Division of Himalayas – Latitudinal and Longitudinal Division of Himalayas

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The longitudinal division of Himalayas is the vertical divide leading to the further categorisation of the Himalayan mountain ranges based on topographical and climatic factors. These are important to understand in order to attain geographical awareness. The longitudinal division of Himalayas is in the east-west direction across northern India.

As per the longitudinal division of Himalayas, there are four major parts – Punjab/Kashmir/Himachal Himalayas, Central/ Nepal Himalayas, Kumaun Himalayas, and Eastern Himalayas. On the other hand, the latitudinal division of Himalayas divides the range into the Trans range, Shiwalik Himalayas, Great Himalayas, and Middle Himalayas. The study of the longitudinal division of Himalayas is a crucial part of UPSC GS 2.

Division of Himalayas

The Himalayas are home to the world’s tallest mountains and are an extraordinary Asian mountain system that serves as a great barrier between the Tibetan Plateau to the north and the alluvial plains (located in the Indian subcontinent) to the southern region. The division of Himalayas can be understood in two ways – The latitudinal and Longitudinal division of Himalayas. These mountain ranges contain some of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, and others.

Division of Himalayas PDF

These mountain ranges have approximately 100 peaks that surpass 7200 metres in height. The highest peak beyond Asia’s Himalayan mountain ranges is the Aconcagua range in the Andes. Between the alluvial plains in the southern region and the Tibetan plateau in the northern region, the Himalayan mountain ranges serve in the form of a barrier. From west to east, the Himalayan mountain ranges are divided into four sections. These are explained in the upcoming sections.

  • Division of Himalayas from North to South – Latitudinal Division
  • Division of Himalayas from West to East – Longitudinal Division

The Himalayan topography is documentation among the most spectacular and notable embodiments of current plate spatial forces. Geographically, the belt contains multiple exemplifications: the highest point of inspiration (Nanga Parbat), the highest point of help (Chomolungma), one of the highest disintegration rates, the source of some of the finest waterways, and the highest interconnectivity of ice sheets beyond the polar areas. This final component gave the Himalayas its name, derived from the Sanskrit for “day off habitation.”

Longitudinal Division of Himalayas

The longitudinal division of the Himalayas takes place from east to west Himalayas, dividing them into four major segments. These include:

  1. The Kashmir /Punjab/ Himachal Himalayas
  2. The Kumaun Himalayas
  3. The Central/ Nepal Himalayas
  4. The Assam/ Eastern Himalayas

This regional division of Himalayas is explained in depth in the section below.

The Kashmir /Punjab/ Himachal Himalayas

The Kashmir /Punjab/ Himachal Himalayas are positioned just between the Indus and Satluj gorges.

  • These are 560 kilometres in length and 320 kilometres broad.
  • Its northern boundary is shaped by the Zaskar range, and the southern boundary is formed by the Shiwaliks.
  • This region has ridge and valley topography formed by the Lacustrine deposits of the Jhelum River.
  • It includes a number of ox-bow lakes, such as Wular Lake and Dal Lake.
  • It is also known as the “Vale of Kashmir,” and Lacustrine accumulations are Karewas, which contain special nutrients that aid in the cultivation of Saffron from the district of Pulwama to Pampore.

The Kumaun Himalayas

The Kumaun Himalayas stretch for 320 kilometres between the Satluj and Kali gorges.

  • Nag Tibba, Dhaula Dhar, Mussoorie, and sections of the Greater Himalayas are among the important mountain ranges.
  • Nandadevi, Kamet, Badrinath, and Kedarnath are among the major peaks.
  • Several glaciers and ice caps, particularly in Uttarakhand, give rise to a number of rivers, including the Gangotri, Yamunotri, and Pindari.
  • It has snowfall throughout the winters and has coniferous forests above 3200m, as well as Deodar forests between 1600 and 3200 m of area.

The Central/ Nepal Himalayas

Situated between the rivers Kali and Tista in the west and Tista river in the east, it is 800 kilometres in length.

  • Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha), Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Annapurna, Gosainthan, and Dhaulagiri are among the world’s most famous peaks.
  • These ranges have an orthoclinal layout and are home to the well-known Kathmandu valley.
  • In this region, the Lesser Himalaya is widely recognized as Mahabharat Lekh.

The Assam/ Eastern Himalayas

It is 750 kilometres in length and runs between the Tista and Brahmaputra rivers in the west and east, respectively.

  • The Eastern Himalayas are mostly found in Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan.
  • In many places, the Greater Himalayas and Shiwaliks are indistinguishable.
  • Longitudinal valleys are restrictive, and rainfall exceeds 200 centimetres.
  • Fluvial erosion caused by heavy rainfall dominates the Assam Himalayas.

Latitudinal Division of Himalayas

The latitudinal division of Himalayas is a horizontal divide spanning from the north region to the south region of the Himalayas also called the horizontal division of Himalayas. The northern side of the Great Himalayas is called Trans-Himalayas. The Trans-Himalayas are made up of the Karakoram range, the Zanskar range, the Ladakh range, and the Kailash range. On the basis of the latitudinal division , the Himalayas can be divided into the following:

  • Trans Himalayan range
  • The Middle Himalayas is also known as Himachal Himalayas or Lesser Himalayas
  • Shiwalik Himalayas also called the outer Himalayas
  • The Great Himalayas also called as Inner Himalayas or Himadri

In the section below, we will discuss these ranges in detail.

Trans Himalayan Range

The Trans-Himalayas include the Ladakh, Karakoram, Kailash Range and Zanskar Range. The Karakoram Range is the Trans-Himalayan range’s extreme northern point.

  • Mount K2, also known as Godwin Austen, is the world’s second largest peak, after Mt. Everest.
  • Mount K2 is located in the Karakoram Mountains.
  • The Shyok River runs between the Karakoram and Ladakh region.
  • The Indus River runs through Ladakh and Zanskar.
  • The Zanskar range is included in Nanga Parbat.

The Great Himalayas or Inner Himalayas or Himadri

These are also known as the Inner Himalayas or Himadri Himalayas. It is located immediately south of the Trans-Himalayas.

  • The mean elevation is approximately 6100 km above water level.
  • The Great Himalayas range in width from 120 to 190 kilometres.
  • It is the longest range and includes numerous snow-covered glaciers.
  • The Ganga and Yamuna rivers are also rivers that originate from the Great Himalayas.
  • The southern side of the Greater Himalayas has a steeper slope than the northern side.
  • Shipki-La, Nathu-la and Zoji-La are some of the most important mountain roads in the Great Himalayas.

The Middle Himalayas or Himachal Himalayas or Lesser Himalayas

Himachal Himalayas, also known as the lesser Himalayas, the middle Himalayas, or the Dhauladhar range, is located on the southern flank of the Great Himalayas.

  • The Middle Himalayas are almost 50 kilometres wide.
  • This range’s elevation ranges from 1000 to 4500 metres above sea level.
  • Nainital, Mussoorie, Shimla and other lesser Himalayan hill stations are well-known.
  • The renowned Kullu, Kashmir, and Kangra valleys are also situated here between the Great and the Lesser Himalayas.

Shiwalik Himalayas/Outer Himalayas

It is the Himalayas’ extreme southern mountain range. The Shiwalik mountains are also known as the outer Himalayas.

  • The Shivalik Mountains have an average width of 10 to 50 kilometres.
  • Shivalik mountain varies in elevation from 900 to 1100 metres above sea level.
  • The Duns and Duars are long valleys that run between the lesser Himalayas and the Shivalik mountain ranges.
  • Dehradun and Kotli Dun are well-known and significant Duns in this region.

Longitudinal Division of Himalayas UPSC

The longitudinal division of the Himalayas is an important chapter of the General studies included in the UPSC syllabus. In order to fully understand the longitudinal division of the Himalayas, it is crucial to be well-versed in the varied geographical patterns. You should also study through the UPSC study material offered on a daily basis. For frequent practice, you must also download the UPSC previous year question papers.

Following is a previous year’s question on the longitudinal division of Himalayas for your practice:

Question: Match List I with List II and select the correct answer: [1997]

List I (Climatic conditions) List II (Reasons)
A. Madras is wanner than Calcutta 1. North-east monsoon
B. Snowfall in Himalayas 2. Altitude
C Rainfall decreases from West Bengal to Punjab 3. Western depressions
D. Sutlej-Ganga plain gets some rain in winter 4. Distance from the sea
5. Latitude


  1. 1, 2, 4, 5
  2. 4, 5, 1, 3
  3. 5, 2, 4, 3
  4. 5, 1, 3, 4

Answer: c) 5, 2, 4, 3

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