Himachal Pradesh Geography

Himachal Pradesh Geography

Himachal is divided into three zones:

1) Shivaliks (outermost range):  It is also known as “Manak Parbat”  and Shivalik means tresses of Shiva.

Paonta valley, Nahan, Pachhad and Renuka of Sirmaur ,Balh valley , Jogindernagar of mandi lies in this range.

2) Inner Himalayas :

It lies mainly in Chamba ,Kangra and Mandi.

It branches from great Himalayas near Badrinath in Uttarakhand and intercepted by Satluj at Rampur, Beas at Larji, and Ravi.

Northern flank of Dhauladhar impinges against the southern flank of Pir Panjal at the mountain knot of Bara Banghal.

3) Greater Himalayas:

Himalayas are also known as “weather maker of Asia”.

  Physiographically HP can be divided into five zones:
1) Wet Sub temperate Zone: Palampur, Joginder Nagar, Dalhousie,Dharmashala.

2) Humid Sub-temperate Zone: Kullu, Shimla parts of mandi, Solan ,Chamba ,Kangra and Sirmaur.

3) Dry temperate Zone: Alpine high parts of Lahual Spiti, Pangi , Kinnuar.

4) Humid sub tropical Zone: Mandi , Nahan, Nalagarh ,Nurpur etc.

5) Sub Humid tropical Zone: Una , Paonta sahib, Indora area of Kangra.

Average rainfall in Himachal is 152 cm. Dharamshala( 340 cm) is wettest and Spiti is the driest place in Himachal.

Special climatic phenomenon which has relation to the topography of the western Himalayas:

Glaciers ,Valleys and Peaks of Himachal

Glaciers in Himachal:

A glacier is a body of ice that originates on land by recrystallisation of snow under definite conditions:

  1. A distinct area where more snow or ice usually accumulates than what melts.
  2. Another area where more snow or ice is usually melts or wastes than what accumulates also known as ablation zone.
  3. A slow transfer of ice mass from first region to the second.

Line separating accumulation and ablation zone is called the equilibrium line.

Glaciers vary widely in form and characteristics:

  1. The cliff and cirque glaciers
  2. The valley glaciers
  3. Continental ice sheets such as Greenland, Antarctica.

Glaciers contain more than 3/4th of world’s fresh water. The Himalayas have nearly 15000 glaciers. 17% of Himalayas and 37% of Karakorum are glaciers.

In local language glaciers are known as “Shigri”.

There are four major concentration of glaciers in Himachal :

  1. Bara Banghal: lying amidst Kullu,Kangra, Chamba, and Lahaul-Spiti feeding Ravi.
  2. Near trijunction of Kullu,Spiti and Kinnaur feeding tributaries of Beas and Satluj .
  3. In zone of Lahaul-Spiti.
  4. In Kullu valley feeding tributaries of Beas.

Major glaciers in Himachal:

1) Bara Shigri:

2) Chandra Glacier:

3) Bhaga Glacier:

4) The lady of Keylong:

5) Mayar Glacier:

6) Gyephang glacier:

7) Kulti glacier: it is near Koksar in Lahual spiti.

8) Milang glacier:

9) Taragiri glacier: It is located near milang glacier.

10) Sonapani glacier:

Prominent glaciers in Valleys:

Chandra Valley: Chhota shigri, Pacha, Kulti, Shipting, Ding Karmo, Tapn, Gyephang, Shilli, Bolung and Shamundri.

Bhaga Valley: Milang, Mukkila,Lady of Keylong and Gangstang.

Pattan or Chandrabhaga Valley: shila, Kugti, Lainghar,Doksha and Nilkant.

11)  Bhadal glacier:

12)  Chandra Nahan :

13)  Dudhon and Parbati: Located in Kullu district, they feed the River parbati.

14)  Beas Kund:        

15) Pin Parbati glacier: Located in Beas Valley.

Prominent valleys in Himachal:

1) Satluj Valley:

2) Kiar Da Dun Valley:

  1. a) The tract which consists the Neli Khera and adjoining hills of the lower Dharathi on the north of the Bata, east of the Jamun Khala, west of the Tila Gharib nath  and south of the Rajban.
  2. b) The par-dun tract which is surrounded by hills lies near majra village.
  3. c) The dun proper: which lies between the Yamuna and the lower parts of Dharathi range and Poka hills.

3) Kangra valley:

4) Kullu valley:

5) Bara Banghal valley:

6) Balh valley:

7) Chamba valley:

8) Lahual and Spiti valley:

9) Baspa Valley:

10) Pabbar valley:

Other valleys:

Mountain passes in Himachal:

1) Baralacha pass:

2) Kunjum Pass:

3) Tempo la:

4) Bhabha Pass:

5) Hamta Pass :

6) Darati Pass:

7) Manirang Pass:

8) Rohtang Pass:

9) Sach pass:

10) Shinghor Pass:  This pass can be approached from Alyas lying beyond Dharamshala.

River System in Himachal

1) Yamuna :

       a) Tons: It is important tributary of Yamuna. It joins Yamuna at “Kalsi” in Dehradun valley. It rises from two feeder streams Supin and Rupin, these two steams merge near mountain hamlet of Naitwar in Uttrakhand after which it is known as Tons River.

       b)  Giri: Also known as Giri or Giriganga. It rises from “Kupar peak” just above Jubbal                         town in Shimla. It divides Sirmaur into two equal parts i.e Cis Giri and Trans Giri.

c)Jalal: it is tributary of Giri. Rises from Dharathi range in Sirmaur.

      d) Markanda: Rises from Kiarda dun valley. Nahan is situated on bank of this River.

      e) Andhra: It is tributary of Pabbar. It rises from near chirgaon in Shimla.

       f)Asni : it is tributary of Giri.

      h)Bata :

      i)Pabbar: It is tributary of tons . It rises from “Chandar Nahan “ in Shimla.

      j) Patsari : it is tributary of Pabbar River. It rises from lower Himalayan hills near                               kharapathar in Shimla.

2) Satluj: its vedic name is satudari and Sanskrit name is shatadru.

      a) Baspa : It originates from Baspa hills in kinnaur and joins Satluj near Karchham.

      b) Spiti:

     c) Nogli khad : Joins Satluj below Rampur Bushahar.

     d) Soan River: it rises from the southern slopes of shivaliks range also known as “solasinghi                 range”.

3) Beas: Its vedic name was Arjikiya and sanskrit name as Vipasha.

Why Beas is known as Vipasha?Once Vishawamitra killed 100 sons of Rishi Vashist and in sheer agony Vashisht jumped into this River (Arjikiya) after tying himself with ropes. But the River got him out of the water after removing ropes and throws him at a place now known as Vashisht village .And Arijikiya came to known as Vipasha because it removed ropes of Vashisht.

Narad, Vashisht, Viswamitra, Bhrighu, Jamdagani, Bharadwaj, Vamdev, Kapil, Gautam, Shringi, Vyas and Parshuram  are some people who came here on different occasions.
Its main tributaries are : Parbati, Spiti, Malana, Solang, Manalsu, Sujoin ,Phojal, Sarvari, Dehar, Hansa, Tirthan ,Jiuni, Suketi ,Son ,sainj etc.

Tributaries which originates from Dhauladhar range:

Others are:

  1. a) Harla: Joins Beas near Kullu in Bhuntar.
  2. b) Parbati : it rises near Manikaran from main Himalayan range in Kullu. Manikaran and Kasol are       main settlements on this River.
  3. c) Tirthan : Rises from Main Himalayas in Kullu and joins Beas at Larji.
  4. d) Uhl : Dhauladhar in Kangra ,merge with Beas in  Mandi.

4) Chenab :


5) Ravi: 


And other are Baira, Tantgiri, Budhil ,Tundahan, Saho,Chirchind Nala.

6) Swan River :

Lakes in Himachal Pradesh

1) Govind Sagar Lake:

It is situated on world’s highest gravity dam. Pandit Nehru called this dam “New Temple of Resurgent India” .

2) Ghadasaru Lake:

3) Khajjiar lake:

4) Lama Dal Lake:

6) Chamera lake:              

7) Mahakali lake:

8) ChanderKup Tal :

9) Dal Lake:

10) Pong Lake:

11) Kareri Lake:

12) Kumarwah lake:

13) Rewalsar lake: In mandi

Why Rewalsar Lake named “Padmacan”?There was a king “Arshadhara” of “Zahor” (the Tibetan name of mandi).His daughter Mandarva resolved to renounce her royal ties and dedicate herself to religious order. She took bow before Bhudhist scholar named “Shantarakshita” (believed to be brother of Padmasambhava). One day Padamsambhav came to give her teachings, a cow herder who saw them spread the news that Mandarva was flirting with a man. Angry King put Mandrava inside a hole full of thorns in earth and tied Padmasambhava to a pyre and set on fire.  When smoke did not clear off for a week the king visited the same place and found to his surprise the place had turned into a lake with lotus at the centre of the lake. Repenting King offered him his Kingdom and princess was married to Padmasambhava.

14) Kunt Bhayog lake: It is situtated at the hill top of rewalasar town mandi.        

15) Kalasar lake: Situated at the hill top of rewalasar town.

16) Sukhsar Lake: it is on the top of Rewalsar town in mandi.

17) Pandoh lake:

18) Prashar lake:

19) Bhrighu lake :

20) Servalsar lake: It is situated on the top of Jalori pass in Kullu.

21) Mantilai: It is source of Parbati River in Kullu.

22) Shringtingu lake: it is in Kullu, a panaromic view of Bara Banghal is enjoyable form this place.

23) Chadaranahan lake: It is situated on “Chansal peak” in Rohru tehsil.

Pabbar River originates from this lake.

24) Tanu Jubbal : Near Narkanda ,Shimla.

25) Karali lake:

26) Nako Lake:

 27)  Sorong lake: In Kinnuar

 28)  Renuka Lake:

 30)Suraj Tal :

31) Chandra Tal:

  32) Una so lake: in Lahaul-Spiti

Springs in Himachal

Springs in Himachal:

A spring is a natural flow of ground water. Most of the springs in HP are located in Satluj and Beas valley.

Generally there are three types of springs observed in HP:
1) Ordinary springs: Temporary or permanent passing underground water to the surface.

2) Mineral water spring: it has mineral dissolved in it.

3) Hot water spring: Quite popular in HP for their medicinal properties.

The origin of hot spring may be either magmatic where the hot molten thrust of the earth meets the ground water .The magmatic surface and the heated liquid emerges as hot spring.

1) Tatta pani:

2) Mani Karan:

Why this spring named ManiKaran?

According to a legend once a while Maa Parbati was taking bath here, she lost her ear rings in the kund(Pond). When she told it to Lord Shiva, He became furious and looked at the water of the kund with great anger. With this thousands of ear rings flowed out from the boiling water and since then the water of the spring is boiling. The name Mani-karan also means ear rings.

3) Kasol :

4) Khirganga:

5) Vashisht:

6) Jeori:

Springs in Kangra:

Falls/Springs in Himachal:
1. Rahla water fall: near Manali in Kullu.
2. Satdhara water spring: near Panjpulla in Chamba.
3. Dhanchho water fall: Near Bharmaur,Chamba
4. Kalika kund: a cold water spring at Man in Chamba.
5. Chadwick water fall: Near summer hill in Shimla.
6. Bhagsunag water fall: Near Macleodganj, Dharamshala