer they turn into a hill station.

Trans-Himalayan ranges

  • These mountains are part of the Himalayas immediately to the north and parallel to the Great Himalayan Ranges. The Trans-Himalayan ranges consist of the Karakoram, Zanskar, and Ladakh ranges and are geographically located in India, Pakistan, and the Tibetan Plateau to the northwest and south of the Greater Himalayan Range.
  • Most of the Karakoram ranges are in the disputed region between India and Pakistan, with both countries claiming the region.

One of the many interesting facts about the Karakoram ranges is that they have the most significant amount of glaciers outside of the polar regions. The Ladakh range lies south of the Karakoram range and is home to the Nubra Valley and the highland city of Leh.

This range is known for its steep mountain slopes, sparse vegetation, and rugged landscapes interspersed with water currents. Many rivers flow through this region and the beautiful ski resort of Gulmarg is located in this region.

Things to do in the Trans Himalayan Ranges

Visit Buddhist monasteries

  • You can visit many Buddhist monasteries while traveling through the regions of Zanskar, Karakoram and Ladakh. The peaceful atmosphere of the monastery amid breathtaking scenery is sure to soothe your soul.

Phuktal Gompa, one of the beautiful cave monasteries of Zanskar, was built centuries ago on a hillside and is located in the remote Lugnak Valley. You can visit this monastery on foot, on a day hike from the nearest village.

Go hiking on a frozen river

  • In winter, the temperature in the mountains drops to below zero, which leads to the freezing of many watercourses and rivers. The Chadar River Hike in the Zanskar Valley is a hiking route used by the locals in winter.

This is an amazing activity for adventure seekers. Camping and hiking on a frozen river, natural caves in the mountains, sheer cliffs and frozen waterfalls are some of the unforgettable experiences that this hike will give you.

Western Ghats

  • The Western Ghats stretch from Gujarat to Kerala, parallel to the western coast of the Indian Peninsula. These mountains are home to many famous hill stations such as Lonavala, Munnar and Ooty. The Western Ghats impede rainy monsoons resulting in heavy rainfall in the western coastal region of the country.

Due to this phenomenon, Mumbai, Goa and the coastal regions of Karnataka and Kerala experience heavy rains from June to September. Therefore, any trip to these regions during the rainy season must be carefully planned.

Things to do in the Western Ghats

Visit a berry farm in Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar is well known for its berry cultivation, which accounts for over 80% of India’s strawberry production. When visiting the city, try the region’s local specialties such as creamed strawberries, creamed mulberries, toffee, corn tortillas and jelly.

Visit the Munnar Hills in Kerala

  • Munnar is a hill station located in the Western Ghats that attracts visitors from all over the world. Known for its panoramic scenery, lush greenery and tea plantations, Munnar is also popular for its rare and exotic flowers such as Nilakurinji, which bloom once every 12 years.

The availability of luxury accommodation and proximity to other tourist destinations in Kerala such as Alleppey and Thekkady also make this hill station very popular with foreign travelers.

Aravallis Range

  • Aravallis is the oldest mountain range in India and possibly the oldest mountain on earth. These mountains stretch from Gujarat to Rajasthan and block rain monsoons from reaching the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. Udaipur, known as the city of lakes, is located on the southern slopes of Aravallis and receives heavy rainfall during the rainy season.

In the mountains you can find many fortresses and palaces. Towns such as Bundi, Bera and Pushkar are popular with tourists for their rich royal history, forts and annual city fairs.

What to do in Aravallis

Explore the Dilawara Temple on Mount Abu

  • Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan and the perfect place to beat the desert heat. The hill station is also famous for the Dilavara Temple, a place of pilgrimage for Jain followers.

The temple is world renowned for its abundant use of marble, intricate carvings, and the stunning design of the entire temple, including the ceilings.

Visit the camel fair in Pushkar

  • Pushkar is located near Ajmer in Rajasthan. It is known for one of the largest camel fairs in the country, with thousands of camels for sale.

Here you can try camel riding and buy silverware, colorful jewelry and traditional clothes. You can also enjoy folk dancing, food, music festivals and even magic shows.

Eastern Ghats

  • The Eastern Ghats stretch from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu, near the east coast of the Indian Peninsula. These Ghats are lower in elevation and older than the Western Ghats and are home to many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

The famous rivers of South India — Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri and many others — flow through the Eastern Ghats, and many beautiful cities are located on the banks of these rivers. The city of Tirupati is located in the Eastern Ghats and is a very revered place of pilgrimage for Hindus.

Things to do in the Eastern Ghats

Hike to the top of Deomali Peak in Odisha

  • Popular with ecotourists, Deomali is the perfect place to test your hiking skills and recharge your batteries.

Your trip to this beautiful peak will be rewarded with stunning views, fresh air and waterfalls. You can also look into the tribal villages in these mountains.

Visit Shewaroy Hills in Tamil Nadu

  • This place near Bangalore and Chennai is famous for its abundant greenery, coffee plantations and great weather. The surrounding hills also grow various spices and fruits that are used to prepare local dishes.

This quaint and unspoilt hill station is a must-visit if you want to explore the countryside away from tourists.

Vindhya and Satpura ranges

These are mountain ranges lying in central India and running parallel to each other. These mountains are found predominantly in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, with extensions to Gujarat, Chattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. There are many national parks, forest reserves and wildlife trails in these areas.

The Vindhya ranges have traditionally been considered the boundary between North and South India. The area around these mountains is covered with green forest cover and is the source of many rivers and waterfalls.

Things to do in Vindyas and Satpuras

Visit Kanha National Park

  • Kanha is one of the largest tiger sanctuaries in India and is known for protecting endangered wildlife. The park is home to large populations of royal Bengal tigers, sloth bears and other wildlife.

Kanha National Park is the perfect choice if you are looking for a place to experience wildlife among the mountains. The Jungle Book written by Rudyard Kipling is known to be based on Kanha National Park in India.

Visit the Chikaldhara Hills

  • These hills are known for their coffee plantations and beautiful lakes. You can explore the nearby Melghat Tiger Reserve by going on a jungle safari.

You can also visit nearby forts if you have time. Viewpoints and waterfalls near Chikaldhara are best visited during the rainy season, when it rains heavily and the mountainside is covered with fog.