The Lesser Himalaya or inner Himalayas zone of H.P

Himachal Pradesh, often referred to as "Dev Bhumi" (Land of Gods), is renowned for its stunning landscapes, serene environments, and thrilling experiences. The Inner Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh lie in the heart of the state and are a true hidden gem.It is a destination that combines natural beauty, serenity, and adventure in equal measures. 

Nestled in the central part of Himachal Pradesh, the inner Himalaya, often referred to as the lesser Himalayas or the Central Zone. In this article section, we will embark on a journey to discover the essence of the Inner Himalaya and explore its unique characteristics, from geology to agriculture and everything in between.

A Geological Marvel

The bedrock of the Inner Himalaya predominantly consists of granite and crystalline rocks, devoid of any fossil records. However, it's not just the composition that makes this region fascinating. The Inner Himalaya has been shaped by intense tectonic forces, resulting in the creation of crystalline klippen, a geological feature that's prevalent in the Shimla area. Let's delve into the geological aspects of this remarkable zone.

  • Crystalline Klippen Formation: The Inner Himalaya is a prime example of how geological forces can sculpt the Earth's surface. The phenomenon of crystalline klippen formation is particularly striking in the Shimla area, where intense tectonics have pushed the crystalline rocks to the surface, offering a unique glimpse into the Earth's geological history.

Diverse Topography and Subregions

The Inner Himalaya is not just a geological wonder; it's a land of diverse landscapes and regions, each with its own charm and significance.

The Majestic Shimla Hills

In the southern part of the Inner Himalaya, the Shimla hills rise dramatically. This region boasts a unique blend of natural beauty, vibrant flora, and an abrupt elevation gradient. A visit to the Shimla hills is like stepping into a picturesque paradise.

Exploring the Tehsils and Districts

  • Pachhad and Renuka in Sirmaur District: These tehsils are renowned for their pristine landscapes, offering an ideal setting for eco-tourism and nature enthusiasts.
  • Chachiot and Karsog Tehsils of Mandi District: With a mix of lush forests and serene valleys, these tehsils provide a tranquil escape for those seeking solace in nature.
  • Upper Kangra and Palampur Tehsil: The upper regions of Kangra and Palampur are blessed with natural beauty, attracting trekkers and nature lovers alike.
  • Upper Shimla Hills and Upper Chamba District: These areas are a testament to the grandeur of the Inner Himalaya, offering stunning vistas and a chance to connect with nature.

Altitude and Agricultural Bounty

One of the most striking features of the Inner Himalaya is its wide range of altitudes, spanning from 1500 meters (4500 feet) to 4500 meters (13,500 feet) above sea level. This variation in elevation gives rise to a unique climate and is conducive to various forms of agriculture.

  • Seed Potatoes: The cool and temperate climate of this zone makes it an ideal hub for seed potato cultivation, contributing significantly to the agriculture of the region.
  • Temperate Fruits: The Inner Himalaya's climate is perfect for the cultivation of apples, pears, and apricots, making it a hub for fruit production.
  • Stone Fruits: Cherries, plums, and peaches are also commonly grown in this fertile zone, adding to the region's agricultural diversity.
  • Soft Fruits: Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries thrive in the gentle climate, making this region a soft fruit lover's delight.

Exploring the Flora and Ecosystems

The Inner Himalaya is home to an array of flora and ecosystems that make it a biodiversity hotspot. Some of the main species include oaks, chir, pine, deodar, blue pine, fir, spruce, hemlock, rhododendron, chestnut, and walnut. Moreover, the region is adorned with sub-alpine and alpine pastures, adding to its natural allure.

Two famous ranges of the Lesser Himalaya are the Pir Panjal (in Chamba district) and Dhauladhar (Kangra district). 

Dhauladhar Range

The Dhauladhar range, often referred to as 'The White Range,' is a magnificent jewel of the Lesser Himalayas. This article section will take you on a virtual journey to uncover the beauty and significance of the Dhauladhar range.

An Overview 

  • Majestic Presence: The Dhauladhar range stands tall and majestic, casting its supremacy over the Kangra Valley. With its snow-clad peaks and breathtaking vistas, it presents a fascinating panorama that leaves visitors in awe.
  • Geographical Location: This range begins its journey where the Great Himalayan range starts to recede, near the sacred town of Badrinath. It stretches westward and is met by three significant rivers—Satluj at Rampur Bushahr, Beas at Larji, and Ravi at the South-West of Chamba.

Geographical Features

  • Elevation: The Dhauladhar range boasts an impressive mean elevation of about 4550 meters. The Himalayas in this region gradually rise towards the Dhauladhar (White Peak) and Pir Panjal Ranges. This variation in elevation creates diverse landscapes, each with its unique charm.
  • Chamba District: In Chamba district, the Dhauladhar range takes on a prominent role. It serves as the southern boundary, effectively separating Chamba from Kangra district. This region is characterized by high peaks, including the conspicuous Hathi Dhar, which runs parallel to Dhauladhar in the southern direction.
  • Kinnaur District: The Dhauladhar range extends to Kinnaur district, forming the South-Western part. Along the boundary line between Kinnaur and Shimla, as well as Uttaranchal in the South, this range leaves a lasting mark on the landscape.
  • Rivers and Tributaries: Dhauladhar's influence is far-reaching. Its Western half runs alongside the Satluj river, while the Eastern half parallels the Baspa river, a primary tributary of the Satluj. These rivers and their tributaries have a profound impact on the region's geography and ecosystems.
  • Streams and Rivulets: In Kinnaur district, the Dhauladhar range is the birthplace of numerous streams and rivulets, such as Zupkia Gad and Mukti Gad, which eventually merge with the Baspa river. This natural network plays a vital role in shaping the local landscape.

Granite Body and the 'Grayish White' Range

The Dhauladhar range is primarily composed of granite, making it an intriguing geological feature. This range is considered the outermost portion of the Lesser Himalayan range. Its name, "Dhauladhar," translates to "Grayish white," a nod to its distinctive appearance, particularly when adorned with snow.

Pir Panjal Range

When it comes to the breathtaking landscapes of the Indian subcontinent, the PirPanjal Range stands out as a remarkable natural wonder. These mountains, nestled in the Lesser Himalayan region, stretch from east-southeast to west-northwest across the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and the Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Let's dive into the stunning features and historical significance of this awe-inspiring range.

Understanding the Pir Panjal Range

  • A Gradual Ascent: The Lesser Himalayas gradually ascend towards the Pir Panjal Range. This range plays a crucial role in the region's topography, separating it from the Dhauladhar range. With an average elevation of 5000 meters, Pir Panjal is not only the largest but also the most impressive of the Lesser Himalayan ranges.Harmukh is the highest peak of this range with an elevation of 5142 meters.
  • Geographical Origin: The Pir Panjal Range begins its journey where the Great Himalayan Range starts to taper off, near the banks of the Satluj River. It serves as the water parting between the Chenab River on one side and the Beas and Ravi Rivers on the other. This unique geographical position makes it a defining feature of the region.

Geographical Features

  • Longitudinal Stretch: Pir Panjal extends across a vast longitudinal expanse, forming a mountainous tract that stretches from North-West to South-East. It separates the Ravi basin to the South from the Chandra Valley to the North.
  • Vast Coverage: This is no ordinary range; it extends far beyond Chamba district into Northern Kullu district, and even into the adjoining areas of Lahaul-Spiti and Kangra districts. The region it covers is vast and diverse.
  • Steep Slopes: Steep slopes characterize the Northern and North-Western parts of Kullu district where the Pir Panjal Range exerts its influence. These gradients contribute to the region's striking topography.
  • Beas River Source: The mighty Beas River originates from the Beas Kund, located at an elevation of 3540 meters near Rohtang Jot within the Pir Panjal Range. This river flows southward, shaping the landscapes and ecosystems it encounters along the way.

Majestic Peaks

The eastern end of the PirPanjal Range boasts two significant peaks that punctuate the skyline: DeoTibba (6,001 meters) and Indrasan (6,221 meters). These lofty giants add a touch of grandeur to the already magnificent range, offering an irresistible challenge to mountaineers and trekkers.

Rohtang pass also lies in this range.

ALSO READ ABOUT: Shivalik Hills


The Inner Himalaya, or Mid-Mountain region, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, geological wonders, and diverse flora. With its picturesque landscapes, unique geology, and thriving agriculture, this region continues to captivate the hearts and minds of those who explore its hidden gems.

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