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  04 November '2012
Mountains and their Passes in Jammu and Kashmir

Pirpanjal Range: It separates Kashmir valley from the outer Himalayas and is about 2621 Kms. in length and 50 Kms. in breadth. Famous Banihal pass (2832 metres) lies in the shape of a tunnel on its peak; it remains covered with snow during winter making it impassable. Now at a height of 2200 metres above sea level a new tunnel 'Jawahar Tunnel' has been constructed. The tunnel is 2825 metres long and it was opened for traffic on 22nd Dec. 1956. On the other end of this range lie Baramula pass (1582 metres) and Hajipir pass (2750 metres). Hajipir joins Poonch and Uri. During 1965 Indo-Pak war, the Indian army had occupied this pass. Later on it was handed over to Pakistan. The Pir Panjal Range is a group of mountains that lie in the Inner Himalayan region, running from east southeast to west northwest across the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir where the average elevation varies from 1,400 m (4,600 ft) to 4,100 m (13,500 ft). The Himalayas show a gradual elevation towards the Dhauldhar and Pir Panjal ranges. Pir Panjal is the largest range of the lower Himalayas. Near the bank of the Sutlej river, it dissociates itself from the Himalayas and forms a divide between the rivers Beas and Ravi on one side and the Chenab on the other. Deo Tibba (6,001 m (19,688 ft)) and Indrasan (6,221 m (20,410 ft)) are two important peaks at the eastern end of the mountain range. They can be approached from both the Parvati-Beas Valley (Kulu District) and the Chandra (Upper Chenab) Valley (Lahaul and Spiti District) in Himachal Pradesh. The Gulmarg in Kashmir lies in this range.

Amarnath Mountain: Amarnath Peak is a mountain with a peak elevation of 5,186 metres (17,014 ft), in Gander district of Kashmir, in the vicinity of Sonamarg. Amarnath Peak is part of the Himalayas, and is located south of Zojila and west of Machoi Glacier. It lies 117 km northeast from Srinagar, 13 km from Baltal in the southeast. This is a famous holy Cave where thousands of pilgrims visited every year on Raksha bandan. They have to pass Mahagunas pass (1475 metres) on their way to Shri Amarnathji. Gwasharan (5450 metres) is situated in the Lidar valley towards Pahalgam; on it lies the famous glacier Kolahi. Sheeshnag Mountain also spreads in this valley. It is called Sheshnag as its peaks resemble the heads of seven big snakes. The melted waters form a major tributary of the Sind River at Baltal. The cave is believed to be the ancient and among most sacred places for pilgrimage in Hinduism.

Karakoram (8615 M) and Kyunlun Ranges: Both these mountains lie to the north and north-east of the State and separate it from Russian Turkistan and Tibet. In the North West, Hindukush range continues towards Karakoram Range, where K2 peak, the second highest peak of the world, is situated. Two lofty peaks of Gashorbram (8570 metres) and Masharbram (7827 metres) also lie there. People of Ladakh pass through Karakoram pass (5352 metres) and Nubra pass (5800 metres) while going to Chinese Turkistan and Khattan. One can reach Tibet from Ladakh via Kharudangala pass (5557 metres) and Changla pass (5609 metres). The Karakoram is a large mountain range spanning the borders between Pakistan, India and China located in the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan, Ladakh and Xinjiang region. It is one of the Greater Ranges of Asia, a part of the greater Himalaya while north of the actual Himalaya Range. The Karakoram is home to the highest concentration of peaks over 8000m in height to be found anywhere on earth including K2, the second highest peak of the world (8,611 m/28,251 ft). K2 is just 237 m (778 ft) lower than the 8,848 m (29,029 ft) tall Mount Everest. The range is about 500 km in length, and is the most heavily glaciated part of the world outside the Polar Regions. The Karakoram is bounded on the northeast by the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and on the north by the Pamir Mountains. The southern boundary of the Karakoram is formed, west to east, by the Gilgit, Indus and Shyok Rivers, which separate the range from the northwestern end of the Himalaya range proper as these rivers converge southwestward towards the plains of Pakistan.

Toshmaidan: Toshmaindan (4270 metres) and Kajinag (3700 metres) mountains lie in the Inner Himalayas. They remain clad with snow throughout the year, but during summer when the snow melts, the water flows down into the Jhelum river. The great rolling downs of the Tosh Maidan (14,000 feet) over which men pass to the Poonch town. It derives its name from the Kajinag spring which is situated at its top. It forms the line of control between India and Pakistan in Handwara and has a height of 15524 feet. It usually remains snow clad most of the year. On the top of it stands the historical Kajinag spring and Satkohl Nag which have been providing water to Kehmil, Puhru, Mawar and Talar rivers of the district and some of the water goes to Pakistan through Nowkote.

Zanskar Range: It is about 6000 metres above sea level and separates Indus Valley from the valley of Kashmir; it prevents south-west cold winds from reaching Kashmir. Ladakh region terminates at Zojila pass (3529 metres) from where begins the valley of Kashmir. Poat pass (5716 metres) of this range is also a famous pass in this range. The Zanskar Range separates Zanskar from Ladakh. Geologically, the Zanskar Range is part of the Tethys Himalaya, an approximately 100-km-wide synclinorium formed by strongly folded and imbricates, weakly metamorphosed sedimentary series. Its eastern part is known as Rupshu. It also separates Kinnaur District from Spiti in Himachal Pradesh.

Afarwat: This mountain spreads through the Gulmarg valley. The famous spring Alpathar lies on its peak, from which Nullah Nagal comes out and flows down into the Wullar lake. The journey to Afarwat on the world's highest gondola ski-lift is a breathtaking experience in itself as one first crosses the tree line and then the cloud line and for once you don't have to look up to see the clouds. The ropeway stretching 2.5 km connects the bowl-shaped Kongdoori valley with Afarwat. It's the world's highest cable car using gondolas and the only one in the world that takes skiers and tourists to a height of 4,390 m. The return journey of 26-km costs Rs 1000 on the ropeway, which ferries about 600 people per hour to and from Gulmarg. Skiing experts say slopes at Afarwat are "beyond a skier's imagination". The area also houses the High Altitude Warfare School in Gulmarg. Afarwat is also a major attraction for other winter sports such as snowboarding. The area's charm doesn't end here; there is much in store for tourists just down the slope at Gulmarg. Gulmarg or the meadow of flowers is described as one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. Other attractions in Gulmarg include Khilanmarg, which is a famous skiing spot. It also offers a great view of the Kashmir Valley and the Himalayan range. One can also take a tour to the Alpather Lake, which usually remains frozen till June. The Lake lies across the Apharwat peak.

Nun Kun Range: It lies between Ladakh and kashmir border. To its south-east is situated Kulu and to its north-west is situated Kargil tehsil of Ladakh. One has to pass through Bawalocha pass (4891 metres) to reach Leh (Ladakh) from Kulu. In 1947, when Kargil was attacked by Pakistan, Indian forces, arms and ammunition were sent to Ladakh by the Indian Union through this pass. The Nun Kun mountain massif comprises a pair of Himalayan peaks: Nun, 7,135 m (23,409 ft) and its neighbor peak Kun, 7,077 m (23,218 ft). Nun is the highest peak in the part of the Himalayan range lying on the Indian side of the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir. The massif is located near the Suru Valley, about 250 km east of Srinagar. Kun is located north of Nun and is separated from it by a snowy plateau of about 4 km in length. Pinnacle Peak 6,930 m is the third highest summit of the group.

Nanga Parbat Range: This range spreads in Gilgit. Its height is 8107 meters above sea level and is utterly devoid of vegetation. This is now under the unlawful possession of Pakistan. Nanga Parbat (literally, Naked Mountain), is the ninth highest mountain in the world and the western anchor of the Himalayas. An immense, dramatic peak rising far above its surrounding terrain, Nanga Parbat has not only proved difficult to climb, but also has a notable incidence of tragedy associated with its climbing.

Harmukh Mountain: Harmukh (also known as Mount Haramukh or Harmukh mountain) is a mountain with a peak elevation of 16,870 ft (5,142 metres), in Ganderbal District of Jammu and Kashmir. Harmukh is part of the Himalayan Range, and is located between Nallah Sindh in the south and Neelum River in the north, rises from Gangabal Lake in the vicinity of Kashmir Valley. It is mostly climbed from the northwestern side of Bandipore. Harmukh is considered a sacred mountain, by Hindus having Gangabal lake at its foot. According to Hindu mythology, Harmukh is the abode of Lord Shiva.

Burzil Mountain: It bifurcates Kashmir and Ladakh on which Burzil pass is situated at a height of 4100 metres above sea level. The Burzil Pass is an ancient pass and caravan route between Srinagar in Kashmir and Gilgit. The pass lies close to the Line of control demarcating India and Pakistan, which has since closed the Burzil. The crest of the pass is wide and covered in summer with alpine grass vegetation. The Astor river originates from western slopes of the pass. It is the oldest route connecting Gilgit with Srinagar and Skardu through Deasai plateau. The travelers used horses and ponies to cross the pass. On the beginning of 20th century a hut of post couriers was situated on the crest of the Pass. They brought mail from India to China. Gilgit is some 367 km from Srinagar by road over the Burzil pass above the northern banks of Wular Lake and Gurez.

Siwalik Range: This range is about 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long enclosing an area that starts almost from the Indus and ends close to the Brahmaputra, with a gap of about 90 kilometres (56 mi) between the Teesta and Raidak rivers in Assam. The width of the Shivalik hills varies from 10 to 50 km (6.2 to 31 mi), their average elevation is 1,500 to 2,000 m (4,900 to 6,600 ft). The Sivalik hills are the southernmost and geologically youngest east-west mountain chain of the Himalayas. The Siwaliks have many sub-ranges. They extend west from Arunachal Pradesh through Bhutan to Sikkim, and further westward through Nepal and Uttarkhand, continuing into Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The Siwalik hills is a mountain range of the outer Himalayas also known as Manak Parbat in ancient times. Siwalik literally means 'tresses of Shiva’.

Volcanic mountains: One volcanic peak, 'Soyamji' (1860 metres) is situated in North Machhipura (Handwara) and the other 'Kharewa' peak lies in Tehsil Pehalgam, which is dead so far; the former, however, continued eruption of lava for about l3 months during 1934. There is a temple on this peak and many sulphur springs are found at the foot of the hill. These volcanic mountains are the cause of earthquakes in Kashmir. So far twelve devastating earthquakes have occurred in Kashmir. Of these the earthquake of 1885 was the most devastating. Hundreds of houses collapsed, thousands of people died and there were cracks in the earth as a result of this earthquake.





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